With rigorous economic research and practical policy solutions, we focus on the issues and institutions that are critical to global development. Explore our core themes and topics to learn more about our work.
In timely and incisive analysis, our experts parse the latest development news and devise practical solutions to new and emerging challenges. Our events convene the top thinkers and doers in global development.
Environmental economics, climate change, natural resource conservation, indicators of sustainable development and country performance, African infrastructure development, priority-setting for country aid allocation
David Wheeler worked at the Center as a senior fellow from 2006 to 2012, primarily on climate policy and information disclosure. During that time he oversaw the creation of two pioneering monitoring tools, Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA), an online database showing the locations, estimated C02 emissions, and ownership of 60,000 power plants worldwide; and Forest Monitoring for Action (FORMA) which uses satellite data to generate regularly updated online maps and alerts of tropical forest clearing. CARMA continues to be maintained by CGD, while FORMA was transferred to the World Resources Institute (WRI) to become a key component of Global Forest Watch.
Before joining CGD Wheeler worked for 13 years as lead economist in the World Bank's Development Research Group where he directed a team that worked on environmental policy and research issues in collaboration with policymakers and academics in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Ghana and other developing countries. His team focused particularly on reducing pollution through public information disclosure, in collaboration with the environment ministries of China, Indonesia and the Philippines. He also worked on priority-setting for country lending, grants and technical assistance.
After completing his PhD in 1974, Wheeler taught economics for two years at the National University of Zaire in Kinshasa. He joined the economics faculty at Boston University in 1976, and taught there until he joined the World Bank in 1990. While on the BU faculty, he was a visiting professor in MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning (1978-79), a co-founder and principal of the Boston Institute for Developing Economies (1987-1990), and Jakarta field director of the Development Studies Project for BAPPENAS, Indonesia's Planning Ministry (1987-1989).
"Disclosure Strategies for Pollution Control," 2005, in The International Yearbook of Environmental and Resource Economics 2005/2006: A Survey of Current Issues (New Horizons in Environmental Economics), Tom Tietenberg and Henk Folmer (eds.) (Cheltenham, U.K.: Edward Elgar) (with Susmita Dasgupta and Hua Wang).
"Can China Grow and Safeguard Its Environment? The Case of Industrial Pollution," 2003, in N. Hope (ed.), Policy Reform in China, (Stanford: Stanford University Press) (with Hua Wang and Susmita Dasgupta).
"Minute Particles, Major Problems: Cleaning the Air in Developing Countries," 2001, Forum For Applied Research and Public Policy, Vol. 16, No. 3, Fall (with Katherine Bolt, Susmita Dasgupta and Kiran Pandey).
CGD senior fellow David Wheeler testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment about the potential effects of climate change on vulnerable societies. Wheeler urges Congress to view climate change preparedness broadly and focus U.S. assistance on human and institutional development.
The climate negotiations in Copenhagen have galvanized the climate evangelists and skeptics alike; the talks, some say, are merely a front to assuage the general public, and will only divert attention from the scientific imperative to curb global carbon emissions. But one benefit of the talks has already been realized: They have catalyzed a flurry of activity, especially in the domain of monitoring and evaluation. Last week in Copenhagen, Google.org announced that it will provide free access to raw satellite imagery to facilitate global monitoring of deforestation, which may account for 15% of annual greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, Google.org has partnered with two leading forest scientists to host their image-parsing algorithms online, so that experts in developing countries can produce more accurate maps of forest cover loss from satellite images.
The World Bank’s expanding public information mandate is the focus of Stephanie Strom’s excellent article in Saturday’s New York Times. During Robert Zoellick’s tenure as the Bank’s president, he has promoted free public access to databases that formerly required a paid subscription, such as the World Development Indicators, or were simply unavailable (such as detailed information on the location, design, objectives and performance of Bank projects). We have no doubt that this excellent initiative will be a boon to development analysts and scholars worldwide.