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  • Author: Diego A. Diaz, Cristian Larroulet
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The number and impact of natural disasters are increasing because of climate change and more people living in urban areas (Sanderson and Sharma 2016). The mechanism is simple, at least when considering climatic events: higher temperatures lead to higher rates of water evaporation, which increases the chance of flooding events (Wallace et al. 2014; IPCC 2001). The number of hot days has increased and the number of cold days has decreased in land areas, with model projections indicating that extreme precipitation events will continue to increase, resulting in more floods and landslides. At the same time, mid‐​continental areas will get dryer, which will increase the chance of droughts and wildfires (Van Aalst 2006). The course of action taken by humanity in the next decades will likely play a pivotal role since extreme differences in projections are expected if global temperatures rise 2°C in comparison to 1.5 °C above preindustrial levels (Allen et al. 2019). What are the economic impacts of natural disasters? This question has been addressed to a large extent in the literature, but it still does not have a conclusive response. The seemingly natural reasoning that destruction cannot lead to a net benefit for society was explained almost two centuries ago by Bastiat (1850) in his famous broken window fallacy. A shopkeeper’s son, Bastiat relates, breaks a pane of glass in his father’s store. The father, angry due to the boy’s careless action, is offered consolation by the spectators, who claim that the event is positive for the economy since it provides labor to glaziers. While Bastiat acknowledges that the accident brings trade to the glazier since the shopkeeper has to replace the window, regarding the event as wealth‐​increasing conveys a narrow perspective. The shopkeeper ends up poorer since he cannot spend the same money elsewhere, and if the boy had not broken the window, then the labor and other materials that were used to repair the damage would have been used elsewhere, potentially making the tangible wealth of the community grow.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Crisis Management, Institutions, Urban
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dennis Wesselbaum, Michael D. Smith, Shannon N. Minehan
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Global migration flows have increased over the last couple decades. Climate change is a key driver of these flows and will become more important in the future. Foreign aid programs, often intended to manage or even reduce these flows, are typically not large enough and lead to more rather than less migration.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Climate Change, Environment, Migration, Foreign Aid, Displacement, Multilateralism, Peace, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: O. Shamanov
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: Issues concerning global climate change – by objective criteria, one of the most serious environmental threats of our time – have for many years been filling the top slots of the international agenda, and the political tem- perature of debates on this topic remains at the highest degree. Soon a new milestone will be reached on the thorny path of the inter- national climate process: on December 31, 2020, the Doha Amendment to the kyoto Protocol of the united nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (unFCCC) comes into force.1 this document extends the time frame of the kyoto Protocol from 2013 to 2020 (hence its unofficial title, kyoto-2) and contains a whole set of amendments to the kyoto guidelines, including updated quantitative criteria for greenhouse gas emission reductions for developed countries. Climate activists will probably schedule their next mass marches for this date, in order to mark this "historic" stage in the fight against global warming. Leaders from a number of states are expected to make bold new calls to “set the bar high” for the sake of averting a global climate col- lapse. But what remains hidden behind the scenes? What are the root caus- es of such a paradoxical situation, in which kyoto-2 is going into effect at the very end of its second commitment period?
