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Stories to Watch 2015 #stw15

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What stories will impact people and the planet in 2015?
2015 will be a decisive year for major environmental and sustainability issues. On Thursday, January 8, Dr. Andrew Steer, WRI’s President & CEO, discussed the issues and stories that will shape the world in economics, business, natural resources, and the environment in 2015. Now in its 12th year, Stories to Watch is a go-to event for media, policymakers, business executives and consultants. Find out more at http://www.wri.org/stw15

What stories will impact people and the planet in 2015?
2015 will be a decisive year for major environmental and sustainability issues. On Thursday, January 8, Dr. Andrew Steer, WRI’s President & CEO, discussed the issues and stories that will shape the world in economics, business, natural resources, and the environment in 2015. Now in its 12th year, Stories to Watch is a go-to event for media, policymakers, business executives and consultants. Find out more at http://www.wri.org/stw15


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Stories to Watch 2015 #stw15

  2. ENERGY PRICES ARE COOLING DOWN Source: US Energy Information Administration
  3. Image: Joe DeSouza/Wikimedia
  4. 2014: A YEAR OF MOMENTUM Image: United Nations/Flickr
  5. 2014: A YEAR OF MOMENTUM 38 countries have a price on carbon Source: World Bank
  7. GLOBAL EMISSIONS RISING Source: wri.org/blog/2014/05/history-carbon-dioxide-emissions, image: Theophilos Papadopoulos, Flickr
  9. COUNTRY PLEDGES: HOW AMBITIOUS? Image: The White House/Flickr
  10. US: TAKING A LEAD? Image: Wigwam Jones/Flickr
  11. POWER PLANT RULES BY THE SUMMER? Source: NRDC Summary of EPA's Clean Power Plan
  12. COP21: WHAT WILL THE DEAL LOOK LIKE? • How Ambitious? • Regular Review? • Role of Finance? • Long-Term Goal? Image: Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank
  13. Will the world rise to the climate challenge?
  14. Image: Ollivier Girard for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
  15. SEPTEMBER 2015 Image: utenriksdept/Flickr
  16. MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS 1990-2015 Source: United Nations
  17. PROGRESS: GLOBAL POVERTY Extreme poverty cut in half Source: World Bank data (POVCAL)
  18. PROGRESS: CHILD MORTALITY 17,000 fewer children are dying each day Source: UNICEF
  19. PROGRESS: UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION Number of children out of school halved Source: UNDP
  20. BUT… Photo: Anduze Traveller/Flickr 1.2B people live in extreme poverty 6.5M million children under age 5 die annually 58M children out of school
  22. THE SDG PROCESS SO FAR Image: CIFOR June 2013: High Level Panel Report July 2014: Open Working Group on SDGs Proposal August 2014: Expert Committee on Finance Report December 2014: UN Secretary- General Synthesis Report
  23. WHAT’S DIFFERENT THIS TIME • Universality: A New Global Reality Image: United Nations/Flickr
  24. WHAT’S DIFFERENT THIS TIME • Universality: A New Global Reality • More Comprehensive in Scope Image: United Nations/Flickr
  25. WHAT’S DIFFERENT THIS TIME • Universality: A New Global Reality • More Comprehensive in Scope • Sustainability at the Core Image: United Nations/Flickr
  26. WHAT’S DIFFERENT THIS TIME • Universality: A New Global Reality • More Comprehensive in Scope • Sustainability at the Core • A New Approach to Finance Image: United Nations/Flickr
  27. FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT: JULY 2015 Image: Addis Ababa; Flickr/David Stanley
  28. Will the world embrace a new approach?
  29. Image: Wikimedia Commons
  30. SUSTAINABLE COMMODITIES: TROPICAL FOREST ALLIANCE Partnership to eliminate tropical deforestation from commodities by 2020 Image: Jan Van Der Ploeg For CIFOR
  31. RENEWABLE ENERGY: SE4ALL • Universal energy access • 2x the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency • 2x renewable energy by 2030 Image: Jiro Ose/UN Foundation/Flickr
  32. SUSTAINABLE CITIES: COMPACT OF MAYORS • 228 cities worldwide • Commitment to cut 13 gigatons by 2050 Image: J.P. Engelbrecht, City Hall of Rio de Janeiro/Flickr
  33. RESTORING LANDSCAPES: NY DECLARATION Commitment to restore 350M hectares by 2030 Image: WRI
  34. RESTORING LANDSCAPES: GLOBAL MOMENTUM BUILDING? 60M hectares committed so far Source: WRI
  35. INITIATIVE 20 X 20 Source: WRI
  36. PRICE ON CARBON CLUB Image: Julie Falk/Flickr 73 governments, 1000+ companies
  37. Will Clubs Drive Global Results?
  38. Image: Wikimedia
  39. A GLOBAL PROBLEM Image: UN Photo/Albert González Farran 1.2B people facing water scarcity
  41. US WEST: WORST DROUGHT IN 1,200 YEARS California produces nearly 50% of US-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables Source: Aqueduct, CDFA
  42. ` SÃO PAULO: WORST DROUGHT IN 80 YEARS 20M People Affected
  43. BRAZIL: A WATER RICH COUNTRY… Amazon basin: 50% of Brazil’s water, but only 4% of population Image: Keith_Rock/Flickr
  44. …A WATER-STRESSED COAST 80% of Brazil’s pop. in coastal mega-cities Source: Aqueduct
  45. CHINA 90% of coastal cities face water stress Source: Aqueduct
  46. EAST CHINA: WORST DROUGHT IN 60+ YRS. Image: Asian Development Bank, Flickr
  47. RESPONSE: PRIVATE SECTOR Image: MPhotographe, Flickr
  48. RESPONSE: PRIVATE SECTOR Image: Raiffeisenverband Salzburg/Wikimedia Commons Aqueduct maps on Bloomberg terminals reach 320,000 subscribers
  49. RESPONSE: GOVERNMENT Image: US Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles/Flickr • More water laws? • Water pricing? • Efficiency mandates and incentives?
  50. RESPONSE: INFRASTRUCTURE Image: Circleofblue.org Total cost at least $62B
  51. WHAT'S COMING IN 2015 Source: Aqueduct
  52. Will Water Risk Rise to the Top of the Global Agenda in 2015?
  53. Image: Salil Wadhavkar/Flickr
  54. A NEW MANDATE Source: Al Jazeera English/Flickr
  55. FOCUS ON GROWTH Source: World Bank 2014
  56. CITIES ARE BOOMING Source: Ankur Dave/Flickr Urban population 2x by 2030
  57. AIR POLLUTION RISING • Delhi: World’s worst air pollution • 5th leading cause of death in India Image: Kara Newhouse/Flickr
  58. MORE ENERGY NEEDED 300M+ Indians lack access to electricity Image: Abbie Trayler-Smith / Panos Pictures / Department for International Development
  59. URBANIZATION: 100 SMART CITIES Source: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center/Flickr
  60. HEALTHIER, BETTER CITIES • less sprawl • less pollution • safer streets • less infrastructure costs Image: EMBARQ
  61. BETTING ON RENEWABLES Image: Abbie Trayler-Smith / Panos Pictures / Department for International Development 100GW of Solar Power by 2022 33x boost in solar capacity
  62. A LIGHTBULB IN EVERY HOME Image: UN Women/Gaganjit Singh
  63. A BALANCED APPROACH? Image: R E B E L, Flickr
  64. LEADERS MEET Image: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza/Flickr
  65. Will India Successfully Embrace High Efficiency, Low-Carbon Growth?
  66. Image: Kreshna Aditya/Flickr
  67. NEW MANDATES: 1.8 BILLION PEOPLE President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil Prime Minister Nahendra Modi, India President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey President Joko Widodo, Indonesia
  68. AND IN THE U.S. Image: Adam Fagen/Flickr
  69. A SUSTAINABLE LEGACY Image: Christopher Dilts, Obama for America/Flickr
  70. AND 2016? Image: Justin Brown/Flickr
  71. Image: Abbie Trayler-Smith / Panos Pictures / Department of International Development/Flickr

Notas do Editor

  • The World Resources Institute’s 12th Annual Stories to Watch Presentation
    January 8, 2015
  • Things are heating up…

    The hottest 15 years ever recorded have all occurred since 1997.

