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).
This is a joint post with Robin Kraft and Dan Hammer.
President Obama is in Indonesia today, and according to Reuters he will make forest conservation a focus of his first official visit to the country. The president is expected to pledge more than $100 million for programs aiming at a 50% reduction of deforestation and forest degradation (e.g. selective logging) by 2014. But we wonder what the benchmark will be for a 50% reduction.
The next president can secure a place in history by mobilizing America to confront climate change, while starting a clean energy revolution that will strengthen American security and create the next wave of economic growth. The president should seize this opportunity because climate change presents a mortal threat: left unchecked, global warming will undermine the hard-won achievements of developing countries, inflict severe damage on the United States and other rich nations, and destabilize so many societies that the international system will be threatened. CGD senior fellow David Wheeler shows how to turn the threat into an opportunity for greatness.
A CGD survey of members of the international development community found overwhelming support for reforming the process of selecting the president of the World Bank. About 85 percent of the more than 700 people who responded since the survey was launched last week agreed that the bank should be headed by the best qualified candidate, regardless of nationality. Respondents also scored nine possible candidates mentioned in press reports, including Robert Zoellick, who was announced on Tuesday to be the White House nominee. LEARN MORE AND TAKE THE SURVEY
China accounts for more than half of the increase in global CO2 emissions from power production in the past year and has overtaken the U.S. to become the world’s largest greenhouse gas polluter from the generation of electricity. But on a per capita basis, U.S. power-sector emissions driving climate change are still nearly four times those of China.
Climate policy experts from think tanks and academia have urged the World Bank to begin calculating the social and environmental costs of carbon emissions from the projects it funds and to include these calculations in project assessments. But bank officials rejected the calls, saying that the calculations were too difficult and politically sensitive.
The calls for carbon accounting--and for a more strategic and energetic World Bank approach to tackling climate change generally--came during a high-level consultation with World Bank officials that CGD senior fellow David Wheeler organized in early September. About 25 experts from Washington's leading development and environmental research organizations took part in the half-day discussion of a 97-page bank document, "Development and Climate Change: A Strategic Framework for the World Bank Group" (PDF, 18 mb), which will go before the board of the World Bank on September 23.