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  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, David Pollock
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Areas for especially timely U.S.-Israel cooperation include climate resilience, agtech, and medical research, as well as longstanding work in the military and security arenas. In the fifth in a series of TRANSITION 2021 memos examining the Middle East and North Africa, Michael Eisenstadt and David Pollock assess the multifaceted strengths of the U.S.-Israel partnership and its prospects for growth under the Biden administration. Areas for especially timely cooperation include climate resilience, agtech, and medical research, as well as longstanding work in the military and security arenas. Israel’s recent normalization deals with several Arab states only further widen the horizon. “Israel is a world-class innovator in technologies that will be critical to meeting future challenges, including artificial intelligence, information technology, and cybersecurity; sustainable water, food, and energy solutions; and high-tech medicine,” explain the authors. “All these areas are supportive of America’s foreign policy priorities.” In the coming weeks, TRANSITION 2021 memos by Washington Institute experts will address the broad array of issues facing the Biden-Harris administration in the Middle East. These range from thematic issues, such as the region’s strategic position in the context of Great Power competition and how to most effectively elevate human rights and democracy in Middle East policy, to more discrete topics, from Arab-Israel peace diplomacy to Red Sea security to challenges and opportunities in northwest Africa. Taken as a whole, this series of memos will present a comprehensive approach for advancing U.S. interests in security and peace in this vital but volatile region.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, International Cooperation, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jeff D. Colgan, Thomas N. Hale
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: Climate change is the defining global challenge of the twenty-first century. It constitutes a direct threat to the safety and prosperity of Americans. U.S. President Joe Biden has committed to reorienting U.S. foreign policy to meet the climate challenge. This report provides an early assessment of the Biden administration’s international climate diplomacy against these goals in the first 100 days, recognizing that others have focused on domestic policy, and that climate change must be at the top of the U.S. foreign-policy agenda. It builds on a previous report by the Brown University Climate Solutions Lab, issued on October 8, 2020, that identified and recommended ten executive climate actions, which are central to advancing U.S. foreign-policy objectives. Of the 9 internationally-oriented climate pledges evaluated, made by the Biden campaign during the 2020 presidential election, the report finds that the Biden team has already delivered effectively on 4 of them, made some progress on 2, and taken baby steps or made no real progress on 3. These will require further attention and resources in the coming months.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Masooma Rahmaty, Jimena Leiva Roesch
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Youth movements have played an increasingly prominent role in calling for action to address climate change. Many youth-led organizations are also engaged in initiatives to build peace in their communities. In global policymaking fora, however, youth remain sidelined. The sidelining of youth peacebuilders and climate activists can be attributed to four main factors. First, there are widespread misperceptions of youth grounded in age and gender stereotypes. Young men are often seen as perpetrators of violence, while young women are seen as passive victims. These misperceptions can lead policymakers to adopt a securitized approach to youth, peace, and security and overlook the efforts of young peacebuilders. In some cases, the perception that young activists are a threat to national security can also put them at risk. Second, global policy frameworks on youth are outdated and piecemeal. While the UN Security Council has passed three resolutions on youth, peace, and security since 2015, there is no comparable framework for youth and sustainable development or climate action. Moreover, there is no overarching global framework on youth that links the youth, peace, and security and youth climate action agendas. Third, youth organizations and activists are underfunded. Much of the work that young people do is voluntary. While there are some initiatives to direct more funding toward youth-led organizations, funding largely remains ad hoc, and many organizations lack the capacity to meet the onerous application and reporting requirements. Finally, youth have weak institutional links to global governance fora. There are some mechanisms for consulting and involving youth, including the secretary-general’s global envoy on youth, the UN-coordinated Global Coalition on Youth, Peace and Security, and the Youth Constituency of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. However, youth have no direct decision-making role in the work of the UN and its member states, and engagement is often ad hoc. To build peace and tackle climate change, governments and multilateral institutions must shift toward inclusive governance systems that involve and empower youth. They must also consider the synergies between youth, climate, and peace.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Governance, Youth, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ben McWilliams, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Many of the technologies that can help the European Union become a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 have been shown to work but are not yet commercially competitive with incumbent fossil-fuel technologies. There is not enough private investment to drive the deployment of new low-carbon alternatives. This is primarily because carbon prices are neither high enough nor stable. There are a number of benefits from the deployment of low-carbon technologies that private firms do not factor in. These include the benefits of decreasing industry-wide costs over time, and the global climate benefits from the development of low-carbon technologies within the EU that can subsequently be exported. The result is an investment level below the socially optimal value in the EU. Commercialisation contracts could be implemented as a temporary measure to remove the risk associated with uncertain carbon prices for ambitious low-carbon projects. The aim of the contracts would be to increase private investment to the socially optimal level. Contracts would be allocated through auctions in which fixed prices for abated emissions over a fixed duration would be agreed on a project-by-project basis. On an annual basis, public subsidies amounting to the difference between the agreed carbon price and the actual EU carbon price would be provided to investors, depending on the total carbon emissions abated. As long as EU carbon prices are low, investors would receive larger subsidies to ensure their competitiveness. Contracts would be auctioned at EU level. This would generate increased competition compared to national auctions, leading to more efficient outcomes and preventing fragmentation of the single market. From about €3 billion to €6 billion would be provided to the main industrial emitting sectors annually, with the amount reducing as the EU carbon price rises and low-carbon technologies become competitive without subsidy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Science and Technology, Investment, Trade, Carbon Emissions, Decarbonization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marta Dominguez-Jimenez, Alexander Lehmann
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: International debt investors increasingly demand assets that are aligned with environmental, social and governance objectives. Sovereign debt is being belatedly swept up in this change. This huge asset class represents a uniquely long-term claim and funds a wide range of public expenditure, both brown and green. Public capital expenditures will be a central part of the roughly €3 trillion investment budget needed to pay for the European Green Deal. European Union countries have so far met investor appetite for climate-aligned assets through sovereign green bonds, the issuance of which has rapidly grown since 2017. The EU itself will also issue green bonds in large volumes. However, because of some inherent flaws in such instruments and as their still-weak frameworks, these bonds are unlikely to meet the environmental criteria demanded by investors, and will complicate established principles in sovereign debt management. Much more comprehensive information is needed on the climate related aspects of the public budgets of EU countries. Greater transparency in this respect would support stability and improve the functioning of capital markets, given that sovereign debt plays a pivotal role in all investor portfolios and also in regulatory and monetary policy. Adoption by sovereign issuers of green budgeting principles, based on a common taxonomy of sustainable activities, would enhance transparency. It could also be driven by investors who, under new EU rules, must disclose the climate-related aspects of all financial instruments offered in the capital market.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Debt, Markets, Sovereignty, European Union, Finance, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ben McWilliams, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Hydrogen is seen as a means to decarbonise sectors with greenhouse gas emissions that are hard to reduce, as a medium for energy storage, and as a fallback in case halted fossil-fuel imports lead to energy shortages. Hydrogen is likely to play at least some role in the European Union’s achievement by 2050 of a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target. However, production of hydrogen in the EU is currently emissions intensive. Hydrogen supply could be decarbonised if produced via electrolysis based on electricity from renewable sources, or produced from natural gas with carbon, capture, and storage. The theoretical production potential of low-carbon hydrogen is virtually unlimited and production volumes will thus depend only on demand and supply cost. Estimates of final hydrogen demand in 2050 range from levels similar to today’s in a low-demand scenario, to ten times today’s level in a high-demand scenario. Hydrogen is used as either a chemical feedstock or an energy source. A base level of 2050 demand can be derived from looking at sectors that already consume hydrogen and others that are likely to adopt hydrogen. The use of hydrogen in many sectors has been demonstrated. Whether use will increase depends on the complex interplay between competing energy supplies, public policy, technological and systems innovation, and consumer preferences. Policymakers must address the need to displace carbon-intensive hydrogen with low-carbon hydrogen, and incentivise the uptake of hydrogen as a means to decarbonise sectors with hard-to-reduce emissions. Certain key principles can be followed without regret: driving down supply costs of low-carbon hydrogen production; accelerating initial deployment with public support to test the economic viability and enable learning; and continued strengthening of climate policies such as the EU emissions trading system to stimulate the growth of hydrogen-based solutions in the areas for which hydrogen is most suitable.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Carbon Emissions, Decarbonization, Hydrogen
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Ottmar Edenhofer, Mirjam Kosch, Michael Pahle, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Putting carbon pricing at the centre of the EU climate policy architecture would provide major benefits. Obtaining these benefits requires a uniform, credible and durable carbon price – the economic first-best solution, however, several preconditions required to attain this solution are not yet met. This paper proposes a sequenced approach to ensure convergence of the policy mix on the first-best in the long run.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Carbon Tax, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mark Leonard, Jeremy Shapiro, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Simone Tagliapietra, Guntram B. Wolff
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The European Green Deal is a plan to decarbonise the EU economy by 2050, revolutionise the EU’s energy system, profoundly transform the economy and inspire efforts to combat climate change. But the plan will also have profound geopolitical repercussions. The Green Deal will affect geopolitics through its impact on the EU energy balance and global markets; on oil and gas-producing countries in the EU neighbourhood; on European energy security; and on global trade patterns, notably via the carbon border adjustment mechanism. At least some of these changes are likely to impact partner countries adversely. The EU needs to wake up to the consequences abroad of its domestic decisions. It should prepare to help manage the geopolitical aspects of the European Green Deal. Relationships with important neighbourhood countries such as Russia and Algeria, and with global players including the United States, China and Saudi Arabia, are central to this effort, which can be structured around seven actions: Help neighbouring oil and gas-exporting countries manage the repercussions of the European Green Deal. The EU should engage with these countries to foster their economic diversification, including into renewable energy and green hydrogen that could in the future be exported to Europe. Improve the security of critical raw materials supply and limit dependence, first and foremost on China. Essential measures include greater supply diversification, increased recycling volumes and substitution of critical materials. Work with the US and other partners to establish a ‘climate club’ whose members will apply similar carbon border adjustment measures. All countries, including China, would be welcome to join if they commit to abide by the club’s objectives and rules. Become a global standard-setter for the energy transition, particularly in hydrogen and green bonds. Requiring compliance with strict environmental regulations as a condition to access the EU market will be strong encouragement to go green for all countries. Internationalise the European Green Deal by mobilising the EU budget, the EU Recovery and Resilience Fund, and EU development policy. Promote global coalitions for climate change mitigation, for example through a global coalition for the permafrost, which would fund measures to contain the permafrost thaw. Promote a global platform on the new economics of climate action to share lessons learned and best practices.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Boubacar Ba, Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Following Mali’s coup d’état of 18 August 2020, the transitional government is yet to present a roadmap for peace in central Mali outlining a new strategy for dialogue with armed non-state actors. To support this process, it is important that Mali’s international donors identify already-existing local peace agreements and support local-level dialogue with all parties to conflicts. Recommendations: Immediate de-escalation of conflicts is needed through disarmament of militias and rebuilding of trust between local communities and Mali’s armed forces, with a strong focus on protecting civilians. Mali needs a national, comprehensive strategy for how to include jihadists and local militias in dialogue, reconciliation and dispute resolution. International donors need to identify already-existing local peace agreements and support local-level dialogue between all parties to conflicts. Long-term solutions regulating equal access to natural resources for different population groups are key.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Democratization, Environment, Terrorism, Water, Food, Non State Actors, Governance, Fragile States, Investment, Peace, Land Rights