    This is the 354th month in a row in which global temps have been above their 20th century average.

    So if you are under 30, you’ve never lived in a month where temps have been below the average of the 20th century

    Source: NOAA http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/time-series/global/globe/land_ocean/ytd/12/1880-2014
  • While things are heating up temperature-wise, this is not the case for energy prices….

    This week, for the first time since the economic crisis, the price of oil fell below $50/barrel.

    This shift in energy prices is an incredible opportunity for countries to abolish energy subsidies.

    Some might think that we would have made this one of our stories to watch, but this year, we would like to focus on longer-term issues.

    Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, (Cushing, OK Crude Oil Future Contract 1)
  • First, 2015 is an historic year because by December we expect to have a global deal on climate.

    The question is what kind of deal will it be…
  • Looking back, this past year has been one of amazing momentum:

    Whether it’s the 500,000 people who march through the streets of New York for the Climate March…

    Or if the growing acceptance of smart policies on climate…
  • And even though Australia abolished its price on carbon last year, it’s still true that 38 countries as well as 23 regions, states, and cities (including some in the United States) now have or are actively considering a price on carbon.

    Source: World Bank http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2014/05/28/state-trends-report-tracks-global-growth-carbon-pricing
  • Another thing that happened in the past year that will continue this year is a shift in the dialogue around climate change.

    This is President Calderon, who is not only the former head of state of Mexico and a member of our board, but he is also the Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.

    In this photo, he is presenting the New Climate Economy (NCE) Report to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

    The New Climate Economy Report revealed that economic growth is not just consistent with strong action on climate change but that aggressive action on climate is actually required for strong and sustainable economic growth.

    Since we launched it about a year ago, this report has received greater momentum than we anticipated, and this momentum will continue in 2015 as we begin our Phase Two of the New Climate Economy work.

    (For more information about the New Climate Economy, check out the website at: http://www.wri.org/our-work/project/new-climate-economy)
  • But the fact of the matter is that we haven’t peaked yet, and carbon emissions continue to grow.

    We are heading in the wrong direction...

    Source: http://www.wri.org/blog/2014/05/history-carbon-dioxide-emissions
  • Whilst it took 250 years of modernization, industry, and agriculture to use up the first half of the planet’s carbon budget, we will use the second half up in the next 30 years.

    The carbon budget is the amount of carbon dioxide emissions we can emit while still having a likely chance of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

    We already are starting to head for global temperature increases that are much higher than that the carbon budget limit, and going beyond the budget comes with extremely high costs and the worst impacts of climate change.

  • So what to watch for in 2015: how ambitious will country pledges be?

    Under the UNFCCC, countries have an obligation to put their first offers on the table starting in March, though many countries have said they won’t be able to do so until the summer.

    Already, three big blocs, which account for half of all global emissions, have announced their offers, and these are the European Union, China, and the United States.

    If you add up that half, the pledges that have been made are actually quite encouraging, but these big three are still not doing enough to reduce their emissions.

    And what pledges will we see from the other half? About 170 countries that still have to make it clear what their pledges will be.
  • Second, is the United States really going to be able to lead as it’s starting to in this space?

    At previous Conferences of the Parties, it has been difficult for the US to play the leadership role that many in the administration would have liked.

    But that’s changing, and those of us in Lima last month rejoiced to see the kind of leadership role the US was able to offer.
  • But whether or not that leadership can continue will depend upon the rules for existing power plants and how ambitious they are.

    To what extent can the administration, acting on existing authority, get to where they need to, within a reasonable cost?

    The EPA has received extensive input from many stakeholders—over three million online comments—and the agency is expected to finalize rules this June.

    WRI does a lot of work in this area, and we believe that the US could be much more ambitious at little cost. Ambitious power plant rules will be required if the United States is going to achieve its target of a 26-28% reduction in greenhouse gases over 2005 levels by 2025.

