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  • Author: Emanuel Pastreich
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Now that the movement to address climate change at the systemic and cultural level has gained unprecedented momentum, it is critical for us to establish a viable alternative economy that committed citizens around the world can join. The basic unit of that economy should be fossil-fuel-free (FFF) communities. In these FFF (fossil-fuel-free) communities, to be built from the ground up, nothing eaten or consumed, no form of transformation or communication employed, and no aspect of housing, furniture or utensils will contain fossil fuels (including plastics or fertilizers). Nor will any of these items be produced, transported, or manufactured using fossil fuels.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Olivia Alperstein
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: A new study shows just how bad a nuclear war could get. We need a plan to eliminate this risk permanently
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • 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: 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
  • Author: Jesse Reynolds, Gernot Wagner
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: New technologies, such as social media and do-it-yourself biotechnology, alter the capacities and incentives of both state and nonstate actors. This can include enabling direct decentralized interventions, in turn altering actors’ power relations. The provision of global public goods, widely regarded as states’ domain, so far has eluded such powerful technological disruptions. We here introduce the idea of highly decentralized solar geoengineering, plausibly done in form of small high-altitude balloons. While solar geoengineering has the potential to greatly reduce climate change, it has generally been conceived as centralized and state deployed. Potential highly decentralized deployment moves the activity from the already contested arena of state action to that of environmentally motivated nongovernmental organizations and individuals, which could disrupt international relations and pose novel challenges for technology and environmental policy. We explore its feasibility, political implications, and governance.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael A Mehling
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Parties to the Paris Agreement can engage in voluntary cooperation and use internationally transferred mitigation outcomes towards their national climate pledges. Doing so promises to lower the cost of achieving agreed climate objectives, which can, in turn, allow Parties to increase their mitigation efforts with given resources. Lower costs do not automatically translate into greater climate ambition, however. Transfers that involve questionable mitigation outcomes can effectively increase overall emissions, affirming the need for a sound regulatory framework. As Parties negotiate guidance on the implementation of cooperative approaches under Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement, they are therefore considering governance options to secure environmental integrity and address the question of overall climate ambition. Drawing on an analytical framework that incorporates economic theory and deliberative jurisprudence, practical case studies, and treaty interpretation, this Working Paper maps central positions of actors in the negotiations and evaluates relevant options included in the latest textual proposal.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rachel Kyte
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: On the heels of a major new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the rising risks of climate impacts, on November 19th Brookings hosted Rachel Kyte, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All, in conversation with David G. Victor.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Political Economy, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • 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: Josh Freed
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: Third Way Senior Vice President for Clean Energy Josh Freed released the following statement on the United Steelworkers and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers drive to organize production and maintenance workers at Tesla’s solar factory in Buffalo, New York:
  • Topic: 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: Josh Freed
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: I am not only the Vice President for Clean Energy at Third Way, a center left think tank based in Washington dedicated to getting the United States to zero carbon pollution by 2050. I am also a native of the DC area and almost twenty-year District resident. My father was born here, as were my children.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ryan Fitzpatrick
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Third Way
  • Abstract: My name is Ryan Fitzpatrick, and I am a resident of Ward 5 in the District of Columbia and Deputy Director of Clean Energy for Third Way, a policy think tank here in DC. As we saw yesterday with the release of the new report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world is facing an enormous challenge in the fight against climate change. We at Third Way believe that this demands urgent, aggressive action now to reduce and eliminate carbon pollution as cost-effectively, and from as many sectors of the economy, as possible
  • Topic: Climate Change, Globalization, International Affairs
  • 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
  • Author: Emmy Simmons
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Renewed and expanded international collaboration to anticipate and prepare for recurring storms of food insecurity is essential. Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Syria are examples that vividly underscore the explosiveness of situations in which people find themselves unable to get the food they want and need. The experiences of post-conflict countries highlight some critical issues that need to be prioritized in order to regain sustainable food security. Averting future storms will require the recognition that food security challenges will extend long beyond 2030, political leadership must be visibly committed to these issues, and actions to reduce fragmentation of effort will be critical.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Food Security, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael A Mehling, Gilbert E. Metcalf, Robert Stavins