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Environment, International Cooperation, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jeff D. Colgan, Thomas N. Hale
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: Climate change is the defining global challenge of the twenty-first century. It constitutes a direct threat to the safety and prosperity of Americans. U.S. President Joe Biden has committed to reorienting U.S. foreign policy to meet the climate challenge. This report provides an early assessment of the Biden administration’s international climate diplomacy against these goals in the first 100 days, recognizing that others have focused on domestic policy, and that climate change must be at the top of the U.S. foreign-policy agenda. It builds on a previous report by the Brown University Climate Solutions Lab, issued on October 8, 2020, that identified and recommended ten executive climate actions, which are central to advancing U.S. foreign-policy objectives. Of the 9 internationally-oriented climate pledges evaluated, made by the Biden campaign during the 2020 presidential election, the report finds that the Biden team has already delivered effectively on 4 of them, made some progress on 2, and taken baby steps or made no real progress on 3. These will require further attention and resources in the coming months.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Masooma Rahmaty, Jimena Leiva Roesch
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Youth movements have played an increasingly prominent role in calling for action to address climate change. Many youth-led organizations are also engaged in initiatives to build peace in their communities. In global policymaking fora, however, youth remain sidelined. The sidelining of youth peacebuilders and climate activists can be attributed to four main factors. First, there are widespread misperceptions of youth grounded in age and gender stereotypes. Young men are often seen as perpetrators of violence, while young women are seen as passive victims. These misperceptions can lead policymakers to adopt a securitized approach to youth, peace, and security and overlook the efforts of young peacebuilders. In some cases, the perception that young activists are a threat to national security can also put them at risk. Second, global policy frameworks on youth are outdated and piecemeal. While the UN Security Council has passed three resolutions on youth, peace, and security since 2015, there is no comparable framework for youth and sustainable development or climate action. Moreover, there is no overarching global framework on youth that links the youth, peace, and security and youth climate action agendas. Third, youth organizations and activists are underfunded. Much of the work that young people do is voluntary. While there are some initiatives to direct more funding toward youth-led organizations, funding largely remains ad hoc, and many organizations lack the capacity to meet the onerous application and reporting requirements. Finally, youth have weak institutional links to global governance fora. There are some mechanisms for consulting and involving youth, including the secretary-general’s global envoy on youth, the UN-coordinated Global Coalition on Youth, Peace and Security, and the Youth Constituency of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. However, youth have no direct decision-making role in the work of the UN and its member states, and engagement is often ad hoc. To build peace and tackle climate change, governments and multilateral institutions must shift toward inclusive governance systems that involve and empower youth. They must also consider the synergies between youth, climate, and peace.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Governance, Youth, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ben McWilliams, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Hydrogen is seen as a means to decarbonise sectors with greenhouse gas emissions that are hard to reduce, as a medium for energy storage, and as a fallback in case halted fossil-fuel imports lead to energy shortages. Hydrogen is likely to play at least some role in the European Union’s achievement by 2050 of a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target. However, production of hydrogen in the EU is currently emissions intensive. Hydrogen supply could be decarbonised if produced via electrolysis based on electricity from renewable sources, or produced from natural gas with carbon, capture, and storage. The theoretical production potential of low-carbon hydrogen is virtually unlimited and production volumes will thus depend only on demand and supply cost. Estimates of final hydrogen demand in 2050 range from levels similar to today’s in a low-demand scenario, to ten times today’s level in a high-demand scenario. Hydrogen is used as either a chemical feedstock or an energy source. A base level of 2050 demand can be derived from looking at sectors that already consume hydrogen and others that are likely to adopt hydrogen. The use of hydrogen in many sectors has been demonstrated. Whether use will increase depends on the complex interplay between competing energy supplies, public policy, technological and systems innovation, and consumer preferences. Policymakers must address the need to displace carbon-intensive hydrogen with low-carbon hydrogen, and incentivise the uptake of hydrogen as a means to decarbonise sectors with hard-to-reduce emissions. Certain key principles can be followed without regret: driving down supply costs of low-carbon hydrogen production; accelerating initial deployment with public support to test the economic viability and enable learning; and continued strengthening of climate policies such as the EU emissions trading system to stimulate the growth of hydrogen-based solutions in the areas for which hydrogen is most suitable.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Carbon Emissions, Decarbonization, Hydrogen
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: 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: Tayyar Ari, Faith Bilal Gokpinar
