Development v Climate Change: a new UN report tries to square the circle

September 14, 2009

World Bank pronounces on climate change: WDR 2010, published today

September 14, 2009

Golf courses v solar power; Africa is big; climate change in Nepal; Krugman v maths; renewable energy awards and what success in Copenhagen might look like: links I liked

September 14, 2009
empty image
empty image

According to the United Nations 170,000 square kilometres of forest is destroyed each year. If we constructed solar farms at the same rate, we would be finished in 3 years. This would require only 12 times the land area currently devoted to golf courses.

africamapThe influence of the Mercator projection runs deep –Africa is much bigger than most people think. Check out this map (c/o Owen Barder)

And while we’re on Owen Barder’s blog, read some pingpong over his criticisms of Oxfam’s call for raising $280bn from innovative forms of financing (see my blog here) and a nice piece on the case for more ‘advance market commitments’ to overcome the financial obstacles to pro-poor research in a range of technologies.

The latest in Oxfam’s excellent series of country case studies of the impact of climate change and how communities are adapting comes from Nepal. Find out how poor communities are facing up to a horror story of melting glaciers, rising temperatures and catastrophic ‘Glacial Lake Outburst Floods’.NYT economists and recession cartoon

‘The economics profession went astray because economists, as a group, mistook beauty, clad in impressive-looking mathematics, for truth.’ Paul Krugman takes on the maths geeks (and John Keats) as he reflects on the punctured hubris of  the economics profession in an important essay in the New York Times magazine.

The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy are seeking entries  from inspirational and innovative local sustainable energy programmes from Asia, Africa and Latin America.  Entry is free, and up to six winners will receive £20,000 each in prize money for programme development, with one overall Energy Champion awarded £40,000. Check out short video clips of last year’s winners here.

And this is what success in climate talks looks like – a handy (and moving) reminder from Alex Evans of the breakthrough moment at the Bali climate summit in 2007.


  1. Enjoyed the ping pong on tax and development; and, the underlying assumption that tax is always a ‘burden’ that precludes discussion of how it is spent, on what; and, with what impact on the wider economy. It is a puzzle that consensual high tax societies seem to enjoy efficient economies and distributed social benefits without ordinary taxpayers feeling especially burderned (as in Denmark); and, their relative levels of high equality appear to leave them better adjusted and happier too (though consensually equal low tax economies like Japan seem to achieve that second part equally as well)!

  2. Major factors for civilization to end were, trade war, urbanization affecting natural resources and environmental disaster, modern growth neglecting basic human needs, population growth and human degradation, rivalries and aggression, excessive regime expenditure and economic failure. Extinction of any civilization is gradual, prolonging survival depends on strength of the country’ social pattern and resources. Strong countries prolong until they commit mistakes to become weak. It is because of natural law “nothing is immortal”. All civilizations when reaching to its peak, the regime’s overconfidence on modern materialistic growth and neglecting approach towards natural resources became the root cause to their extinction.

    Mesopotamian’s civilization with multi cities having finest cultural and literature achievements crumbled during 2300BC due to high toxic land unfit to agriculture. Between 1500-1000BC Indus valley civilization comprising two cities Harappa and Mohenjo-daro with more than 100 cities and villages were highly civilized knowing scripts of more than 250 characters. Rivalries and devastation by flood weakened this civilization; later invaded by Ancient Aryans. Ancient Mayan’s civilization was the first to introduce accurate calendar, mathematics and astronomy. This developed society gradually ended due to rivalries, converting crop lands to inspiring temples, complexes, and homes, diseases and viruses. The Plagues of Egypt (absolute Archeology and natural explanation – The Egyptian Ipuwer Papyrus is a single surviving papyrus holding an ancient Egyptian poem, called The Admonitions of Ipuweror The Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All…. describes a series of calamities befalling Egypt, including a river turned to blood, men behaving as wild ibises, and the land generally turned upside down. However, this is usually thought to describe a general and long term ecological disaster lasting for a period of decades, such as that which destroyed the old kingdom.

    Disrupted natural resources accounted falling of major civilizations. Major factor of each civilization’s disintegration was devastating agriculture land and ecological disaster. Most civilizations neglected the role of rivers when reached to modern growth. The situation applies to our modern world too as most of world river water unused end up in sea. Forests are converted to agricultural land, and agricultural land to urban cities, rising population and consumption of fuel, industrial commodities mounting up pollution for species. Anarchy formed by heavy urbanization and urban industrialization and so on.

    Learning and understanding mistakes of ancient civilizations is the solution to global warming and spreading new diseases and viruses. Natural law needs modification in systems to suit circumstances. Following one system for all circumstances is blunder. We must study nature and its behavior in order to implement in social culture and economical life. Understanding nature and its laws will be the definite solution to our present world.

  3. The vastness of Africa is all prime real estate for solar-powered electricity generation. In urban places all over the world, solar panels are installed on meager space — at roof tops! And yet even at roof top installations huge benefits can be gained — carbon impact reduction, greenhouse gas emission reduction… Africa can be a an immense solar power house.

Leave a comment

Translate »