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  • Author: Nicola Bilotta
  • Publication Date: 12-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The last decade has witnessed a progressive change in what had long been considered global priorities for achieving growth. The global financial crisis of 2007–2008 and the following European sovereign debt crises of 2011–2012 have brought to light important pitfalls in the functioning of globalized financial markets. Trade and financial liberalization policies have at times caused severe strains in some communities, raising concerns over the effects of rapid increases in international integration. Environmental and social risks have come to the forefront of the policy debate. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought enormous challenges to what was the normal way of living. All these events have had far-reaching consequences on the global economy. Currently, the world is facing at least three major shocks that are affecting health (COVID-19), prosperity (the recession) and the planet (climate change). These have been chosen as the three keywords for Italy’s G20 Presidency. These shocks are different in nature and have very diverse effects across countries, regions and municipalities. This calls for differentiated and targeted responses that take into account the specific needs of individual communities.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Infrastructure, G20, Economic Growth, Investment, Integration, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, India, Vietnam, Philippines, United States of America, Congo
  • Author: Marcin Andrzej Piotrowski
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In April 2021, the U.S. intelligence community published the extensive report “Global Trends 2040: A More Contested World”. It analyses the main demographic, political, and strategic trends that will likely shape the world for the next two decades. The report will be intensively used by the Biden administration in the preparation of the new U.S. National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy, as well as in new military doctrines. The “Global Trends” document reflects the main tendencies in American strategic thinking, such as the growing “Sinocentrism” and traditional U.S. attachment to transatlantic relations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Intelligence, Strategic Planning
  • Political Geography: China, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: Conceived in 2020, the task force studied promising areas for cooperation between the Quad countries beyond their pre-existing maritime security partnership. The report highlights the need to increase economic and technological interdependence among the Quad countries and to establish common and updated rules and standards for emerging technologies in five study areas. The unique mix of the group – three developed and one developing nation, three Pacific and one Indian Ocean nation, three producer-trading nations with one massive emerging market – lends itself to innovation, experimentation and cooperation that can be a template for a new, post-pandemic geopolitical era.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Cooperation, Science and Technology, Economy, Vaccine, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Japan, India, Australia, United States of America
  • Author: Salman Ahmed, Allison Gelman, Tarik Abdel-Monem, Wendy Cutler, Rozlyn Engel, David Gordon, Jennifer Harris, Douglas Lute, Jill O'Donnell, Daniel M. Price, David Rosenbaum, Christopher Smart, Jake Sullivan, Ashley J. Tellis, Eric Thompson, Janell C. Walther, Tom Wyler
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: U.S. foreign policy has not come up often in the 2020 presidential campaign. But when it has, candidates on both sides of the aisle frequently have stressed that U.S. foreign policy should not only keep the American people safe but also deliver more tangible economic benefits for the country’s middle class. The debate among the presidential contenders is not if that should happen but how to make it happen. All too often, this debate takes place within relatively small circles within Washington, DC, without the benefit of input from state and local officials, small business owners, community leaders, local labor representatives, and others on the front lines of addressing the challenges facing middle-class households. That is why the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace convened a bipartisan task force in late 2017 to lift up such voices and inject them into the ongoing debate. The task force partnered with university researchers to study the perceived and measurable economic effects of U.S. foreign policy on three politically and economically different states in the nation’s heartland—Colorado, Nebraska, and Ohio. The first two reports on Ohio and Colorado were published in December 2018 and November 2019, respectively. This third report on Nebraska has been prepared in partnership with a team of researchers at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL). To gauge perceptions of how Nebraska’s middle class is faring and the ways in which U.S. foreign policy might fit in, the Carnegie and UNL research teams reviewed household surveys and conducted individual interviews and focus groups, between July and August 2019, with over 130 Nebraskans in Columbus, Scottsbluff/Gering, Kearney, Lincoln, North Platte, and Omaha.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Politics, Immigration, Economy, Domestic politics, Class, Trade
