Other Environmental Study

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  • Publication
    Repurposing Coal Mining Lands for a Just Transition: Methods, Financing Options, and Governance Solutions
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-02-14) World Bank
    The present paper is the first attempt to provide a new blueprint for proactively addressing coal mining lands within a Just Transition framework. It argues that traditional approaches to mine land remediation can only go so far in offering coal transitioning communities with the natural capital badly needed for economic diversification. Rather, the present paper proposes that a new approach to treating post-mining lands would have the objective of repurposing: putting former mining lands into future use states that offer investment and public use opportunities for private sector and citizens alike. Such an innovative approach, as developed and now being piloted by the World Bank in several coal transitioning countries, relies not only on new methods and tools for assessing lands and planning their use; it equally requires thinking differently about how the process of mining land repurposing is institutionally managed. Furthermore, by thinking very differently about the future use of mining lands and establishing structures to effectively govern these transformative processes, we can begin to unlock new financial solutions.
  • Publication
    Unlivable: What the Urban Heat Island Effect Means for East Asia’s Cities
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-12-20) Roberts, Mark; Jones, Nicholas; Park, Jane
    Amid continuing urban growth and the accelerating effects of climate change, East Asian cities suffer from more extreme temperatures than surrounding rural areas - being up to 2 degrees Celsius hotter on average. This urban heat island (UHI) effect is caused by cities’ relative lack of vegetation, the prevalence of impervious surfaces, construction of buildings in locations that block breezes, releases of heat from cars and machinery, and other features of the urban environment. In the decades ahead, the UHI effect will interact with climate change in ways that make cities even more prone to heat waves - already increasing in frequency and intensity - especially among East Asian cities in tropical zones and in low- and middle-income countries. Extreme heat not only lowers the economic competitiveness and livability of cities in the region but also increases the risk of death and illness. Groups such as low-income residents, outdoor workers, and the region’s growing elderly population are the most vulnerable to extreme heat. The poor are also more likely to bear the brunt of these harms: certain urban neighborhoods, particularly poorer ones, may be several degrees hotter than others within the same city. This report uses satellite data, on-the-ground data collection, and a review of economic literature to shed new light on the magnitude of the UHI effect and its impacts on East Asian cities. Using a “Places, People, Institutions” framework, the report provides practical suggestions to help policy makers to rise to the extreme urban heat challenge. These actions, such as promoting urban greening, adopting heat-resilient urban design, and implementing heat wave early warning systems - can help to protect East Asia’s urban residents from the impacts of extreme heat, contributing to cities that are more competitive, livable, and inclusive.
  • Publication
    Vibrant Cities - On the Bedrock of Stability, Prosperity, and Sustainability
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-12-07) Lall, Somik V.; Shilpi, Forhad; Murray, Sally Beth
    How will the world’s developing cities become vibrant—capable of meeting the climate, social, and economic challenges of tomorrow? Vibrant cities offer firms and households high expectations for good returns on investments, for a sustainable and resilient future, and for dynamic and inclusive growth. Cities thrive not only by increasing incomes and wealth for a select few but by improving common welfare through the equitable provision of basic services and opportu¬nities. To do this, tomorrow’s vibrant cities will be: 1.Resilient and low carbon—Limiting greenhouse gas emissions, reducing vulnerability to climate related hazards, and rebounding from disasters and pandemics. 2.Inclusive—Meeting basic needs for all residents, while enabling all to aspire realistically to a bet¬ter life through investment in skills and through equitable access to job opportunities. 3.Productive—Driving economic growth, creating jobs, boosting incomes, and financing critical social and infrastructure investments. The report provides new evidence, analysis, and policy insights to advance green, resilient, and inclusive urban development—drawing on the latest thinking in spatial urban development and public economics. While spotlighting the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), it offers general insights for city and country leaders around the world. In doing so, it lays the foundations to shore up our technical assistance and policy engagements for urban development in MENA and elsewhere through a new policy framework—inform, support, and protect.
