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  • Author: Benjamin Attia, Shayle Kann, Morgan D. Bazilian
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The global energy transition has reached an inflection point. In numerous markets, the declining cost of solar photovoltaics (PV) has already beaten the cost of new-build coal and natural gas and is now chasing down operating costs of existing thermal power plants, forcing a growing crowd of thermal generation assets into early retirement. Perfect comparability between dispatchable and non-dispatchable resources invites debate, but the cost declines in solar PV are irrefutable: the global average unit cost of competitively-procured solar electricity declined by 83 percent from 2010 to 2018. This is due in part to module cost reductions of approximately 90 percent, capacity-weighted average construction cost declines of 74 percent, and a global paradigm shift in renewable energy procurement policies in the last six years.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Science and Technology, Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Electricity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Timiebi Aganaba-Jeanty
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: The use of climate intervention technologies has not taken into sufficient account the social dimensions of climate intervention research, which includes citizen participation and pooling of knowledge resources. To fill this lacuna, Canada and India can examine what participation in climate intervention research means in the context of an African country to be able to evolve a more international view; urge both countries to conduct national policy discussions on climate intervention research; and increase public awareness of climate intervention technologies
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Chaitanya Giri
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: The UN’s Paris Agreement is best known as the commitment by nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow the rise in global temperatures. But less-heralded provisions of the pact go further than that. In an acknowledgment that emissions-reduction alone will not resolve the unfolding climate crisis, a call has been made for the development of carbon sinks to remove gases already in the atmosphere. These less-heralded greenhouse gas removal technologies are essential to achieving the pact’s goal of keeping the global average surface temperature from rising more than the 1.5 degrees Celsius. These steps are also a key to ensuring that India and Canada meet their ambitious climate-action goals without suffering severe socio-economic and climatic harm.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gregory Claeys, Simone Tagliapietra, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: European Commission president-designate Ursula von der Leyen has made climate change a top priority, promising to propose a European Green Deal that would make Europe climate neutral by 2050. Th e European Green Deal should be conceived as a reallocation mechanism, fostering investment shifts and labour substitution in key economic sectors, while supporting the most vulnerable segments of society throughout the decarbonisation process. Th e deal’s four pillars would be carbon pricing, sustainable investment, industrial policy and a just transition.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Security, Sustainable Development Goals, Global Warming, Green Technology
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus, European Union
  • Author: Richard Schmalensee, Robert Stavins
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The U.S. Clean Air Act, passed in 1970 with strong bipartisan support, was the first environmental law to give the Federal government a serious regulatory role, established the architecture of the U.S. air pollution control system, and became a model for subsequent environmental laws in the United States and globally. We outline the Act’s key provisions, as well as the main changes Congress has made to it over time. We assess the evolution of air pollution control policy under the Clean Air Act, with particular attention to the types of policy instruments used. We provide a generic assessment of the major types of policy instruments, and we trace and assess the historical evolution of EPA’s policy instrument use, with particular focus on the increased use of market-based policy instruments, beginning in the 1970s and culminating in the 1990s. Over the past fifty years, air pollution regulation has gradually become much more complex, and over the past twenty years, policy debates have become increasingly partisan and polarized, to the point that it has become impossible to amend the Act or pass other legislation to address the new threat of climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
  • Abstract: A July 2018 ISD report on “The New Arctic: Navigating the Realities, Possibilities, and Problems” explores the implications of the New Arctic, and the broader geopolitical repercussions of these changes. The Arctic region has become a New Global Common. Increasingly navigable seaways and new access to natural resources create both opportunities for greater collaboration between Arctic and non-Arctic nations, as well as potential flashpoints, environmental disasters, and threats to indigenous communities. The challenge is to mitigate all of these potential threats, and develop the policies, partnerships, and infrastructure to help guide Arctic diplomacy in the decades to come.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Environment, Natural Resources, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Arctic, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Jason Walsh
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: In recent years, the conversation on energy in the United States has shifted from a theme of scarcity to one of abundance. The surge in domestic production of oil and gas alone, which provides a significant advantage to the US economy, may also have drained some of the urgency and enthusiasm from efforts to improve energy efficiency while achieving economic growth targets, particularly in the industrial sector. Yet even in this age of abundance, smarter, cleaner, and more efficient energy use could still provide enormous benefits to American industry, workers, and the country as a whole. Greater national focus on improving industrial energy use could help to: • Increase Economic Competitiveness and Job Growth - US manufacturers are the cornerstone of our nation’s industrial sector and a vital source of good-paying jobs. By improving energy performance, we can help businesses reduce waste, create and sustain jobs, save money, and invest in long-term growth. • Achieve Climate Goals - The industrial sector is America’s biggest end-use emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Unless we have a strategy to reduce these emissions, we have little chance of hitting our climate targets
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lindsey Walter, Ryan Fitzpatrick
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: Climate advocates might have missed this one in the midst of election chaos. Just days after millions of Americans decided on candidates and ballot initiatives, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) made a pretty important decision of its own, choosing to release a report on nuclear energy that was likely to ruffle some feathers in the environmental community.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sylvie Cornot-Gandolphe
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Coal in the power sector is the principal focus of climate-related policies due to its high carbon intensity, making CO2 emissions from coal a leading contributor to climate change. While 38% of global power generation come from coal (in 2017), coal-related CO2 emissions represent more than 70% of power sector emissions. Coal-fired power plants are also the leading source of all primary air pollutants within the power sector, causing respiratory diseases and premature deaths. Structural changes are fast sweeping through global electricity markets. A key driver is the fast deployment of renewable energy sources and their falling costs, making renewables increasingly competitive with coal. Coal is also becoming less competitive than other sources of electricity in several regions, due to the fall in gas prices, the rising cost of the carbon price and higher coal import prices. Pressures against investment in coal activities increasingly create challenges for financing coal projects. Global coal power investment has passed an all-time peak and has contracted over the past two years. Investment in greenfield coal mines is also at a standstill in all major coal exporting countries. Nevertheless, while the future of coal is dark, 2017 has been a good year for the sector. World coal production increased after three consecutive years of decline. Global coal demand and international trade rose again, and high coal prices (above $80/tonne since summer 2016) boosted the financial results of coal-mining companies. As a result of growing fossil fuel demand, global energy-related CO2 emissions rose again in 2017. These short-term results do not call into question global decarbonization trends but demonstrate that current efforts are insufficient to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. The world is still divided about the future role of coal. A major change came in 2015 with the Paris Agreement, which prompted many nations across the world to accelerate their efforts to reduce coal consumption. Since then, several governments and power utilities have decided to phase out coal from their electricity mixes and joined the “Powering Past Coal Alliance”. Coal reduction or phase-out policies are being adopted or considered by more and more countries, and the reduction in the share of coal power generation goes faster than expected in several coal-consuming countries. But South and Southeast Asia remains a region for short to medium term growth in coal demand and Africa is a potential area for new growth. In this, new coal markets can also develop thanks to the support of countries eager to export their coal combustion technologies, led by China and Japan, and by the desire of coal exporters to find new outlets. Despite this growth, the sustainability of the relative good performance of the coal sector in 2017 is far from being ensured.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Electricity, Renewable Energy, Coal
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David B. Sandalow
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: In 2017, China was the world’s leading emitter of heat-trapping gases by a wide margin. Its policies for limiting emissions will have a significant impact on the global climate for decades to come. From a historical perspective, China’s status as the world’s leading emitter is relatively recent. During most of the 19th and 20th centuries, Chinese emissions were modest. Then, in the early part of this century, as the Chinese economy boomed, Chinese emissions began to skyrocket, overtaking those from the United States around 2006. China’s cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution are less than half those from the United States or Europe. (Carbon dioxide, the leading heat-trapping gas, stays in the atmosphere for many years once emitted.)
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus