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  • Author: Marie Ladekjær Gravesen, Mikkel Funder
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to climate- and development-related challenges have recently gained attention in development cooperation. Among other, approaches that fall under the NbS umbrella include Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA), Ecosystem-based Mitigation (EbM) and Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR). This new DIIS Working Paper focuses on nature-based solutions to climate change adaptation, EbA. It provides an overview of selected lessons learnt from EbA in the context of development cooperation, with a particular emphasis on the opportunities and risks regarding poverty alleviation and rights. It generates learning for Danish development cooperation, including future programming under Denmark’s 2021 development strategy, in which NbS approaches are emphasised. However, the paper can also be read as a general discussion of experiences with EbA in the development context. The three-legged EbA approach focuses on human well-being, ecosystem management, and climate change adaptation. EbA has already been applied to a range of ecosystems, including the restoration of mangroves to shield them against storm and sea-level rises, the management of watersheds to protect against droughts and flooding, the management of rangelands to inhibit desertification and land degradation, and more sustainably managed fisheries and forestry to tackle food insecurity. EbA thus not only addresses the restoration of already degraded ecosystems, but also the sustainable use, management, and conservation of intact ecosystems. The paper provides a conceptual overview of EbA in relation to NbS, outlines the potential in using EbA approaches, and describes the landscape of the institutions and agencies that fund, promote and implement EbA. The paper then provides a synthesis of lessons learned from PES and REDD+ schemes that are of relevance to EbA. For instance, it is emphasised that many REDD+ measures have effectively existed as project islands that were not anchored in national or subnational planning and governance mechanisms. As a result, the conservation activities and socioeconomic benefits were often not effectively integrated or scaled up beyond small project sites. If comprehensively implemented, the EbA approach builds on these experiences by insuring full inclusion of stakeholders from all relevant sectors, as well as demanding full integration in existing policies, planning and governance practices from the ministry levels to sub-national governments. Among the final recommendations and possible entry points for Danish development cooperation, the paper highlights that the support must have a strong focus on ensuring that EbA is pro-poor (i.e. supports poverty alleviation) and rights-based (i.e. supports the rights of local resource users). Experience from EbA and related efforts show that EbA is not automatically pro-poor or supportive of local rights to natural resources and ecosystem services. In particular, there is insufficient attention to and knowledge of rights issues in EbA. Therefore, Danish development cooperation should help lead the way in ensuring that EbA takes a rights-based approach and supports poverty alleviation.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Environment, Poverty, Natural Resources, Water, Food, Governance, Inequality, Investment, Land Rights
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Foundation for Electoral Systems
  • Abstract: Environmental disasters such as fires, droughts, floods, hurricanes and rising sea levels displace more and more people each year. According to the University of Oxford, the scale of displacement related to climate change is difficult to forecast but has been “estimated at between 50 and 200 million people by 2050, mostly in developing countries.” Climate change, other environmental crises and migration resulting from environmental displacement increase the likelihood of insecurity and conflict – and put democratic rights at risk. A new paper from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Electoral Rights of Environmentally Displaced Persons, examines these questions and provides recommendations for election management bodies, governments, international organizations, political parties, the media, civil society organizations and displaced persons. Environmental challenges can exacerbate pre-existing vulnerabilities, including marginalization due to race, gender, disability and other identity factors. Widely ratified international treaties and resolutions obligate the state to provide accessible electoral processes, including special measures for women, persons with disabilities, youth, Indigenous peoples and racial and other minorities who may be at increased risk of marginalization. They also are critical agents to address the consequences of climate change. Electoral Rights of Environmentally Displaced Persons emphasizes how environmental challenges can exacerbate pre-existing vulnerabilities, including marginalization due to race, gender, disability and other identity factors. Displaced persons are key stakeholders. Those most affected by environmental problems need to be able to vote, run for office and engage with candidates and elected representatives to influence agendas, challenge policies and hold governments accountable. Political participation is particularly important in integrating them into their new environments to avoid conflict with host communities. Displaced persons can also bring skills, insights and talents that benefit their new communities.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Elections, Displacement, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Daniele Malerba
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: To avoid catastrophic effects on natural and human systems, bold action needs to be taken rapidly to mitigate climate change. Despite this urgency, the currently implemented and planned climate mitigation policies are not sufficient to meet the global targets set in Paris in 2015. One reason for their current inadequate rollout is their perceived negative distributional effects: by increasing the price of goods, climate mitigation policies may increase both poverty and inequality. In addition, they may disrupt labour markets and increase unemployment, especially in sectors and areas dependent on fossil fuels. As a result, public protests in many countries have so far blocked or delayed the implementation of climate policies.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Policy Implementation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mariya Aleksandrova
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Social protection plays a central role in achieving several of the social and environmental goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As a result, this policy area is gaining increased recognition at the nexus of global climate change and development debates. Various social protection instruments are deemed to have the potential to increase the coping, adaptive and transformative capacities of vulnerable groups to face the impacts of climate change, facilitate a just transition to a green economy and help achieve environmental protection objectives, build intergenerational resilience and address non-economic climate impacts. Nevertheless, many developing countries that are vulnerable to climate change have underdeveloped social protection systems that are yet to be climate proofed. This can be done by incorporating climate change risks and opportunities into social protection policies, strategies and mechanisms. There is a large financing gap when it comes to increasing social protection coverage, establishing national social protection floors and mainstreaming climate risk into the sector. This necessitates substantial and additional sources of financing. This briefing paper discusses the current and future potential of the core multilateral climate funds established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in financing social protection in response to climate change. It further emphasises the importance of integrating social protection in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to access climate finance and provides recommendations for governments, development cooperation entities and funding institutions.
  • Topic: Climate Change, United Nations, Climate Finance, Sustainable Development Goals, Investment
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Simon Happersberger, Eleanor Mateo, Selcukhan Ünekbas
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Fossil fuel subsidies have negative consequences on the climate change, public budgets and and the transition to an environmentally friendly economy. Nevertheless, governments do not keep up with their commitments to phase out fossil fuel subsidies but misallocate again COVID-19 recovery funds in fossil fuel subsidies. This article provides an analysis of the current obstacles for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and the potential of the WTO to advance a reform on fossil fuel subsidies. It argues that the WTO can contribute to a fossil fuel subsidies reform by its technical expertise in regulating subsidies, by its broad membership and by its institutional setting. Under the current framework of the ASCM, WTO member can use existing mechanisms, such as the TPRM, to increase transparency in the short term and facilitate discussions on the scope of subsidies while mitigating impacts on vulnerable groups or sectors. This would provide the ground for governments to work towards a new and ambitious agreement to stop producer fossil fuels subsidies and phase out consumer fossil fuels subsidies in the mid-to-long-term. However, the phase out of consumer subsidies needs to be carefully designed and embedded, to avoid unintended consequences on energy access and vulnerable households.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources, Trade, Fossil Fuels, COVID-19, WTO, Ecology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Elizabeth Smith
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Climate change can increase the risks of violent conflict, create risks to human security, and challenge conflict recovery and peacebuilding in different contexts. In many parts of the world, women and girls are significantly affected by the respective and compounding effects of climate change and conflict. They can also be agents of change in addressing climate change, and peace and security issues. This SIPRI Insights paper explores how the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) national action plans (NAPs) of 80 states frame and respond to climate change and security. It finds that they do so in different ways. Seventeen states include direct mention of climate change in at least one of their plans. Of these, three states include comparatively higher numbers of specific goals and activities referencing climate change in different plans. The paper highlights a need for increased action in the area of climate change in WPS NAPs. It argues for a greater focus on supporting women and girls’ participation in action addressing climate-related security risks, as well as a need to evaluate how climate change is framed as a security risk in the plans.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Women, Peace
  • Political Geography: United States, Finland, Ireland, Global Focus
  • Author: Jiayi Zhou, Lisa Marie Dellmuth, Kevin M. Adams, Tina-Simone Neset, Nina von Uexkull
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Assessing the prospects for Zero Hunger—Sustainable Development Goal 2—requires an understanding of food security that goes beyond developmental or humanitarian issues, to include linkages with geopolitics. Geopolitical challenges cut across areas such as natural resources, trade, armed conflict and climate change where unilateralism and zero-sum approaches to security directly hamper efforts to eradicate hunger and undermine the frameworks that govern those efforts. The report provides an overview of how geopolitics interacts with these areas. Competition for agricultural resources can be both a cause and a consequence of geopolitical rivalry. International trade, while essential for food security, also creates vulnerabilities through supply disruptions—sometimes politically motivated. Armed conflict is a driver of food insecurity, which can itself feed into social unrest and violence. Climate change interacts with all three phenomena, reshaping both the physical landscape and political calculus. These overlapping linkages require further integrated policy engagement and analysis.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, International Trade and Finance, Governance, Food Security, Geopolitics, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Malin Mobjörk, Florian Krampe, Kheira Tarif
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Policymakers are increasingly concerned with the climate-related security risks—the adverse effects of climate change on peace and security. This SIPRI Policy Brief outlines four interrelated pathways between climate change and conflict: (a) livelihoods, (b) migration and mobility, (c) armed group tactics, and (d) elite exploitation. These illustrate the relationship between short- and long-term environmental changes linked to climate change; their impact on the root causes and dynamics of violent conflict; and the critical role of human action, reaction and inaction in mediating violent outcomes. As a policymaking tool, pathways help to identify and navigate the political space for mitigating violent conflict. They can support decision makers in navigating these complex relationships in conflict-affected and climate-exposed regions by integrating local context into analyses of the security and conflict risks of climate change. Pathways also help to facilitate policy planning in areas such as livelihoods, mobility, resource management and governance.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Development, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Louise Van Schaik, Camilla Born, Elizabeth Sellwood, Sophie de Bruin
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Climate change poses risks to poor and rich communities alike, although impacts on the availability and distribution of essential resources such as water, food, energy and land will differ. These changes, combined with other social, political and economic stresses and shocks, can increase tensions within and between states, which, if unmanaged, can lead to violence. Climate-related changes to transboundary waters, food security and trade patterns, sea levels, and Arctic ice, as well as the transition to a low-carbon economy, have profound geopolitical implications. Largescale climate-related migration may also affect the stability of states, and relations between states. Climate action itself may prove destabilizing: (mal)adaptation can disrupt economic and social relations, particularly if implemented without appropriate political economy analysis and risk assessments. In response to analyses linking climate change to security, peace and security actors increasingly realize that interventions to promote peace and stability are more likely to be effective if they incorporate such analyses. At the United Nations, member states have agreed to shift towards a “preventive” approach to conflict risks, grounded in sustainable development. The UN leadership is adjusting institutional structures to better understand and respond to climate-related security risks at all levels, including a newly established climate security mechanism in New York. Many regional intergovernmental institutions have also recognized the links between climate change, peace and security. Some, such as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in East Africa and the European Union, have incorporated climate-related factors into their conflict early-warning mechanisms. We are only just beginning to understand the realities of adapting to unprecedented climate change, however. Climate-related factors will need to be incorporated systematically into political analysis, risk assessment, and early warning, accompanied by deeper integration of climate-security risk assessment into planning and political engagement in the field. Similarly, more consistent analysis of climate-related security risks must contribute to politically informed, conflict-sensitive adaptation strategies.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Climate Change, International Political Economy, Peace, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Takashi Hongo, Venkatachalam Anbumozhi
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: The construction of green infrastructure, using advanced technology and retiring inefficient technology, is essential for the low-carbon transition. Various green infrastructure programs are being implemented, and banks play an important role in facilitating these programs. Many lessons have been learned in improving finance for green infrastructure: (i) measurement, reporting, and verification is a useful tool for identifying green infrastructure investment; but just reduction is not enough for Green Infrastructure and three requirements – carbon dioxide emission reductions, improving energy access, and contributions to sustainable economic growth – connected with the Sustainable Development Goals are necessary; (ii) banks can contribute to realising a positive cycle of cost reduction and diffusion of advanced technology for reducing costs by scaling up markets; and (iii) carbon pricing is essential for removing carbon externalities and making green infrastructure commercially viable. Banks are recommended to have long-term strategies, improve their capacity for scenario analysis, have more dialogue with industry, and develop innovative finance such as carbon markets. Governments are recommended to adopt carbon pricing to encourage finance for green infrastructure.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Infrastructure, Green Technology, Renewable Energy, Banking
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Zafar Imran
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: Whether climate change can stoke political violence and civil conflict is a critical and controversial question. Differences in methodological traditions (qualitative vs. quantitative) are often blamed for academic infighting over this question. This brief suggests that the real problem lies with an impoverished understanding of the process of climate change, particularly how social and ecological systems interact, and how changes in either propagate through the other and generate feedbacks. By presenting a dynamic understanding of the climate-conflict equation, this brief presents a mechanism-based analytical framework that can be used to study the complex phenomenon across diverse social settings. It illustrates the approach by tracing mechanisms through which climate change is fueling protests by farmers in Pakistan, and suggesting other potential applications.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Environment, Conflict, Rural
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Babette Never, Jose Ramon Albert, Hanna Fuhrmann, Sebastian Gsell, Miguel Jaramillo, Sascha Kuhn, Bernardin Senadza
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: As households move out of poverty, spending patterns change. This is good news from a development perspective, but changing consumer behaviour may imply substantially more carbon emissions. The lifestyle choices of the emerging middle classes are key, now and in the future. This paper explores the consumption patterns of the emerging middle classes and their carbon intensity, using unique micro data from household surveys conducted in Ghana, Peru and the Philippines. We find that carbon-intensive consumption increases with wealth in all three countries, and most sharply from the fourth to the fifth middle-class quintile due to changes in travel behaviour, asset ownership and use. In Peru, this shift in the upper-middleclass quintiles translates to annual incomes of roughly USD 11,000-17,000 purchasing power parity. Environmental knowledge and concern are fairly evenly spread at mid- to high levels and do lead to more easy-entry sustainable behaviours, but they do not decrease the level of carbon emissions. To some extent, a knowledge/concern–action gap exists. In our study, social status matters less than the literature claims. Our results have two implications. First, the differentiations between developing/developed countries in the global climate debate may be outdated: It is about being part of the global middle classes or not. Second, a positive spillover from existing easy-entry sustainable behaviours to a change in carbon-intensive consumption patterns needs policy support.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Class, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Edmund Downie
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: China’s Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) initiative presents a transformational vision for meeting the world’s growing power demand with a globally interconnected electricity grid. The concept involves ultra-high-voltage transmission lines strung across vast distances and smart grid technology tapping large-scale renewable power sources. Chinese President Xi Jinping first touted GEI’s goal to “facilitate efforts to meet the global power demand with clean and green alternatives” at the UN General Assembly in 2015. The ambition of the GEI vision is enormous, especially since there is very little cross-border trade in electricity around the world today. Regional electricity integration initiatives championed by development banks and multilateral organizations have largely struggled against the formidable political, economic and technical complications that accompany interstate electricity trade. China has seen these challenges firsthand in its participation in the Asian Development Bank’s Greater Mekong Subregion electricity trade endeavor, which has progressed fitfully since the 1990s amid regional infrastructure gaps and uneven political support from member states. This report, prepared as part of the Belt and Road Initiative series published by Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, uses a case study of power trade in the Greater Mekong Subregion to assess the prospects for GEI in catalyzing energy integration around the world. It discusses why Greater Mekong Subregion integration has been slow, how GEI might help accelerate interconnection in the area, and what lessons the region offers for understanding the overall outlook for GEI. Based on this study, the author finds the following: Establishing a GEI-style global energy grid backbone by 2070 would require overcoming an extraordinary set of political challenges. The global grid outlined by GEI for the coming decades serves more as a demonstration of technical potential than a strict blueprint to be implemented. The limited scale attained thus far by the Greater Mekong Subregion project for grid integration and cross-border electricity trading demonstrates the headwinds such multinational efforts can face. Weak internal power sector development in recent decades has left some member states without the generation surpluses and robust power grids necessary to support meaningful levels of trade. In addition, power trade requires a strong degree of interstate political trust, motivated engagement by national utilities, and support from civil society players for the specific generation and transmission projects involved. Integration backers have historically struggled to build consensus across this diverse array of stakeholders. While enormous generation and transmission infrastructure projects are core components of the GEI vision and dovetail with the interests of China’s domestic proponents, considerable debate persists about their merits for fostering the renewables transition. Ultra-high-voltage transmission, a specialty of Chinese utilities, is a particular flashpoint. State interest in cross-border trade has been increasing across many regions in recent years, and more gradual gains in power trade around the world that can aid the renewable transition and bolster regional solidarity are possible. China can contribute greatly to this process: as an investor and contractor in grid projects abroad, as a member state of integration initiatives in Asia, and as an advocate of grid integration in international fora. GEI’s ultimate impact will depend in part on how advocates within China reconcile tensions between strengthening cross-border power trade and promoting domestic priorities, such as advancing the country’s own industrial policy objectives.
  • Topic: Climate Change, United Nations, Infrastructure, Green Technology, Electricity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jason Bordoff
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted daily life, caused widespread sickness and fatalities, and sent the global economy careening toward a depression. Governments have responded by taking unprecedented steps to shut down entire cities, ban travel, and isolate nations—extreme measures that are giving hope to climate activists that similarly ambitious policies might be possible to address global warming, which many consider a similar existential threat. Yet that would be the wrong lesson to draw, as the very same barriers preventing an effective COVID-19 response continue to keep climate change action out of reach. Scientists warn that the impacts of COVID-19 will rise sharply over time, threatening the lives of vast numbers of people, particularly those most vulnerable. They warn that climate change, too, will severely harm many over time, albeit not with the same rapidity. If governments and companies can take extreme actions to cancel sports seasons, shut down workplaces, and restrict movement, surely they can take similarly drastic steps to change how we produce and consume energy?
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Noah Kaufman, Peter Marsters, Alexander R. Barron, Wojciech Krawczyk, Haewon McJeon
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: The social cost of carbon (SCC) is commonly described and used as the optimal CO2 price. However, the wide range of SCC estimates provides limited practical assistance to policymakers setting specific CO2 prices. Here we describe an alternate near-term to net zero (NT2NZ) approach, estimating CO2 prices needed in the near term for consistency with a net-zero CO2 emissions target. This approach dovetails with the emissions-target-focused approach that frames climate policy discussions around the world, avoids uncertainties in estimates of climate damages and long-term decarbonization costs, offers transparency about sensitivities and enables the consideration of CO2 prices alongside a portfolio of policies. We estimate illustrative NT2NZ CO2 prices for the United States; for a 2050 net-zero CO2 emission target, prices are US$34 to US$64 per metric ton in 2025 and US$77 to US$124 in 2030. These results are most influenced by assumptions about complementary policies and oil prices.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Julio Friedmann, Alex Zapantis, Brad Page, Chris Consoli, Zhiyuan Fan, Ian Havercroft, Harry Liu, Emeka Richard Ochu, Nabeela Raji, Dominic Rassool, Hadia Sheerazi, Alex Townsend
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: The case for rapid and profound decarbonization has never been more obvious or more urgent, and immediate action must match growing global ambition and need. An important new component of this discussion is the necessity of achieving net-zero global greenhouse gas emissions for any climate stabilization target. Until net-zero emissions are achieved, greenhouse gas will accumulate in the atmosphere and oceans, and concentrations will grow, even with deep and profound emissions reduction, mitigation, and adaptation measures. This places a severe constraint on human enterprise: any carbon removed from the earth must be returned to the earth.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Green Technology, Carbon Emissions, Decarbonization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jonathan Elkind, Erin Blanton, Robert Kleinberg, Anton Leemhuis
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: In August 2020, the Trump Administration finalized plans to roll back regulations on oil and gas industry emissions of methane from new and modified infrastructure. In the same month, the European Commission gathered stakeholder comments as part of its process to introduce the first EU-wide methane regulations. Though contradictory in direction, these regulatory processes on opposite sides of the Atlantic highlighted a critical climate protection challenge: How can the oil and gas industry—and the regulators who oversee it—best detect and address methane emissions to protect the environment and the climate in particular? The answer to this question will drive planning and operational approaches in the oil and gas industry. It could also significantly affect the future role of natural gas. Five years ago, many energy analysts expected natural gas to serve as a bridge fuel that would result in only half as much climate warming as coal, and fewer local air pollutants. Among other roles, gas was seen as a natural complement for variable wind or solar power—a way to provide firm, dispatchable, low-emissions power. Now that it is apparent that our understanding of methane emissions is poor, the climate implications of gas are far less clear. This poor grasp of methane emissions appears likely to become a thing of the past, however. In roughly the next five years, new satellite detection systems—used in concert with existing systems, aerial monitoring platforms, and ground-based monitors—can increase markedly the transparency surrounding methane leakage. The new wave of satellite monitoring capability has major implications for industry and governments. Our world is rapidly becoming a place in which methane emissions will have nowhere to hide. This commentary, co-authored by the Center on Global Energy Policy and TNO, focuses on detection and response to oil- and gas-related methane emissions, which have been the subject of increasing focus on the part of industry and the public policy community. It addresses the significance of methane emissions for the climate, and the challenges of detecting and accurately quantifying methane emissions. It then explores the evolving capabilities of satellite-based methane detection and monitoring systems, which are expected to advance rapidly in the coming years, and which can be especially powerful when used in concert with aerial and ground-based monitoring systems. It concludes with a discussion of the implications of the changing satellite detection landscape for the oil and gas industry, the finance and investment community, and the realm of public policy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Gas, Finance, Methane
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: John Larsen
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: Putting a price on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions can help governments reduce them rapidly and in a cost-effective manner. While 10 carbon tax bills have been proposed in the 116th US Congress, carbon prices alone are not enough to reach net-zero emissions by midcentury. Additional policies are needed to complement an economy-wide carbon tax and further cut CO2 from the US energy system. This study aims to provide a better understanding of such policy combinations. It projects the energy CO2 emissions impacts of two carbon taxes, starting in 2021, that span the rates in the carbon tax bills in Congress. The “low” tax scenario starts at $30 per ton in 2021 and rises at 5 percent plus inflation per year, reaching $44 by 2030, while the “high” carbon tax starts at $15 per ton and rises $15 per year, reaching $150 by 2030. The paper then describes the barriers inhibiting emissions reductions beyond those achieved by the carbon taxes alone for each major sector: electricity, transportation, buildings, and industry. Finally, it explores the energy system changes needed to overcome those barriers and the policy interventions that could deliver those changes. For certain key energy system changes, it provides quantitative estimates of emissions reductions incremental to the two carbon taxes. This paper is part of a joint effort by Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) and Rhodium Group to help policy makers and other stakeholders understand the important decisions associated with the design of carbon pricing policies and the implications of these decisions. The paper finds the emissions impacts of the low and high carbon taxes alone lead to economy-wide energy CO2 emissions reductions by 2030 of 33 percent and 41 percent, respectively, below 2005 levels. A carbon tax combined with policy actions that support comprehensive, ambitious energy system changes could lead to emissions reductions in the range of 40 to 45 percent, arguably consistent with US midcentury deep decarbonization goals for the energy system. In the 2020s, the bulk of these emissions reductions are likely to occur in the power sector, even under a broad decarbonization strategy, due to the significant barriers to large near-term emissions reductions in the transportation, buildings, and industrial sectors.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Carbon Tax, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Philippe Benoit, Alex Clark
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: On February 27, 2020, the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) convened a workshop at the university’s Faculty House in New York City. The workshop brought together a combination of practitioners, researchers, executives, and public sector officials to discuss the role of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in realizing collective climate action goals. Under the Chatham House Rule, the discussion focused around sectors (power generation, oil and gas) and relationships (government-SOE relations, and the role of public financial institutions), before concluding with a roundtable discussion drawing together the day’s proceedings and outlining the next steps. The following is a summary of that workshop.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Claudia Wieners, Michael Grubb
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: We analyze and critique how optimizing Integrated Assessment Models, and specifically the widely-used DICE model, represent abatement costs. Many such models assume temporal independence –abatement costs in one period are not affected by prior abatement. We contrast this with three dimensions of dynamic realism in emitting systems: inertia, induced innovation, and path dependence. We extend the DICE model with a stylized representation of such dynamic factors. By adding a transitional cost component, we characterize the resulting system in terms of its capacity to adapt in path-dependent ways, and the transitional costs of accelerating abatement. We formalize a resulting metric of the pliability of the system, and the characteristic timescales of adjustment. With the resulting DICE-PACE model, we show that in a system with high pliability, the optimal strategy involves much higher initial investment in abatement, sustained at roughly constant levels for some decades, which generates an approximately linear abatement path and emissions declining steadily to zero. This contrasts sharply with the traditional formulation. Characteristic transition timescales of 20-40 years result in an optimum path which stabilizes global temperatures around a degree below the traditional DICE behavior; with otherwise modest assumptions, a pliable system can generate optimal scenarios within the goals of the Paris Agreement, with far lower long run combined costs of abatement and climate damages. We conclude that representing dynamic realism in such models is as important as – and far more empirically tractable than – continued debate about the monetization of climate damages and ‘social cost of carbon’.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Paris Agreement , Models
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Patrick Honohan
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Should central banks take more account of ethical issues, notably the impact of monetary policy actions on the distribution of income and wealth and on efforts to combat climate change, in the design and implementation of the wider monetary policy toolkit they have been using in the past decade? Although the scope to influence a range of objectives is more limited than is often supposed, and while it is vital to not derail monetary policy from its core purposes, central bank mandates justify paying more attention to such broad issues, especially if policy choices have a significant potential impact. Carefully managed steps in this direction could actually strengthen central bank independence while making some contribution to improving the effectiveness of public policy on these issues.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Monetary Policy, Inequality, Central Bank
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Antto Vihma
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: After the agreement reached in Katowice in December 2018, The Paris Agreement is finally operational. This is a major diplomatic achievement. Two large-scale political developments have cast a shadow over the implementation phase of the Paris Agreement: the rise of right-wing populism and emerging multipolar competition. The evidence so far seems to suggest that right-wing populism often frames climate change as an elite agenda – and international agreements are perceived as a pet issue of the corrupt elite, at odds with the interests of the people. Relatedly, tightening competition among great powers makes multilateral cooperation and consensus-based decision-making among 197 parties increasingly challenging. With the Paris Agreement in place, the UNFCCC can provide a long-awaited legal framework for national climate contributions, but it will not be able to increase the ambition of national climate policies via multilateral negotiations.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, United Nations, Paris Agreement
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Aspen Institute
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: The Forum on Global Energy, Economy & Security is an annual conversation to discuss global energy markets, crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas supply and demand, midstream, shale development, geopolitics, energy security, and environmental topics. The forum features Aspen’s time-honored moderated roundtable discussion format which, while each session is introduced by brief presentations, stresses dialogue between participants rather than conference-style speaker presentations with question and answer only. The forum is enhanced by an informal atmosphere and a not-for-attribution rule that encourages new thinking, dissenting opinions, and frank discussion.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Géraud de Lassus Saint-Genliês
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The Global Pact for the Environment (GPE) is a draft treaty prepared in 2017 by a French think tank, Le Club des Juristes, which aims at strengthening the effectiveness of international environmental law (IEL) by combining its most fundamental principles into a single overarching, legally binding instrument. In May 2018, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted Towards a Global Pact for the Environment, a resolution that established an intergovernmental working group to discuss the necessity and feasibility of adopting an instrument such as the GPE, with a view to making recommendations to the UNGA. As the working group nears its final session, scheduled for May 20–22, 2019, this paper discusses the extent to which codifying the fundamental principles of IEL into a treaty could increase the problem-solving effectiveness of environmental governance. The analysis suggests that the added value of the proposed GPE (or any such instrument) may not be as evident as what its proponents argue. The paper also highlights the fact that the adoption of such an instrument could generate unintended consequences that would hinder the development of more effective environmental standards in the future.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: James Bacchus