  • Publication
    Conflict Pollution Hotspots in Iraq: Land Remediation for Livelihoods Restoration
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-11-16) World Bank
    Successive conflicts in Iraq were characterized by tactics to damage its oil and industrial assets that not only led to huge economic loss, but pollution of environmental resources (air, land, and water) on an unprecedented scale. The Damage and Needs Assessment (DNA) carried out by the World Bank Group (WBG) in 2017, estimated damages to the environmental resources at IQD85 billion (US73 dollars million) and sectoral losses because of the conflict at IQD3.5 trillion (US3 dollars billion). Further, this assessment estimated that up to 47 percent of natural forests in the country may have been destroyed and large areas of land have been contaminated by land mines and hazardous chemicals. Unless these contaminated sites (also referred as ‘environmental hotspots’ in this document) are identified and remediated and/ or managed appropriately as part of the broader reconstruction program of Iraq, it is likely that the negative impacts (both economic and environmental) will be felt for generations to come. In addition, creating better environmental conditions and investments in human and physical capital is crucial for the economic diversification, job creation and healthy citizens for a stable and sustainable development of post-conflict Iraq. The main objective of this report is to present a broad framework and suggested prioritization for the remediation and/or management of environmental hotspots in Iraq. The recommendations have been informed by a detailed inventory and assessment of hotspots carried out by the Ministry of Environment (MoE), Government of Iraq (GoI) with capacity building support provided through the Advisory Services and Analytical (ASA) work of the World Bank. The work involved analysis of the scale and significance of contamination in the conflict affected governorates of Al Anbar, Babil, Baghdad, Diyala, Kirkuk, Nineveh and Salah Al-Din and identifying essential elements of a program for the remediation, management of environmental hotpots in the country.
  • Publication
    Climate Risks, Exposure, Vulnerability and Resilience in Nepal
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-11-10) Amadio, M.; Behrer, A.P.; Bosch, L.; Kaila, H.K.; Krishnan, N.; Molinario, G.
    The authors investigate key climate change hazards affecting Nepali households and livelihoods: river flooding, heat exposure, drought, landslides, and air pollution. The authors analyze the distributional impacts of these hazards by combining spatial distributions of exposure with measures of socio-economic vulnerability and coping ability. While landslides are more likely to occur in the northern mountainous areas of Nepal, the southern parts of Nepal are at higher exposure to river flooding, heat, and drought hazards. Coping ability is highest in the southern lowlands (Terai) and urban settlements, which leaves northern, mountainous areas more vulnerable, despite being less affected. New human settlements in mountainous areas are built on steeper slopes as flat land in valleys has become scarce, which increases their vulnerability to floods and landslides. Forward modelling (2041-2060) shows increasing severity of heat and intensifying extreme rainfall. The increase in extreme precipitation events affects particularly the historically less-affected western provinces with relatively low economic development. Overall, the northern parts of the country will require concerted support to withstand shocks, and in the south, investments in agricultural livelihoods will be needed to support adaptation to climate risk. Proactive, spatially targeted investments are needed by all levels of government to mitigate the welfare impacts of these diverse climate change hazards. National investments in human capital are required to transform Nepali livelihoods in line with a green transition.
  • Publication
    Adaptation of the Calculator of Social and Environmental Impacts from Small-Scale Gold Mining in the Amazon: Application in Frontier Regions between Brazil, Colombia and Peru
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-11-09) World Bank
    Over the past decade, illegal gold extraction has increased significantly in the Amazon region, partly due to the high international prices of this mineral, the less stringent attitude of some countries in relation to the environment and the pursuit of immediate economic opportunities. Furthermore, this illicit activity is closely intertwined with other illegal practices, such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, and the trafficking of endangered species. This has repercussions not just for the region's ecological wealth, but also for the physical well-being of those safeguarding their lands and the health of communities living in proximity to the extraction zones due to the contamination of their rivers and, consequently, their primary sources of food, such as fish. Despite the international effort to recognize the socio-environmental repercussions of this activity, there are still gaps on this issue, mainly due to the economic losses that this activity represents.
  • Publication
    International Law Aspects of Sea Level Rise
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-11-08) Freestone, David; Çiçek, Duygu
    In the coming decades, sea level rise will increasingly raise an array of legal challenges concerning coastal States, and in particular, low-lying Small Island Developing States (SIDS). This report assesses how States could safeguard their existing territorial rights and marine resources under international law when dealing with rising seas and land loss as well as questions relating to statehood, human mobility, and international cooperation. The report builds on a previous World Bank publication from June 2021, "Legal Dimensions of Sea Level Rise: Pacific Perspectives", but focuses on global perspectives by linking scientific data with the latest legal thinking. The study is divided into three parts. Part I looks briefly at the pioneering work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its most recent predictions for sea level rise during the current century, and then sets it in the context of other scientific work on threats from sea level rise and warming. Part II sets out an overview of relevant legal frameworks, key terminology, and principles based on international law, as well as judicial decisions and scholarly work that define the rights, resources, and obligations of all coastal States, particularly island and low-lying States. Part III then presents a series of responses to key legal and policy questions faced by these States in relation to sea level rise.