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: This report explores the trade, investment, business, diplomacy, security, education,and people-to-people connections between the United States and the five countries of mainland Southeast Asia referred to as the Mekong region. Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam are bound together and geographically defined by the Mekong River, which has historically provided a rich, natural bounty of fish, agricultural productivity, physical connectivity, and key environmental services to more than 60 million people living in the river basin. The Mekong’s importance has only grown as the region’s social, economic, and diplomatic ties export the river’s bounty to the rest of the world. As the region develops, urbanization, infrastructure development, and climate change—among other changes—are all impacting the river, its resources, and the millions who depend on the mighty Mekong. This publication was produced in partnership with the Stimson Center Southeast Asia Program.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Southeast Asia, Laos, Myanmar, United States of America
  • Author: Molly Jahn
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: US public investment in agricultural research in the 20th and 21st centuries has resulted in unprecedented worldwide production of a few staple crops and the improvement of dozens more. Increased crop yields and animal production have drastically reduced famine compared to previous centuries and supported an overall increase in global affluence. Today, agricultural producers around the world are facing new challenges as global climate changes become increasingly unpredictable. Inconsistent rain, extreme temperatures, droughts, flooding, wildfires, and shifting pest and disease patterns are just a few of the obstacles farmers face as they try to feed their families and produce enough food to feed the world. In spite of these dire challenges, US public agricultural research funding has been decreasing over the past several decades. This has allowed competitors such as China and Brazil to outpace American ingenuity, take over American markets, and put American farmers at a disadvantage. The lack of investment in agricultural research and development is a critical national security concern. Historical US agricultural strength has contributed to US hard and soft power around the world. As the US food system is beset by increasing climate, economic, financial, and security threats, US rural communities have been left behind, undermining US power and domestic well-being. Increasing global food insecurity, which has been amplified by increasing weather extremes, will lead to economic and political instability in many areas of the world, further threatening US national security. Although the private sector plays a crucial role in the development of new agricultural techniques and products, public funding has been the backbone of many agriculture and food system advances. While agricultural research and development has historically focused primarily on increasing yields, this narrow focus does not adequately support the food requirements of today’s growing global population. There must be a revitalization of public investment in agricultural research, American food systems, and international agricultural development that focuses on the challenges of the future. US leadership is vital to ensuring the global research agenda does not leave farmers behind. Opportunities to build upon and enhance existing US agricultural research infrastructure across many diverse government entities abound. The US government should recognize these investment opportunities to address current and future climate challenges.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Environment, Research
  • Political Geography: China, Brazil, North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Paul Hofhuis
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: Green COVID-19 Recovery and Transatlantic Leadership: What Are the Prospects? OCTOBER 20, 2020 By: Paul Hofhuis, Senior Research Associate, Clingendael Institute As the US presidential election rapidly approaches, an important question is the prospects for (renewed) transatlantic cooperation, especially in the areas of green recovery to the economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, tackling climate change, and addressing these issues through multilateral approaches. In analyzing ambitions and initiatives on both sides of the Atlantic in three connected policy arenas, this brief argues that while a Democratic victory provides greater opportunity for collaboration, underlying structures for cooperation among societal stakeholders in the United States need to be reinvigorated to diminish polarization in society, which could continue to block the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, European Union, Leadership, Economy, Green Technology, Transatlantic Relations, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Esther Sperling
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The US military maintains almost $1.2 trillion worth of installations worldwide, allowing the United States to sustain critical capabilities and respond to crises around the globe. Outdated and degraded infrastructure limits the military’s ability to respond. The growing impacts of climate change exacerbate the challenge of modernizing and maintaining infrastructure. Climate change’s impact on military installations can be broken down into four main categories: sea level rise, extreme storms, extreme drought and heat, and Arctic ice melt. While Congress has passed bipartisan legislation to address the threat, the Department of Defense (DoD) must take additional steps to adapt to the challenges of climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Military Affairs, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Gavin Helf
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report offers a road map for understanding the most likely sources of violent conflict in the post-Soviet nations of Central Asia—ethno-nationalism and nativism, Islam and secularism, water resources and climate change, and labor migration and economic conflict. The analysis draws from emerging trends in the region and identifies the ways in which Central Asia’s geography and cultural place in the world interact with those trends. It suggests that the policy goals of the United States, Russia, and China in the region may be more compatible than is often assumed.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Climate Change, Migration, Economy, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Central Asia, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: In September 2020, President Xi Jinping announced new goals for China to reach carbon neutrality before 2060, as well as to strengthen its existing 2030 commitments under the Paris Agreement. With these announcements, China has signaled a move to join the European Union—as well as the United States under a Biden administration—in leading long-term climate action among the big emitters. Our analysis demonstrates that if China’s new long-term goal covers all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and not just carbon dioxide (CO₂), this could bring the country within reach of the emissions reductions required by mid-century for its actions to be in line with the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal of limiting average global temperature increases to 1.5°C. However, if President Xi’s announcement is only meant to cover CO₂, then China would need to achieve carbon neutrality around 2050 for this to be compatible with the Paris Agreement.1 Either way, China’s short-term actions will also need to be quickly brought into line with its new long-term trajectory. This includes doing more than simply peaking CO₂ emissions before 2030 as President Xi foreshadowed. Instead, our analysis demonstrates that China would need to peak its emissions by 2025 and rapidly reduce these thereafter to be compatible with the Paris Agreement. This also implies a need for significant adjustments to the other quantifiable targets identified in China’s existing Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement and the ramping up of action to achieve these. Reducing coal-fired power generation quickly and phasing it out entirely by 2040 would be an important step toward achieving this early peak and rapid reductions. Under the Trump administration, the United States has reneged on past climate action promises and rolled back existing policies resulting in an increase in emissions compared with the Obama administration. As a result, this report highlights that even under a Biden administration, the United States is likely to miss its previous 2025 target under the Paris Agreement. However, a Biden administration means that the United States now has the potential to reverse the Trump administration’s rollbacks and make a significant contribution to closing the Paris Agreement’s ambition gap in a new 2030 NDC. Indeed, by taking the initiative to reboot U.S. action in line with the Energy and Climate Package touted by President-elect Biden during his campaign, including its goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, U.S. emissions could be reduced substantially by 2030.2 For example, our analysis indicates that if the Biden campaign’s policies were to be fully implemented with the support of Congress (see below), and continue to be supported by strong subnational action, they could bridge more than half of the U.S. share of the global ambition gap by 2030 through reducing emissions by up to 38%–54% below 2005 levels (GHGs, including land use, land-use change and forestry)3. This would also reduce estimates for average global temperature increases in 2100 by 0.1°C, on top of the 0.2°C–0.3°C reduction achieved by China’s recent announcement. As this report shows, President-elect Biden’s plan to decarbonize the U.S. electricity system by 2035 would represent by far the biggest contribution to this effort and is in line with the Paris Agreement temperature goal. It would result in savings of ~1,350 MtCO₂ out of a total abatement potential of ~1,810 MtCO₂e [1,630–2,100] in 2030 across his Energy and Climate Package. However, this report also estimates that potentially only half of this potential could still be achieved through Executive Authority in the event of Congress not supporting action, although this estimate carries a large degree of uncertainty. We also outline how additional emissions reductions could come from action in other areas, including freight transport and industry—with the electrification of end-use sectors and green hydrogen important opportunities to achieve this. If the United States and China fully implement these ambitious goals and are able to achieve net-zero GHG emissions around mid-century, it would be a monumental step forward toward bringing the Paris Agreement goals within reach. It would also mean that for the first time more than 60% of the world’s emissions are in countries with a clear pathway to decarbonize their economies. However, achieving the goals will require bold action in all sectors of the economy, with an early coal phaseout being paramount for both countries.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Carbon Emissions, Paris Agreement , Decarbonization
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America