Category Archives: Climate Change

Links I Liked: Drug Economics, Climate Change, and Meaningful Profits

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Links I Liked:

1. An Economic Analysis of a Drug-Selling Gang’s Finances…

   a. The Original Paper by Levitt and Venkatesh

                   b. These awesome, associated Graphics by Liz Fosslien

                                  c. This unassociated, but highly related and incredible TV series

2. Financier Plans Big Ad Campaign on Climate Change. Watch how Climate Change is slowly growing into a central issue of governments, and therefore elections. This donor is speeding up that process.

3. Doing Good is not Incompatible with Making a Profit – showing that businesses can make money while maintaining social responsibility, and that non-profits are not the only organizations that should be expected to ‘do good.’


World Access to Energy


According to the Economist, worldwide Access to Energy has risen significantly in the past 20 years, with the greatest strides seen in East and South Asia. Roughly “1.7 billion people gained access to electricity, and 1.6 billion to modern fuels for household cooking between 1990 and 2010. The world’s population increased by a similar amount, so the proportion of those who have access to modern energy sources rose.” The great strides seen in the data taken from East Asia make sense with the rapid development that China in particular has been experiencing. That being said, the dark sections of blue and red in the visual below depict clearly that South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa still have large populations lacking both electricity and cooking fuels. 


Taking the development economist’s viewpoint, we would hope that in the next twenty years there would be exceedingly few regions and populations who are still lacking energy access. The International Energy Agency estimates “that nearly $50 billion a year will be needed” to by 2030 achieve the UN’s goal of universal access to modern energy. In other words it is not likely. Nonetheless, all experts in the development field can agree that achieving such would be a major benefit to the local and regional economies, and we can hope that progress continues.

At the same time, however, if the world’s increasing population all gains access to energy that is manufactured from coal or oil, we will have more of the already serious problem of accelerated climate change, high carbon ppm, and drastically changing ecosystems on our hands. This is why initiatives supporting renewable energy products and markets are so vitally important to this issue. (Hint to social entrepreneurs needing inspiration for new ideas).


“We are a coast-hugging species,” begins a Foreign Policy article on the inevitable crisis of rising coastlines, entitled We Are All Venetians Now. You just need to look at a map of China’s most populous cities to recognize that. Humans and our societies demand close access to water for a variety of reasons, but this close proximity to the oceans may mean our serious downfall. Oceans are rising. There is clear evidence of that. And although this rise appears gradual to a society that lives by the minute, a few millimeters over the span of decades is significantly faster than our population can adapt to, spelling the possible end of some of the world’s mightiest cities.

Hurricane Sandy showed the United States that its poster city, New York, is not prepared for massive flooding. And the more climate change takes its toll, the more dramatic weather conditions and abrasive storms the planet will see. Although it is a pessimistic outlook, the cities of New York, Mumbai, Tokyo, Shanghai, Jakarta, Lagos, and many others have an expiration date on the horizon if the human race stays on this path of rapid carbon-emissions. The world needs to be aware of how even a gradual change can have unbelievably immediate consequences, and take the city of Venice as a warning.

Mayor Bloomberg of New York seems to agree that climate change need be addressed.

The Potential Conflicts of Climate Change

Climate Change is the single most important issue that the international world should be addressing right now. Unfortunately, national interests and institutions usually hinder any real progress to changing the human impact on our world. The Kyoto Protocol and the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) are two of the most promising international attempts at combatting global warming, but there have been enormous hindrances to carbon-reducing agendas. The United States is one of the worst offenders, refusing to adhere to some of the policies of carbon-reduction stated in the Kyoto Protocol. And since the United States has one of the highest CO2 emissions, (along with that of China and the collective EU), when the U.S. doesn’t adhere that’s a huge portion of the world’s emissions that are not reduced, and sets a standard that the world’s largest economy need not follow the rules, perhaps encouraging other countries to cut corners as well.

“Why Climate Change has not led to Conflict” is the sub-heading for No Wars for Water, the latest in published Foreign Affairs articles. The article covers the facts on how climate change has and will affect the world’s fresh water supplies, and focuses on the Nile and the Aral Sea in North Africa and Central Asia as bodies of water that have already seen very minor conflicts over availability and may see more as the rivers are affected by global warming. Notice how these are some of the more unstable regions of the world, turning conflicts more probable. But what the article states is that it is not the case that countries or regional groups have been actively violent over water disputes. “If the past is any indication, the world probably does not need to worry about impending water wars. But they must recognize how tensions over water can easily fuel larger conflicts and distract states from other important geopolitical and domestic priorities.” Though lack of fresh water may not be the reason for fighting a war, it can easily be a factor into international conflicts. Thus the authors suggest that preemptive water treaties over access to the water get drawn up now before the conflicts arise. Overall, it would be, “wise for the involved governments as well as the international community to negotiate sufficiently robust agreements to deal with impending environmental change.”