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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).
The April 5, 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report predicts that droughts and floods will become more frequent and severe as a result of global warming. In this CGD Note senior fellow David Wheeler shows that citizens of poor countries are much more likely than citizens in rich countries to suffer homelessness, injury and death from flood. He urges the international community to help low-income countries develop stronger protective institutions, greater resources for flood protection, and affordable insurance.
**This post is co-authored with CGD senior fellow David Wheeler
Today's Washington Post column by David Ignatius finally inches popular understanding in the U.S. a bit further in the right direction on why climate change could be so costly to human society. It isn't just the direct costs of seawalls and more destructive hurricanes that climate change will bring. It's the risk that institutional arrangements to deal with those costs will not be resilient and will collapse under the resulting pressure--so that, as Chinua Achebe suggested about post-colonial West Africa, things do literally "fall apart".