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5 Big Energy Stories of 2013

Manish Bapna highlights five standout climate and energy stories of 2013, which point to signs that some businesses, consumers, and governments are moving toward a growing understanding of the risks of climate change. The question is whether this heightened awareness will shift a global course quickly enough to reduce negative climate impacts. This blog post was originally published at Forbes.

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WRI’s Top Outcomes of 2013

As 2013 comes to a close, it’s a good time to look back on the impact we’ve made in the world this year.

We made progress on tackling key sustainability challenges, including addressing climate change, promoting clean energy, ensuring food security and stable water supplies, reducing forest degradation, and creating sustainable cities. Take a look at our nine top outcomes:

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India’s Watershed Development Boosts Food Security, Improves Livelihoods

India struggles with water scarcity, a problem that poses especially huge implications for the country’s food security and rural livelihoods. The country has long-battled its scarcity issues through Watershed Development, a participatory approach to improve water management through afforestation and reforestation, sustainable land management, soil and water conservation, water-harvesting infrastructure, and social interventions. But while watershed development has been employed in communities throughout India, its potential long-term costs and benefits have not been well-understood or studied--until now.

A new working paper from WRI and WOTR finds that watershed development has provided more than $9 million dollars’ worth of food security and water management benefits to the water-stressed community, Kumbharwadi.

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Transport at the Forefront of COP19 Climate Change Agenda

Last month, SLoCaT and the Bridging the Gap Initiative (BtG) led a partnership of 15 additional co-organizers to host Transport Day 2013 at the nineteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 19) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). EMBARQ, the sustainable urban transport and planning program of the World Resources Institute, was one of the 15 co-organizers of the event.

This year’s COP was held in Warsaw, Poland, from November 11 to November 22, 2013. Transport Day was November 17, marking the first time an entire day at COP has been dedicated to transport, and underscoring the importance of engaging the transport sector in addressing climate change.

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7 Ways to Attract and Use Climate Finance for Transport

It is not possible to effectively address climate change without substantive [greenhouse gas] GHG emission reductions by the transport sector. But putting the pieces together – especially in developing countries – will require fine-tuning transportation climate finance readiness to match growing demand.

A new report for the German International Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)) outlines seven routes governments in the developing world can take to accelerate investment in low-carbon transport.

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4 Cities Show Leadership in Adapting to Local Climate Impacts

Take a look at four U.S. cities—Boulder, CO.; Salt Lake City, UT; Pinecrest, FL.; and Hoboken, NJ—and it's clear that they are at the frontlines of climate change. But take a closer look and you’ll see that they’re also at the forefront of local climate action.

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Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises: Key Players in Climate Adaptation

In most developing economies, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) employ up to 78 percent of the population and account for approximately 29 percent of the national GDP. Their presence in communities throughout the world– big and small, rural and urban – allows them to get products and services to hard-to-reach populations. This market concentration and high level of employment means MSMEs are in a good position to contribute to making vulnerable populations more climate-resilient.

But while MSMEs can assist in helping vulnerable households adapt to climate change, they are also extremely vulnerable to the impacts of a warmer world, such as intensification of precipitation and shifts in water availability. It’s important that MSMEs overcome these challenges and capitalize on their unique business opportunities in ways that help vulnerable communities adapt to climate change.

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New Study Raises Big Questions on U.S. Fugitive Methane Emissions

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences sheds light on a question that continues to vex industry executives and policymakers alike: How significant are fugitive methane emissions from oil and gas production?

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Mayors and city officials from Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, and Utah will be participating in an event in Washington D.C. to discuss how cities are being affected by climate change and what they are doing to adapt to these impacts using state-of-the-art technology and design. The event is being organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the World Resources Institute.

3 Ways Multinational Corporations Can Help Vulnerable Communities Adapt to Climate Change

Multinational companies (MNCs) typically have operations and supply chains in many parts of the world. The way they respond to climate change, therefore, can affect many populations, including poor communities in developing countries, where many people are especially vulnerable to heat waves, sea level rise, and other climate change impacts. MNCs sometimes find themselves in tension with local groups and the environment, but they can also play an important role in making these communities more climate-resilient.

Here are three ways that MNCs can contribute to climate change adaptation in developing countries:

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