Hotter Planet, Humanitarian Crisis: El Niño, the ‘New Normal’ and the Need for Climate Justice

Hotter Planet, Humanitarian Crisis: El Niño, the ‘New Normal’ and the Need for Climate Justice

Report for ActionAid (November 2016)

The world is enduring an unprecedented combination of climate related crises. We are living through what will almost certainly be the hottest year on record, and have faced one of the strongest El Niño weather events of all time. In 2016, the Earth has recorded the highest ever level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which are set to rise still further. The 2015-16 El Niño may yet prove to have caused the biggest drought that the world has ever seen and many countries are enduring their worst droughts in decades, affecting hundreds of millions of people. The Paris Agreement on climate change was celebrated with much fanfare less than a year ago, but the lack of an adequate response to the global El Niño drought shows that the world is not yet willing or able to respond properly to an actual climate crisis. The report argues that the world must now act to further cut greenhouse gas emissions, and that, since climate-induced extreme weather events are likely to become the “new normal,” far greater efforts are needed to prevent these from becoming humanitarian crises. Governments, donors, climate and humanitarian agencies must work together to prepare for and respond to an increasingly climate-chaotic world.

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TTIPing Away the Ladder: How the EU-US Trade Deal Could Undermine the Sustainable Development Goals

TTIPing Away the Ladder: How the EU-US Trade Deal Could Undermine the Sustainable Development Goals

Report for Trade Justice Movement (September 2015)

The United Nations has developed a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that world governments are expected to use to frame their political policies over the next 15 years. At the same time, the world’s two largest trading blocs – the European Union and the United States – are negotiating a major trade pact – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – aimed at achieving ambitious cuts in trade barriers and investment regulations. This briefing argues that these two processes are incompatible and that TTIP could undermine the world’s ability to achieve the SDGs. Developing countries have not been involved in the TTIP negotiations – a scandal in itself – but TTIP will revise trade and investment rules between the US and EU that are very likely to become global standards; these will undermine developing countries by further forcing open their markets to US and European companies.

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Fostering Economic Resilience: The Financial Benefits of Ecological Farming in Malawi and Kenya

Fostering Economic Resilience: The Financial Benefits of Ecological Farming in Malawi and Kenya

Report for Greenpeace-Africa (May 2015)

This report analyses ecological farming as compared to industrial farming, assessing how much African governments are currently allocating to each and comparing the relative benefits for small farmers. It is based on field research with the World Agro-Foresty Centre and ICIPE, comparing groups of farmers using chemical pesticides/fertilizers, with those not. It finds that the average profitability of maize (per acre, per year) for small farmers is three times greater for farmers promoting ‘push-pull’ technology (ie, no use of chemical pesticides) than for farmers using pesticides. In Malawi, average profitability of maize (per acre, per year) was $259 for agro-forestry farmers (ie, no use of chemical fertilizers) compared to $166 for chemical farmers. The income benefits are especially large for women farmers. The report calculates that African governments are spending at least $1 billion a year on chemical fertilizer subsidies. It calls for a shift away from chemical farming towards promoting Ecological Farming Strategies.

Click on the link above to read the summary or read the full report here.

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Honest Accounts? The True Story of Africa’s Billion Dollar Losses

Honest Accounts? The True Story of Africa’s Billion Dollar Losses

Report for Health Poverty Action, War on Want, World Development Movement, Jubilee Debt Campaign and others (July 2014)

This report is a first comprehensive attempt to measure the financial flows in and out of sub-Saharan Africa. It shows that Africa is being drained of resources, losing far more each year than it receives. While $134 billion flows into the continent each year (mainly in the form of loans, foreign investment and aid) $192 billion is taken out (mainly in profits repatriated by multinational companies, tax dodging and the costs of adapting to climate change). The result is that Africa suffers a net loss of $58 billion a year. Thus the idea that we are aiding Africa is flawed; it is Africa that is aiding the rest of the world. While we are led to believe that aid from the UK and other rich countries is a mark of our generosity, the research shows that wealthy countries benefit from many of Africa’s losses.

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The UK Energy-Finance-Government Nexus

The UK Energy-Finance-Government Nexus

(May 2013)

This briefing, based on research commissioned by the World Development Movement, outlines the role played by British companies in controversial energy projects in developing countries. It shows the nexus of interests, and revolving door, between these companies and former and current civil servants and Ministers. Many British companies currently promoting dirty energy projects are managed or advised by former British officials. Furthermore, senior executives in these companies serve on government-linked advisory boards which shape the UK’s financial and trade policies. The nexus goes to the heart of government. Several Cabinet ministers have past or present links to the energy or finance companies under analysis.

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Web of Power: The UK Government and the Energy-Finance Complex Fuelling Climate Change

Web of Power: The UK Government and the Energy-Finance Complex Fuelling Climate Change

Report for World Development Movement (March 2013)

This report, written by WDM to which Curtis Research contributed research, shows the links between current and former British ministers and officials and the finance and energy companies driving climate change. The report highlights the extent to which British companies currently promoting dirty energy projects in developing countries are managed or advised by former British officials and that senior executives of many of these same companies are currently serving as members of government-linked advisory boards which shape the UK’s financial and trade policies. These companies are likely to be exerting influence over government policy on energy projects and on its wider financial and trade policies, which thus may have been captured by this nexus of personal interests.

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Enough Food for Everyone If…: The need for UK action on global hunger

Enough Food for Everyone If…: The need for UK action on global hunger

Report for UK NGOs (January 2013)

Curtis Research researched and wrote the first draft of this report, which outlines some of the key challenges facing the UK and other developed states relating to their policies on global hunger. The report is the launch document for a UK campaign, the successor to Make Poverty History, to change certain UK government policies on agriculture, nutrition, tax, biofuels, land grabs and policy transparency. It calls on the UK, and other G8 states, to invest in small farmers and those suffering from undernutrition, address damaging biofuels and land grabs policies, take steps to end tax haven secrecy and improve transparency of policies.

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Asia at the Crossroads: Prioritising Conventional Farming or Sustainable Agriculture?

Asia at the Crossroads: Prioritising Conventional Farming or Sustainable Agriculture?

Report for ActionAid (February 2012)

This report argues that Asian countries are at a crossroads in their agriculture strategies. Before them are two farming models: ‘conventional’, industrial farming, promoted by the Green Revolution; and sustainable, or ecological, agriculture – involving methods of farming that are gaining increasing acceptance around the world as the most viable way to promote food security and address climate change. Based on secondary research and fieldwork among farmers in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the Guangxi Autonomous Region of China, the report highlights the deep problems associated with conventional farming and argues that Asian countries must promote sustainable agriculture with much greater urgency than they are currently doing.

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