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Commentaries

WRI Commentaries offer long-form views and insights by senior WRI staff on important issues at the nexus of environment, development and human well-being. Commentaries draw on WRI research and other peer-reviewed publications to argue for a specific point of view, supporting it with evidence, to encourage informed discussion and debate. The views are those of the authors.

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As governments develop COVID-19 stimulus and recovery packages, nature-based solutions can deliver significant economic and employment benefits, while also addressing climate change.

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The evidence on the science of pollution sources and the political economy of air quality action points to three steps that can help make a clean-air future a reality.

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We urgently need new approaches to bring affordable, reliable, and clean energy to those who lack it. This commentary, from Davida Wood, proposes a fresh approach to providing sustainable energy for all.

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This commentary highlights challenges women face in securing land rights and identifies ways to address them. It offers policymakers, development agencies, donors, land rights NGOs, practitioners, and researchers a snapshot of the land tenure landscape that can inform policies, interventions, advocacy, and research on women’s land rights.

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This commentary explores the social and economic benefits that climate action can deliver and uses real world examples to show how these benefits can be used to further equity and ensure a just transition to a new climate economy.

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Despite the uptick in renewable energy usage, global emissions have steadily increased. Senior Fellow John Woolard argues that commitments to 100% renewables, while critical for sending market signals to increase investment, will not alone achieve the system change needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. It's time for companies and countries to commit to 100% zero-carbon energy.

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Investors increasingly view global sustainability challenges as material to long-term financial performance, as the visible impacts of climate change—extreme heat, droughts, floods and sea level rise—become ever clearer. But do they have enough information to manage the risks and capitalize on the opportunities of a world in transition?

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For two years, World Resources Institute’s Better Buying Lab has taken an in-depth look at what works and what doesn’t when it comes to describing plant-rich foods in a way that appeals to broad swaths of the United States and British populations. Our early findings identify four kinds of language to avoid and three to embrace to help restaurants and the food industry boost sales of plant-rich menu items.

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Sustainable investing is the new black: essential, ubiquitous and a subject of forward-looking discussion. But this is no passing fashion. What was once a niche investment approach is becoming mainstream, and WRI is learning the nitty-gritty of it through its own endowment journey.

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The world will need an estimated $140 billion per year — or more — to help adapt to the damaging impacts of climate change. But funders have gotten caught up in drawing bright lines between adaptation and development programs. To get the most out of scarce adaptation dollars, the world needs to move past this false distinction.

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Water stress and drought are as old as civilization, and while human beings have devised many ways to guard against these threats, economies have evolved in ways that make us more vulnerable.

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2015 was a watershed year. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted at a special summit of the UN General Assembly, and the new international climate agreement concluded in Paris in December, provide for the first time in history a set of strong frameworks for accelerated action by all to meet shared and ambitious climate protection and sustainable development goals.

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