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2012 marked another year of record-setting growth in the motor vehicle fleet of Asia and the Pacific.  Photo by Lloyd Wright.

2012 in Numbers

I am normally a bit skeptical about the power of data to radically transform public policy. After all in the transport sector, the most serious issues of congestion, road accident fatalities and injuries and air pollution are readily obvious by looking out the window of any major Asian city. Would knowing the numbers more accurately make a difference to policy makers?

Lloyd Wright

Beijing’s smog-laden skies obscure the Forbidden City in a thick orange haze. Photo credit: iStockphoto.

The price of breath in Beijing

If a frog is placed in a boiling caldron, it will immediately jump out to safety.  If the same frog is placed in water, which is slowly heated to boiling, the frog will tranquilly remain and eventually die from overheating.

This biological anecdote is frequently utilized as a metaphor for our political state of affairs over global climate change.  As the planet slowly heats and succumbs to gradual change we unwittingly accustomize without sensing the dangers that await us.  The lessons from this phenomenon also encompass the state of our cities and the transport sector.

Lloyd Wright

Impact evaluations crucial for effective public policy

Asian countries are increasingly turning to investing in dedicated development programs rather than relying entirely on economic growth to deliver better social outcomes. Evaluations of their actual impact have not always accompanied such decision making, but where they have, it has made a key difference.

Vinod Thomas

Walkability—Building cities for people too

With the urban population swelling the world over, it makes sense that we start—or go back to—designing cities for people too. People are a city’s principal raison d'etre.

Window of opportunity still open on climate action

A set of reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the last of which was released on November 2, 2014, sets the scene for governments to renew their efforts on the issue through ambitious commitments for a comprehensive climate agreement in Paris in December 2015. 

Preety Bhandari

Will the Green Climate Fund pledges create a momentum for ongoing climate negotiations?

The recent formal pledging session for the Green Climate Fund (GCF)—more than $9 billion in just 5 months—is by far the most successful resource mobilization ever seen for a multilateral climate fund. The US has pledged $3 billion, followed by Japan ($1.5 billion), UK ($1.13 billion), and Germany and France (with $1 billion each). Four developing countries—Indonesia, Mexico, Mongolia, and Panama—have made pledges, breaking the traditional donor boundaries. 

Preety Bhandari

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