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali
  • Author: Flemming Splidsboel Hansen
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: A survey of current Russian strategies and military thinking about the Arctic points to clear separate military and development goals. Leading Russian military commentators usually include both in their analyses, often highlighting the softer development aspect of security. Moreover, much of the military writing identifies broad possibilities for international co-operation in the Arctic. Key findings Russian military commentators usually insist that all relevant actors need to act with care to avoid a deterioration of the situation in the Arctic. Russian military writing contains a strong focus on the development of the Russian Arctic. Russian military writing identifies broad possibilities for co-operation in both the military and civilian fields.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Climate Change, Diplomacy, Environment, International Organization, Oil, Power Politics, Gas, Minerals
  • Political Geography: Russia, Arctic
  • Author: Per Kalvig, Hans Lucht
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Rare earth elements (REEs) are vital for communications, the green energy transition and defense, but are produced almost exclusively in China. As the projected REE mines in southern Greenland inch closer to realization, Denmark and its EU partners remain sidelined from future supply chains for raw materials. Key findings: Rare earth elements (REEs) are vital to daily life, communications, green energy and defense. Yet, REEs and products containing REEs are almost exclusively controlled and produced by China. Significant long-term strategic state or supra-state support is required to challenge Chinese dominance of the REE sector and reduce the vulnerability of European and American energy supplies. In the absence of REE industries in Europe or America, the two REE projects in South Greenland, with their potential to become significant suppliers of REE, will most likely supply Chinese-controlled raw materials industries.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Climate Change, Environment, Oil, Power Politics, Gas, Minerals, Rare earth elements (REEs)
  • Political Geography: China, Denmark, Greenland, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Mikkel Funder, Holle Wlokas, Karen Holm Olsen
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Renewable energy is key to combatting climate change, but it is critical to ensure a just energy transition that benefits all. Denmark’s development cooperation supports the growth of large-scale renewable energy schemes in several countries, but what is good for recipient governments and Danish exports is not automatically good for the poor. In recent years large-scale wind- and solar schemes in developing countries have increasingly met with local resistance from communities who do not feel they benefit from such projects. How can Denmark help ensure that renewable energy projects contribute to community development in the areas where projects are situated? This policy brief provides lessons learnt and associated recommendations from one particular attempt to address this issue, namely South Africa’s efforts to incorporate community development as a criteria in the auction schemes through which renewable energy is procured. This policy is implemented through the nationwide REIPPP programme, which is among the few of its kind globally. While South Africa’s REIPPPP is not perfect and still developing, the programme does exemplify the basic principle that governments can build requirements for privately owned wind- and solar projects into procurement schemes. Requirements to finance community development, support Community Trusts, and allocate shares to communities are thus examples of approaches that could be developed and adapted elsewhere. In addition, the South African programme includes scoring and - performance criteria in the tendering and monitoring process that align with South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment policy. The South African experience also, however, illustrates how public, private and community interests may differ in terms of what community development is and how it should be supported. This highlights the importance of developing democratic and inclusive structures for debating and decision-making on the use and allocation of benefits from large-scale renewable energy projects. Drawing on the lessons from South Africa and other similar schemes, the policy brief recommends that Danish development cooperation should: Support the incorporation of community benefits in regulatory frameworks for public procurement of private renewable energy generation Support development of practice frameworks for community engagement in the renewable energy sector Support community co-ownership of renewable energy generation and democratic governance of benefit sharing arrangements The policy brief is the result of collaborative research between DIIS, Stellenbosch University and the UNEP DTU Partnership. It forms part of the wider TENTRANS project, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and administered by Danida Fellowship Centre.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Poverty, Natural Resources, Inequality, Emerging States
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Rasmus Hundsbæk Pedersen, Ole Winckler Andersen
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Development assistance for new renewable energy in Sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly being used to mobilise additional private capital. Recipient countries do not always share the priorities of donors. Realism and long-term support are key. RECOMMENDATIONS: Continue funding, but also acknowledge different interests and objectives, in order to move new renewable energy to scale. Balance the support for market development with support to government entities. Support longer-term capacity-building to ensure energy sector sustainability in recipient countries. Adopt flexible approaches and ensure independent advice to governments and institutions.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Foreign Aid, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Denmark, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Wendy Cutler, Anubhav Gupta, Nathan Levine, Richard Maude, Elina Noor, Jing Qian, Alistair Ritchie, Kevin Rudd, Daniel R. Russel, Thom Woodroofe
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: The Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) Notes for the Biden Administration is designed to offer creative and practical ideas for how the United States might re-engage in the Asia Pacific, particularly in the critical first six months of the new administration. The administration will immediately face a range of challenges and opportunities in this important region, including on climate change, public health, and the global economy. President-elect Biden and his team have signaled the need for the United States to lean into and deepen its engagement with friends and allies. This will mean leveraging the Asia Pacific’s multilateral architecture as well as using global forums such as the G20 and international organizations. Trade policy will also figure importantly in any effort to renew and expand America’s engagement. Additionally, the U.S.-China relationship will loom large from the outset. Tensions with China will surely linger, whether in the South China Sea or the Taiwan Strait, complicating the task of establishing a new framework of “managed strategic competition” – a combination of each side's "red lines," continued competition, plus agreement on areas of mutually beneficial cooperation. ASPI Notes for the Biden Administration provides a diverse package of 20 actionable proposals to address specific risks or objectives in reconnecting with the Asia Pacific. These notes carefully reflect the views, perspectives, and expectations of the region itself – a hallmark of ASPI’s approach.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Economy, Trade, Public Health, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia, Asia-Pacific, United States of America
  • Author: Nicola De Blasio, Fridolin Pflugmann, Henry Lee
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Clean hydrogen is experiencing unprecedented momentum as confidence in its ability to accelerate decarbonization efforts across multiple sectors is rising. New projects are announced almost every week. For example, an international developer, Intercontinental Energy, plans to build a plant in Oman that will produce almost 2 million tons of clean hydrogen and 10 million tons of clean ammonia.1 Dozens of other large-scale projects and several hundred smaller ones are already in the planning stage. Similarly, on the demand side, hydrogen is gaining support from customers. Prominent off-takers such as oil majors like Shell and bp, steelmakers like ThyssenKrupp, and world-leading ammonia producers like Yara are working on making a clean hydrogen economy a reality. Despite the optimism surrounding clean hydrogen, key uncertainties remain. One of hydrogen’s attractions is that it can provide carbon-free energy in multiple sectors—transport, heating, industry, and electricity generation. But this advantage also creates uncertainties. The infrastructure needed in an economy in which hydrogen is primarily used as a transport fuel is very different from one in which its primary value is as a heating fuel. Today no major hydrogen pipeline networks exist,2 and no liquified hydrogen ships are in commercial operation. There is a true chicken and egg problem. If there is no infrastructure to move hydrogen, will investments in supply and demand happen at the pace needed to meet national decarbonization targets? This challenge raises an even more pressing question: what should be the respective roles of the public and private sectors in deploying enabling infrastructure at scale?
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Infrastructure, Renewable Energy, Hydrogen
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jasmina Brankovic, Augustine Njamnshi, Christoph Schwarte
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
  • Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has created human suffering on a global scale, but also a window of opportunity to rethink how we live, work and play. For the time being, calls for a green recovery that builds back better by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, protecting the environment and creating a fairer, more equitable society have become commonplace. This could help to build new momentum in international efforts to combat climate change and rebuild lost trust and goodwill between parties in the intergovernmental negotiations through new collective approaches. If we are serious about creating a better future, transitional justice can provide some important guidance on the way forward. It would provide a framework to deal with past inequitable use of the global environment in a transparent and inclusive manner and shape a new path of international solidarity and collaboration. This paper provides a brief overview of the concept of transitional justice, its techniques and potential relevance in the climate negotiation context.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Cooperation, Transitional Justice, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Wouter Zweers, Giulia Cretti, Kristina Naunova
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: With the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, the 2050 climate neutrality goal of the European Union has been extended to the six countries in South-Eastern Europe that aspire to join the Union. The Green Agenda is a promising tool for fostering climate and energy policy measures in the Western Balkans, a region with high vulnerability to climate change risks and little energy diversification away from coal. But could the Green Agenda also be a catalyst for renewed interest and enhanced political engagement, leading to a much-needed impetus to the EU enlargement process? This policy brief asks how the Green Agenda can work in the interest of both the objective of a climate neutral continent and the EU accession of the Western Balkan countries.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Diversification
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Luuk Molthof, Giulia Cretti, Aleksandar Macura
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This Clingendael series ‘The Green Agenda for the Western Balkans’ provides an inside perspective on the EU climate ambitions for the Western Balkan Six (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo*, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) and the challenges ahead. In this second contribution, we analyse the state of affairs with regard to energy diversification and greenification. The energy sector in most Western Balkan countries is characterised by a heavy dependency on coal and outdated production facilities, posing severe environmental challenges to the region. Possessing significant renewable energy potential, the Western Balkan Six (WB6) in theory have good prospects of making a successful energy transition. In terms of natural resources, the region is also well placed as Albania and Serbia possess solid reserves of metals and rare earths that are needed to develop energy transition technologies, such as batteries, smart grids, solar panels and windmills. Yet the transition is hampered by several economic and political factors, such as a highly centralised energy market with only a few large suppliers, dynamics of clientelism and controversial outside investment (such as from China). This policy brief analyses the current challenges that prevent energy diversification and greenification in the region and asks how the recently launched EU Green Agenda for the Western Balkans can address these challenges.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Paul Hofhuis, Wouter Zweers, Giulia Cretti, Srdja Popovic
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This Clingendael series ‘The Green Agenda for the Western Balkans’ provides an inside perspective on the EU climate ambitions for the Western Balkan Six (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo*, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) and the challenges ahead. In this third contribution, we analyse the state of affairs with regard to pollution. Across the Western Balkans, air, water and soil pollution levels are incredibly high. Public health is continuously jeopardised by air pollution arising from local heating sources and energy production plants. The Green Agenda for the Western Balkans aims to assist the region in tackling pollution problems and aligning the countries’ environmental quality regulation with the European acquis. This paper analyses the state of affairs with regard to air, water and soil pollution in the WB6 and examines how it affects citizens’ health and socioeconomic prospects. The policy brief argues that countries in the Western Balkans need to address a coal phase-out while simultaneously tackling energy poverty. The EU could more actively support this, not only by providing a platform for dialogue, but through supporting programmes for renewable energy provisions and infrastructure, reskilling of workers and job creation. The Sofia Declaration, that sets out the Green Agenda, needs to be complemented with measures to ensure compliance with environmental regulations, preferably by involving civil society organisations in monitoring implementation and raising public awareness of the socioeconomic costs of pollution.
