This piece originally appeared on the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) website.
This piece originally appeared on TheCityFix blog.
Three global organizations recently launched a new public database of bus rapid transit (BRT) systems around the world.
Here are some need-to-know numbers of BRT trends:
13 – Cities with BRT systems in the United States
24 – Cities with BRT systems in Asia
36 – Countries with BRT systems worldwide
95 – Different indicators used in the brtdata.org database
129 – New corridors implemented globally since 2000
134 – Cities with BRT systems
560 – Kilometers (348 miles) of BRT in Brazil—more than any other country
3,358 – Kilometers (2,087 miles) of BRT worldwide
110,000 – Passengers on New York City’s BX Select Bus Service, the highest volume of passengers of all U.S. systems
600,000 – passenger trips daily on U.S. BRT systems
22 million – passenger trips daily worldwide
This piece originally appeared in the National Journal Energy and Environment Experts Blog.
EPA’s newly proposed standards are an important step toward addressing the threat of unmitigated carbon pollution in altering the climate. EPA’s action will ensure that power suppliers consider greenhouse gas emissions before building any future power plants. Moreover, this lays the groundwork for future U.S. policies and action to address climate change.
The proposed standards set an emissions standard of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per Megawatt-hour— slightly more carbon intensive than combined cycle natural gas plants built today. New coal units could comply with the regulations by committing to capture and store a portion of their carbon dioxide emissions or, where feasible, by using waste heat through combined heat and power systems.
In recent years, several developing countries, with support from donor agencies, have begun to seriously consider Low Emissions Development Strategies (LEDS), country-driven plans that enable the transition to a low-carbon economy as an effective mechanism for combating climate change. Last week, the LEDS Global Partnership – launched in early 2011 and comprised of 30 governmental and international institutions – held a workshop on the topic in Chesham, U.K. WRI is a member of the steering committee of the LEDS Global Partnership and attended the meeting. Others in attendance included government representatives, donors, and representatives from research institutions.
The workshop focused on three key themes: (1) strategy development for LEDS, including governance of the LEDS process and integration of LEDS into other national plans; (2) analytics and tools for LEDS; and (3) financing LEDS implementation. Highlights included discussions on: LEDS scenario development in Chile and South Africa, leadership and cross-ministerial cooperation for LEDS in Kenya, and a new World Bank initiative to develop an open source tool database that can equip LEDS planners.
Yesterday, I accompanied WRI’s incoming president Andrew Steer over to E&ETV for an interview.
Andrew sat down with E&ETV host, Monica Trauzzi, to get his thoughts about next steps for an international climate agreement, the big sustainability issues of the day, the EPA’s recently proposed standards for new power plants, and of course Andrew’s transition from the World Bank to WRI.
It’s rare for water to make waves at the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering of business leaders and finance ministers.
But the most recent Davos summit was an exception. A new eye-opening report ranked water supply among the top five global risks in terms of impact– on par with systemic financial failure and fiscal imbalances.
As we mark World Water Day, the alarming statistics underlying water scarcity are worth repeating. Worldwide 2.7 billion people are currently affected by water shortages. As the global population races toward 8 billion and beyond, upward trends in food demand and economic growth promise to further strain freshwater resources, especially in the developing world. Climate change, of course, is exacerbating these water challenges.
We are excited by the release of the first draft of the Global Protocol for Community-Scale GHG Emissions (GPC) to help cities around the world measure and report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions using a more consistent protocol. The GPC has been developed by Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), in partnership with the World Resources Institute (WRI), World Bank, United Nations Environment Programme, and UN-Habitat. Today begins a one-month public comment period on the protocol to ensure it will fit the needs of those who will be implementing it.
A version of this blog ran on The Guardian Sustainable Business. It is based on Janet Ranganathan’s presentation at a recent event on integrated reporting in New York, hosted by WRI’s Corporate Consultative Group and Context, a sustainability communications company.
The United Nations has put global reporting by companies on sustainability among its proposed key outcomes for the Rio+ 20 summit in June. The "zero draft" policy agenda that negotiators will consider, calls for "a global policy framework requiring all listed and large private companies to consider sustainability issues and to integrate sustainability information within the reporting cycle."
This is a welcome move. Corporate reporting is all too often narrowly limited to financial information. But in our increasingly complex world, a company's finances represent just the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface lurk risks that could cause leaks in the most seemingly successful business's operations, reputation or bottom line. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico involving BP and recent issues regarding factory conditions at a Chinese supplier for Apple are cases in point.
This piece was written with Graham Provost, intern at the World Resources Institute.
The agenda at this week’s Pacific Energy Summit, hosted by the National Bureau of Asian Research, in Hanoi, Vietnam, includes increasing energy security, expanding access to energy, and decarbonizing the power sector. Given these goals, plus the staggering growth in energy demand in Asia, as well as increasingly volatile fossil fuel prices and rapidly falling renewable energy costs, there are many opportunities to scale up renewable energy throughout the region. (For more on renewable energy’s rapid growth see here and here.) In order to take advantage of this fast-moving sector and develop internationally competitive domestic industries, countries need to have a strong capacity for innovation.
A new conference paper, "Taking Renewable Energy to Scale in Asia," explores these opportunities and challenges for the Summit Participants.
WRI just announced that Andrew Steer will be our new president. Andrew is currently the Special Envoy for Climate Change at the World Bank, and he’s a well-known figure in the international environment and development community.
Just the third president in WRI’s 30 year history, Andrew brings a breadth of international experience to the table, as well as a deep commitment to our issues.