    Source: http://www.nrdc.org/air/pollution-standards/files/pollution-standards-epa-plan-summary.pdf
  • The big question is what will the shape of the deal be?

    It will not be a ‘textbook’ or ‘traditional’ climate deal in which negotiators decide on how much carbon to emit and how to allocate it amongst countries. Rather, the global climate deal will be much more interesting, and here are the aspects of the deal to look for in 2015:

    First, how ambitious will the country offers be? The answer is that they won’t be ambitious enough, but they will certainly be heading in the right direction.

    But that reality is why the second question is so important… Will there be a means of serious review that will have a ratcheting mechanism so that countries will regularly return to the negotiating table and have incentives to raise their level of ambition?

    Third, what’s the role of finance? This is hugely important politically but also substantively. Encouragingly, last month $10 billion were allocated to the Green Climate Fund, but more needs to be done in this area.

    And finally, given that the ambition won’t be high enough the first time around, will there be a clear, long-term goal as part of the agreement? This so-called “long-term anchor” is a very important component of a climate deal so that we establish a target that we’re heading for beyond 2050, such as net zero carbon emissions.

    So these are the things that we will be looking for in 2015, and all of them remain possibilities…

  • Ultimately, will the world rise to the climate challenge?
  • Staying with the multilateral theme, our second story to watch is the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • 2015 is the year in which the world will gather to take stock of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (which end this year) and agree upon a new set of development goals.

    Some people might think “why should it matter that bureaucrats in New York are agreeing to goals that countries don’t have any legal obligation to adhere to?”

    At WRI, we have a different view based on what’s been achieved in the last 15 years.

  • First, let’s take a look at the Millennium Development Goals, which will expire this year.

    There were 8 MDGs, seen here, each with their own set of indicators.

    Most of these goals tended to be poverty-oriented, with foci in areas such as education and health, and there was one half-hearted goal on the environment.

    Were they successful or not?

    Actually, the MDGs were quite successful. They were not perfect, but we could give them a “B+.”

  • Never before in history have we had the pace of poverty reduction that we’ve had during the MDG era.

    Astonishingly, we have halved extreme poverty, which has never happened before.

    Source: World Bank
  • In the 1990-2015 MDG period, under-five child mortality has been nearly cut in half.

    And the world is currently reducing under--five mortality faster than at any other time during the past two decades.

    The goals were the first of their kind and have helped to focus attention and support for action on development issues.

    In addition to child mortality, maternal mortality has also fallen by half since 1992 after decades of minimal progress on that issue.

    Source: UNICEF
  • In education, the world has also made impressive progress, even though half of the goal has been reached.

    The number of children out of school has been halved (from 18% of children at the primary-school level out of school down to 9%), but the goal was universal primary school education.

    Source: UNDP
  • Despite this progress, however, we still live in a world of tragic poverty, albeit less than it was.

    1.2 billion people still live in extreme poverty.

    58 million children at the primary school level remain out of school. The poorest children continue to drop out of school at the highest rates, and we need to improve the quality of education and learning outcomes.

    6.6 million children under age five died in 2012, mainly from preventable deaths as a result of infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. Under-nutrition is a significant contributing factor to many of these deaths.

    And 300,000 women died in 2013 from mostly preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.

    Source: UNDP
  • The least successful of the MDGs was Goal 7 on environmental sustainability.

    The reason for this was because the goal was not very specific, it wasn’t clear who had the responsibility to act, and sustainability was viewed as it’s own separate goal rather than an integral part of all the goals.
  • So where are we now?

    At the Rio+20 Earth Summit in 2012, it was agreed that we should replace the Millennium Development Goals with “Sustainable Development Goals.”

    Since then, a high-level panel, chaired by President Yudhoyono of Indonesia, Prime Minister Cameron of the UK, and President Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, convened to discuss and set the stage for the new SDGs.

    As part of the continuing UN process, we had the Open Working Group and the Expert Committee on Finance also come together.

    We have made significant progress in SDG process in the last 18 months.

    Most recently, in December, the Secretary General issued an important Synthesis Report that includes the list of proposed SDG goals and targets.