  • Topic: Climate Change, European Union, Pollution, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: Addressing America’s severe infrastructure needs—finally—must be at the top of the nation’s agenda. Improving infrastructure is one of the few issues that enjoys strong bipartisan support among the American public. Eighty percent of Americans support rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure—more than almost any other top issue facing the nation—and roughly two-thirds of Americans rate their own local roads as in fair or poor condition.1 A similar proportion say that the country is not doing enough to meet infrastructure needs.2 Modern, effective infrastructure is essential for virtually all US commerce and, therefore, for growth and prosperity that is widely shared among all Americans. Transportation and other forms of infrastructure must remake themselves to remain productive as the economy changes around them. But the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the US economy makes improving our infrastructure, keeping America competitive, and getting Americans back to work that much more urgent. The pandemic has forced an accelerated integration of technology into the work, school and personal lives of many Americans. But that has revealed inequities in access to reliable, high-speed internet. This experience is one more example of how our nation’s deficient infrastructure slows our economic growth generally. Around 24 million US households lack access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet. If not addressed, weak infrastructure can deprive many Americans of equal access to opportunity. And at the same time, climate change threatens the foundations of our economy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Infrastructure, Economy, Transportation, Sustainability, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Felix Bierbrauer, Gabriel Felbermayr, Axel Ockenfels, Klaus M. Schmidt, Jens Sudekum
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: The EU steps up its efforts to curb its territorial CO2-emissions. It is planning to introduce a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) to level the playing field and to raise own resources. The authors point out that unilateral European climate policy action, whether shored up with a CBAM or not, can only play a limited role in reducing global CO2-emissions. A EU-CBAM cannot stop indirect leakage, it has ambiguous effects on other countries’ mitigation efforts, and it poses the risk of conflicts with trade partners. They propose that the EU, together with the US and other like-minded countries, should push hard to establish a climate club with a common minimum price of CO2 and a common CBAM applied to third countries. Such a framework would incentivize other countries to join while limiting leakage and reducing the risk of trade policy disputes.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stanislav Secrieru, Federica Prandin
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: In the span of two decades, in its relations with Russia the EU has moved from ambitious endeavours to build Common Spaces and foster the Partnership for Modernisation to a more minimalist and defensive approach, epitomised by the dictum ‘to push back, to contain and to engage’ (1). There is no shortage of ideas on how to operationalise the first two aspects of this strategy, but the third one is more problematic. As global warming and the need for comprehensive decarbonisation efforts have risen to the top of the EU’s agenda, fighting climate change has re-emerged as one of the prospective areas for positive selective interaction with Russia. Global warming knows no borders and requires transnational solutions, thus for its own sake if nothing else Russia should be interested in expanding such cooperation too. This Brief proposes to test this assumption by addressing the following questions: what is Russia’s profile as a polluter? How strong is the impact of climate change in Russia? What shapes the Kremlin’s perceptions and responses? Is there room for genuine cooperation today between Russia and the EU on climate issues? If not, what factors could change Russia’s attitudes and actions in the near and distant future?
  • Topic: Climate Change, European Union, Decarbonization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Jussi Lassila, Marco Siddi
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia’s role in international climate policy is central. Russia is the fourth largest emitter of carbon dioxide and has vast potential for developing renewable energy. However, its fossil fuel-based economy and the legitimacy it creates for the Kremlin make climate action inherently difficult. Thanks to the growing politicization of environmental issues, the relevance of climate change may increase in the Russian public debate. The effects of climate change, such as melting permafrost and the Siberian forest fires, could catalyze this process. Climate-sceptical populism may sometimes feature in the rhetoric of the political elite, but its proliferation in society is unlikely. Most Russians are concerned about climate change, even if less so than Western Europeans. However, Russia’s decision-making on climate policy is highly centralized, with little or no input from civil society actors. The energy transition in Europe can eventually deprive Russia of its main market for fossil fuel exports, but it also creates new prospects for cooperation in green energy development.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Climate Change, Environment, Carbon Emissions, Decarbonization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Olli Ruohomäki
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Africa is an enormous continent composed of several regions and 54 states, populated with more than 1.3 bil- lion people. Tere are more than 1,500 languages and diverse cultures. Both low-income and high-income countries and disparate levels of development are found on the continent. There is both concern and hope in the air regard- ing the trajectory that Africa’s development will take. Dwelling solely on negative news about confict, polit- ical turmoil, hunger and refugees is not constructive. Neither is seeing Africa through ‘rose-tinted glasses’ as a continent full of promise for trade and investment prospects. Rather, a balanced and realistic vision that looks over the horizon into the future is required. Talking about the diverse and vast continent as a whole is fraught with potential accusations of sweeping generalizations and even arrogance. Nonetheless, this is exactly what the business of forecasting is all about. To put it another way, predicting the future is essentially about painting the canvas with broad strokes and seeing the big picture. It is then up to area studies, sociology, anthropology, political science and similar disciplines to dwell on the more nuanced and detailed case studies. Hence, despite the complexity that forecasting the future of Africa entails, it is possible to outline the main contours of the trajectory of change that in- forms the course of developments on the continent.1 It is with this in mind that this Briefng Paper exam- ines seven megatrends that are shaping the future of Africa
  • Topic: Climate Change, Democratization, Environment, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Urbanization, Conflict, Regionalism, Population Growth
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Lauri Tahtinen
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Increased deforestation in the Amazon is the outcome of Brazil’s long political crisis. What started in 2013 with a bus fare hike has traversed through contestable impeachment and populist uprising into a constitutional stalemate. European institutional investors have been in the vanguard of checking Brasília’s lax approach to deforestation and other environmental challenges. While investors continue to carry a big stick, European and US political leadership should consider what carrots they can offer Brasília. Brussels and Washington have changed course rapidly from an approach that emphasised closer ties with Brasília to one of dissatisfaction and distancing. This is both a cause and an effect of Brazil’s international standing diminishing both in terms of economy and country brand. In recent years, Brazil has simultaneously tried to raze more rainforest and build North Atlantic trading relations; the two cannot be done at the same time. A politics of rapprochement with Brazil requires much closer coordination between Europe and the United States than the parties are accustomed to; a commitment to a climate-sensitive globalisation is necessary from Brasília.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Globalization, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Brazil, South America, North America
  • Author: Cinzia Bianco
  • Publication Date: 10-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
  • Abstract: Gulf monarchies believe hydrocarbons will continue to be a fundamental – albeit shrinking – source of revenues for decades. But, as shown by Saudi Arabia’s net-zero pledge, they now see economic and political opportunities in embracing the green energy transition. If the EU is to achieve its climate and geopolitical goals, it will need to substantially increase its engagement with Gulf states on the European Green Deal. Electricity interconnection and green hydrogen are the two most promising fields of clean energy cooperation between the sides. Europeans should not cave to international pressure to lower their ambitions on carbon taxation, including the carbon border adjustment mechanism, as this remains a powerful incentive for hydrocarbons producers to make the transition to cleaner energy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Geopolitics, Engagement , Carbon Tax, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Alex Clark, Susi Dennison, Mats Engström
  • Publication Date: 10-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
  • Abstract: The global transition away from carbon will fundamentally alter the EU’s dependencies on energy, raw materials, and new technologies. The bloc needs to manage these dependencies while maintaining the fragile consensus between member states on the European Green Deal and fulfilling its ambitions for global climate leadership. The EU should help deliver a green grand bargain by making use of all its sources of economic, multilateral, and soft power. The bloc should reframe the international debate on energy security to focus on clean energy resources and efficiency, engaging in the market reforms needed to incentivise this shift. The EU should make every effort to reassure countries in the global south that the green transition will not leave them behind. The Global Gateway provides a strong framework for doing this – as would an EU Co-innovation and Green Tech Diffusion Fund. The EU also needs to place European sovereignty at the centre of its internal narrative on the European Green Deal. This could help win support for the agreement from member states that are concerned about the economic and social effects of the green transition.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Science and Technology, European Union, Partnerships, Multilateralism, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Asli Aydıntaşbaş , Susi Dennison
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
  • Abstract: Europeans know that the EU needs to create a new paradigm in its relationship with Turkey after a challenging few years. The bloc also needs to develop a form of European climate leadership that complements but is distinct from Washington’s re-engagement with the green agenda. Through close cooperation with Turkey on the European Green Deal, the EU could meet both challenges and build trust in relations with Ankara. The sides have a shared interest in supporting Turkey’s pro-Western business community and in developing the promising Turkish renewables sector. EU member states should help Turkey manage the impact of the new trade regulations the European Green Deal would bring in. This refreshed approach would not resolve broader disputes over issues such as human rights – but it could start rules-based engagement and change the mood music enough to improve other areas of the relationship.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Green Deal
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Susi Dennison, Rafael Loss, Jenny Söderström
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
  • Abstract: EU member states are publicly committed to the European Green Deal, but are divided over the details of its implementation. They have different views on issues such as the proposed carbon border adjustment mechanism, the role of nuclear energy in Europe’s future energy mix, bridging technologies in the transition to net zero, and the socio-economic consequences of closing down carbon-intensive industries. Member states are not divided into two diametrically opposed camps but rather agree or disagree with one another in varying constellations. This makes the implementation of the European Green Deal an intricate puzzle – yet achievable if coalitions of states push one another to implement its constituent parts. The EU needs a strong foreign policy strategy to manage the geopolitical dimension of the deal and to generate the political resolve to drive climate action. The bloc also needs to mitigate the socio-economic challenges of implementing the European Green Deal if the effort is to succeed.
