Many of the world's biggest aquifers are being depleted much faster than they can be replenished, from the Middle East to India to California. New NASA satellite data reveals a looming global groundwater crisis.
Helping communities in Southeast Asia’s Lower Mekong Basin adapt to a changing climate requires a careful balancing act between scientific information and local knowledge.
On September 23, heads of state and leaders in finance, business and civil society will gather in New York City for the United Nations Climate Summit, aimed at jump-starting talks to reach a global climate agreement by December 2015. It's hardly the first time these actors have convened to counter climate change. Here's why this summit is worth watching.
A U.N. working group of 70 member states recently adopted a proposed set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to succeed the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set to expire in 2015. The “post-2015” SDGs will aim to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 while also supporting inclusive economic development and environmental sustainability. While the proposal puts forward a plethora of targets for the international community to pursue between 2015 and 2030, it leaves out a critical component of improving rural livelihoods—securing community land rights.
The “People-oriented Cities” series—exclusive to TheCityFix and Insights—is an exploration of how cities can grow to become more sustainable and livable through transit-oriented development (TOD). The nine-part series will address different urban design techniques and trends that reorient cities around people rather than cars.
With a lending portfolio of $10.5 billion in 2008, the Asian Development Bank wields significant influence over the economic development policies of countries in the fast-growing Asia Pacific region.
In 2009, the Bank adopted a new energy policy geared toward supporting clean energy and low-carbon economic growth. Key commitments included: requiring carbon footprinting of proposed projects, technical support for countries to undertake low carbon strategies, and tools to help countries determine more efficient energy options. The Bank backed it up by committing to provide $2 billion annually to clean energy projects starting in 2013. This would represent a doubling of such investments based on 2008 lending.
“Taken together, these initiatives provide some of the strongest commitments yet by an international financial institution to clean energy investment,” explains Isabel Munilla, whose work at WRI focuses on aligning public and private investment with sustainable development and poverty reduction. “It sends a strong signal to other multilateral and regional development banks that they can play a catalytic role in helping developing countries deploy cleaner, safer, renewable and low-carbon energy technologies.” WRI and its partners in the region played a pivotal role in helping Bank officials develop the new policy.
Following record-breaking air pollution across Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, ministers from five Southeast Asian countries will meet in Kuala Lumpur this week for urgent talks on combating the haze.
New analysis of the patterns and causes of the fires in Sumatra that caused the haze highlights serious issues at the kickoff of this 15th meeting of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution.
The new analysis from the World Resources Institute (WRI), which has been closely monitoring the fires since they began, highlights four key challenges that should help set the agenda for the Ministers of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Thailand.
1. First, pulpwood and oil palm concessions have a more significant role in the fires that we earlier thought.
WRI’s analysis shows that that the number of fire alerts per hectare, in other words their density, is three to four times higher within pulpwood and oil palm concession boundaries than outside those boundaries.
A social entrepreneur invests the little working capital she has to bring solar electricity to a community that –like 1.2 billion people worldwide– lacks access to electricity. The community used to use dirty, expensive and choking kerosene for light to cook by and for children to learn by. The entrepreneur knows she can recoup her costs, because people are willing to pay for reliable, high-quality, clean energy – and it will be even less than what they used to pay for kerosene. Sounds like a good news story, right?
Three months later, the government utility extends the electrical grid to this same community, despite official plans showing it would take at least another four years. While this could be good news for the community, one unintended consequence is that this undermines the entrepreneur’s investment, wiping out their working capital, and deterring investors from supporting decentralized clean energy projects in other communities that lack access to electricity.
A growing number of countries and companies now measure and manage their emissions through greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories. Cities, however, lack a common framework for tracking their own emissions—until now.
Thirty-three cities and communities from around the world started pilot testing the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions Pilot Version 1.0 (GPC Pilot Version 1.0) last month. The GPC represents the first international framework for greenhouse gas accounting for cities. It was launched in May 2012 as a joint initiative among WRI, C40, and ICLEI in collaboration with the World Bank, UN-HABITAT, and UNEP.