    We are pleased broadly where things stand, but a lot has yet to happen between now and September.
  • So with the SDGs, what’s different this time?

    First, universality: we live in a different world than when the Millennium Development Goals were developed.

    The MDGs were largely about what developing countries should do, but the SDGs are about what every country should do.

    This difference is an important symbol of the shift in global power.
  • Second, the SDGs will be much more comprehensive in scope.

    They will move beyond areas education and health to include things like goals on energy, governance, and cities, and they will incorporate a recognition of the importance of economics and growth.

  • One of the failures of the MDGs from a sustainability standpoint was that sustainability was a separate goal on its own that was not linked to all of the other goals and targets.

    That will be different with the SDGs, where sustainability is embedded in each of the goals.

    For example, sustainability is central to the energy goal.
  • Lastly, there will be a new approach to finance.

    It’s a different world we live in in terms of finance. Foreign aid, while still important from a catalytic standpoint, is dramatically less important today than it was at the outset of the MDG era.

    For example, take tax revenue: in 2000, domestic revenue in developing countries was approximately $1.5 trillion and now it’s almost $10 trillion. (Source: World Bank, Financing for Development Post 2015)

    The role of the private sector and domestic finance will be radically different for the post-2015 agenda.

  • Before September, one of the things to watch will take place in July in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where there will be a very important Conference on Financing for Development.

    The July conference will be the follow up to the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development that took place 13 years ago, but this year’s conference will look very different from the last one in Monterrey.

    2015 will be all about innovation of financial instruments, leverage of the private sector, and the role of developing country finance.

  • The key question: will the world embrace a new approach to sustainable development?

    It is an important and complex story to watch with real implications.

    Will leaders leave the UN General Assembly in September and go home with an idea of how these goals will affect the way that they lead their countries?
  • Our third story is an important political story about changing the way in which business is done in the world.

    The old government-to-government way of doing business is breaking down, and in complement to that, we are seeing the emergence of new coalitions involving the private sector, the government sectors, and civil society.

    And these coalitions are clear in their targets, in their accountability mechanisms, and they focus on action.

    The question is: will they deliver in the coming year?
  • I’m going to start by just mentioning some of these coalitions. Many of these were highlighted at the Summit on Climate Change in September in New York. For those of us who were there, we were surprised and delighted with the level of engagement and enthusiasm from these nontraditional groups.

    For example, the Tropical Forest Alliance is a partnership that wants to eliminate tropical deforestation from commodities. The United States government has been heavily involved in TFA as well as companies like Unilever, Mars, and Nestle, and we are starting to see action.

    Many companies have said for some time that they are going to source commodities, like palm oil for example, from non-deforested lands. Up until recently, we haven’t had a clear way of measuring progress, but now tools like Global Forest Watch enable us to actively monitor and drive progress.

    This partnership is now being resourced and is setting up a serious Secretariat. In 2015, we hope there will be a much more aggressive, transparent monitoring of who is procuring what from where and what the quality of environmental sustainability is for commodities.

    Will this deliver moving forward?

  • Sustainable Energy for All:

    For the last 50 years, multilateral banks and governments have been trying to electrify the developing world, with some success, but only recently has the private sector sat at the table together with the UN, international community, and civil society.

    SE4All is chaired by Chad Holliday, the former head of DuPont, Chair of Bank of America, and now the Chair of Shell.

    80 countries have signed up to SE4All.

    There are clear targets: eliminate the 1.3 billion people who don’t have electricity, full electrification by 2030, doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and doubling the amount of renewable energy by 2030

    So in 2015, will this also start to develop and drive action?

  • This past year a Compact of Mayors was established. As you know, cities have been showing more leadership than many national governments, demonstrating that they understand that a low-carbon future is not only good for our planet but it’s extremely good for competitiveness, citizens, and a better quality of life.

    For the Compact of Mayors, over 200 cities got together agreed to reduce emissions, measuring them in a transparent and consistent way. In addition to clear targets, the Compact will announce the targets every year and wants to register with UNFCCC.

    Not only are they committing to cut 13 gigatons by 2050, those involved are planning to share best practices and demonstrate that low-carbon development works.

