During the first months of 2019, the work of EfD Colombia researchers work has been mentioned in different national media. Researchers have also written opinion columns in which they discuss relevant topics about environmental economics and development. The topics covered in media are diverse: deforestation in Colombia, air quality in Bogotá and Medellín and climate economics.
Researcher Maria Alejandra Velez discusses the strategy against deforestation defined in the current National Development Plan in a column published in Spanish in “La Silla Vacía”. Since Colombia elects a new government for four year period, each government defines a National Development Plan for the next four years. In this opinion column, researcher Maria Alejandra Velez argues that the government strategy against deforestation has to take into account the ethnic communities that live in the Colombian forests. These communities are an important part of the solution of the deforestation problem because they manage the forests and they live from the resources that forests provide.
Journalists also mention the policy recommendations that EfD researchers have found from their research projects. In recent months, Bogota has seen several critical air quality episodes. A journalistic column published in Spanish in Magazine “Dinero” mentioned the recommendation of researcher Jorge Bonilla about the need to define a protocol for these critical episodes. This protocol will provide a guide for the air quality alerts and the measures that policy makers should implement in these episodes.
Air quality is not only a problem of the capital city, Bogotá. Medellin and Bucaramanga have also air quality problems. In the case of Medellin, researcher Sergio Orrego participated in a research project which measured the physical and economic impact of atmospheric pollution on health in Medellin. One of the results of this research was that breathing diseases caused by air pollution are responsible for more than 7000 deaths in Medellin during years 2012 and 2016. The results of this research are discussed in Spanish in the media "Semana Sostenible" and "El Colombiano". These results are part of a project financed by EfD in which researcher Sergio Orrego collaborates with EfD researchers Felipe Vasquez and Francisco Alpízar.
Researcher Jorge García comments on the relevance of William Nordhaus’ efforts in the development of the first Integrated Assessment Model of climate change. Using this Model, Nordhaus suggested that the current economy should have a slow transition to a low carbon economy. The issue at hand was the value of the discount rate: climatologists argued that mitigation measures were urgent to stop the increase of world temperature, however, the used discount rate showed that the costs of mitigation measures were higher than the future benefits. The adequate level of the discount rate is still discussed among researchers. Many argue that models should employ a lower discount rate than the rate that Nordhaus used at the beginning of his modelling efforts. This matter is further discussed in this column by researcher Jorge García published in Spanish in "La Nota Económica" .