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: This study aims to discuss climate migration as a relatively new global issue with various dimensions and to widen the current perspective within global politics to be more inclusive and ecocentric. This study argues that traditional international relations theories and practices are ineffective in discussing and analyzing climate migration as a new global security problem. After a discussion of the conceptual problems, the traditional paradigms of international relations, their policy implications, and the traditional actors will be identified as the primary sources of this problems. Finally, we will conclude that the application of an ecocentric perspective, with holistic characteristics, will provide a better understanding of the current problems.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Environment, Migration, Green Technology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Laura Nowzohour
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Environmental Studies, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Adjustment costs are a central bottleneck of the real-world economic transition essential for achieving the sizeable reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions set out by policy makers. Could these costs derail the transition process to green growth, and if so, how should policy makers take this into account? I study this issue using the model of directed technical change in Acemoglu, Aghion, Bursztyn, and Hemous (2012), AABH, augmented by a friction on the choice of scientists developing better technologies. My results show that such frictions, even minor, materially affect the outcome. In particular, the risk of reaching an environmental disaster is higher than in the baseline AABH model. Fortunately, policy can address the problem. Specifically, a higher carbon tax ensures a disaster-free transition. In this case, the re-allocation of research activity to the clean sector happens over a longer but more realistic time horizon, namely around 15 instead of 5 years. An important policy implication is that optimal policies do not act over a substantially longer time horizon but must be more aggressive today in order to be effective. In turn, this implies that what may appear as a policy failure in the short-run | a slow transition albeit aggressive policy | actually re ects the efficient policy response to existing frictions in the economy. Furthermore, the risk of getting environmental policy wrong is highly asymmetric and `robust policy' implies erring on the side of stringency.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Environment, Economic Growth, Green Technology, Economic Policy, Renewable Energy, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nina von Uexkull, Halvard Buhaug
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Political Violence @ A Glance
  • Abstract: While former US President Donald Trump frequently denied man-made climate change, the Biden administration has pledged to make climate change a priority, including for national security. In line with years of thinking within the defense sector, the Biden-Harris team refers to climate change as a “threat multiplier,” pointing to risks of regional instability and resource competition driven by worsening environmental conditions. This perspective also aligns with the initiatives of other countries that have pushed climate security in the UN Security Council and other international bodies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Climate Change, International Security, Conflict, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Benjamin Attia, Shayle Kann, Morgan D. Bazilian
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The global energy transition has reached an inflection point. In numerous markets, the declining cost of solar photovoltaics (PV) has already beaten the cost of new-build coal and natural gas and is now chasing down operating costs of existing thermal power plants, forcing a growing crowd of thermal generation assets into early retirement. Perfect comparability between dispatchable and non-dispatchable resources invites debate, but the cost declines in solar PV are irrefutable: the global average unit cost of competitively-procured solar electricity declined by 83 percent from 2010 to 2018. This is due in part to module cost reductions of approximately 90 percent, capacity-weighted average construction cost declines of 74 percent, and a global paradigm shift in renewable energy procurement policies in the last six years.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Science and Technology, Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Electricity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: 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: Michael Ruhle
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Environmental change is increasingly recognized as one of the major factors that will shape the global security environment. According to most experts, rising global temperatures will lead to rising sea levels and cause more extreme weather events, such as storms, flooding, droughts and wildfires. The firestorms that engulfed parts of Australia in late 2019 and early 2020, burning an area the size of Belgium and Denmark combined, and severely decimating that continent's wildlife, were a stark reminder of the force of these changes.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Climate Change, Environment
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Luca Franza
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Dolphins are being spotted in harbours, canals in Venice have never looked so clean and the temporary ban of corridas has spared the lives of a hundred Spanish bulls. Looking at the bright side of things is an admirable quality, but we should not get too carried away with the idea that COVID-19 is good for the planet. Besides the anecdotal phenomena quoted above, the collapse of mobility and economic activity induced by COVID-19 are generating meaningful short-term consequences for the environment. These include a sharp reduction in Hubei’s and Northern Italy’s air pollution levels and a likely reduction in global CO2 emissions in 2020. Rejoicing over such news rests on a short-sighted view. The interlinkages between COVID-19, energy and climate issues are so complex that we are actually looking at a mixed bag of consequences.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Pollution, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Margareth Sembiring
