As 2013 comes to a close, it’s a good time to look back on the impact we’ve made in the world this year. WRI produces research-based solutions that can sustain natural resources—the foundation of human well-being and economic opportunity. We measure our success through positive, on-the-ground change.
This year, we made progress on tackling key sustainability challenges, including addressing climate change, promoting clean energy, ensuring food security and stable water supplies, reducing forest degradation, and creating sustainable cities. Take a look at our nine top outcomes:
1) “Four-Point Plan” Informs President Obama’s U.S. Climate Action Plan
President Obama announced the Climate Action Plan to address climate change and put the United States on a trajectory to meet its international commitment of reducing its emissions 17 percent by 2020. The findings of WRI’s flagship report, Can the U.S. Get There from Here, played a valuable role in influencing the Administration’s decision. Read more.
2) Governments Hold Companies Accountable for Forest Fires with Near-Real-Time Data and Media Outreach
Forest fires ran rampant across Indonesia in the summer of 2013, spreading a toxic haze across South East Asia. Governments and NGOs are using WRI’s data and analysis to hold palm oil and timber companies accountable for these damaging forest and peat fires. Read more.
3) UNEP and African Union Improve International and Regional Transparency Policies
Laws that ensure access to information provide citizens with the right to crucial facts and data, including those about the natural resources that are critical to livelihoods. These transparency laws are the cornerstone of good governance. WRI’s The Access Initiative (TAI) successfully influenced a model African Union access-to-information law, as well as a new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) access-to-information policy. Read more.
4) China Adopts Policy to Promote Demonstration of Carbon Capture and Storage
China’s main policy-making body, the National Development Reform Commission (NDRC), adopted a groundbreaking policy this year to limit CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants. The policy—which promotes the demonstration of carbon dioxide capture, storage, and utilization—is the first-of-its-kind in any country, and reflects WRI’s Guidelines for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), developed in partnership with Tsinghua University, China. Read more.
5) Mexico Introduces Latin America’s First-Ever Fuel Efficiency Standard for Light Duty Vehicles
Mexico took a big step toward a low-carbon economy and improved public health by implementing a new fuel-efficiency standard for light vehicles– the first fuel-efficiency standard in Latin America. EMBARQ Mexico played a major role in developing this new standard, writing the draft regulation, proposing mechanisms for economic flexibility, and assisting the government of Mexico during the negotiation process. Read more.
6) Major Companies, Funds, and Banks Drive Improved Water Management by Using Risk Atlas
Three major financial institutions and two of the world’s largest food and beverage companies are driving improved water management using data from Aqueduct’s Water Risk Atlas. This list includes: Anheuser-Busch InBev, Nestlé, LGIM, one the world’s largest banks, and one of the world’s largest pension fund managers. Read more.
7) Ghana Secures $50 Million for Forest Investment Plan, Based on Restoration Analysis
The World Bank endorsed Ghana’s Forest Investment Plan, approving a $50 million package that can restore forests, improve the country’s water supply, and provide better quality-of-life for communities. An analysis by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Services, WRI, and other partners was instrumental in making this breakthrough program come to fruition. Read more.
8) 160 Cities Adopt Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)—a Key Tipping Point
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – a high-quality, efficient, bus-based mode of public transport – can shorten commuting times, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and generally improve quality-of-life for city residents. Today, 160 cities around the world use BRT and busway systems—up from just 45 cities since WRI’s EMBARQ program was founded in 2002. EMBARQ has played a major role in expanding the BRT concept to cities throughout the world. Read more.
9) 60 Cities and Communities Use New Standard to Measure and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
At least 60 cities and communities from around the world have formally adopted the Global Protocol for Community-Scale GHG Emissions (GPC). This international greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting standard for cities was jointly developed by WRI, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). Read more.
Want to help WRI make more big ideas happen? Watch the video appeal below from our CEO and President, Andrew Steer.
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