    In this image, you can see the Mayor Parker of Houston, a city which discovered it is spending 14% of their city GDP on transportation, whereas Copenhagen only spends 4% of its city income. Wanting to create a great downtown that will attract businesses and young people, Houston is interested in being a part of groups like C40 and the Compact of Mayors and changing the way it does business. (Source: New Climate Economy Report)

    Cities have said they want their plans for low-carbon development to be more ambitious than nations’ plans, and so they are effectively raising ambition that also feeds back into the multilateral negotiations…

    All of these developments make this coalition remarkable, and we will be watching to see how it will grow (perhaps to 500 cities by the end of this year?) and what more it will bring to the table.
  • Next, restoring landscapes:

    Around the world, there are 2 billion hectares of degraded land that are not being used productively.

    Back in 2011, countries made restoration commitments as part of the Bonn Challenge, recognizing the economics, finance, and the sustainability benefits associated with restoration.

    But in New York in September, an astounding 350 million hectares of that 2 billion were committed to restoration.

  • So what does it mean to make a commitment?

    This map shows the countries where more than 60 million hectares have been committed as part of the Bonn Challenge…

    But momentum continues to grow and more countries are coming forward…
  • In Lima, we saw a new Latin American alliance: eight countries committed 20 million hectares to restoration by 2020 as part of “Initiative 20x20.”

    We are starting to see a remarkable beginning of a real movement in which countries recognize their own capital stock in the form of degraded land and decide to put it towards something that’s good for the environment, economy, sustainability and poverty-reduction.

    If done right, this initiative could lower the carbon gap by more than 20% and bring billions of dollars a year mainly to poor people in rural areas.

    Together with these 20x20 countries, there was a group of private financiers who brought $365 million in starter money to the table.

    This is a winning ticket idea, but up until now, it hasn’t been happening.

    In 2015, we will be looking for more progress, especially in April in Bonn, when countries will be gathering to make additional restoration commitments as well as to lay out more detailed action plans for countries with existing commitments.
  • Price on Carbon Club:

    This is a slightly different notion of a “club.” In New York last September, 73 governments and 1000 companies came out and said that a carbon price is a good idea. The World Bank deserves credit for helping to move this initiative. (Source: World Bank)

    Simply saying you support an idea is nice, but it doesn’t solve the problem. So what will happen in the coming year? There is a lot to look for.

    Will companies start using their lobbying muscle to support this idea?

    Will some of these countries and companies start putting out hard numbers on carbon pricing?

    This initiative needs to be interrogated in the coming year, but potentially, it could be hugely important in the run up to Paris.

    Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/piper/4801402531
  • So the question is: will these unusual coalitions, representing new way of doing business, start to deliver?

    And whether it’s for the deal on climate in Paris or the Sustainable Development Goals, will they create a greater sense of ambition for the multilateral processes?
  • Story 4: Water Risk

    Water is always an important story, but in 2015 we may see a tipping point with regards water and the private sector, public sector, and citizen behavior.
  • Everyone knows the tragedy of the 1.2 billion people living in deep water scarcity and the massive social and gender implications.
  • WRI has a tool called Aqueduct that looks at the 15,000 major water basins in the world.

    It was actually created at the request of the private sector. Companies like Goldman Sachs and General Electric came to us because they were concerned about water risk.

  • And the reason for their concern is obvious…

    Everyone is aware of the major drought taking place in California.

    The drought is the worst in 1,200 years.

    And California, with its Central Valley shown here, produces nearly half of the US-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables, making water risk a very serious issue.

  • But water risk is an issue in other places as well…

    In Sao Paulo, the reservoirs are now down to 5-7% of the water levels they should have.

    Sao Paulo produces almost a third of Brazil’s GDP and 2 million people are affected by the worst drought in 80 years.
  • mazingly, Brazil has more fresh water than any country in the planet (almost 13% of the world’s fresh water), but the people aren't located where the water is.

    The Amazon basin has half of Brazil’s water, but only 4% of its population.
  • Rather, the people all live on the coasts, where there are serious water problems.

    Historically, when we improved our engineering capabilities, we starting living where engineering could solve our water problems.

    We are now going beyond where engineering can allow us to accommodate for the uneven distribution of water.

  • The issue of water risk and coastal cities extends to China as well, where 90% of coastal cities face water stress.

  • In East China, the drought is the worst in the region in over 60 years.
  • What are we looking for?

    The private sector is taking water risk much more seriously.

    For example McDonald’s uses water risk indicators to make sure it’s not exposing itself to too much risk throughout it’s entire supply chain.

    The beer company Ambev has managed to reduce by almost 40% of the amount of water that it uses.

    Proctor & Gamble does serious analysis throughout its supply chain, and they identify specific facilities with the highest water risk.

    Certainly other companies are starting to do this as well…

  • Last year, Bloomberg came to us and said that, because water has become such an economic risk issue, they want to put our water risk data on our terminals.

    So 320,000 terminals now have water risk data for these 15,000 aquifers.

    And when the private sector starts talking water risk seriously, we also start seeing governments taking it seriously….
  • We are starting to see society treating water the way it ought to be treated: as a precious and scarce resource.

    Here, we have Governor Jerry Brown as a reminder of the remarkable things California is considering and doing now on the issue of water.

    The possible responses by governments to rising water risk—such as water pricing—will be something to watch, and we think we might be close to a tipping point on this issue.
  • And of course, infrastructure is one way of responding.

    In China, they just opened the first stage of the biggest water diversion project in the history of the world. It will take 50 years to complete and at least $62 billion to finance.

    This South to North Water Diversion Project will move water from the Yellow and Yangtze rivers to the water-scarce north of the country.

    But for the many places that don’t have that kind of money, we are also going to start seeing more natural infrastructure projects, including in this country.

    More countries are interested in natural infrastructure projects, which can restore nature’s ability to provide water through watershed management and afforestation.

  • Something to watch form WRI: in the next few months we will release projections of water risk.

    We will take what is now a static model for the 15,000 water basins and use IPCC scenarios and economic and population growth projections to show how water risk will change.

    In turn, we believe this information will have an impact on how those around the world, including the private sector, governments, and citizens, will look at and respond to water risk.

  • For the last few years, water risk has been in the top four of the World Economic Forum’s Survey of Risks.

    So will water risk rise to the top of the global agenda in 2015?
  • Story 5 is about a country that is perhaps going through the biggest discontinuity of all, and that is India.
  • India has a new Prime Minister, who is not only the first BJP prime minister in a decade, but he also has a strong mandate and strong views about it.
  • Modi’s starting point is the belief that India is not delivering economic growth and jobs the way that it should.

    There was a time during the first part of the decade when there was a sense that India could do what China and East Asia have done in terms of high growth.

    But more recently, the view gaining traction is that India is not achieving necessary growth and that radically different deregulating and red-tape cutting policies are needed.

    So 2015 will be a very exciting year for India…
  • India’s got massive opportunities but also huge challenges:

    In the next 20 years, more than 200 million people will move to the cities of India.
    (Source: http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/news/population/world-urbanization-prospects-2014.html)

    India has traditionally be less urbanized, but by 2030, nearly 600 million people will be living in Indian cities, up from about 360 million today. (Source: McKinsey and Company)

  • Some people think that East Asia and China have the worst air pollution in the world, but that’s not true.

    Of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world, half of them are in India, and at the top of that list is Delhi.
    (Source: World Health Organization)

    Air pollution is the 5th leading cause of death in India, with 620,000 premature deaths in 2010. This is up from 100,000 in 2000 – a six-fold increase. (Source: http://www.thelancet.com/themed/global-burden-of-disease)

    In other countries, air pollution is the issue that most agitates citizens. In this, the world’s largest democracy with a newly elected government, will the problems of air pollution prompt a new approach to urbanization?
  • The energy shortfall in India is also a huge challenge.

    India is an emerging world power, but it is not producing near enough electricity that it needs.

    300 million Indians still lack access to electricity, equivalent to a quarter of the population.
  • To address some of these challenges, the new government has come in some bold ideas.