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 outbreak disrupted our daily lives and impacted national economies. Amidst the virus turmoil, our natural surroundings have benefited from the slowdown. The global community needs to make a concerted effort to rethink our approach to economic growth to avert a climate crisis.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Margareth Sembiring
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Decarbonisation is not happening in a vacuum but on a planet already replete with ecological challenges. The material-intensive requirement of low-carbon technologies means more mining, and the currently inadequate recycling capacity means more waste. Existing pressures point to an urgent need to reduce consumption to avert climate and ecological crises.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Science and Technology, Recycling, Biodiversity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jake Sherman, Florian Krampe
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Climate change and the associated climate-related security risks increase instability and have significant adverse effects on peacebuilding. Within the UN, however, there is a lack of consensus on which organs are most appropriate to respond to climate-related security risks. Most of the bodies addressing climate change do not address its intersection with peace and security, while many member states have concerns about the role of the UN Security Council on climate change. In this context, the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) seems well placed to complement and advance discussions on climate-related security risks in other UN bodies, including the Security Council. This paper—a joint publication of IPI and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)—aims to identify areas and ways in which the PBC is preventing and mitigating climate-related security risks and to map the political positions of PBC members on this topic. It also looks at opportunities for the PBC to strengthen its engagement on climate-related security issues. The paper identifies a number of attributes that uniquely position the PBC as a forum for states to seek international support for addressing climate-related security challenges: it emphasizes national ownership, has a mandate to work across the three pillars of the UN, brings together a wide range of UN organs, and convenes relevant stakeholders from within and outside the UN system. The paper concludes that a gradual but steady approach to addressing climate-related security risks in the PBC is likely to encourage more countries to seek its support on these issues.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, United Nations, Peace
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: 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: Elizabeth Ferris, Sanjula Weerasinghe
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: In light of the science and evidence on hazards and climate risk, and the scale and breadth of large-scale disasters witnessed around the world, it is time for states and other actors to begin developing national and local frameworks on planned relocation. While planned relocations have had a poor record in terms of their socioeconomic effects, it is precisely for these reasons that proactive action is necessary. Planned relocation has the potential to save lives and assets, and consequently to safeguard or augment the human security of populations living in areas at high risk for disasters and the effects of climate change. Among the challenges hampering better outcomes for people, however, are the lack of national and local frameworks, community-driven decision making, and sufficient lead times to plan and implement appropriate interventions that promote human security. Relocation of populations is referenced in global frameworks on disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) because it is a tool that will become increasingly important as a preventive and responsive measure to reduce the risks of disasters and displacement. This article recommends that national and local DRR and CCA strategies and development plans begin to incorporate planned relocation among the options under consideration to protect people and their human security. It argues that planning for relocations is an expression of a government’s responsibility to protect the human security of its people.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • 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: Anna Kosovac, Keith Hartley, Michele Acuto, Darcy Gunning
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: Conducting City Diplomacy: A Survey of International Engagement in 47 Cities OCTOBER 7, 2020 By: Anna Kosovac, Research Fellow, International Urban Policy, University of Melbourne’s Connected Cities Lab; Kris Hartley, Nonresident Fellow, Global Cities; Michele Acuto, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Global Cities; Darcy Gunning, Research Assistant, University of Melbourne’s Connected Cities Lab Executive Summary The impact of global challenges such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic manifests most acutely in urban settings, rendering cities essential players on the global stage. In the 2018 report Toward City Diplomacy, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs presented findings from a survey of 27 cities on the capacity of local governments around the world to network internationally—and the perceived barriers to that engagement. The report found that cities “need to invest in resources, expertise, and capacity to manage their relationships and responsibilities to conduct city diplomacy effectively.” In our new survey of 47 cities, we find that advice to still ring true. City officials broadly recognize the importance of engaging internationally but lack the necessary formal diplomacy training and resources for conducting that engagement to maximum effect. Nevertheless, cities maintain a strong commitment to global agendas, and international frameworks are increasingly influential in municipal affairs. For example, more than half of survey respondents said they track their city’s performance against the metrics of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Furthermore, we found that cities and their leaders are confident in their capacity to tackle global challenges. For instance, the majority of survey respondents said that city governments have greater potential for impact on climate change mitigation than their national government counterparts do, especially when acting collaboratively through city networks and multilateral urban programs. The individual stories of five cities whose officials participated in the study offer lessons for a variety of challenges and approaches to city diplomacy. Based on the survey results, we discuss the three primary obstacles cities must overcome in order to strengthen the role of city diplomacy globally: inadequate funding and resources for international engagement, insufficient training in city diplomacy, and the failure of national and multilateral bodies to fully recognize and formalize city engagement in diplomacy. We conclude with a framework for ensuring that city-diplomacy efforts are systematic and institutionalized rather than reliant on the personalities and connections of powerful city leaders. This capacity-building strategy can help cities leverage international coordination, information sharing, and intersectoral collaboration to address the complex and interconnected problems that will characterize the 21st century.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Sustainable Development Goals, Urban, Cities, COVID-19
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The annual report includes an overview of Bruegel’s research, governance and financial statements, and takes stock of Bruegel’s accomplishments and impact during 2019. Bruegel will continue to work to develop a proactive European strategy to deal with all the challenges ahead, providing free and open access to its research.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Dion Bongaerts, Dirk Schoenmaker
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The market for green bonds is growing rapidly and has been boosted by the European Commission’s plan to raise through green bonds 30 percent of the up to €750 billion that will be borrowed under the Next Generation EU coronavirus economic recovery programme. But while green bonds can reduce the financing costs of green projects and technologies, their current design means they fall short of fulfilling their full potential. Issuing green bonds alongside regular bonds fragments bond issues, reducing liquidity and thus increasing financing costs. Moreover, green bond prices reflect liquidity, credit risk and environmental performance jointly, which makes it difficult to isolate the part of the return on the bonds that relates to environmental performance. We propose an alternative: issuance of regular bonds with attached green certificates that ensure earmarking for green purposes. The new design would lead to more liquid securities (as only regular bonds are issued), which would reduce financing costs and in turn would provide incentives to start a greater number of environmentally-friendly projects. The new design would also make market prices more informative about environmental performance. In addition, green certificates would address the criticism that green bonds are used mostly for refinancing existing green projects rather than for new projects. Sovereigns are among the largest issuers of bonds and are therefore natural candidates for implementation of green certificates. The European Commission could also issue regular bonds and green certificates to finance the European Union’s recovery package, and should include green certificates in the under-preparation EU Green Bond standard. Commission issuance of green certificates would give a major boost to EU bonds as liquid safe assets while promoting green investment.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Finance, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Philippe Andre Orliange
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional (RBPI)
  • Institution: Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI)
  • Abstract: The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, The Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda laid the foundations of a new system of international development cooperation in which middle income countries are playing an increasingly important role, National Development Banks are becoming key players although broadly consensual regulatory framework are still insufficient.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Poverty, Finance, Sustainable Development Goals, International Development, Banks
  • 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: Weronika Michalak, Dr hab. Zbigniew Karaczun
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Warsaw East European Review (WEER)
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: The phenomenon of climate change, observed for years and constantly intensifying, has had a negative impact on health, significantly deteriorating the quality of life of people in many regions of the world, including Poland. Already now we are dealing with increasingly frequent extreme weather phenomena; hurricanes, storms and increasingly longer heat waves no longer surprise us. Unfortunately, this is merely the beginning of the negative effects of climate change. Others will come before long. In the coming years, many other new threats will be observed, such as flooding of ocean islands, desertification of areas exposed to water scarcity or serious loss of biodiversity, which will translate into food security. Unfortunately, it does not end there.1 The greenhouse effect is a process by which radiation from the Earth’s atmosphere warms the planet’s surface to a temperature above what it would be without this atmosphere. We can differentiate short-term solar radiation (0.15-4.0 nm) and long-term radiation. Thermal radiation escapes into the cosmic sphere and heat radiation returns to the ground, being stopped by a layer of GHG – greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, water vapor etc.), which warm up Earth’s athmosphere to a dangerous level – even a 1°C degree increase (in comparison to pre-industrial level, when emissions stared to rise) in the average world temperature can be detrimental to human health and change the conditions of life on this planet (Figure 1). However, we currently face a risk of global warming even up to 3°C degrees, unless GHG emissions are significantly reduced. Any further rise of the global temperature will have deteriorating impact on people and whole humanity, as well as staying at the current level of emissions.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Health, Food, Food Security
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, 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: Cigdem Tugac
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: Traditional economic growth models damage natural resources to which humanity depends, causing important environmental, social and economic problems, especially climate change. Today, it is understood by countries that a new growth approach should be applied in order to ensure the sustainable use of scarce natural resources, combatting negative effects of climate change and reduce poverty while realizing economic development. The view that environmentally friendly investments aren’t cost effective is changing and countries want to take advantage of the opportunities offered by green growth. However, this process also requires a just transition. The aim of this study is to evaluate green growth, just transition and decent work concepts in the context of sustainable development and combatting climate change. In the study, it is concluded that if green growth and just transition processes are well managed, they provide significant opportunities for realizing UN-SDGs, combatting climate change and the creation of decent works.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Poverty, Natural Resources, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: John Coyne, Peter Jennings
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: This Strategy report offers policy-focused analysis of the world we will face once the pandemic has passed. At a time when all our assumptions about the shape of Australian society and the broader global order are being challenged, we need to take stock of likely future directions. The report analyses 26 key topics, countries and themes, ranging from Australia’s domestic situation through to the global balance of power, climate and technology issues. In each case we asked the authors to consider four questions. What impact did Covid-19 have on their research topic? What will recovery mean? Will there be differences in future? What policy prescriptions would you recommend for the Australian government?
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Climate Change, Disaster Relief, National Security, Science and Technology, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Australia, Global Focus
  • Author: Baran Alp Uncu
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: Today, we are living in a world that is on average about 1 degree warmer than the pre-industrial period. If we do not limit this human-caused temperature rise to around 1.5 degrees until the end of the century, various disasters we are already experiencing such as the rise in sea levels, melting of ice sheets and glaciers, extreme weather events, floods and inundations, drought and water scarcity will increase in intensity and scope and furthermore assume an irreversible condition.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Governance, Social Movement, Crisis Management, Urban, Justice, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ashby Monk, Soh Young In
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: The move toward a global energy transition is underpinned by the collective need to limit the most severe impacts of climate change as well as to foster more sustainable economic growth. Floating photovoltaic power stations on Chinese lakes, integrated carbon capture technology on large-scale power plants in Canada, and decentralized urban wind turbines on Singaporean rooftops are just a few examples of how radical innovations in clean energy technology are fueling the global energy transition.1 Bringing cutting-edge technology from the lab to the global energy market requires a supportive ecosystem. Innovation must be matched by market readiness to adopt disruptive technologies, local capacities to scale up new energy projects, energy policies with climate objectives, technological development, and sufficient and “aligned” investment capital.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Finance, Innovation, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Global Focus
  • Author: Dipesh Chakrabarty
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Toynbee Prize Foundation
  • Abstract: Living through historically unprecedented times has strengthened the Toynbee Prize Foundation's commitment to thinking globally about history and to representing that perspective in the public sphere. In this multimedia series on the covid-19 pandemic, we will be bringing global history to bear in thinking through the raging coronavirus and the range of social, intellectual, economic, political, and scientific crises triggered and aggravated by it. Toynbee Prize Awardee Dipesh Chakrabarty is the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of History, South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College at University of Chicago. He is a founding member of the editorial collective of Subaltern Studies, a consulting editor of Critical Inquiry, a founding editor of Postcolonial Studies, and has served on the editorial boards of the American Historical Review and Public Culture, among others. His distinctions, publications, and awards are too numerous to mention; the landmark work for which he is perhaps best known, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton, 2000; second edition, 2008), has been translated into Italian, French, Polish, Spanish Turkish, and Korean and is being brought out in Chinese. Included among his vast range of research interests are the implications of climate change science for historical and political thought and, most relevant for our discussion today, the Anthropocene.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19, Ecology, Anthropocene
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Carol Farbotko
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: It is often assumed that there is a direct link between climate change and human mobility, and that mobility is evidence of a failure to adapt to changing conditions. The reality is much more complex. Worsening climate conditions can lead to a variety of mobility outcomes: some individuals or communities may be trapped in place, while others may choose to stay and develop local adaptation strategies; some may choose to move to mitigate risks or diversify household incomes, while others may be forced to leave. And all of this is occurring against a backdrop of globalization and urbanization, in which mobility and translocal networks are already significant parts of many people’s lives. This report examines the concept of “adaptive capacity” and how it can be useful in understand the relationship between climate change and migration, as well as the ways mobility can be a strategic choice—or a source of greater vulnerability. Drawing on examples from the Pacific Islands, Asia, and other regions, the report analyzes the limitations of existing responses to climate change and outlines an alternative, adaptation pathways model that is flexible and emphasizes the involvement of affected communities. Adopting an adaptation pathways approach, the author writes, could help avoid a common pitfall of climate change adaptation measures: that they are often top down and do not integrate local knowledge, cultures, and other important contextual factors. Failure to consult local communities can lead measures to backfire or create greater vulnerabilities elsewhere, while a more participatory, flexible approach can bring to light important local insights and yield stronger solutions that are able to respond to future developments.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Cooperation, Migration, Governance, Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Robert McLeman
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: Extreme-weather events, such as tropical cyclones, floods, droughts, and intense heat, are shaping migration and displacement in countries around the world, and climate change is likely to make events like these more intense and more frequent. The effects of such conditions vary across regions and can spark a range of migration outcomes—both increases and decrease in movement along existing routes, the creation of new routes, and growth in the number of people who may want or need to move but who are unable to do so. But while the potential of climate change to affect human mobility is widely recognized, estimating future climate-related migration and displacement is made difficult by uncertainty surrounding the future of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and of sustainable development and migration policies. This Transatlantic Council on Migration report describes the findings of a first-of-its-kind exercise to explore how future climatic conditions under standardized greenhouse gas concentration scenarios may affect climate-related drivers of migration and displacement, and how international development and migration policies may mediate (or exacerbate) migration outcomes. It considers how this may play out in two periods (2020–50 and 2050–2100), and in top source regions for international migration: East and Southeast Asia, South and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Migration, Law, Refugees, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lena Kainz, Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Kathleen Newland
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: The world has changed dramatically since the international community came together in December 2018 to adopt the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. Two years on, national governments and UN agencies are working to implement the compacts in an environment of new and intensifying challenges, including those associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasingly severe impacts of climate change. Given the significant political energy invested in the compacts, there is immense pressure to turn the commitments made on paper into reality, challenges or not. And while the migration landscape continues to change, the movement of people across borders remains at the heart of many pressing issues, including public health, economic recovery, and social inequality. This policy brief examines how implementation of the two compacts has played out thus far, highlighting areas in which the pacts have lived up to or fallen short of expectations. It also identifies sticking points and opportunities at the intersection of the compacts that merit greater attention. To do so, the brief draws on interviews with government officials and UN agency representatives in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, as well as an in-depth review of countries’ implementation plans and progress updates.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Cooperation, Migration, Governance, Immigrants, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: 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