Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
- Present in a nutshell the implications of research for policy
- Explain what and why some modelling, calculations have been done. Guide policy makers through the logic. Do not baffle them with complicated statistics
- Do not present all of the work you have done. Many times it will help much more to just say that your peers have endorsed you.
- Focus on the impact of your work on people and society, not on scientific details
- Always ask ‘So what?’
- Do not speak about what you think is interesting, but speak about things that are important to decision making
- Do not duplicate other work when you do not have to! Use existing data, analysis etc. and invest in connecting the dots.
- Design and optimise modes of communication. Beware of death by ppt... (Despite the fact that everyone knows the term, my perception is that it is getting worse)
- Be clear on the investment cost of projects/programme in relation to societal benefits. Do not emphasise costs only.
- Generalise from specific studies in a responsible way. Neither jump to conclusions, nor be willing to take some risk. An educated expert opinion is still much better then an uneducated guess.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a global association of 200 companies dealing exclusively with business and sustainable development, has produced a report that sees in such dire statistics an opportunity to do business in new ways. The report, developed by the WBCSD Development Focus Area and entitled "Doing Business with the World--The New Role of Corporate Leadership in Global Development", finds that "companies can contribute to global sustainable development through their core businesses in a way that is profitable for the companies and good for development."
The key to alleviation of poverty is the creation of wealth, the report concludes, and business is a necessary part of the equation. By engaging with low-income segments of developing countries through direct employment and sourcing from low-income suppliers, companies can tap into a market that despite its poverty represents an estimated collective purchasing power of $5 trillion.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
4. SEA and planning processes are enhanced by the identification and quantification of ecosystem services
5. Valuation of ecosystem services is more influential with decision makers
6. Methodological complexities do not necessarily hinder influential decision making
7. SEA provides a platform to put valuation results in a societal context
Monday, November 24, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
WORLD ENERGY OUTLOOK 2008 FACT SHEET: SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
Could revenues in oil- and gas-rich sub-Saharan African countries
alleviate energy poverty?
n Oil and gas exports in the top-ten producing sub-Saharan African countries are set
to grow steadily to 2030, providing the means for alleviating poverty and expanding
energy access. In the Reference Scenario, in which no change in government policies is
assumed, their oil exports rise from 5.1 mb/d in aggregate in 2007 to 6.4 mb/d in 2030. Gas
exports, largely as liquefied natural gas (LNG), increase from 21.6 bcm in 2006 to 130 bcm
in 2030. These projections hinge on a reduction in gas flaring, adequate investment and
avoidance of disruption to supplies through civil unrest. The ten countries flared 40 bcm
in 2005 — almost three times the entire region’s gas consumption. These countries could
make direct use of their gas resources by using currently flared gas for power generation
or distributing it in cities. The liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) extracted from natural gas or
produced in refineries can provide a low-cost source of supply for distribution networks.
n Less than a third of households in the majority of oil- and gas-rich countries have access
to electricity or to clean fuels for cooking, like LPG, kerosene, biogas and ethanol
gelfuel. About 150 000 people, mainly women and children, die prematurely each year in
these countries because of indoor air pollution from burning traditional fuels – essentially
fuelwood and charcoal – for cooking in inefficient stoves or open fires. In the absence of new
policy initiatives, the number of people living without electricity and relying on fuelwood
and charcoal for cooking rises over the Outlook period, as the population grows.
n Government revenues from oil and gas are set to rise strongly, giving these countries
the means to speed up economic and social development and alleviate poverty. The
government take in the top ten oil- and gas-producing countries is projected to rise from
some $80 billion in 2006 to about $250 billion in 2030. Nigeria and Angola account for 86%
of the $4.1 trillion cumulative revenues of all ten countries over 2006-2030. All these
countries desperately need sustained and sustainable economic development. Modern
energy services are a crucial prerequisite, bringing major benefits to public health, social
welfare and economic productivity. In most of the countries, improving energy access
will entail fundamental political, institutional and legislative reform, as well as efforts
to strengthen the capability of regional and local authorities to implement programmes
and to expand access to credit.
n The upfront cost of expanding access to modern energy is small relative to the wealth
that these countries’ hydrocarbon resources will generate. An estimated $18 billion is
needed to achieve universal access to electricity and to LPG cooking stoves and cylinders
– a mere 0.4% of the projected cumulative government revenues from oil and gas export
revenues in 2007-2030. The cost relative to the government take in Equatorial Guinea,
Angola and Gabon is only 0.1%.
n Sub-Saharan Africa’s hydrocarbon-resource wealth will lead to economic development
only if governments manage wisely and honestly the development of the sector
and the revenues that accrue. An improvement in the efficiency and transparency of
revenue allocation and the accountability of governments in the use of public funds
would improve the likelihood that oil and gas revenues are actually used to alleviate
poverty generally and energy poverty specifically.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
In a video message prepared for a global-warming summit in California, Mr. Obama seems to say that battling climate change will be in the leadoff slot, with the clean-energy program batting cleanup (hat tip):
My presidency will mark a new chapter in America’s leadership on climate change that will strengthen our security and create millions of new jobs in the process. That will start with a federal cap-and-trade system. We’ll establish strong annual targets that set us on a course to reduce emissions to their 1990 levels by 2020, and reduce them an additional 80% by 2050. Further, we’ll invest $15 billion each year to catalyze private-sector efforts to build a clean-energy future.
