Transforming Agriculture for Climate Resilience: A Framework for Systemic Change

Transforming Agriculture for Climate Resilience: A Framework for Systemic Change. World Resources Institute. Rebecca Carter, Tyler Ferdinand and Christina Chan.  October 2018

 Transformative approaches to adaptation in agriculture will be needed to maintain and enhance global food security, avoid maladaptation and reduce growing risks of crisis and conflict. Today, the agriculture sector practices adaptation with relatively limited incremental adjustments to existing systems to better manage current climate variability and cope with near-term climate risks. Increasingly, severe climate impacts are beginning to test the limits of what we can adapt to through such relatively minor adjustments. These impacts will increasingly require more dramatic shifts at greater scale, speed, and intensity to manage risk, strengthen food security and protect lives and livelihoods—especially among the poorest and most vulnerable, who often depend on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, fishing and tourism.

This working paper explores the concept of transformative adaptation for agriculture and why it is needed. It looks at how transformative outcomes could be achieved by aligning adaptation projects along pathways and adjusting planning processes to incorporate longer-term, more systemic approaches. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 24 pages].

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The Costs of Climate Change

The Costs of Climate Change. YaleGlobal. Kenneth Gillingham. October 18, 2018

 Economic models allow societies to analyze complex problems and make sensible decisions. Yale University Professor William Nordhaus has been named winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics for his research on models that integrate climate change into long-term economic analysis. Paul Romer of New York University was also named for his work on endogenous growth theory. Kenneth Gillingham of Yale University reflects on Nordhaus’ profound contributions to the field of economics – and to society more broadly – that led to this recognition, explaining that “Nordhaus laid the groundwork for what is now an entire field on the economics of climate change.” The research analyzes how climate change can be mitigated at the lowest-cost possible, what the optimal climate policy is, and how society’s choices about climate mitigation can influence long-run well-being. Gillingham concludes that Nordhaus’ work is global in scope and visionary, dedicated to preparing societies for what may be the most pressing challenge of our time. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Scorched Earth

Scorched Earth. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Margo Balboni. September 27, 2018

 Processes of environmental degradation can exacerbate, prolong, and even spark conflicts.  In Iraq and Yemen, where water and cultivable land are becoming scarce, efforts toward rebuilding these countries will need to factor in a changing climate. Despite their importance, environmental issues are often neglected in post-conflict reconstruction processes. Some of the most sweeping risks—environmental and climate crises—are the most likely to be overlooked because they are “threats without enemies.” [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 12 pages].

New Kid in Town: Blockchain for Megaprojects?

New Kid in Town: Blockchain for Megaprojects? YaleGlobal. Will Hickey. August 7, 2018

 Blockchain technology promises fast payments combined with secure digital records and elimination of third-party intermediaries and delays. “Any contract, valuation, record or work process that can be digitized can be incorporated into a blockchain, representing enormous strides in processes, efficiency and transparency,” explains Will Hickey for YaleGlobal. “Blockchain technology’s capability to organize a vast number of details associated with a series of transactions may be ideal for managing infrastructure megaprojects throughout the developing world like those associated with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.” Emerging economies could gain a head start in using the technology, similar to how they leaped to smartphones before using landline telephones, and in turn strengthen legal and accounting standards. Blockchain’s rise depends on public acceptance and demand. Other challenges include high electricity needs, data storage capacity and entrenched special interests that may resist transparency and reduced red tape. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [HTML format, various paging].

Sourcing Legally Produced Wood: A Guide for Businesses—2018 Edition

Sourcing Legally Produced Wood: A Guide for Businesses—2018 Edition. World Resources Institute.  Ruth Nogueron et al.  August 2018

This publication updates the 2014 version of Sourcing Legally Produced Wood, which provided information on illegal logging and associated trade, public and private procurement policies, export country logging and log export bans, and introductory guidance to the wood products legality legislation in the United States, the EU, and Australia. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 40 pages].

The Real Effects of the Financial Crisis

The Real Effects of the Financial Crisis. Brookings Institution. Ben S. Bernanke. September 13, 2018

 In his new BPEA paper, former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke examines why many forecasters failed to anticipate the severity of the Great Recession and what really drove the economy into such a tailspin. Bernanke’s research, which is rooted in quantitative analysis of how the 2007-2009 financial crisis affected the economy, argues that the housing bust, while significantly damaging, can’t on its own explain why the Great Recession was so bad. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 93 pages].

Debates over Exchange Rates: Overview and Issues for Congress

Debates over Exchange Rates: Overview and Issues for Congress.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Rebecca M. Nelson. June 22, 2018

 Exchange rates are among the most important prices in the global economy. They affect the price of every country’s imports and exports, as well as the value of every overseas investment. Over the past decade, some Members of Congress have been concerned that foreign countries are using exchange rate policies to gain an unfair trade advantage against other countries, or “manipulating” their currencies. Congressional concerns have focused on China’s foreign exchange interventions over the past decade to weaken its currency against the U.S. dollar, although concerns have also been raised about a number of other countries pursuing similar policies.

 [PDF format, 29 pages].