  • Topic: Climate Change, European Union, Geopolitics, Green Deal
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Amine Bennis
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
  • Abstract: North African countries such as Morocco and Tunisia can help Europe meet its carbon emissions targets and strengthen its position in the face of fierce competition from China for economic and political influence. By encouraging European investment in renewable energy, the European Green Deal can increase local workforce opportunities, promote development, and stabilise migration, enhancing stability in the region. The EU should promote green hydrogen projects in Morocco and Tunisia. These would contribute to its climate neutrality goals and develop both European industrial leadership and local economies. The EU should also promote new electrical interconnections across the Mediterranean, to foster an integrated electricity market. Morocco and Tunisia should become official “Green Partners” of the EU. This would help catalyse joint action and ease those countries’ green transitions – especially that of Tunisia, which is particularly in need of help building additional capacity.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Energy Policy, European Union, Electricity, Green Deal
  • Political Geography: Europe, Morocco, Tunisia
  • Author: Mark Leonard, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Jeremy Shapiro, Simone Tagliapietra, Guntram Wolff
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
  • Abstract: The European Green Deal will have profound geopolitical repercussions, some of which are likely to have an adverse impact on the European Union’s partners. The EU should prepare to manage these repercussions in its relationships with important countries in its neighbourhood such as Russia and Algeria, and with global players such as the United States, China, and Saudi Arabia. The bloc should engage with oil- and gas-exporting countries to foster their economic diversification, including into renewable energy and green hydrogen that could be exported to Europe. The EU should improve the supply security of critical raw materials and limit its dependence on other countries – primarily on China – for these materials. It should work with the US and other partners to establish a ‘climate club’ whose members would apply similar carbon border adjustment measures. The EU should become a global standard-setter for the energy transition, particularly in hydrogen and green bonds. It should internationalise the European Green Deal by mobilising the EU budget, the EU recovery fund, and EU development policy. The EU should promote global coalitions for climate change mitigation, such as one to protect the permafrost. The bloc should promote a global platform on the new economics of climate action, to share lessons learned and best practice.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, European Union, Geopolitics, Green Deal
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Carl Bildt
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
  • Abstract: The Biden administration’s Interim National Security Strategic Guidance reflects an evolution in US strategic thinking and policy priorities. The document shows how the administration intends to shift away from America Alone and towards America and its Allies. But the optimism and confidence the US expressed in 2015 has been replaced by deep concern over a range of strategic trends. The US will now prioritise strategic competition with China, a new approach to trade, the rise of technology, the defence of democracy, the urgent climate and health crises, and efforts to avoid ‘forever wars’ in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Health, Science and Technology, Democracy, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Michal Hrubý
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Our Research Fellow Michal Hrubý examines the current state of the Czech automotive industry and its possible decarbonisation in connection with emissions. He divides his recommendations into five points - bolster green investments, financial incentives are the change-drivers, boost charging infrastructure, support the corporate BEVs fleet market and a ban on ICEVs is not the solution per se.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Manufacturing, Carbon Emissions, Decarbonization, Automotive Industry
  • Political Geography: Europe, Czech Republic
  • Author: Katharine Klačanský
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: In her policy paper, Katharine Klačanský, Research Fellow at EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, discusses the role of climate in geopolitics and provides an overview of the Chinese and American green investment plan and its implications for the future of fossil fuels.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Geopolitics, Green Technology, Fossil Fuels
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Aneta Navrátilová
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: More than anything, 2020 will be remembered for fighting against the world-wide Covid-19 pandemic which has reshaped all of our societies in dramatic ways. Once again, it has highlighted a latent conflict between nation-states and sovereignty, real or perceived, on one hand, and international, if not supranational, cooperation and multilateralism on the other. The crisis exacerbated existing conflicts between nationalists and national conservatives, prominently predisposed towards isolationism, exemplified most acutely in Trump’s America First agenda, and progressives and liberals on the other hand arguing for deepening integration, strengthening multilateralism, and international cooperation to tackle global crises. The US elections became emblematic of this wider, more fundamental struggle, as well as the societal polarization that, to varying degrees, haunts the rest of the developed world. Yet, with a Trump soundly rejected in a landslide election loss, one can wonder whether his loss portends similar rejections of populism and national conservatism across the globe. The 2020 US presidential election was unprecedented, fevered, divisive, and emotional for various reasons. Firstly, the Republican ticket of incumbent President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence was defeated. Secondly, Joe Biden obtained the largest share of the people’s vote against his opponent and the highest turnout in the last one hundred years was reached in this year’s election, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, referring to an increased concern about future direction of the US. And lastly, as Biden won the election with flying colours, the whole world is now contemplating what will change. Not only on the domestic level, but also the international one.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Multilateralism, Presidential Elections
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, Czech Republic, United States of America
  • Author: Francesca Colli
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The EU acknowledges that citizen participation in the European Green Deal is vital to ensure the legitimacy of policies and public buy-in for climate measures. This policy brief examines specific options for public participation in policymaking – stakeholder consultation, citizens’ assemblies and local projects – and discusses the extent to which each is already included in the European Green Deal. Although the most effective public participation takes place at national, regional or local level, it should nonetheless be encouraged or coordinated by the EU. Currently, the mechanisms established by the EU appear to blend different types of public participation; however, a key issue that remains to be addressed is reaching groups that may otherwise be overlooked or fall through the cracks – particularly those with the most to lose in the transition.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Public Opinion, Green Technology, Participation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marie Dejonghe
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: When the coronavirus broke out in 2020 the whole world literally came to a pause. The pandemic overshadowed all other major problems and started to shape relations between states. Climate change suddenly disappeared from the international agenda. However, the effects of the global climate crisis are showing faster and more severely than ever before: wildfires in Australia, extreme weather events in Asia, tornado’s in America, a melting Arctic... Secondary effects like climate migration and conflicts have become visible as well. This crisis is more urgent than ever. The COVID-19 crisis has shattered our economies, but lockdown measures taken by almost all governments have had a positive impact on the emission of greenhouse gases. The world took a step forward, even if unintended, towards the goals set in Paris in 2015. COVID-19 has taken away a lot from the world, but it may also have created a momentum to continue this downward trend and make it structural. Even the world’s great powers will have to integrate the green transition in their COVID-19 economy recovery plans in order to not fall off the wagon. But will only a green great power remain a great power?
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Green Technology, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Manley, David Mihalyi
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: As much of the world slowly moves into a low-carbon future, a group of countries are firmly stuck in a fossil-fuel past. These are mainly countries rich in fossil fuel resources. This is not only a problem for the global target to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases, but it puts these countries under a “carbon curse”. Under this curse, people pay more for energy, might be locked out of trading opportunities with countries with carbon taxes, and breath dirtier air. These fossil fuel-rich countries provide a lessons for developing countries with fossil fuels that are still to industrialize. These are countries that still have time to change direction to avoid being stuck in the past, and move into a more prosperous and cleaner future. Key messages Most economies are slowly decarbonizing, but the economies of high-income, fossil fuel-rich countries are not. This is the case whether examining production- or consumption-based emissions. Low-income, fossil fuel-rich countries can learn from the experience of wealthier fossil fuel-rich countries. Remaining on their current path could mean that low-income, fossil fuel-rich countries could face high energy costs, exclusion from export markets, and failure to meet future climate commitments.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Oil, Carbon Tax, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nicola Woodroffe
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: The pathway to net-zero emissions will be a fraught one for many petroleum-dependent countries. Radical policy action is necessary to decarbonize the global economy , with significant economic implications for countries dependent on oil and gas revenues. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that global warming will exceed 1.5 and even 2 degrees Celsius without deep emissions cuts. At the same time, the International Energy Agency has proposed a freeze on new development approvals for oil and gas fields from 2021 if we are to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Current and emerging producers may want to go beyond merely reacting to foreign governments’ or international oil companies’ evolving climate policies – they may seek to proactively decarbonize and build climate resilience in their own petroleum sectors. Yet the long-term contracts governments sign with companies for petroleum exploration and production may significantly limit this flexibility for decades. Have producer countries begun to modify petroleum contract terms in response to climate change and energy transition risks? To explore this, the author of this briefing reviewed 34 contracts and model contracts from 11 countries, signed or issued since the Paris Agreement. This review focused on stabilization, arbitration, and force majeure clauses. The contracts reviewed do not yet indicate a shift in these clauses to respond to climate change risks, and the need for government flexibility to take climate policy action. Producer governments should reconsider traditional contract clauses and assess and adapt their petroleum sector legal framework to address energy transition and climate change risks.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Government, Transparency
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Patrick Heller, Greg Muttitt, Alexandra Gillies, Paasha Mahdavi, David Manley, Valerie Marcel, Joachim Roth, Lourdes Melgar, Francisco J. Monaldi, Angelo Picciariello
  • Publication Date: 11-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: National oil companies are the “hidden half” of the global oil industry. The authors of this briefing write that climate and development advocates who seek to reduce fossil fuel supply and promote sustainable economies must engage with these state-owned companies, many of which are based in countries with high levels of poverty.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Oil, Natural Resources, State-Owned Enterprises
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Merry Fitzpatrick, Hassan Alattar Satti, Manal Hamid Ahmed
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: This is the second in a series of learning briefs under the Taadoud II: Transition to Development project, a collaboration led by Catholic Relief Services. The collaboration includes Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), World Vision, and Feinstein International Center, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. The project is funded by UK Aid. The learning brief series aims to promote awareness and understanding of natural resource use and management in Darfur to support the Taadoud II program and wider programs and policies to effectively build resilient livelihoods. Livelihood strategies are the way people support themselves. People change their strategies as their opportunities, risks, and limitations change. A change in a household’s strategies can affect members of the household differently. Often changes that benefit a household as a whole increase women’s risk and labor burdens. Furthermore, when nearly all livelihood strategies depend on natural resources, changes to the strategies will change demands on natural resources. How one set of households changes the way they use natural resources will affect other households who also depend on those same resources. This could cause conflict over those resources and deplete them.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Natural Resources, Food, Food Security, Livelihoods
  • Political Geography: Africa, Darfur
  • Author: Niklas Bremberg, Anniek Barnhoorn
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: This SIPRI Policy Brief assesses the role of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in the field of climate security, in terms of its current and possible future commitments. Despite growing political momentum among most OSCE participating states about the need to address the issue of climate security, there appear to be divergent views on how to move forward on this important issue. Based on an assessment of recent OSCE activities linked to climate-related security risks and interviews with representatives from OSCE participating states, this policy brief suggests four avenues for the OSCE to advance its role in the field of climate security: (a) agree to new commitments; (b) engage in agenda setting; (c) strengthen the mandate of institutions; and (d) develop existing resources.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Development, Risk, Peace
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Flavia Eichmann
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Climate change presents a major threat not only to sustainable development and global biodiversity but also to peace and security. Security sectors around the world are increasingly faced with the challenges of climate security risks, given their traditional role in disaster risk prevention, management, and response - but also in migration and border management, conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Environment, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Hans Born
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: While it is clear that SSG/R must play a role in responding to climate change, a greater understanding of how to translate this into practice is required. This policy brief seeks to identify concrete entry points for SSG/R in addressing climate-related security risks, and outlines means for influencing policy in this direction.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Environment, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ben McWilliams, Simone Tagliapietra, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: In the wake of COVID-19, some economic recovery policies will help green the economy – for example, energy renovation of buildings. But there are limits to the share of stimulus that can be explicitly green. The European Union should therefore also green the fiscal consolidation by setting out the path to much higher carbon prices than today. This would guide investment and provide revenues to help the fiscal consolidation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Economy, Renewable Energy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Julia Anderson, Simone Tagliapietra, Guntram B. Wolff
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: COVID-19 has triggered a severe recession and policymakers in European Union countries are providing generous, largely indiscriminate, support to companies. As the recession gets deeper, a more comprehensive strategy is needed. This should be based on four principles: viability of supported entities, fairness, achieving societal goals, and giving society a share in future profits. The effort should be structured around equity and recovery funds with borrowing at EU level.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Global Recession, European Union, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ben McWilliams, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The European Commission should not make the implementation of a carbon border adjustment mechanism into a must-have element of its climate policy. There is little in the way of strong empirical evidence that would justify a carbon-adjustment measure. Moreover, significant logistical, legal and political challenges will arise during the design. The EU should instead focus upon the implementation of measures to trigger the development of a competitive low-carbon industry in Europe.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Trade Policy, Carbon Tax
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alienor Cameron, Gregory Claeys, Catarina Midoes, Simone Tagliapietra
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: On 14 January 2020, the European Commission published its proposal for a Just Transition Mechanism, intended to provide support to territories facing serious socioeconomic challenges related to the transition towards climate neutrality. This brief provides an overview and a critical assessment of the first pillar of this Mechanism, the Just Transition Fund (JTF).
  • Topic: Climate Change, Governance, Budget, European Union, Macroeconomics, Renewable Energy, Transition
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Robert F. Ichford
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Governments across South Asia face many challenges as they seek to improve the lives of the more than 1.8 billion people that live in the region. Increasing geopolitical competition—especially between and among China, Russia, and the United States—is one factor that is affecting progress. This “great power competition,” including over the South China Sea, is intertwined with regional rivalries (e.g., India and Pakistan, India and China, and the United States and Iran) and has important economic, military, technological, and environmental consequences. Energy is a key strategic sector in this competition as China pursues its expansive Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure and trade vision, Russia uses arms sales and nuclear energy to expand its regional presence, and the United States confronts Iran and gears up its free and open Indo-Pacific Strategy and Asia EDGE (Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy) initiative. This issue brief considers the transformation of the electricity sector in Bangladesh. It is the fourth country analysis in the Atlantic Council’s “Transforming the Power Sector in Developing Countries” series. This issue brief applies to Bangladesh the analytical framework developed in the first report in the series, which presents general challenges and strategic priorities for developing countries in the context of their implementation of electric power policies and reforms following the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Markets, Oil, Governance, Geopolitics, Gas, Renewable Energy, Fossil Fuels, Transition
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, South Asia, Asia
  • Author: Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde, Peer Schouten
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Pastoralism is the key to climate change adaptation in African drylands, but it is threatened by conflicts with farmers, regional insecurity and violent extremism. Stabilisation and development efforts should place pastoralism at the centre by strengthening pastoral livelihoods and should include herders as peacebuilding and development partners. RECOMMENDATIONS ■ Strengthen pastoralist capacities to cope with risk and variability by boosting inclusive and equitable resource governance in new development programmes. ■ Include pastoralists as potential peace-builders in conflict resolution efforts. ■ Support dialogue between pastoralists and local and national governments in order to prevent the further marginalisation of vulnerable pastoralist groups.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Democratization, Development, Environment, Migration, Non State Actors, Fragile States, Economy, Conflict, Investment, Peace, Land Rights
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Mikkel Funder, Lily Salloum Lindegaard, Esben Friis-Hansen, Marie Ladekjær Gravesen
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The world needs resilient societies. In order to achieve this, adaptation to climate change is key. Denmark’s development cooperation should take a leading role in the integration of climate change adaptation and development. DENMARK SHOULD ■ Develop a clear overall strategy for support to climate action, giving equal attention to climate change mitigation and adaptation ■ Adopt an ambitious approach to integrating climate change adaptation across supported sectors, rather than relying on “add-on” mainstreaming ■ Strengthen the engagement with development partners in the integration of adaptation and development
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark
  • Author: Lucie Vinařská
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Lucie Vinařská authored a policy paper for the 12th debate of the Prague Climate Talks series titled "European Green Deal: will it bring structural change?", which will take place online on EUROPEUM's Facebook. The European Union is now taking the lead on climate action when striving to transform Europe into the first climate-neutral continent. This aim is at the core of the European Green Deal, a new strategy introduced by the Commission in December 2019. While the European Union and the rest of the world’s community is mobilizing, the climate change and environmental degradation are reaching unprecedented heights and posing an existential threat to the whole world. Climate change is by its nature a trans-boundary issue that requires a coordinated action. The EU’s ambitious plan was introduced during a time of a “green boom”, when environmental issues were among top political priorities. But is this Deal really going to turn the tables?
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Public Policy, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Ruhle
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Environmental change is increasingly recognized as one of the major factors that will shape the global security environment. According to most experts, rising global temperatures will lead to rising sea levels and cause more extreme weather events, such as storms, flooding, droughts and wildfires. The firestorms that engulfed parts of Australia in late 2019 and early 2020, burning an area the size of Belgium and Denmark combined, and severely decimating that continent's wildlife, were a stark reminder of the force of these changes.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Climate Change, Environment
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Vane Moraa Aminga, Florian Krampe
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: There has been considerable attention on the conventional climate mitigation and adaptation debate in Africa, including the prominent efforts of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change in global climate forums. However, there is little understanding of how the African Union (AU) is discussing and responding to the security implications of climate change. This Policy Brief outlines key strengths of the African Union’s response, such as a rapidly evolving discourse around climate security and efforts to improve collaboration and coordination among different parts of the institution. But also, key weaknesses in the discourse around AU policy responses, such as the lack of tangible policy operationalization as well as financial unpreparedness and limited member state accountability. The Policy Brief makes recommendations highlighting entry points for advancing the understanding and response to climate-related security risks within the AU, such as: (a) develop and institutionalize coordinated responses to climate-related security risks, (b) develop strong climate security leadership within the African Union, and (c) change the narrative to focus on shared problems and therefore shared solutions—multilateralism rather than nationalism.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Multilateralism, Risk, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Sofia López Piqueres, Sara Viitanen
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: As the European Commission launches its long-awaited Strategy for sustainable and smart mobility, EU and national efforts to continue the transition to sustainable mobility will ensue. However, the green transition often overshadows and, at times, even comes at the expense of the most affected and vulnerable groups of society. The precarious, the elderly, people with disabilities and rural residents still face unfair conditions and access to mobility. Green alternatives are often scarce and far away, if they exist at all. Sofía López Piqueres and Sara Viitanen highlight the lack of inclusiveness in and the omittance of rural areas from European mobility systems and outline 11 recommendations which would ensure distributional justice, procedural justice and recognition justice. The carrots and sticks that are used to incentivise people to adopt more sustainable mobility options must be carefully studied. Moreover, process matters. Achieving buy-in for the transition requires considering the varying needs of people and placing special focus on vulnerable groups with limited mobility options, who may end up carrying a disproportionate cost of the transition without seeing the immediate benefits. It is time to accelerate the transition towards a climate-neutral economy and society with mobility systems that are both environmentally friendly and socially just.
  • Topic: Climate Change, European Union, Green Technology, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Baran Alp Uncu
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: Today, we are living in a world that is on average about 1 degree warmer than the pre-industrial period. If we do not limit this human-caused temperature rise to around 1.5 degrees until the end of the century, various disasters we are already experiencing such as the rise in sea levels, melting of ice sheets and glaciers, extreme weather events, floods and inundations, drought and water scarcity will increase in intensity and scope and furthermore assume an irreversible condition.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Governance, Social Movement, Crisis Management, Urban, Justice, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Bernard Bourget
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will enter the next decade relieved by Brexit of its fiercest opponent but weakened by the external pressures to which it has been subjected, and disrupted by the enlargement of the European Union. In the 2020s, it will have to take full account, in conjunction with the European Commission's Green Deal, of the environmental and climate issues that are so important for agriculture. It will also have to improve the management of climate, health and market risks, which global warming could aggravate, and strengthen the negotiating capacity of producer organisations with their powerful buyers in the food industry and supermarkets. Budgetary pressure may lead the European Union to distribute direct payments, (which account for three quarters of CAP expenditure), more fairly by placing the burden rather more on large farms, in order to spare the medium-sized family farms, which are still numerous in the western part of the continent. Finally, the CAP should be coordinated with other European policies, particularly trade policy.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Budget, European Union, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jione Jung, Jihei Song
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: Korea has reached milestones in development cooperation over the past two decades. At the same time, it has sought for various measures to better incorporate climate consideration in its cooperation activities. However, a number of challenges remain and further action is required in improving the system and practices to better integrate climate change into Korea’s development cooperation. We aim at providing an overview of Korea’s progress in integrating climate change into its development cooperation to share the experiences and to highlight some achievements. In doing so, we first review how other developed countries have promoted climate change integration. Through comparison with Germany, the United States, and Switzerland, we summarized several achievements made by Korea in the area of development cooperation. In addition, we identified areas for further improvement to better integrate climate change into development cooperation, as well as projections for the next phase of Korea’s development cooperation to begin in 2021.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Asia, Korea
  • Author: Lena Kainz, Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Kathleen Newland
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: The world has changed dramatically since the international community came together in December 2018 to adopt the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. Two years on, national governments and UN agencies are working to implement the compacts in an environment of new and intensifying challenges, including those associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasingly severe impacts of climate change. Given the significant political energy invested in the compacts, there is immense pressure to turn the commitments made on paper into reality, challenges or not. And while the migration landscape continues to change, the movement of people across borders remains at the heart of many pressing issues, including public health, economic recovery, and social inequality. This policy brief examines how implementation of the two compacts has played out thus far, highlighting areas in which the pacts have lived up to or fallen short of expectations. It also identifies sticking points and opportunities at the intersection of the compacts that merit greater attention. To do so, the brief draws on interviews with government officials and UN agency representatives in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, as well as an in-depth review of countries’ implementation plans and progress updates.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Cooperation, Migration, Governance, Immigrants, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mihnea-George Filip
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Environmental Studies, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Mobilizing private investments for the renewable energy transition requires credible policy support over the long-term. This Policy Brief discusses how Romania’s abrupt policy changes and inconsistent policy signals over the last decade have deterred private investments in the renewable energy sector. The example of Romania provides key policy lessons for other countries engaged in the energy transition. Romania has one of the highest renewable energy potentials in Europe (up to 71 GW), which is approximately six times higher than the country’s current renewable deployment (IRENA 2017). As shown in Figure 1, wind and solar PV energy experienced a significant boom between 2009 and 2013 followed by a more or less complete stagnation since 2014.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Green Technology, Investment, Economic Policy, Renewable Energy, Fossil Fuels
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Romania
  • Author: Jake Sherman, Florian Krampe
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Climate change and the associated climate-related security risks increase instability and have significant adverse effects on peacebuilding. Within the UN, however, there is a lack of consensus on which organs are most appropriate to respond to climate-related security risks. Most of the bodies addressing climate change do not address its intersection with peace and security, while many member states have concerns about the role of the UN Security Council on climate change. In this context, the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) seems well placed to complement and advance discussions on climate-related security risks in other UN bodies, including the Security Council. This paper—a joint publication of IPI and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)—aims to identify areas and ways in which the PBC is preventing and mitigating climate-related security risks and to map the political positions of PBC members on this topic. It also looks at opportunities for the PBC to strengthen its engagement on climate-related security issues. The paper identifies a number of attributes that uniquely position the PBC as a forum for states to seek international support for addressing climate-related security challenges: it emphasizes national ownership, has a mandate to work across the three pillars of the UN, brings together a wide range of UN organs, and convenes relevant stakeholders from within and outside the UN system. The paper concludes that a gradual but steady approach to addressing climate-related security risks in the PBC is likely to encourage more countries to seek its support on these issues.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, United Nations, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The Blue Economy concept was first articulated in 2012 by the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at the 2012 Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development. This novel idea was coupled with a concurrent approach that sought to transform traditional ocean economies into an ecosystem harnessing oceanic resources for better conservation of the marine environment. Ever since, the Blue Economy concept and its implementation has remained an evolving one. The broad consensus is that diminishing land resources have induced greater pressure on ocean assets to feed faster growth. At the same time, realization of the dangers of unsustainable approaches is equally compelling. The oceans remain the foremost climate stabilizers as they directly absorb heat and recycle an overwhelming share of greenhouse gases. Rising sea levels are causing submergence of valuable land, and extreme weather conditions and rising temperatures will eventually disrupt the water cycle, and hurt agriculture, fisheries and the rich marine biodiversity. The need to find mitigating solutions ensuring that future economic growth and development be more sustainable remains more pronounced than ever. As per few estimates, in many sectors, the ocean-based productivity will exceed the corresponding land-based production both in terms of value and employment generation by 2030. However, these benefits would likely accrue only in case of the oceans remaining healthy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economy, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Japan, Indian Ocean
  • Author: Dion Bongaerts, Dirk Schoenmaker
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The market for green bonds is growing rapidly and has been boosted by the European Commission’s plan to raise through green bonds 30 percent of the up to €750 billion that will be borrowed under the Next Generation EU coronavirus economic recovery programme. But while green bonds can reduce the financing costs of green projects and technologies, their current design means they fall short of fulfilling their full potential. Issuing green bonds alongside regular bonds fragments bond issues, reducing liquidity and thus increasing financing costs. Moreover, green bond prices reflect liquidity, credit risk and environmental performance jointly, which makes it difficult to isolate the part of the return on the bonds that relates to environmental performance. We propose an alternative: issuance of regular bonds with attached green certificates that ensure earmarking for green purposes. The new design would lead to more liquid securities (as only regular bonds are issued), which would reduce financing costs and in turn would provide incentives to start a greater number of environmentally-friendly projects. The new design would also make market prices more informative about environmental performance. In addition, green certificates would address the criticism that green bonds are used mostly for refinancing existing green projects rather than for new projects. Sovereigns are among the largest issuers of bonds and are therefore natural candidates for implementation of green certificates. The European Commission could also issue regular bonds and green certificates to finance the European Union’s recovery package, and should include green certificates in the under-preparation EU Green Bond standard. Commission issuance of green certificates would give a major boost to EU bonds as liquid safe assets while promoting green investment.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Finance, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Luke Patey
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Many fear that strategic competition between the US and China threatens longstanding regional cooperation and stability in the Arctic. But if they recognise their own political and economic significance and work collectively, the Nordic states and Canada can still play an instrumental role in steering the region’s future away from confrontation. Recommendations: Recognise how US–China strategic competition represents a false binary for policy choices in the Arctic. Understand how economic connectivity provides room for manoeuvre against big power pressure. Encourage participation of non-Arctic states with similar economic and political norms on natural resource and infrastructure development.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Climate Change, Diplomacy, Environment, Oil, Power Politics, Gas, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Jessica Larsen, Mikkel Funder
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Climate change is increasingly being raised as a security concern. How should Denmark’s Ministry of Defence approach the issue in its international operations and collaboration, and what are other security actors doing? RECOMMENDATIONS: Denmark’s Ministry of Defence should: Draw up a clear and demarcated mandate for the Danish armed services’ climate role in international operations in close collaboration with civilian actors. Team up with like-minded international partners to develop joint approaches under already existing multilateral frameworks. Identify specific tasks where the armed forces can contribute on the ground, such as disaster support, capacity development and alignment with civilian actors in the field of Environmental Peacebuilding.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Climate Change, Armed Forces, Peace