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Trade has become a taboo topic in climate negotiations on the implementation of the Paris climate agreement. This must change. The nexus between trade and climate change must be addressed in the climate regime. In particular, a definition is needed that will clarify the meaning of a climate “response measure.” Without a definition provided by climate negotiators, the task of defining which national climate measures are permissible and which are not when they restrict trade while pursuing climate mitigation and adaptation will be left to the judges of the World Trade Organization. To avoid a collision between the climate and trade regimes that will potentially be harmful to both, the ongoing deliberation on response measures in the climate regime must be reframed by ending the climate taboo on trade.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cameron S. G. Jefferies
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The high seas are a critical biodiversity reservoir and carbon sink. Unfortunately, the oceans, generally, and the high seas, in particular, do not feature prominently in international climate mitigation or climate adaptation efforts. There are, however, signals that ocean conservation is poised to occupy a more significant role in international climate law and policy going forward. This paper argues that improved conservation and sustainable use of high-seas living marine resources are essential developments at the convergence of climate action and ocean governance that should manifest, at least in part, as climate-informed high-seas marine protected areas.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Water, Maritime, Conservation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, North America, Global Focus
  • Author: Kerryn Brent, Will Burns, Jeffrey McGee
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: After more than two decades of UN negotiations, global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, with current projections indicating the planet is on a pathway to a temperature increase of approximately 3.2°C by 2100, well beyond what is considered a safe level. This has spurred scientific and policy interest in the possible role of solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal geoengineering activities to help avert passing critical climatic thresholds, or to help societies recover if global temperatures overshoot expectations of safe levels. Marine geoengineering proposals show significant diversity in terms of their purpose, scale of application, likely effectiveness, requisite levels of international cooperation and intensity of environmental risks. This diversity of marine geoengineering activities will likely place significant new demands upon the international law system to govern potential risks and opportunities. International ocean law governance is comprised of a patchwork of global framework agreements, sectoral agreements and customary international law rules that have developed over time in response to disparate issues. These include maritime access, fisheries management, shipping pollution, ocean dumping and marine scientific research. This patchwork of oceans governance contains several bodies of rules that might apply in governing marine geoengineering activities. However, these bodies of rules were negotiated for different purposes, and not specifically for the governance of marine geoengineering. The extent to which this patchwork of rules might contribute to marine geoengineering governance will vary, depending on the purpose of an activity, where it is conducted, which state is responsible for it and the types of impacts it is likely to have. The 2013 amendment to the London Protocol on ocean dumping provides the most developed and specific framework for marine geoengineering governance to date. But the capacity of this amendment to bolster the capacity of international law to govern marine geoengineering activities is limited by some significant shortcomings. Negotiations are under way to establish a new global treaty on conservation of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, including new rules for area-based management, environmental impact assessments and capacity building/technology transfer. A new agreement has the potential to fill key gaps in the existing patchwork of international law for marine geoengineering activities in high-seas areas. However, it is also important that this new treaty be structured in a way that is not overly restrictive, which might hinder responsible research and development of marine geoengineering in high-seas areas.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Law, United Nations, Green Technology, Geoengineering
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jonathan M. Harris
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: Macroeconomic theory was shaken up in the wake of the financial crisis, with neoclassical approaches proving inadequate to analyze or respond to the need for policy action. Despite efforts to return to more conventional macro perspectives, a continuing re-evaluation of economic theory has important implications both for traditional economic concerns such as employment and inflation, and for ecological issues and the climate crisis. An emerging “green Keynesian” approach combines a radical Keynesian analysis with ecological priorities such as drastic carbon emissions reduction. One important aspect of this reorientation of theory is the analysis of economic and ecological deficits. In the years since the financial crisis, both economic and ecological deficits have increased. This poses a challenge for “green Keynesian” policy. It is therefore necessary to have effective analyses to measure and respond to ecological deficits, as well as policy measures to deal with economic deficits. This paper proposes a new approach to measuring ecological deficits, and a new perspective on economic deficits and debt. Since there is no single unitary measure for depletion or degradation of different kinds of resources, it is necessary to measure different kinds of deficit for different resources, with a goal of reducing all of these to zero or replacing them with surpluses. The analysis involves exploring the specific economic implications of reducing both ecological and economic deficits, which involves re-conceptualizing economic growth and "degrowth", and provides an alternative to current U.S. policies under the Trump administration, which are contributing to widening both deficits.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Debt, Financial Crisis, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Karolina Eklöw, Florian Krampe, Malin Mobjörk, Dan Smith
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • 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.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Geopolitics, Risk, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Camilla Born, Karolina Eklöw, Malin Mobjörk
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: The security implications of climate change have increasingly been debated in the United Nations Security Council. Yet, there is a growing concern by many UN member states about the lack of adequate responses to the risks that climate change poses to peace and security. In recent years, some modest but notable changes at the UN have taken place, of which the creation of the Climate Security Mechanism is the primary example. This SIPRI Policy Brief summarizes the recent evolution of the climate security debate in the UN and highlights three priority areas for future action: (a) supporting and establishing climate security action in the field, (b) nurturing knowledge provision and (c) building sustainable sources of financing for climate security action. All these steps will require committed actors, innovation and long-term investment. Escalating climate impacts make the mitigation of climate-related security risks by the UN and its member states not only demanded but urgent. Recent institutional progress demonstrates that committed and cooperative actors can drive institutional change. This progress must be bolstered and action delivered in the field.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Environment, United Nations, Risk
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mateusz Kasprowicz, Sam Szoke-Burke, Kaitlin Y. Cordes
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: On September 27th, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Landesa, the New York City Bar Association International Environmental Law Committee, and Wake Forest Law School hosted a day-long conference on the intersection between land use, the climate crisis and clean energy transition, and human rights. Held at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, the conference brought together individuals from civil society organizations, governments, and academia, as well as lawyers, climate scientists, land-rights experts, indigenous representatives and other stakeholder groups. The panelists analyzed the critical role that land plays in achieving climate solutions, the degree to which climate change may reshape regional abilities to support sustainable ecosystems, and the ways in which these land and climate interactions might affect land rights, human rights, and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Human Rights, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Catherine Bertini
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: This paper provides food for thought for incoming senior officials of the United Nations on a range of issues related to leading their organizations and embarking on organizational change. The transition to UN leadership, especially by the many agency executive heads who come to the United Nations from outside the system, is extremely critical, and these incoming senior leaders need to quickly understand their agency, its mission, its staff, its place within the larger UN and NGO ecosystem, and whether change is needed to improve the functioning of the agency. However, the United Nations and individual agencies provide little, if any, transition assistance for incoming executive heads. There is also little guidance and information provided to agency heads in leading transformational organizational change. Given the immense issues facing incoming leaders— including the internal pressures of running a large, multinational, political organization and external pressures from geopolitical shifts, poverty, war, strife, natural disasters, climate change— strong, creative, and risk-taking leadership is necessary for success. This paper provides guidance for new leaders through various stages of the early days of UN leadership; from preparations made upon appointment to the position to the first 100 days in office and finally through the assessment, planning, and implementation of transformational organizational change. It was written with input from many former and current senior UN leaders in hopes of providing valuable advice, insight, and lessons learned that can be used by new leaders as they embark on their challenging and rewarding mission to change lives and change the world.
  • Topic: Climate Change, United Nations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Naoyuki Yoshino, Farhad Taghizadeh-Hesary
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Lack of long-term financing, the existence of various risks, the low rate of return, and lack of capacity in market actors are major challenges for the development of low-carbon projects. This paper attempts to provide guidelines for governments and financial institutions by highlighting practical solutions as enabling conditions of low-carbon finance and investment. Such solutions include increasing the role of public financial institutions, increasing the share of non-banking financial institutions in long-term investments, using the spillover tax to increase the rate of return, developing green credit guarantee schemes to reduce the credit risk, and addressing low-carbon investment risks via financial and policy de-risking. These solutions are analysed in detail and considerations for their implementation are discussed throughout the paper. Tools and instruments for low-carbon investments and a practical example of the implementation of the proposed tools are also provided in this paper
  • Topic: Climate Change, Infrastructure, Banks, Credit, Financial Institutions
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Poorti Sapatnekar
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: While nation-states remain primary protagonists in global governance processes, it is increasingly recognized that non-state actors (NSAs) are key players in areas ranging from human rights and civil conflict to infectious disease and nuclear non-proliferation. The area of climate change is an illustrative example. NSAs have been active participants in the margins of the Conference of Parties (COP), the annual meeting of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), since its inception in 1995 by holding side-events and protests, raising awareness, lobbying, etc. NSAs have also contributed to the development of a “regime complex” in climate governance at the same time. Yet, the determinants and effects of that participation are not well understood. The COP offers a unique opportunity to examine one piece of this puzzle; namely, the factors that enable and motivate NSAs to participate in the design and implementation of international agreements. We use an original dataset of NSA participants at the COP from 1995 to 2016, to examine whether NSAs are well positioned to help states overcome key barriers to cooperation. As NSAs ramp up their participation in climate governance and elsewhere, this study offers insight into their motivations and potential impact on governance outcomes.
  • Topic: Climate Change, United Nations, Non State Actors, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Philippe Benoit
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: Policy makers, academics, and others have devoted significant effort over the past three decades to considering how best to incentivize households and private companies to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. There has been much less discussion about how best to incentivize state-owned enterprises (SOEs) -- companies that are either wholly or majority owned by a government -- to cut emissions. Yet when it comes to energy sector GHGs, these state companies are among the world’s leading emitters. They are major emitters at both the country and global levels, notably from electricity generation. In the aggregate, they emit over 6.2 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year in energy sector GHGs, which is more than every country except China. Public sector companies are also major providers of low-carbon alternatives, such as renewables and nuclear power, and importantly, they often operate under incentives that are quite different from those facing their private sector counterparts. Given the emissions profile of SOEs, the nature of their corporate mandates, and their ownership structure, Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy undertook research to examine how best to engage these companies in efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions as part of its ongoing work on climate change. The paper explores the role of these public sector companies in climate change, examines the effectiveness of market-oriented solutions such as carbon taxes in changing SOE behavior, and evaluates some other potential strategies for reducing their emissions. In short, the paper finds the following: The state-ownership structure of SOEs allows governments to exercise shareholder power to press for the implementation of their climate policy preferences. Providing public sector financing and making associated infrastructure improvements are other ways that a government can encourage its SOEs to invest in low-carbon alternatives. In contrast, many SOEs operate with nonfinancial mandates, market protections, and other conditions that limit their responsiveness to carbon pricing mechanisms that are effective in changing private sector behavior. There are other ways to alter public sector companies so that they embrace a greener pathway without being directed, especially if a firm’s management determines the pathway will serve its corporate interests. This can be especially important for state-owned companies that have the political weight to resist government climate policy pressures. In emerging economies with large SOE emissions and with governments willingly direct their SOEs, using these companies to reduce emissions is a policy tactic that can present implementation and other advantages because it requires the government to target a limited number of companies that the state already owns and controls. How much a government prioritizes climate change relative to other goals is the most critical factor that will determine the extent to which its SOEs prioritize low-carbon investments. Successfully merging climate goals into growth objectives, at both the broader economic and the SOE-company levels, increases the likelihood that a state company will engage in the low-carbon transition in a sustained manner.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Science and Technology, Green Technology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Julio Friedman
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: Recent studies indicate there is an urgent need to dramatically reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from heavy industrial applications (including cement, steel, petrochemicals, glass and ceramics, and refining). Heavy industry produces roughly 22 percent of global CO₂ emissions. Of these, roughly 40 percent (about 10 percent of total emissions) is the direct consequence of combustion to produce high-quality heat, almost entirely from the combustion of fossil fuels. This is chiefly because these fuels are relatively cheap, are widely available in large volumes, and produce high-temperature heat in great amounts. Many industrial processes require very large amounts of thermal energy at very high temperatures (more than 300°C and often more than 800°C). For example, conventional steel blast furnaces operate at about 1,100°C, and conventional cement kilns operate at about 1,400°C. In addition, many commercial industrial facilities require continuous operation or operation on demand. The nature of industrial markets creates challenges to the decarbonization of industrial heat. In some cases (e.g., steel, petrochemicals), global commodity markets govern product trade and price. Individual national action on the decarbonization of heavy industry can lead to trade disadvantage, which can be made acute for foundational domestic industries (in some cases, with national security implications). This can also lead to offshoring of production and assets, leading to carbon “leakage” as well as local job and revenue loss (with political consequences). In many cases, lack of options could lead to dramatic price increases for essential products (e.g., cement for concrete, an essential building material). Risk of carbon leakage, price escalation, and trade complexity limits the range of policy applications available to address this decarbonization need. To explore the topic of industrial heat decarbonization, the authors undertook an initial review of all options to supply high temperature, high flux, and high volume heat for a subset of major industrial applications: cement manufacturing, primary iron and steel production, methanol and ammonia synthesis, and glassmaking. From the initial comprehensive set of potential heat supply options, the authors selected a subset of high relevance and common consideration: Biomass and biofuel combustion Hydrogen combustion (including hydrogen produced from natural gas with 89 percent carbon capture (blue hydrogen) and hydrogen produced from electrolysis of water using renewable power (green hydrogen) Electrical heating (including electrical resistance heating and radiative heating (e.g., microwaves) Nuclear heat production (including conventional and advanced systems) The application of post-combustion carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) to industrial heat supply and to the entire facility, as a basis for comparison The authors focus on substitutions and retrofits to existing facilities and on four primary concerns: cost, availability, viability of retrofit/substitution, and life-cycle footprint. In short, the paper finds: All approaches have substantial limitations or challenges to commercial deployment. Some processes (e.g., steelmaking) will likely have difficulty accepting options for substitution. All options would substantially increase the production cost and wholesale price of industrial products. For many options (e.g., biomass or electrification), the life-cycle carbon footprint or efficiency of heat deposition are highly uncertain and cannot be resolved simply. This complicates crafting sound policy and assessing technical options and viability. Most substitute supply options for low-carbon heat appear more technically challenging and expensive than retrofits for CCUS. Even given the uncertainties around costs and documented complexities in applying CO₂ capture to industrial systems, it may prove simpler and cheaper to capture and store CO₂. CCUS would have the added benefit of capturing emissions from by-product industrial chemistry, which can represent 20–50 percent of facility emissions and would not be captured through heat substitution alone. Critically, CCUS is actionable today, providing additional GHG mitigation to industrial heat and process emissions as other options mature and become economically viable. Hydrogen combustion provided the readiest source of heat of all the options assessed, was the simplest to apply (including retrofit), and was the most tractable life-cycle basis. Today, hydrogen produced from reforming natural gas and decarbonized with CCUS (blue hydrogen) has the best cost profile for most applications and the most mature supply chain, and it would commonly add 10–50 percent to wholesale production costs. It also could provide a pathway to increase substitution with hydrogen produced by electrolysis of water from carbon-free electricity (green hydrogen), which today would increase costs 200–800 percent but would drop as low-carbon power supplies grow and electrolyzer costs drop. Hydrogen-based industrial heat provides an actionable pathway to start industrial decarbonization at once, particularly in the petrochemical, refining, and glass sectors, while over time reducing cost and contribution of fossil sources. However, substitution of hydrogen will prove more difficult or infeasible for steel and cement, which might require more comprehensive redesign and investment. Most of the other options appear to add substantially to final production costs—commonly twice that of blue hydrogen substitution or CCUS—and are more difficult to implement. However, all options show the potential for substantial cost reductions. An innovation agenda remains a central important undertaking and likely would yield near-term benefits in cost reduction, ease of implementation, and a lower life-cycle carbon footprint. Prior lack of focus on industrial heat supplies as a topic leave open many possibilities for improvement, and dedicated research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) programs could make substantial near-term progress. To avoid commercial and technical failure, government innovation programs should work closely with industry leaders at all levels of investigation. New policies specific to heavy industry heat and decarbonization are required to stimulate market adoption. Policies must address concerns about leakage and global commodity trade effects as well as the environmental consequences. These policies could include sets of incentives (e.g., government procurement mandates, tax credits, feed-in tariffs) large enough to overcome the trade and cost concerns. Alternatively, policies like border adjustment tariffs would help protect against leakage or trade impacts. Because all options suffer from multiple challenges or deficiencies, innovation policy (including programs that both create additional options and improve existing options) is essential to deliver rapid progress in industrial heat decarbonization and requires new programs and funding. As a complement to innovation policy and governance, more work is needed to gather and share fundamental technical and economic data around industrial heat sources, efficiency, use, and footprint.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Infrastructure, Green Technology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Varun Sivaram
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In2017,theEconomistproclaimedthatdatawasthenewoil. Justastrade in oil has underpinned the global economy for a century, flows of data— the most valuable resource of the twenty-first century—now drive eco- nomic value. Indeed, in 2017, all five of the world’s most valuable publicly traded companies specialized in digital technologies, whereas just a decade earlier three of the top five companies were in the energy sector. This does not mean that the energy sector has been left behind by the digital revolution. To the contrary, digitalization is at the heart of the tectonic shifts that are starting to reshape the energy landscape. As energy industries produce ever more data, firms are harnessing greater computing power, advances in data science, and increased digital con- nectivity to exploit that data. These trends have the potential to trans-form the way energy is produced, transported, and consumed. An important potential benefit of this digital transformation of energy is a reduction in global emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change; the elimination of such emissions from the global economy is known as decarbonization. By enabling clean energy sys- tems that rely on low-carbon energy sources and are highly efficient in using energy, digital innovations in the energy sector can speed decar- bonization. Yet they are not guaranteed to do so. In fact, digital innova- tions could well increase global greenhouse emissions, for example, by making it easier to extract fossil fuels.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Science and Technology, Digital Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ryerson Neal
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Participants from academia and various levels of government gathered in Ottawa to discuss the often underappreciated interplay between the international climate agenda and the global trade system. The trade system has traditionally supported open flows of goods and services by disciplining tariffs, as well as trade-distorting subsidies and regulations. But there is an emerging tension between this approach and the desire of governments to address climate change through potentially trade-distorting domestic regulations and green subsidies. The challenge for policy makers is how to maintain relatively free, undistorted trade, while still giving countries sufficient policy space to implement effective measures to combat climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Regulation, Green Technology, Free Trade
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Markus Gehring
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Economic, environmental and other international regimes are jointly facing a wicked climate problem. Climate change impacts on human activity and ecosystems have the potential to jeopardize attaining shared goals of these different regimes, and yet can only be addressed by overcoming the division and occasional conflict between their different stakeholders and areas of focus. Discussions have begun in the hallways on how trade law could best be leveraged to bring the international community together to prevent climate-related harms. This paper argues that World Trade Organization (WTO) fisheries subsidies negotiations should be a priority area for those practitioners and researchers building links between trade and climate law. It is submitted that successful fisheries subsidies reform will directly contribute to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and to the delivery of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 (“Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”), given the important synergies that exist between the transformation of fisheries subsidies and climate mitigation and adaptation. Furthermore, fisheries subsidies negotiations are of crucial importance for international climate law because they can provide a case study to learn from and increase chances of success with fossil fuel subsidy reform. This paper provides a brief historical overview of trade law negotiations aiming to reduce and reform fisheries subsidies, and shows the important synergies that exist between reforming fisheries subsidies and implementing the Paris Agreement as well as the SDGs. The paper then extracts five drivers for success that can be observed from the current process of fisheries subsidies reform: leadership of key countries and of the WTO Secretariat itself; meticulous academic, scientific and policy background analysis; commitment by civil society and the private sector; the development of alternatives to those subsidies that encourage overfishing; and inter-regime learning. Lastly, the paper discusses the transferability of these drivers for success to prevent climate harms and to address more general challenges encountered in both the climate and trade regimes.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, World Trade Organization, Maritime, Fishing
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Zachary Folger-Laronde, Olaf Weber
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: As the impacts of climate change continue to grow in severity, focus has turned toward the climate change implications associated with the products and services of the financial sector. It is estimated that the indirect carbon emissions, which are caused in the financial sector by borrowers, investees and financed projects, are 50 to 200 times larger than the direct impacts of the financial sector. It is evident that a decarbonization strategy is needed for more than the fossil fuel industry and will require significant changes to most economic sectors. This added focus toward the financial sector has led to demands for enhanced disclosure of climate change information with regard to financed clients and projects. However, there remains limited guidance in how the financial sector should disclose its carbon performance to its shareholders and stakeholders. This paper reviews the highlights from an empirical study that investigated the types of carbon performance voluntarily disclosed by banks and the type of carbon impact emissions disclosed. Policy recommendations are made that aim to facilitate and standardize disclosures.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Finance, Fossil Fuels, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: James Bacchus
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Neither the trade regime nor the climate regime has so far displayed any willingness to confront the coming clash between climate ambitions and trade rules. To minimize the economic and political risks of such a collision, the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) should adopt a WTO climate waiver. To further carbon pricing and to facilitate the necessary green transition in the global economy, the core of a WTO climate waiver should be a waiver from the applicable trade rules for national measures that: discriminate on the basis of carbon and other greenhouse gases used or emitted in making a product; fit the definition of a climate response measure as defined by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; and do not discriminate in a manner that constitutes a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade. A WTO climate waiver should also include support for trade restrictions by carbon markets and climate clubs, trade disciplines on fossil fuel subsidies, and green subsidies that support innovative outcomes rather than particular technologies. Along with a climate waiver, WTO members should also confirm that carbon taxes qualify as border tax adjustments under trade rules. The adoption of a WTO climate waiver is a central and critical part of the overall reimagining of international trade law that is needed to fulfill the stated WTO goal of engaging in trade and other economic endeavours consistently with the objectives of sustainable development.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization, Green Technology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Freedom-Kai Phillips
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Participation of “non-party stakeholders” in the work of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was affirmed in the decision adopting the Paris Agreement and flagged in the preamble of the agreement itself. This paper discusses the current approaches to stakeholder participation under the UNFCCC and explains concerns regarding the existing model.
  • Topic: Climate Change, United Nations, Green Technology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Irene Burke
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: Pope Francis addresses the intersecting concerns of environmental responsibility and authentic human development in the June 2015 papal encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. Pope Francis extends Catholic environmental ethics to advocate for those at the margins of social consciousness who are most vulnerable to rapid environmental changes—the global poor and future generations. Pope Francis’ active collaboration with leading experts in climate science and development economics and his perspective as the first non-European Pope strengthens his contributions to ethical discourse on inter- and intra-generational justice, the preferential option for the poor, carbon mitigation policies, and common but differentiated responsibilities in international climate negotiations. His advocacy efforts in 2015 anticipated critical convocations of world leaders, including the UN General Assembly’s ratification of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015 and the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015, culminating in a unanimous decision among 195 governments to adopt the Paris Agreement. Pope Francis’ contribution to discourse on international climate policies and sustainable development objectives inspired political cooperation leading up to pivotal international agreements.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Religion, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nicolas Maennling, Perrine Toledano
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Access to affordable and reliable energy is key for the mining sector and with rising demand for minerals and falling ore grades, energy demand is estimated to increase by 36% by 2035. Today, energy produced and procured by mining companies is mostly fossil fuel based. This will have to change if the sector is to contribute to the decarbonization of the world economy, needed for countries to meet the target adopted at the Paris Agreement of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 1.5-2 degrees Celsius. At the same time, the costs of solar, wind and battery storage systems have been falling at an unprecedented scale, which has encouraged an increasing number of mining companies to test these technologies at their mine sites. The Renewable Power of the Mine report, launched at the Energy and Mines World Congress in Toronto and prepared with the support from the German Cooperation, is the most comprehensive study to date on how the sector has been integrating renewables in their mining operations, the roadblocks that still exist, and the future trends that are likely to further drive the roll-out of renewables to supply electricity to mine sites. 38 case studies are included to highlight practical examples and lessons learned. Recommendations to address the outstanding roadblocks are included for governments, mining companies, independent power producers and donors.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Mining, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Channing Arndt, Finn Tarp
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In broad terms, the climate challenge is relatively straightforward. Global average temperatures are rising because of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. Continuation of current levels of emissions or (worse) continued growth in emissions throughout the twenty-first century could result in warming far above the two-degree Celsius threshold with very dangerous implications for the environment of the planet and for human societies, particularly poor people.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Political Economy, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Miles Kahler, Deborah Avant
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Over the last three decades, a diverse collection of actors—private corporations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and subnational (state, provincial, and urban) governments—has developed and promoted a global agenda of collective action. From advancing human rights to combating climate change, these actors have become new governors in world politics. More recently, a second movement—a loose array of populist and nationalist groups and governments—has questioned the forward momentum of institutionalized global cooperation. Brexit, followed by the Donald J. Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as proposed cuts in U.S. contributions to the United Nations and development assistance, suggest a weakening—if not undermining—of the network of treaties, institutions, and relationships constructed over the last seventy years. Each of these movements aims to transform a global order based on intergovernmental agreements and institutions. The first movement has already done so by increasing participation in global governance of new actors who are pursuing cooperative outcomes in collaboration with and independently of national governments and intergovernmental organizations (IGOs). Their involvement both complements and complicates the traditional international order. The second movement, in contrast, asserts national interest and sovereignty against the constraints of global governance. Although the conflict between these two movements remains unresolved, they will likely shape the future global order.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Governance, NGOs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jonathan Lain
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: This evaluation is presented as part of the Effectiveness Review Series 2015/16, selected for review under the resilience thematic area. This report documents the findings of a quasi-experimental impact evaluation carried out in January 2016 that sought to assess the impact of the activities of the ‘Joint Programme on Disaster Risk Management and Humanitarian Preparedness’. The project under review was implemented between April 2011 and March 2016 in four districts in the Terai region of southern Nepal – Dhanusha, Rautahat, Salarhi, and Saptari. The project was carried out by Oxfam in partnership with several organisations, including the Koshi Victims Society (KVS), the Social Development Research Centre (SDRC), Bagmati Welfare Society Nepal (BWSN), Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS), and Rural Development Centre (RDC). The project had three broad objectives, which were developed during its planning phase: (1) to strengthen and institutionalise Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR), (2) to enhance the capacity of local institutions to prepare for and respond to humanitarian emergencies, (3) to create an enabling environment for people to demand their ‘rights in crisis’.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Infrastructure, Disaster Management
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jiayi Zhou
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, climate change has become increasingly embedded within global security discourse, but whether it should be formally considered as a matter for the international peace and security agenda remains contested. Moreover, while the adverse effects of climate change on natural, societal and governance systems clearly amounts to a threat that is transnational in scope, the international response remains dependent on positions taken at a national level. The United Nations Security Council represents a key forum and lens into this debate, within which national governments’ positions on climate security continue to diverge
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jean A. Garrison
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG)
  • Abstract: The global climate change agreement completed on December 12, 2015 in Paris set a collective target to cap greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit the temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius with a goal to get as close as possible to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. These goals were to be accomplished through a “bottom up” mechanism for national policy approaches in which states made their own choices about how they would meet climate targets. This paper examines why and how an agreement was possible in 2015 when it had not been before. What was different in Paris, or leading up to Paris, so that the parties involved successfully came to an agreement when it was not possible in Copenhagen? This paper presents a problem definition and issue framing perspective to examine the shift in the discussion in Paris from the burdens of climate action to opportunities climate action offered for economic and development models. It provides a road map to understand the role of key stakeholders, including governments, the business community, civil society, and subnational actors in the making of the climate agreement.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Cooperation, Green Technology, Paris Agreement
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Naresh Singh
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: The great majority of communities affected by disasters in developing countries are directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Climate change has been linked to a significant increase in the frequency and severity of disasters in the recent past, leading to natural hazardous events that have had several negative repercussions on the agriculture sector and sub-sectors (i.e. crops, livestock, fishery and aquaculture) and on the life of the people depending on them. This paper will firstly review the commonly used methods of assessing the damages and losses to the agriculture sector and its sub-sectors, with particular emphasis on the strengths and limitations of the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) methodology. After that, it will consider the financial implications of disasters and discuss the necessity of developing follow-up mechanisms to assess the proportion of disbursed funds required to implement response interventions. This will involve an analysis of the extent to which agriculture assistance is usually prioritized in the formal and informal sector, and the typology of targeted and assisted beneficiaries with an emphasis on the gender dimension. The paper concludes with recommendations aiming at improving the current standardized processes of assessing the impacts and effects of disasters, in order to enhance the effectiveness of needs assessment towards resource mobilization and recovery processes.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: Global Focus