The White House finally blinked in the final hours of the UN's Bali Conference on Climate Change. The catalyst may have been the unprecedented boos and hisses directed at the US delegation from the floor, or the peremptory challenge from Kevin Conrad, Papua New Guinea's representative: "If for some reason you are not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Please, get out of the way." Confronted by the prospect of pariah status, the US dropped its categorical resistance to emissions reduction targets and permitted their inclusion in a footnote to the final agreement.
CGD Policy Blogs
Besides the official negotiations and speeches, the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali that I've been attending also provided opportunities for sharing new research and ideas. Two subjects dominated the schedule: adaptation and forestry (no doubt reflecting the preferences of our Indonesian hosts). Here I briefly discuss the use of climate models in adaptation -- a critical issue for those in the development community. [In a separate post to follow I'll note some new efforts in the measurement and monitoring of forest carbon.]
I'm in one of the world's most beautiful places, and I am seriously bummed. Few people had much in the way of expectations for the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali -- its purpose is to simply set the terms for negotiations over the next two years -- but I had retained a modicum of hope. I was especially hopeful that, in light of the IPCC's synthesis report and mountains of observational evidence of rapidly changing climate, we would see a new sense of urgency in the talks.
The search engine giant Google (google.com) announced yesterday that it will spend $500 million (or 3 percent of its cash holdings) on developing inexpensive energy alternatives to coal. The goal is to lower the costs of solar, geothermal and wind energy to produce 1 gigawatt of energy at costs that are lower than coal. Google says that it aims to accomplish this task in 10 years and is optimistic that it will take even less time than that.
It's been a busy week here at the Center for Global Development. On Tuesday we hosted the meeting of CGD's Board of Directors--an activity that would have normally been plenty of excitement for one week.
One very good thing that can be said about Robert Zoellick's maiden speech as World Bank president today is that it was much better than the advance account in yesterday's Wall Street Journal (subscription required) would have led listeners to expect.
Wednesday kicked off the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative in New York, where the development poverati mingle with the holders of the global purse-strings to "match people with ideas and those who have the means to see them through." Building on Bill Clinton's philosophy of giving (Atlantic Monthly subscripti
On Saturday, leaders from 21 countries, including China, Russia, and the United States, agreed to a statement on climate change as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
George Shultz, who served as U.S. secretary of state for nearly eight years under President Ronald Reagan, has written a terrific column for the Washington Post titled How to Gain a Consensus on Climate Change.