  • Political Geography: Denmark, Global Focus
  • Author: Henry Lee, Abigail Mayer
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Corporations, organizations, and even governments are purchasing offsets to reduce their carbon footprint. This policy brief provides an overview of the offset process – who buys them, who produces them, and who certifies them; describes the emerging challenges facing this market; and makes recommendations for the future.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Carbon Emissions, Decarbonization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cecilia Springer
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: China announced it would launch a national carbon market in 2017, yet this policy is taking years to come into effect. What will it take for a carbon market to work in command-and-control China? This policy brief explores an understudied challenge—emissions accounting—and identifies potential opportunities that have arisen in the first phase of China’s national carbon market.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: China, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Dominic Foo, Raymond Tan, Purusothmn Nair
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham
  • Abstract: Policy makers should use the carbon emissions pinch analysis (CEPA) as a graphical technique to allow the energy-climate nexus to be analysed visually and easily. This will help decision makers achieve the emission cuts they need. We illustrate the usefulness of CEPA by applying it to the case of Malaysia as a representative for transition economies.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Sustainable Development Goals, Renewable Energy, Economic Development , Sustainability, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Malaysia
  • Author: Luca Raineri
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Levels of armed violence in the Sahel are skyrocketing. Conflict metrics show that the region is caught in a spiral of insecurity.1 Communal violence and jihadist insurgencies have significantly undermined local states’ grip over large parts of their territories, particularly in the three-border area straddling Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Amidst the proliferation of non-state armed groups, attacks by terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda or the Islamic State networks have risen sharply since 2015. Policy and media discourses suggest that soaring terrorist violence is linked to, if not driven by, climatic and environmental factors. In the Sahelian context – the argument goes – in a region characterised by environmental degradation and sustained population growth, climate change has the potential to exacerbate competition over dwindling resources, fuelling conflict escalation and radicalisation. This narrative draws on global discourses about resource conflicts and climate wars, and contributes to shaping security and development policies targeting the Sahel. Climate change mitigation and environmental protection measures are thus seen as structural preconditions to tackle the root causes of the Sahel’s insecurity and rising (jihadist) violence. The idea that terrorism and climate change are somehow connected is a seductive one. It offers international donors the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone by addressing jointly what are arguably the most pressing issues facing the international community, thereby overcoming political divides. And it provides local governments with a narrative that depoliticises conflicts and downplays their own responsibilities. However, such simplistic Malthusian arguments that connect terrorism in the Sahel to climatic and environmental factors do not stand up to empirical scrutiny. Whether and how natural resources are associated with conflicts’ onsets and dynamics, and to what extent climate change has the potential to exacerbate these trends, are questions that remain highly contested. Just as much as with other issue-areas of climate change, there is no shortage of unsubstantiated misconceptions about climate and conflict, and environment and security more broadly. This Conflict Series Brief sets out to illustrate that misconceived environmental security policymaking, especially when based on rhetorical shortcuts that overlook and contradict the most recent evidence, is not only ineffective, but can have radically adverse impacts. Even if well-intentioned, climate change mitigation and environmental protection measures based on false premises may result in conflict exacerbation, rather than resolution: a situation that violent jihadist entrepreneurs exploit. To this end, the Brief scrutinises three programmes rolled out in the Sahel to fight desertification, prevent food crises, and preserve wildlife which have ended up contributing to the encroachment of terrorist groups in the region. The lessons learnt from these cases helps highlight the policy implications for existing and future efforts to fight violent extremism and promote sustainable development sponsored by the Sahel’s international partners, including the EU.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Violent Extremism, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Sahel, Niger, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Daniel Fiott, Vassilis Theodosopoulos
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Fears about the EU’s trade, resource and technology dependences have only grown since the outbreak of the pandemic, even though US-China trade disputes and the rolling out of 5G have played a significant role, too. Some analysts have pointed to the beginning of a ‘decoupling’ of certain supply chains away from China, and, while evidence suggests that some ‘reshoring’ has taken place since at least 2011, there are debates about whether the production of certain technologies should be relocated back to Europe after decades of de-industrialisation. Decoupling and/or reshoring are a reaction to geopolitically risky dependences, with the fear being that certain products, technologies or raw materials will be unavailable during times of crisis or that a reliance on third-party supplies will limit political freedom. In the digital age – where data dominates – there are also concerns that dependences may lead among other things to espionage or a curtailment of personal rights and freedoms. Despite the fact that decoupling is unfeasible, save perhaps for in very specific critical technology domains, the threat perception surrounding critical supplies has given rise to a different vocabulary and EU communiques and strategies are today replete with references to ‘technological sovereignty’, ‘open strategic autonomy’ and ‘digital sovereignty’. Yet, in conjunction with this rhetoric has come a raft of new policy initiatives. In February 2020, the European Commission released a bundle of strategies on data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the digital future, which stressed the importance of reducing technological dependences in strategic areas. This is why the Commission is to invest €8 billion in supercomputing and help leverage €20 billion per year for AI. In March, a new ‘Industrial Strategy for Europe’ was published that stated that critical raw materials are ‘crucial for markets such as e-mobility, batteries, renewable energies, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, defence and digital applications’. It will be much harder for the EU to develop supercomputers and batteries without secure supplies of raw materials. To this end, on 3 September a ‘Commission Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials’ was released along with an updated List of Critical Raw Materials and a foresight study looking at strategic technologies and dependent sectors over the 2030-2050 horizon. This bundle of initiatives has made the case for the EU to diversify resource supplies, especially in an era of digitalisation that demands increasing amounts of strategic resources found outside of the Union’s territory.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Science and Technology, Sovereignty, European Union, Geopolitics, Supply , Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Ville Sinkkonen, Charly Salonius-Pasternak, Bart Gaens, Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Te election of Joe Biden as president and Kamala Har- ris as vice president of the United States has generally been welcomed across the world. Allies and partners are relieved that they will again be treated with respect as common issues are addressed, while having been re- minded that they too must ‘step up’ and not only rely on the United States. Even adversaries and competitors acknowledge that it is preferable for the north star of US foreign policy to be something other than impul- sive unpredictability. Based on Joe Biden’s worldview, the world will see a return to more traditional foreign policy precepts. Tis is refected in Biden’s choice of individuals for senior security policy positions in his administration. While the United States is a global power, each ad- ministration addresses the more enduring national interests in diferent ways. In the coming years, key issues to address include, frst, global challenges such as climate change and pandemics; second, strength- ening the transatlantic relationship and global coop- eration between democratic states more broadly; and third, reinforcing the US relationship with various Asian allies and partners, and managing competition with China. From a Nordic perspective, the Biden ad- ministration is expected to continue the cooperative agenda regarding regional security (bolstering defence cooperation and deterring against Russian encroach- ment) carried over from the Obama and Trump admin- istrations, while more robustly addressing global issues such as climate change.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Climate Change, International Cooperation, Hegemony, Leadership, Transition
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Francesca Colli
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a clear and drastic effect on our daily lives and political priorities. But what implications does it have for the EU’s climate action and the Von der Leyen Commission’s flagship policy, the European Green Deal? The crisis may be a ‘make or break’ moment for the EU to act on climate change through its recovery plan.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Cooperation, Green Technology, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Green Deal
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mathieu Blondeel
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Analysing the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the climate-energy nexus, raises three important questions. First, what does this global health and economic crisis mean for the future of fossil fuels, particularly oil? Because of the drop in economic activity, greenhouse gas emissions have plummeted, but how can we ensure a structural decline that is aligned with the Paris Agreement? Third, how can we embed the ideas of a “just transition” within the broader post- pandemic “green recovery”? This policy brief offers a glimpse of the direction away from fossil fuels that our global energy system must take to govern the post- pandemic world
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Julien Barnes-Dacey, Susi Dennison, Anthony Dworkin, Ellie Geranmayeh, Mark Leonard, Theodore Murphy, Janka Oertel, Nicu Popescu, Tara Varma
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
  • Abstract: The election of Joe Biden marks a new era in the transatlantic relationship – in upholding the liberal international order, America wants a Europe that is a sovereign partner, not a helpless dependent. Washington will look to the EU to support the US lead in the Indo-Pacific vis-à-vis China, while also wanting Europe to take more responsibility for security and stability in eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In exchange, the EU and member states should propose a new transatlantic bargain that encompasses cross-cutting global issues such as health policy, trade, security, climate change, and the defence of democracy. The Trump years galvanised Europeans’ efforts to strengthen their own sovereignty; they now need to agree concrete offers they can make to the new administration. This will require nothing less than a fundamental change in mindset for Europeans, who will have to suppress any hankerings for the old order and decide how they will help build it anew.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Human Rights, International Cooperation, European Union, Trade, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Mark Leonard, Jeremy Shapiro
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
  • Abstract: In the last year, Europe has begun to recognise the need to defend its sovereignty in a threatening world. Covid-19 has revealed and exacerbated many of Europe’s existing vulnerabilities; the European Union and its member states remain unable to act autonomously in key areas of national life. Based on ECFR research, we propose five sovereignty agendas in health, economic, digital, climate change, and traditional security, all designed to promote a more sovereign Europe on that issues that matter most to Europeans. Europe must not relinquish its rules-based approach or lapse into protectionism. But, to protect the open, multilateral order they so cherish, Europeans need to promote new rules permitting them to take action against countries that undermine the international system. The EU’s €750 billion pandemic recovery fund offers the chance to underwrite this ambition – but, ultimately, Europeans need to master the art of acting as a geopolitical force in the world.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Economics, Health, Sovereignty, European Union, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Janka Oertel, Jennifer Tollmann, Byford Tsang
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
  • Abstract: The broad notion of ‘partnership’ no longer reflects the true complexity of the EU’s interactions with China in tackling the most important global challenge. Instead, as climate action becomes more material to economic interests, Europe and China will both compete and cooperate with each other, against the backdrop of an overarching systemic rivalry. To successfully manage this new reality, the EU and its member states will have to clearly define benchmarks and red lines for credible climate action, to set the framework for cooperation. At the same time, they will need to invest in future competitiveness, especially in the green technology needed to compete for markets, standards, and influence in a low-carbon world.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, European Union, Interstate Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Author: Milan Urbaník
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: To effectively address climate change, both structural and behavioural policies are needed. To formulate effective and efficient behavioural policies, the government should establish Behavioural Policy Team. The agency of the team should be to design policies that are conducive to facilitating behavioural changes against unsustainable behaviours, such as high energy and water consumption or polluting transportation. Furthermore, the team should test different approaches through randomization to determine the best valuefor-money policies.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Behavioral Science
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Franziska Petri
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: One of the innovations of the new European Commission’s proposal of a European Green Deal (EGD) is to build a “Green Deal Diplomacy”. While this ambition has not yet materialized, the proposed new diplomacy does not emerge in an empty space, as the EU has already started to develop explicit climate and energy diplomacies since 2011 and 2015 respectively. As such, it will be essential for the EGD diplomacy to learn from past successes and missed opportunities of the previous attempts to formulate and implement EU external ambitions in policy areas related to the European Green Deal.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Energy Policy, Environment, International Cooperation, European Union, Green Technology
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Efe Baysal