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The Paris Agreement has achieved one of two key necessary conditions for ultimate success—a broad base of participation among the countries of the world. But another key necessary condition has yet to be achieved—adequate collective ambition of the individual nationally determined contributions. How can climate negotiators provide a structure that will include incentives to increase ambition over time? An important part of the answer can be international linkage of regional, national, and sub-national policies—that is, formal recognition of emission reductions undertaken in another jurisdiction for the purpose of meeting a Party’s own mitigation objectives. A central challenge is how to facilitate such linkage in the context of the very great heterogeneity that characterizes climate policies along five dimensions: type of policy instrument; level of government jurisdiction; status of that jurisdiction under the Paris Agreement; nature of the policy instrument’s target; and the nature, along several dimensions, of each Party’s Nationally Determined Contribution. We consider such heterogeneity among policies, and identify which linkages of various combinations of characteristics are feasible; of these, which are most promising; and what accounting mechanisms would make the operation of respective linkages consistent with the Paris Agreement.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Milan Elkerbout
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement represents a setback for global climate action. But the damage will be felt more in political and diplomatic terms than in terms of climate policy or reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which depend at least in the near term on domestic climate policies. The election of Donald Trump and the strong Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress that accompanied his election immediately dispelled any hope that the US would implement or maintain ambitious climate policies. Indeed, in the first months of his Presidency, Trump signed an executive order to review (and thus likely roll back) President Obama’s landmark climate policy – the Clean Power Plan. The latter initiative aimed to reduce power-sector emissions by 32% by 2030 through federal legislation. Other US climate policies, such as vehicle standards and methane regulations, are also destined for the axe. Taken collectively, these measures will make it very difficult for the country to meet its Paris pledge of reducing GHG emissions by 26-28% by 2025 compared to 2005, even if another personality occupies the White House by 2021. 1 Improving fundamentals for renewable energy may still allow the US to reach its 2020 target of a 17% reduction in emissions compared to 2005. But the difference between this target and the formal pledge made by the US in Paris is roughly equal to the annual emissions of the entire transport sector in the EU.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs, Climate Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: James Bacchus
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: There is a looming collision between the rules frameworks of the two separate international institutions that have been created and entrusted with addressing trade and climate change. Links between trade and climate change can no longer be ignored by either the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Neither has considered the consequences of the trade restrictions that are likely to be part of many national measures enacted to address climate change, which will fall within the scope of the WTO Agreement and will surely lead to a lengthy WTO dispute settlement process. Such trade-restrictive national measures will be fed by domestic fears of “carbon leakage” and a loss of national competitiveness, and WTO disputes resulting from such measures will confront numerous unanswered legal questions due to an absence of relevant WTO jurisprudence. To minimize the political risks of such a collision to both the WTO and the COP, and to combine the most benefit for the climate with the least risk to trade, a WTO climate waiver is urgently needed. The adoption of a WTO climate waiver should be only the first of the ways in which WTO members revise and realign WTO rules in accordance with the objectives of sustainable development.
  • Topic: Climate Change
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jiayi Zhou
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, climate change has become increasingly embedded within global security discourse, but whether it should be formally considered as a matter for the international peace and security agenda remains contested. Moreover, while the adverse effects of climate change on natural, societal and governance systems clearly amounts to a threat that is transnational in scope, the international response remains dependent on positions taken at a national level. The United Nations Security Council represents a key forum and lens into this debate, within which national governments’ positions on climate security continue to diverge
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: A conference report on CCSI’s Conference on “Climate Change and Sustainable Investment in Natural Resources: From Consensus to Action” is available here, and a shorter outcome document , which was disseminated at COP22, is available here. These documents summarize the discussions at the eleventh annual Columbia International Investment Conference, which took place on November 2-3, 2016, at Columbia University. The Conference offered a high-level opportunity to discuss how countries can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement, while also advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular the important implications for the world’s approach to natural resource investments. It featured leaders from government, the private sector, civil society, and academia, and brought together nearly 400 participants. In the lead-up to the Conference, CCSI also published a Blog Series on the Earth Institute’s State of the Planet Blog.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus