COP26 helped focus global attention on the challenge of transitioning out of coal. In recent months, however, the war in Ukraine has led to a rise in coal use, as a short-term replacement of Russian oil and gas. But in the medium term, both advanced and developing economies will need to accelerate the coal transition to meet Paris Agreement targets. Decisive actions and financial resources are essential, but success will ultimately depend on effective policies to deal with the resulting disruption to jobs, reflected in the call for a “just transition.”
Globally, poor air quality is estimated to cause some 7 million deaths each year, as it increases the risk of a wide range of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Yet the exposure to and impact of air pollution are not equally distributed. Air pollution is particularly prevalent in industrializing developing economies. Less stringent air quality regulations, the prevalence of older polluting machinery and vehicles, subsidized fossil fuels, congested urban transport systems, rapidly developing industrial sectors, and cut-and-burn practices in agriculture are all contributing to heightened pollution levels. The lack of affordable quality healthcare services further increases air pollution related mortality.
Data and evidence are the foundation of development policy and effective program implementation, and countries need data to formulate policy and evaluate progress.
At the global level, the World Bank has a strong reputation in development data and has been highly effective in data production. It produces influential, widely used data and cross-country indicators that fill important niches, benchmark countries, and stimulate research and policy action.