    On urbanization, the government has announced the “100 Smart Cities” project.

    Many of the details about the initiative have yet to be released, but the announcement has led to a productive debate about what makes a “smart city.”

    Not just a bunch of Ethernet cables, smart cities are all about doing things differently and thinking about cities from standpoint of citizens as well as private sector investors.

  • In India, there is already a growing movement to reclaim cities for citizens, and WRI has been very involved in this movement in the past year.

    Now almost a dozen cities, included Delhi, have “Raaghiri Days” in which city streets are devoted to people, not cars. This development is part of what being a smart city is all about.

    We believe we will see some exciting things with regards to the cities in India.

    It is important to remember that 75% of all of the urban infrastructure India expected for 2050 has yet to be built. This means that there is a wonderful opportunity to sustainably design and build this urban infrastructure.

    At the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, under the leadership of our new Director Ani Dasgupta, we have about 200 people working this issue.

    What is a smart low-carbon city?

    Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/embarq/12494458303/in/set-72157638760869463
  • On renewables, consistent with the ambition of the new government of India, there is another bold announcement:

    The Modi government has committed to 100GW of solar power by 2022, a massive 33x increase in solar capacity from the existing capacity and a five-fold increase from the previous administration’s solar energy goal.

    If delivered, this initiative would be a total game changer.
  • As part of the Modi government’s commitments on energy, he has also promised to develop enough solar power to power a light bulb in every home by 2019.

    This would be transformative with regard to literacy, poverty, population growth, and other development issues.
  • Given India’s massive new ambition, will it deliver on these fantastic goals on smart cities and energy?

    Also, will it develop the right kind of balanced growth?

    One can accelerate growth very quickly and get into many of the traps that other countries have gotten themselves into…

    …Or, as the New Climate Economy Report says, one can actually accelerate growth quickly while also heading towards a low-carbon, resilient future.

    The balance India strikes will be a huge issue in 2015.
  • And, of course, India will be the center of lots of important conversations internationally this year, particularly as the country begins to it’s place on the global stage.

    India’s role in the multipolar world is an extra dimension as we head towards the Sustainable Development Goals and the climate deal.

    India has this massive ambition at home and the opportunity internationally to play the role of global leader and citizen.
  • Will India successfully embrace high efficiency, low-carbon growth?
  • Finally, new leadership:

    Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kreshnaaditya/15411469497
  • We have a number of leaders around the world to watch this year. These four here represent a combined 1.8 billion people--a full quarter of the global population.

    We have already spoken about Modi…

    But President Rousseff, will she raise her level of ambition in her second term? How will she respond on the issue of water policy? What about the forest and restoration agenda?

    In Turkey, the PM has announced quite ambitious goals with regards to sustainable development, renewable energy, and climate change.

    The big uncertainty is in Indonesia…
    Former President Yudhoyono, who was head of state for 10 years, had great ambition on forests and other issues. While he certainly helped Indonesia continue to modernize, he but wasn’t able to deliver as much as people had hoped on the sustainability side.

    President Jokowi is a brand new and very different president; how is he going to lead?

  • The US also has massive stories to watch in the coming year, starting this week as new Republican-controlled Congress is sworn in.

    There are several things to watch:

    To what extent does existing authority of the executive branch enable things like strong existing power plant rules to happen?

    At what stage will the citizens of the United States insist that all politicians understand the importance of climate change? We can no longer deny it exists, and with the growing analysis, the US needs to face up to the fact that we need to act on climate change.

    In that regard, what role will Congress play?

    Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/afagen/5570984382
  • To what extent will President Obama continue his actions to leave a legacy on climate?
  • And looking forward to the next presidential contest, we have many interesting questions that may surface this year as the campaigns get underway.

    For example, at what stage might the idea of putting a price on carbon be injected into politics at the highest level?

    We don’t know. Most people might dismiss the idea that carbon pricing could happen here, but history suggests that policy changes and attitudes can happen much more quickly and unexpectedly than anticipated…

    By the end of this year, who knows what we might see?

  • So these are the six stories that we have focused on today. We believe these are stories that are long-term in their implications and potential game-changers.