Links from Michael Spence, Martin Baily, James Manyika, and others.
I definitely recommend this book to all those with an interest in urban issues.
It’s been clear for awhile now that subsidizing the production of corn-based ethanol was primarily a subsidy that flowed to large agri-business concerns that grow and process most of the corn in the United States. These subsidies aren’t just a costly and ineffective way of pursuing lower energy imports and reduced carbon emissions–they are also causing higher food prices and hunger for some of the poorest people in the world. They should be stopped.
It might seem that the new study is one more item of bad environmental news. Not so. It should be easier to deal with black carbon than with carbon dioxide. Whereas CO2 is long-lasting and an inevitable by-product of burning fossil fuels, soot drops out of the atmosphere within weeks. Stop putting it there and it will rapidly go away—a potentially easy win.
Another milestone in the long shift of economic power from rich, industrial economies to middle-income and developing ones has been passed. According to new figures from the World Bank, the value of exports from developing countries to other developing countries (“South-South” trade) now exceeds exports from poor countries to rich ones (“South-North” trade).
If desirable neighborhoods don’t start shouldering more of the burden of increased urban demand, American cities will soon end up like their counterparts in Europe, where everyone except the rich and the tourists are shunted off to the suburbs.