Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘environment’

On March 11 and 12 the World Affairs Council hosted WorldAffairs 2010, a day and a half of incisive analysis on four key global issues: the economy, climate change and the environment, development and poverty, and global security. Videos from our plenary and breakout sessions as well as interviews with speakers and our Take Action Reception partners are now available. Watch them now at www.livestream.com/worldaffairs2010.

Read Full Post »

Water scarcity is damaging livelihoods, human health and ecosystems around the world – both in urgent situations, such as Haiti, and in long term crises in the making. But strategies are at hand according to a report from McKinsey & Company, undertaken in partnership with the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation. Charting Our Water Future finds that in just 20 years, demand for water will be 40-percent higher than it is now. Unless local, national and global communities come together and dramatically improve the way water is managed, increasing efficiency and productivity, there will be many more hungry villages and degraded environments, according to the report. And it will be very difficult to meet related resource challenges, such as providing sufficient food or generating energy for the world’s population.

The report was developed as part of the 2030 Water Resources Group, a consortium of public and private-sector actors working to advance solutions in presentations to governmental, commercial and philanthropic decision-makers.  It offers a “cost curve” as a means of analysis—one which demonstrates the long-term costs associated with failure to make near-term investments in infrastructure or conservation. And it demonstrates that multiple interventions are needed at all levels of investment and at differing stages, which is a reminder that we can each play a role within a larger strategy.

The report is meant to provide a means by which to compare the impact, cost and achievability of a range of measures and technologies that address water scarcity by boosting efficiency, augmenting supply and lessening the water-intensity of a country’s economy. Through case studies of India, China, Brazil’s Sao Paulo state and South Africa, the study reports that while improved efficiency in industry and municipal water systems is critical, enhanced agricultural productivity – increasing “crop per drop” – is essential to closing the gap between demand and supply. Agriculture today consumes 70 percent of the world’s water.

As the report makes plain, business as usual on the issue of water is not an option for most countries. Philanthropists and foundations that work in the area of international development are similarly committed to increasing awareness and promoting policies that address this issue. Family foundations have been key players in this space, and the Global Philanthropy Forum will feature access to safe water and sanitation as among its major foci at its annual conference in Silicon Valley, April 19-21. This gathering will include foundation executives, key officials from governments, private sector leaders and such expert voices as Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute; Atiq Rahman of the Bangladesh Center for Advanced Studies; Barbara Frost of WaterAid; Gary White of Water.org; Monica Ellis of the Global Environment and Technology Foundation; Gebisa Ejeta, recipient of the 2009 World Food Prize Award; as well as an author of Charting our Water Future.

–Jane Wales

Read Full Post »

North American Forum 2009 News Release:

OTTAWA, CANADA
OCTOBER 6, 2009

TRILATERAL COOPERATION WILL SPEED RETURN TO STRONG
AND SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH, NORTH AMERICAN FORUM PARTICIPANTS AGREE

Leaders from business, government and academia today wrapped up three days of discussions in Ottawa, Canada, aimed at fostering improved relations and increased cooperation among the people and governments of North America.

This year’s meeting of the North American Forum focused on the need for Canada, Mexico and the United States to work together in responding to the global economic crisis and promoting a quick return to strong and sustainable growth. In addition, the Forum included special sessions on two critical issues: one on energy and the environment, and the other on transnational crime, arms smuggling and drug trafficking.

Click for more information.

The World Affairs Council of Northern California has served as the Secretariat for the North American Forum since the inaugural meeting which took place in October 2005 in Sonoma, California.

Read Full Post »

chu

Steven Chu, our soon-to-be Energy Secretary, in his office at Berkeley

Yesterday, President-Elect Obama announced his new energy and climate change team – the group that will be collectively responsible for achieving Obama’s stated goals for the environment, including huge reductions in global warming emissions and a dramatic restructuring of our national energy system. For his Energy Secretary, Obama named Steven Chu, the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Nobel Prize winner, and keynote speaker at our conference on climate change back in September. Dr. Chu’s main tasks will be to upgrade our electrical power delivery system, manage our nuclear weapon’s stockpile, and direct research and development of alternative energy sources. Experts, including Scott Segal of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, seem excited about Chu’s nomination, quoted in the NY Times saying that he brings “an understanding of the art of the possible in energy technology,” which will be critical to the development of a cost-effective climate change policy.

One potential point of contention between Chu and Obama may arise around corn-based ethanol. Obama has advocated for this as a source of alternative energy, but at a meeting of state agricultural departments this fall, Chu knocked it for its upfront energy costs and competition with food supply.

At our conference in September, Chu spoke about the cutting-edge technologies they’ve developed in his lab toward reducing green house gas emissions. Watch his talk here.

Read Full Post »