  • Publication
    Hot Water Rising: The Impact of Climate Change on Indonesia’s Fisheries and Coastal Communities
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-11-03) Kaczan, D; Nurhabni, F; Cheung, W; Frölicher, T; Kuswardani, A; Lam, V; Muawanah, U; Puspasari, R; Reygondeau, G; Sumaila, U; Teh, L
    With 17,504 islands, 108,000 kilometers of coastline, and three-quarters of its territory at sea, Indonesia’s prosperity is deeply entwined with its oceans. Yet the future for Indonesia’s oceans, like those worldwide, is increasingly uncertain. Climate change is driving increases in water temperatures, storm severity, and sea level rise, causing shifts in coastal ecosystems and fisheries. These trends pose challenges for Indonesia’s ocean economy and the people it supports. Indonesia’s fisheries are at the center of these challenges. The fisheries sector contributes US26.9 billion dollars annually to the national economy (around 2.6 percent of GDP), 50 percent of the country’s protein, and over 7 million jobs (World Bank 2021). The impact of climate change on the fisheries sector will thus have important implications for livelihoods, food security, and economic growth. While this is true around the world, few countries have fishery resources as vast as Indonesia’s or depend as much as Indonesia does on fisheries for jobs and protein. As this report highlights, the importance of ensuring productive and sustainable fisheries in the face of a changing climate is well-recognized. The Government of Indonesia is taking steps toward a climate-resilient marine and coastal economy through investment in infrastructure, technology, capacity-building, and governance. Strategies and actions are outlined in the Enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), the Climate Resilient Development Policy 2020- 2045, and the List of Priority Locations and Climate Resilient Actions prepared by the Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas). Climate resilience is being prioritized by the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF).
  • Publication
    Building Green: Sustainable Construction in Emerging Markets
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-11-02) International Finance Corporation
    How developing countries meet their rising building needs will be pivotal to the world’s climate future. The good news is that the projected emissions growth in construction value chains can be reduced significantly with the application of existing technologies, new financing instruments, and the implementation of appropriate policies. Even as emerging economies meet the rising demand for residential and commercial buildings, it is possible to reduce total emissions from the sector below today’s level by 2035. To avoid perpetuating the status quo, decisive action is needed by policy makers, developers, construction material producers, financiers, and international development institutions. IFC is launching this report to guide international efforts to decarbonize construction value chains. Building Green: Sustainable Construction in Emerging Markets was prepared through close collaboration between IFC economists, investment officers, and building and constructionsector specialists. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of the challenges of reducing carbon emissions from construction value chains in developing countries, but also the considerable opportunities that willcome from mobilizing the estimated $1.5 trillion of investment required for this transition.
  • Publication
    Greening Firms in Georgia
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-10-29) World Bank Group
    This report explores priorities and challenges faced by Georgia to promote green transition and support its businesses to reduce their emissions through energy efficiency. The report stresses the need for improved incentives and opportunities for business investments in energy efficiency and renewables. The report points to the importance of productivity as a driver of energy efficiency at the firm-level, as well as the importance of information and knowledge spillovers from more efficient firms to less efficient ones when these are in close-by locations and in similar sectors. The report finds that key drivers of energy efficiency upgrading include prices of energy, as these generate key incentives for businesses to upgrade their investments and organization, as well as technology adoption and quality green and general management practices. To support green transition, the report recommends a comprehensive policy package of reforms and programs, including: (i) Horizontal economy-wide policies centered around price signals and regulations, improvements to the grid infrastructure, and reliability of electricity services; (ii) Information – raising firms awareness about potential benefits of becoming more energy efficient and available energy saving. (iii) Capabilities - helping firms identify opportunities for improvement of management, organization, technology, and skills; and (iv) Finance - easing access to financial resources required for upgrading firms’ technology. Finally, the report emphasizes the importance of targeting by using appropriate diagnostic and benchmarking tools to assess specific needs and readiness of businesses to upgrade and invest in energy efficiency.