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: Let us face it: we are in the midst of a catastrophe, a state of calamity unprecedented in human history. We are living in those scenarios that once depicted a terrible future due to “global warming”. Extreme weather events, not-so-natural disasters have become the new norm. Given the fact that more than half of the world’s population now live in urban areas, it is fair to say that these new climate norms pose an especially dire threat to cities.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Governance, Economy, Crisis Management, Urban
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Global Focus
  • Author: Sezai Ozan Zeybek
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: I aim to open to discussion one of the critical barriers to potentially transformative environmental policies. In response to challenging problems there are moves being carried out to save the day, to make it seem like the issue is already solved. These moves end up postponing the real solutions. This is a trap that not only municipalities, public institutions and companies, but even civil society falls into.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Climate Change, Environment, Governance, Democracy, Urban
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: David Klenert, Linus Mattauch
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Economics for Inclusive Prosperity (EfIP)
  • Abstract: It is common knowledge among economists that the most efficient instrument to mitigate climate change is a price on carbon. However, current carbon prices around the world are too low to reach global climate targets. This essay assesses the difficulties in designing successful carbon pricing reforms. It discusses how to overcome these difficulties by combining traditional public economics lessons with findings from behavioral and political science. We stress insights from public finance about the “second-best” nature of pricing carbon reforms. Further, we highlight how framing a carbon tax reform around tangible benefits can enhance political support. Finally, we explain how certain countries were successful at introducing high carbon prices and what can be learned from these cases for making progress with climate change mitigation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Science and Technology, Natural Resources, Global Warming, Green Technology, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Susanna B. Hecht
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Environmental Studies, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: The dramatic Amazon fires images of Au-gust 2019 triggered a geopolitical outcry. Brazilian President Bolsonaro, however, unflinchingly continues to support his destructive model of Amazonian development. This article recalls the extent of the disaster and delves into the reasons behind such disdain for environmental concerns.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Environment
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Randolph Mank
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Canada’s contemporary foreign policy has been shaped by deep integration with, and dependence on, the United States, offset by multilateral support for a rules-based international order. The Trump administration’s confrontational nationalism, combined with other global events and trends, has now disrupted Canada’s position and assumptions. This raises the question of whether or not it’s time for a Canadian foreign policy review. While the Trudeau government deserves credit for several initiatives, a series of discontinuities in Canada’s domestic and foreign policies suggests that our interests could be better served. The Canadian government has two main options: it can follow its current path of adjusting its policies in an ad hoc fashion, while waiting out the Trump administration and hoping for more favourable successors, or it can attempt to set Canada on a new path, in which case a foreign policy review would be warranted. The review option would only be useful if everything were on the table, including what to do about bilateral relations with the U.S., the future of our multilateral commitments, and domestic policies on such critical global issues as energy and the environment. The ultimate goal should be to advance Canada’s national interests through better aligned domestic and foreign policies.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Steffen Bauer, Axel Berger, Gabriela Iacobuta
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: With a collective responsibility for 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions, while representing 80% of global wealth, it is imperative that the countries of the G20 throw their weight behind the implementation of both the Paris Climate Agree-ment and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Develop¬ment. In the past, the G20 has demonstrated that it can do that. The G20 Summit in November 2015 in Antalya, Turkey, provided strong support for the climate agreement signed a month later at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris. In 2016 in Hangzhou, China, the G20 adopted an Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Develop¬ment and committed to “further align its work” with the 2030 Agenda. Even though both agendas have emerged in the multilateral context of the United Nations system, the G20 is expected to exert strong political leadership to address global climate change and to achieve sustainable development. Yet, since 2017 the G20 has struggled to provide such leadership, as support for multilateral commitments, especially those involving ambitious climate actions, appears to be fading. Crucially, opposition to strong multilateral climate policy in the US and Brazil resorts to outright climate denialism at the highest levels of government. These developments are challenging the G20, and BRICS and the G7 for that matter, to sustain support for multilateral commitments on climate and sustainable development. The rise of populist and unilaterally minded parties in European club members may further the risk of side-lining climate and sustainability-related issues in the G20 process. This does not bode well at a time when the G20’s support could be a vital ingredient for the success of the United Nations’ summits on climate action and sustainable development, both scheduled to convene in New York in September 2019 – less than three months after the Osaka G20 Summit in Japan. Following our analysis, we identify four ways forward that should be conducive to harnessing the G20’s economic weight and political clout to push more ambitious global action towards climate-friendly sustainable development, in spite of apparent discrepancies between domestic agendas and global understandings.
  • Topic: Climate Change, G20, Sustainable Development Goals, Political Science
  • Political Geography: Europe, Brazil, United Nations, United States of America
  • Author: Benjamin Schraven, Stephen Adaawen, Christina Rademacher-Schulz, Nadine Segadlo
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: This paper provides an overview of what is actually known about the relationship between climate change and human mobility in West, East and Southern Africa – the most affected regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. Although there is a general lack of data on “climate migration”, trends can be deduced from the growing number of case studies and research projects. This paper also formulates some recommendations for German and European development policies for addressing “climate migration” in Africa. The adverse effects of climate change in the three regions are mainly linked to increasing rainfall variability and a higher frequency or intensity of floods and droughts. These effects are a major challenge for human security. The consequences for human mobility, which range from forced displacement to circular labour migration, are embedded in a complex and very context-specific set of political, social, economic, cultural and ecological factors. Due to generally fragile contexts and armed conflicts, the risk of forced displacement in the context of climate change is probably the highest in the Horn of Africa. In all three regions, many households affected by climate change can be considered “trapped” – mobility is not an option for them at all. If mobility is possible, it often takes the form of individual and circular labour migration. Under favourable circumstance (e.g. in the absence of labour exploitation), money earned by migrants might help their households to compensate or at least mitigate the losses induced by climate change (“migration as adaptation”). The ideal political response towards human mobility in the context of climate change is to avoid forced displacement, to maximise positive mechanisms of migration and to minimise negative aspects like labour exploitation. This demands a multi-sectoral and multi-level policy approach.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Migration, Human Security
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Monica de Bolle
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The fires in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest in the summer of 2019 represent a government policy failure over many years, especially recently, as Brazilian public agencies that are supposed to curb man-made fires have been deliberately weakened. In keeping with his far-right nationalist campaign promises, President Jair Bolsonaro’s government has intentionally backed away from efforts to combat climate change and preserve the environment, which has emboldened farmers, loggers, and other players to engage in predatory activities in the rainforest. De Bolle calculates that if the current rate of deforestation is maintained over the next few years, the Amazon would be dangerously close to the estimated “tipping point” as soon as 2021, beyond which the rainforest can no longer generate enough rain to sustain itself. The tragic fires have demonstrated that protecting the Amazon rainforest is a global cause. The international attention provides an opportunity for the governments of Brazil and the United States to stop denying climate change and cooperate on strategies to preserve the rainforest and develop ways to sustainably use its natural resources. The international community should revive and expand the Amazon Fund to invest in ways to reduce deforestation through the possible use of payments for environmental services. Brazil should adopt and enforce regulations on land use in the Amazon region while cracking down on illegal uses, such as logging and mining, and should restore conditional rural credit policies to fight deforestation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Jair Bolsonaro
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America
  • Author: Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: We argue that energy relations between the EU and Russia and between China and Russia influence each other. We analyse their interactions in terms of four areas: oil and gas trading, electricity exchanges, energy technology exports and energy investments. We discuss five key hypotheses that describe the likely developments in these four areas in the next decade and their potential impact on Europe: 1. There is no direct competition between the EU and China for Russian oil and gas 2. China and the EU both have an interest in curbing excessive Russian energy rents 3. The EU, Russia and China compete on the global energy technology market, but specialise in different technologies 4. Intercontinental electricity exchange is unlikely 5. Russia seems more worried about Chinese energy investments with strategic/political goals, than about EU investments We find no evidence of a negative spillover for the EU from the developing Russia-China energy relationship. But, eventually, if these risks – and in particular the risk of structural financial disintermediation – do materialise, central banks would have various instruments to counter them.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Oil, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe
  • Author: Paul Hofhuis
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This is the second Clingendael Policy Brief on climate policy development in the Netherlands. The first 'Are the Dutch going Green' was published in January 2019 and dealt with the political context and policy proposals made between autumn 2017 and the end of 2018. This policy brief focuses on the most recent developments until mid-September 2019. During this period the Dutch Parliament adopted a Climate Bill, provincial elections were won by a climate-sceptical party, and political agreement was reached on a comprehensive package of climate policies: the national Climate Agreement. This agreement, referred to as the ‘biggest refurbishment of the Netherlands since the Second World War’, was pre-cooked in an extensive negotiating process between government and civil society. The policies target especially the industrial, energy, transportation, housing and agriculture sectors. A key element of the societal debate focused on the costs of climate policies and how they should be allocated. In order to hammer out a political deal, the Dutch government had to change key assumptions of its constituting coalition agreement of 2017, and adjust some of the proposals developed by civil society, notably those favoured by industry. A lesson learned from the Dutch case is that setting ambitions may be relatively easy, but translating them into effective climate action is a tougher job, particularly when political decisions have to be taken on who will pay for what.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Treaties and Agreements, Green Technology, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Europe, Netherlands
  • Author: Susanne Wolfmaier, Janani Vivekananda
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: The Hague Declaration is a six-point plan covering a call for an institutional mechanism on climate and security within the UN system, for a process to develop a climate security risk assessment in Lake Chad, and for concrete action in two of the most vulnerable post-conflict countries: Mali and Iraq. It is also a commitment by a growing community of practice to systematically address security risks related to climate change - from analysis to action, built on the conviction that everyone must work together to address and manage risks and threats before they arise. This briefing note by Susanne Wolfmaier and Janani Vivekananda presents the outcome of a survey by the Planetary Security Initiative on the objectives with the Hague Declaration, its achievements so far, and the gaps in and challenges to progress that still need to be overcome.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Treaties and Agreements, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Mali, Global Focus, The Hague
  • Author: Shiloh Fetzek, Oliver Leighton-Barrett
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: A region long-tested by both extreme weather events and illicit economic activity, the Caribbean has developed abundant expertise in climate science and disaster resilience. It also has many underlying governance and security challenges which may amplify each other as climate impacts intensify. In this policy brief authors Shiloh Fetzek and Lt. Commander US Navy (ret.) Oliver Leighton-Barrett identify the key regional security risks exacerbated by climate change, which include: 1. economic contraction, violence and criminal activity; 2. disaster impacts and political repercussions; 3. food and water insecurity, damage to livelihoods and social unrest; and 4. Central and South American security deterioration impacting on the Caribbean. Anticipating and addressing these challenges by integrating security cooperation and climate resilience initiatives could support existing risk management structures and advance long-term economic and socio-political stability in the Caribbean.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Economy, Resilience
  • Political Geography: South America, Central America, Caribbean
  • Author: Tom Middendorp, Reinier Bergema
