Global environmental challenges
As the special envoy on climate change for the World Bank, Andrew Steer might be thought of as the $6 billion man of environmental finance. He oversees more than that amount for projects to fight the effects of global warming.
“More funds flow through us to help adaptation and mitigation than anyone else,” Steer said in a conversation at the bank’s Washington headquarters. Named to the newly created position in June, Steer said one of his priorities is to marshall more than $6 billion in the organization’s Climate Investment Funds to move from smaller pilot projects to large-scale efforts.
While the World Bank is not a party to global climate talks set for Cancun, Mexico, later this year, it is deeply engaged in this issue, Steer said. Acknowledging that an international agreement on climate change is a long shot this year, he said there are still opportunities to make changes to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that spur climate change.
“We do see there are opportunities,” Steer said. “The mistake would be if it’s sort of all or nothing.” The bank is strongly supporting action to limit deforestation, offer quick financing to start climate projects and reform carbon markets to extend them to countries that have been left out so far.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
Pakistan is running out of water so fast that the shortage will strangulate all water-based economic activity by 2015, a Pakistani thinktank says. And that pretty much covers 70 percent of the population who are involved in farming.
This is not a new warning. In recent months, as this blog itself has noted, experts have painted an increasingly bleak scenario of Pakistan's rivers drying up, the ground water polluted and over-exploited and the whole water infrastructure in a shambles.
Indiana Jones and the World Bank sound like an odd couple to get anything done (“Quick, shoot that robber!” “Wait, we have to do a two-year feasibility study first!”) but are part of a new alliance trying to save the world’s tigers. (Read my colleague Leslie Wroughton’s fine story here)
Will it work? Tigers are under threat from loss of prey and habitats and a black market in tiger skins and bones.
Greens are seeing red this week after the World Bank approved partial financing for a $4.2 billion coal-fired power station in India.
The 4,000 MW plant will provide crucial power for millions of Indians, prove a much-needed boost for industry and use “super-critical” technology that will make it India’s most-efficient coal-fired plant.