If this is indeed the case it will send a strong signal to take carbon constraints seriously.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
From Resilience Science:
At the IUCN meeting in Barcelona, the BBC interviews Pavan Sukhdev leader of the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity an EU project intending to provide an economic assessment of global ecosystem governance in much the same way that the Stern review did for climate governance:
The global economy is losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking crisis, according to an EU-commissioned study.
…The figure comes from adding the value of the various services that forests perform, such as providing clean water and absorbing carbon dioxide.
…Speaking to BBC News on the fringes of the congress, study leader Pavan Sukhdev emphasised that the cost of natural decline dwarfs losses on the financial markets.
“It’s not only greater but it’s also continuous, it’s been happening every year, year after year,” he told BBC News.
“So whereas Wall Street by various calculations has to date lost, within the financial sector, $1-$1.5 trillion, the reality is that at today’s rate we are losing natural capital at least between $2-$5 trillion every year.”
…The first phase concluded in May when the team released its finding that forest decline could be costing about 7% of global GDP. The second phase will expand the scope to other natural systems.
See interim report from The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Project project
Thursday, October 30, 2008
“Certified, sustainable forestry yields far better returns for companies, communities and Congo basin countries than illegal logging ever will,” said Andre Kamdem, Head of the WWF Green Heart of Africa Initiative.
Monday, October 27, 2008
This raises the question of what would happen in poorer countries of Africa (and elsewhere) which rely on tourism for much-needed international revenue and regard tourism as important part of their development strategy, if tourists would stop coming due to changes in air travel regulations. One helpful suggestion for tourists is given on the topic by an Africa specialist travel agency Rainbow Tours, which forms part of the Ethical Tour Operators Group in the UK:
"It is estimated that one new job is created by every eight tourists, and one job supports up to twenty people. In modern times, flying is an essential part of any trip to Africa, and if people were to stop visiting Africa because of a desire to cut down on flying, the effect on communities would be catastrophic. In many areas, tourism offers the only chance of employment and hope for the future.
Maybe a solution is to travel less and for longer. Make one longer visit, instead of two. We don’t offer long-weekends in Zanzibar, or in Cape Town. Cut out the flights you can afford to go without – to Edinburgh or Paris – and travel by train. Cut out the short-break in Barcelona, turn down the central heating and wear a jumper, but please don’t stop visiting Africa. They need you there."
However, it is clear that this issue also needs to be tackled at an international level far beyond the individual traveler´s decision-making , taking into account the relative importance of tourism for development in a tourist host region and even the much lower average carbon emission levels of the poorer host country rather than only the levels of the country of origin of the tourists.
H/T: Ron Mader - planeta.com, Green Travel Network
Thursday, October 23, 2008
From a draft Poverty and Inequality Assessment on Kenya released by the World Bank:
We confirm that there has been some improvement in poverty overall since 1997, but poverty is still very pervasive, especially in rural areas. Inequality is large and appears to have risen over time. The main correlates of poverty resonate with those found in earlier studies – including family size, lack of education and frequency of shocks.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Looking further into the topic of tourism and development in Africa, Kurt Ackermann looks at some interesting ideas on how to move towards being responsible and sustainable in tourism saying:
"Being green and responsible is good for business, but getting there - and being able to prove it - can be daunting."
Sports tourism - especially in the form of major events - can be another interesting way that tourism can benefit a national economy, but there are negative environmental externalities. How can we deal with them for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa? How about with a "Green Goal" (as FIFA started promoting in Germany 2006)?
"Topics included Green Goal principles, stadium greening, biodiversity, landscaping and green procurement, green ratings for the hospitality industry, carbon offset, integrated waste management, the Green Point Park and communication."
Photo: Kurt Ackermann from the Ecotourism Africa flickr group
Thursday, October 9, 2008
It is no secret that Eskom intends expanding nuclear capacity in South Africa (see here), but what do people think about nuclear nowadays?
Monday, October 6, 2008
UNICEF released The State of the World's Children 2008.
Being flexible and having options in a complex world of wet and dry cycles is a huge benefit. Inflexible water use restrictions create huge losses of welfare and are often implemented too late and after periods of a false security created by low water tariffs.
It does not end here though. Everyone on earth needs water to live. Governments need to step in to ensure that everyone has access to sufficient water for his/her basic needs. The South African Water Act for example clearly makes this distinction and sees no conflict between the provision of water for basic human needs and the clear need for economically efficient allocation of a scarce resource for productive and consumptive purposes.
I have voted pro, but under the proviso that the basic needs of all people (and the functioning of the environment) is taken care of.
Thursday, September 18, 2008