Amartya Sen on dangers of climate change ‘obsession’ and nuclear power and need for a new ethics of environmentalism

Duncan Green - September 4, 2014

Amartya Sen has an important piece out in the New Republic magazine, on the links between environment and development. It’s quite long, so I thought I’d offer my precis service. He argues that the attention to climate change is disproportionate, not because we should think less about it, but because we should worry a lot more about other environmental issues, particularly poor people’s access to …

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Are pro-poor renewables approaching a tipping point? Guest post by John Magrath

admin - June 17, 2011

I was at the annual conference of the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy this week in London to hear presentations by this year’s award winners, watch films of their work and listen to a panel debate that included Matthew Lockwood and Mike Mason (of which more below). As always, the winners – both from the UK and internationally – were fascinating and inspiring. In the …

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When energy comes to a Senegalese village, do people get more healthy, wealthy and wise?

admin - December 10, 2010

John Magrath is an Oxfam researcher currently working on renewable energy Hats off to Sarah Best for her recent post on energy and in particular, for highlighting the excellent new Practical Action report, Poor People’s Energy Outlook 2010. I’ve been delving into energy issues too lately. I’ve just come back from Senegal, where I was trying to get clearer in my own mind what exactly is …

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What are African countries already doing to adapt to climate change?

admin - August 19, 2010

While climate change negotiators seem to be wading through metaphorical cement, national governments have no choice but to get on with adapting to current and future climate change, as far as they are able. A recent review of 10 African countries’ adaptation plans by IFPRI shows some patterns to the response. (The countries were Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan, …

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How can a whole developing country switch to renewables? The example of Tonga

admin - June 18, 2010

Continuing the theme of renewables, here’s a (small) developing country which has decided to pursue an energy transformation. I bumped into a Chatham House researcher called Cleo Paskal the other day, who was singing the praises of the Pacific island of Tonga. She wrote a piece for the Toronto Star on this – here’s a précis. Tongans are fiercely independent – it’s the only unconquered …

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Are renewables the answer to Africa's energy deficit?

admin - June 17, 2010

Thanks for the feedback on yesterday’s post – let’s continue this mini-series of posts on energy. A new paper from the energy wonks at the World Bank. ‘The Economics of Renewable Energy Expansion in rural Sub-Saharan Africa‘ asks whether renewables (solar, hydro, wind and so on) are mainly an issue for the rich north, or a potential solution to energy poverty in poor countries. The authors …

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What should Oxfam be doing on renewables? Your advice, please

admin - June 16, 2010

Wisdom of crowds time. We’re doing some thinking on renewable energy and energy poverty (which affects about 1.5-2bn people), and thought we’d pick your brains. My colleague John Magrath has written this guest blog as an opener, and I’ll run a few posts on energy-related issues over the next few days. Over to John: As an NGO we’ve never done much work in the field. …

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Ending energy poverty in India is part of tackling climate change

admin - April 20, 2010

Energy for all Is vital in India Can outsiders help? NGOs don’t often talk about energy poverty and they should. Electricity means kids are more likely to do their homework; dirty energy for cooking fills the houses of the poor with smoke and does terrible damage to health. Two recent items in my inbox brought this to mind. Firstly a post on the the excellent …

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