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Development and security cannot do without the other. It is not enough to counter violent extremism by addressing the symptoms; understanding and focusing on root causes, in regions such as the Western Sahel, is essential to countering violent extremism. Countries in the Western Sahel suffer from the consequences of climate change: increasing droughts and water shortages make it harder for 50 million people – who depend on agriculture and livestock for their survival – to support their families. Joining a non-state armed group, for income and food, becomes ‘a tempting, or sometimes even the only, alternative.’ To address these challenges, the authors propose five recommendations: 1. Routinise and institutionalise attention to climate change in security institutions 2. Factor in (counter)violent extremism and counterterrorism into climate change efforts 3. Create a comprehensive early warning mechanism 4. Ensure comprehensive engagements: terrorist threats are not only a military issue, addressing economic and financial sources, online recruitment, supply chains, and climate change is essential for strong stabilisation efforts 5. Improve regional cooperation
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Development, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sahel
  • Author: Dan Smith, Malin Mobjörk, Florian Krampe, Karolina Eklöw
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Climate-related events left no region unaffected in 2018. These events demonstrate how climate change impacts are worsening. Despite increased geopolitical tensions that seem to undermine the Agenda 2030 or the Paris Agreement, global and regional organisations have been able to achieve some progress in addressing and mitigating climate-related security risks. This report, prepared for the Planetary Security Conference taking place in The Hague on 19-20 February 2019, feeds into the conversation by sketching the past year’s trends in relation to climate and security. Assisted by Rickard Söder and Mikaela Wang, authors Dan Smith, Malin Mobjörk, Florian Krampe and Karolina Eklöw review the progress made in global and regional organisations on addressing and mitigating climate-related security risks despite the turmoil in global politics at large. It builds on the two previous progress reports for the Planetary Security Initiative (PSI). The report focuses on progress in the UN and in regional intergovernmental organisations, both showcasing achievements and highlighting new challenges.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, United Nations, Sustainability, Paris Agreement
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Andreas Goldthau
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Global energy demand is shifting to Southeast Asia. This new trade flow is altering market power because it not only follows natural economic development, but also results from strategic trade and investment policies that promote national interests. In this context, the EU needs to account for the geo-economic side effects of the new European Green Deal.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, European Union, Risk, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Anthony Dworkin, Richard Gowan
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
  • Abstract: Multilateralism is core to Europe’s approach to foreign policy, but in recent years this has weakened as EU countries disagree among themselves. The US, China, and Russia have each sought to challenge or disrupt the existing, post-1945 world order; and each seeks to divide Europeans from one another. The turmoil in the current system represents an opportunity for Europeans to shape a new order that meets their strategic needs. In addition to the fight against climate change, European interests include: increasing stability on its troubled periphery; managing migration more effectively; and defending the open world trading system. European countries will need to transform EU foreign policy decision-making processes, deepen their cooperation in multilateral settings, and set multilateral standards for emerging technologies.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Migration, Political stability, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Susi Dennison, Livia Franco
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
  • Abstract: The Portuguese people believe that their country’s fate is inextricably tied to that of the European Union. A survey carried out ahead of the Portuguese national election suggests that the Portuguese bounced back quickly from a surge in Euroscepticism linked to the strict conditions of Portugal’s 2011 bailout package. Portugal values the economic benefits of EU membership primarily, but its people believe in the EU as more than just an economic project. The Portuguese are instinctive multilateralists, and hope that the bloc can help them tackle the challenges of globalisation: from climate change to cooperation on the impact of freedom of movement on Europe.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Globalization, International Cooperation, Public Opinion, European Union, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Portugal
  • Author: Markéta Mlčúchová
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Reform of the EU budget is not necessarily of a technical character, rather it is a response to the growing Euroscepticism and populism within EU Member States. Besides restoring the citizens’ confidence and belief in the EU, it is necessary to ascertain that the budget of the EU is prepared and sufficiently agile to react to the growing global instability, migration flows, terrorism, and ensure both internal and external security, combat climate change and the financial drop caused by the exit of the UK. Despite the fact the EU budget has gone through multiple - mostly minor - reforms, those were inefficient in keeping it up with current times. In the context of the financial and migration crises, the budget was not prepared to react to unexpected developments... This contributed, inter alia, to loss of confidence among EU citizens and caused damage to the EU credibility. Reform of the revenue side of the budget is entirely legitimate and essential yet provides only a partial solution to the situation. Revenues reform should be, in any case, accompanied by a critical re-assessment of expenditures, as was emphasized by the EU Commission in its Reflection Paper, since a close link between the expenditures and revenues exists. Although this paper focuses exclusively on the side of revenues, it is important to underline that any reform concerning revenues would not be enough for a successful reform of the EU budget. Only a complex re-design of the whole system can restore the trust and bring about the desired results.
  • Topic: Climate Change, European Union, Carbon Tax, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Štěpán Vaškevič
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Štěpán Vaškevič in his policy paper examines an often neglected activity in climate policies - waste management and its impact on climate change. How is the Czech republic really standing when it comes to this phenomena? And what are the further perspectives? Climate change is a multidimensional issue in both its origins and its solutions as well. The aim of this paper is to provide an insight into human activity often neglected in climate policies – waste management and its impact on climate change. The paper will map main streams of greenhouse gas emissions in waste management sector with a focus on landfills, analyze existing approaches for improvement via optics of circular economy and make notes on existing obstacles and opportunities in Czechia.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Waste, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Europe, Czech Republic
  • Author: Marco Giuli, Claire Dhéret, Johan Bjerkem, Marta Pilati, Stefan Sipka
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: European industry is falling behind. New and unprecedented challenges and megatrends, from a slowdown in global trade to digital disruption and climate change, are making it increasingly difficult to stay ahead of the curve. However, despite these fast-paced developments, industry remains the backbone of the European economy, delivering high-quality jobs, innovation and world-class companies. To retain its competitive edge, the EU must embrace change and renew its industrial strategy. There is growing political momentum for a revived EU industrial strategy, both in the member states and in the new von der Leyen Commission, which pledged to put forward a new industrial strategy as part of a “European Green Deal”. This Issue Paper presents the results of the EPC’s Task Force on an Industry Action Plan for the European Union, which started in February 2018. It argues that in renewing its industrial strategy, the EU should put in place an ‘Industry Action Plan’, complete with new policy tools and concrete industrial initiatives. Beyond mainstreaming industrial competitiveness across policy areas, the Action Plan should provide a more holistic and policy-oriented approach, with a vision towards 2030 that focuses on competitiveness, sustainability and strategic autonomy: Firstly, to ensure that the European industry remains competitive, the EU should aim to play a stronger role in global value chains, with a higher value-added. Secondly, the EU must create the conditions for the European industry, as well as the products and services it provides, to become sustainable and thus contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and climate-neutrality in alignment with the United Nation’s Paris Agreement. European industry should become fully climate-neutral by 2050 and seize the opportunity to become a global leader in sustainable and circular business models. Finally, an Industry Action Plan should contribute to achieving greater strategic autonomy for Europe by better responding to distorted competition and levering market power, and moving towards more technological sovereignty. Europe should mobilise all the tools at its disposal to become a global leader in developing digital technologies that address the societal, environmental and health challenges of today. This Paper includes a list of recommendations centred around five policy strands: making the Single Market (including competition policy) work; improving innovation policy and achieving technological sovereignty; acting strategically and enforcing reciprocity; ensuring a fair and inclusive industrial transition; and climate-proofing industry with a 2050 climate neutrality roadmap.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Science and Technology, European Union, Economy, Industry
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Elana Wilson Rowe, Helge Blakkisrud
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: One widely recognized achievement of the Arctic Council and its various working groups has been the production of collectively generated assessments on Arctic problems. Assessment reports such as the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) provide an important baseline of shared knowledge for making collective circumpolar policy recommendations. But how does the knowledge produced through Arctic Council working groups figure into the policymaking of the Arctic states? This is an important question for understanding Arctic politics and the relationship between national decisionmaking and international relations more generally. Much of what the Arctic Council produces is in the form of recommendations, declarations of intent, and commitments to "best practices" in areas of shared interest and activity. While in recent years the Council has produced three binding agreements covering specific functional areas—search and rescue (2011), oil pollution preparedness and response (2013),and science cooperation (2017)—much ongoing Arctic collaborative work falls outside of these areas. This policy brief explores how science/policy outputs of and discussions at the Arctic Council fit into the Arctic political discourse of the USA, with an emphasis on key actors within the executive branch: the White House, the Department of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Energy Policy, Domestic Policy, Arctic Council
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Asia, North America, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Edem E. Selormey, Marvis Zupork Dome, Lionel Osse, Carolyn Logan
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: Climate change is “the defining development challenge of our time,” and Africa the continent most vulnerable to its consequences, according to the African Union (2015) and the United Nations (UN Environment, 2019). Farmers in Uganda waiting endlessly for rain (URN, 2019), cyclone survivors in Mozambique and Zimbabwe digging out of the mud and burying their dead (Associated Press, 2019) – these images bring home what changing climate and increasingly extreme weather conditions may mean for everyday Africans. Long-term changes in temperatures and rainfall patterns are a particular menace to Africa, where agriculture forms the economic backbone of development priorities such as food security and poverty eradication (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2018). As an issue, “climate change” per se does not register among the “most important problems” that Africans surveyed by Afrobarometer want their governments to address (see Coulibaly, Silwé, & Logan, 2018). But concerns about the effects of climate change may be embedded in some of the other priorities identified, including water supply (cited by 24% of respondents), food shortages (18%), and agriculture (17%). And progress in addressing these priorities may be seriously impeded by a changing climate. African countries dominate the bottom ranks in the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN) Index (2019), meaning they are the world’s countries most vulnerable to and least prepared for climate change. Despite the continent’s minuscule contribution to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, most African countries have willingly signed on to international agreements to fight it, including the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and the 2016 Paris Agreement on Climate Change (United Nations, 2019). The Paris Agreement mobilizes worldwide action to limit further temperature increases and to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change, including a commitment from developed countries to allocate $100 billion by 2020 for climate adaptation and mitigation needs of developing countries (Munang & Mgendi, 2017; UN Climate Change, 2018). In March 2019, policymakers and key stakeholders from all 54 African countries gathered in Accra for Africa Climate Week 2019 to lay plans to be presented at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York in September (UN Climate Change, 2019). The United Nations has summed up its pressing demand for climate action in its Sustainable Development Goal No. 13: “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts,” calling on countries to integrate climate-change measures into national policies and strategies, strengthen resilience to climate-related hazards and natural disasters, and build awareness and capacity for early warning and impact reduction (United Nations Development Programme, 2019). Many African governments have laid out their countries’ vulnerabilities in agriculture, water resources, food security, livelihoods, and other sectors and have incorporated climate-change mitigation in national plans (see, for example, Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, 2018, and Ministry of Water and Environment, 2015). But building climate resilience will require a committed and coordinated effort (Busby, Smith, White, & Strange, 2012), backed by significant resources and a population that understands and supports the need for prioritizing climate change. How do ordinary Africans see climate change? Does talk of urgent action align with their experiences and needs? Findings from Afrobarometer’s latest round of public-opinion surveys across Africa show a keen awareness of climate change in some countries – often backed by personal observation – but the opposite in others. Across the continent, among people who have heard of climate change, a large majority say it is making life worse and needs to be stopped. But four in 10 Africans are unfamiliar with the concept of climate change – even, in some cases, if they have personally observed detrimental changes in weather patterns. And only about three in 10 are fully “climate change literate,” combining awareness of climate change with basic knowledge about its causes and negative effects. Groups that are less familiar with climate change – and might be good targets for awareness-raising and advocacy in building a popular base for climate-change action – include people working in agriculture, rural residents, women, the poor, and the less-educated.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Environment, Infrastructure, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa