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  • Author: Melissa Tier
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Public and International Affairs (JPIA)
  • Institution: School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Abstract: Managing and adapting to flood risk is an increasing concern of policymakers globally, as anthropogenic climate change contributes to sea level rise and the rising intensity and frequency of coastal storms. Moreover, it is critically important that policymakers design and implement equitable adaptation processes that are based in environmental justice principles. In the United States, the primary instrument for flood risk management is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)—but the program already suffers from debt, low participation rates, outdated flood risk assessments, and myriad other structural issues. By integrating several models of policy development, this analysis offers explanations for why NFIP reform attempts of the past decade have repeatedly failed and offers the present moment (in the early months of the Biden Administration and as the pandemic crisis continues) as a potential policy window for realigning reform efforts. Achieving true NFIP reform remains crucial to ensuring that all coastal residents have affordable options for low-risk housing, despite the expected growth in high-risk flood zones.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Reform, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Lauren Kathryn Johnson
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Public and International Affairs (JPIA)
  • Institution: School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Abstract: As countries across the world intensify their commitments to mitigating the worst effects of climate change, activists, scholars, and regular citizens are demanding more from this transition than the mere substitution of fossil fuels with low-carbon forms of energy. Increasingly, many call for an energy system that better distributes the benefits that energy provides and more fairly spreads the costs that its production and use creates. However, it is not only those seeking to right past inequities that call for a just transition: justice is a rhetorical device that opponents of the clean energy transition can use to slow its progress. This paper will engage with the conflicting roles that various actors’ sense of justice plays in Canada’s transition to a decarbonized economy. First, it will consider how opposition to Canada’s carbon price was fueled by a sentiment that it would unjustly destroy an industry that many Canadians depend on for employment. The following section explores how the strategic use of energy democracy, or the involvement of people in the decision-making and ownership of clean energy infrastructure, could build political will for the clean energy transition across Canada. This paper ultimately argues that by designing this transition so that it directly benefits as many Canadians as possible, and ensuring that every citizen understands those benefits, Canadian decision-makers can fortify climate policies to withstand false claims and perceptions of injustice.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Economic Policy, Justice
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, David Pollock
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Areas for especially timely U.S.-Israel cooperation include climate resilience, agtech, and medical research, as well as longstanding work in the military and security arenas. In the fifth in a series of TRANSITION 2021 memos examining the Middle East and North Africa, Michael Eisenstadt and David Pollock assess the multifaceted strengths of the U.S.-Israel partnership and its prospects for growth under the Biden administration. Areas for especially timely cooperation include climate resilience, agtech, and medical research, as well as longstanding work in the military and security arenas. Israel’s recent normalization deals with several Arab states only further widen the horizon. “Israel is a world-class innovator in technologies that will be critical to meeting future challenges, including artificial intelligence, information technology, and cybersecurity; sustainable water, food, and energy solutions; and high-tech medicine,” explain the authors. “All these areas are supportive of America’s foreign policy priorities.” In the coming weeks, TRANSITION 2021 memos by Washington Institute experts will address the broad array of issues facing the Biden-Harris administration in the Middle East. These range from thematic issues, such as the region’s strategic position in the context of Great Power competition and how to most effectively elevate human rights and democracy in Middle East policy, to more discrete topics, from Arab-Israel peace diplomacy to Red Sea security to challenges and opportunities in northwest Africa. Taken as a whole, this series of memos will present a comprehensive approach for advancing U.S. interests in security and peace in this vital but volatile region.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, International Cooperation, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: Addressing America’s severe infrastructure needs—finally—must be at the top of the nation’s agenda. Improving infrastructure is one of the few issues that enjoys strong bipartisan support among the American public. Eighty percent of Americans support rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure—more than almost any other top issue facing the nation—and roughly two-thirds of Americans rate their own local roads as in fair or poor condition.1 A similar proportion say that the country is not doing enough to meet infrastructure needs.2 Modern, effective infrastructure is essential for virtually all US commerce and, therefore, for growth and prosperity that is widely shared among all Americans. Transportation and other forms of infrastructure must remake themselves to remain productive as the economy changes around them. But the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the US economy makes improving our infrastructure, keeping America competitive, and getting Americans back to work that much more urgent. The pandemic has forced an accelerated integration of technology into the work, school and personal lives of many Americans. But that has revealed inequities in access to reliable, high-speed internet. This experience is one more example of how our nation’s deficient infrastructure slows our economic growth generally. Around 24 million US households lack access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet. If not addressed, weak infrastructure can deprive many Americans of equal access to opportunity. And at the same time, climate change threatens the foundations of our economy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Infrastructure, Economy, Transportation, Sustainability, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Varun Sivaram, Matt Bowen, Noah Kaufman, Doug Rand
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: President-elect Joe Biden has called climate change one of the four most important crises facing the country and pledged ambitious climate action.[1] At the heart of his strategy to slash US and global emissions is a focus on developing new and improved technologies to make clean energy transitions more affordable. During the campaign, Biden pledged a “historic investment in clean energy innovation.”[2] Indeed, boosting funding for energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) is widely popular among both Republicans and Democrats and represents a rare legislative opportunity for advancing climate policy under a razor-thin Democratic majority in Congress.[3] In December 2020, Congress passed the most sweeping energy legislation in a decade, attached to the $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus package, and authorized boosting clean energy RD&D funding.[4] Yet such investments alone may not be sufficient to successfully commercialize critical clean energy technologies. Today’s energy industry presents daunting barriers that impede the swift adoption of newer, cleaner technologies. As a result, the private sector underinvests in scaling up promising technologies and building out clean energy infrastructure.[5] Therefore, in addition to funding energy RD&D (“technology-push” policies), government policies should bolster market demand for clean energy to encourage private investors and firms to scale up and commercialize new technologies (“demand-pull” policies). Still, there are steep political obstacles in the way of many ambitious demand-pull policies. For example, President-elect Biden has called for economywide measures such as a clean electricity standard and $400 billion of public procurement of clean products such as electric vehicles.[6] These policies would create large markets for mass deployment of clean energy and speed a clean energy transition. But enacting them requires substantial new regulations and appropriations from Congress, a challenging feat even given the new Democratic control of both chambers of Congress. Fortunately, there is a set of targeted demand-pull measures that the Biden administration can immediately use—with existing statutory authority and without requiring massive new appropriations—to create early markets for promising clean energy technologies. These measures, which we call “demand-pull innovation policies,” fill a niche between RD&D investments that create new technology options and policies that support the large-scale deployment of clean energy. Demand-pull innovation policies focus narrowly on creating and shaping early markets for emerging technologies. For example, targeted government procurement, prize competitions, or milestone payments can provide early markets for clean energy technologies that have been developed with the aid of public RD&D funding. The government can also coordinate private procurement or otherwise catalyze private market adoption through certification and standard-setting processes. Such demand-pull innovation policies have extremely high leverage and have transformed limited public investment into flourishing private commercial markets across the space, medical, and energy fields.[7] Coherently pursuing demand-pull innovation policies will require coordination across the federal government. To this end, the incoming Biden administration should consider creating a new government office, the Energy Technology Markets Office (ETMO), to spearhead the scale-up and commercialization of promising clean energy technologies. The ETMO could be housed within the Department of Energy (DOE) to take advantage of the DOE’s deep expertise in energy technologies and markets. Indeed, in the recently passed Energy Act of 2020 (Division Z of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021), Congress directed the DOE to build its capabilities to pursue demand-pull innovation policies.[8] In the same legislation, Congress also authorized the DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions, which could alternatively lead the demand-pull innovation agenda. Regardless of whether the administration creates a new office or augments an existing one, in order to maximize their potential impact, demand-pull innovation policies should not be the domain of only the DOE. Rather, the DOE should collaborate with a range of federal agencies—many of which, such as the Department of Defense, have sizable resources to invest in emerging technology procurement—to enact policies and pursue public-private partnerships to build market demand for the innovations critical to decarbonization. In concert with new RD&D investments in clean energy innovation, demand-pull innovation policies could be a powerful tool to speed the adoption of new technologies and cultivate advanced energy industries that can manufacture and export US innovations.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Science and Technology, Green Technology, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Salman Ahmed, Allison Gelman, Tarik Abdel-Monem, Wendy Cutler, Rozlyn Engel, David Gordon, Jennifer Harris, Douglas Lute, Jill O'Donnell, Daniel M. Price, David Rosenbaum, Christopher Smart, Jake Sullivan, Ashley J. Tellis, Eric Thompson, Janell C. Walther, Tom Wyler
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: U.S. foreign policy has not come up often in the 2020 presidential campaign. But when it has, candidates on both sides of the aisle frequently have stressed that U.S. foreign policy should not only keep the American people safe but also deliver more tangible economic benefits for the country’s middle class. The debate among the presidential contenders is not if that should happen but how to make it happen. All too often, this debate takes place within relatively small circles within Washington, DC, without the benefit of input from state and local officials, small business owners, community leaders, local labor representatives, and others on the front lines of addressing the challenges facing middle-class households. That is why the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace convened a bipartisan task force in late 2017 to lift up such voices and inject them into the ongoing debate. The task force partnered with university researchers to study the perceived and measurable economic effects of U.S. foreign policy on three politically and economically different states in the nation’s heartland—Colorado, Nebraska, and Ohio. The first two reports on Ohio and Colorado were published in December 2018 and November 2019, respectively. This third report on Nebraska has been prepared in partnership with a team of researchers at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL). To gauge perceptions of how Nebraska’s middle class is faring and the ways in which U.S. foreign policy might fit in, the Carnegie and UNL research teams reviewed household surveys and conducted individual interviews and focus groups, between July and August 2019, with over 130 Nebraskans in Columbus, Scottsbluff/Gering, Kearney, Lincoln, North Platte, and Omaha.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Politics, Immigration, Economy, Domestic politics, Class, Trade
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ryan Warsing
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Public and International Affairs (JPIA)
  • Institution: School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Abstract: Despite growing consensus that climate change is real, manmade, and pernicious, the U.S. Congress has failed to update old laws – to say nothing of passing new ones – that might mitigate the crisis. State governments have attempted to fill the void, with California setting de facto national policy using powers delegated under the 1970 Clean Air Act (CAA). The Trump administration’s 2019 bid to revoke these powers rejects the process of “iterative federalism” and leads one to believe Trump’s agenda is both vindictive in nature and impervious to broad support for environmental regulation. Yet this support (even in electorally pivotal states like Pennsylvania) proves a weak motivating factor next to the needs of vulnerable constituencies, notably autoworkers. Trump’s agenda is rationally set by his need to attract support in states like Michigan where votes are precious and regulatory exposure is high. Long a means for the federal government to enjoy environmental progress at a safe political distance, the “California carve-out” seems to have exhausted its utility with the Trump administration, which deems all environmental regulation anathema to growth and the happiness of its base. Trump’s rationale is best understood using Conditional Pandering Theory (CPT), which predicts that presidents with middling approval numbers are apt to be led by the public as Election Day draws near and policy outcomes can be delayed. In the case of emissions, policy outcomes are immaterial so long as targeted marginal voters deliver the president a second term.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Legislation, Pollution, Domestic Policy, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Esther Sperling
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The US military maintains almost $1.2 trillion worth of installations worldwide, allowing the United States to sustain critical capabilities and respond to crises around the globe. Outdated and degraded infrastructure limits the military’s ability to respond. The growing impacts of climate change exacerbate the challenge of modernizing and maintaining infrastructure. Climate change’s impact on military installations can be broken down into four main categories: sea level rise, extreme storms, extreme drought and heat, and Arctic ice melt. While Congress has passed bipartisan legislation to address the threat, the Department of Defense (DoD) must take additional steps to adapt to the challenges of climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Military Affairs, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Luke Patey
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Many fear that strategic competition between the US and China threatens longstanding regional cooperation and stability in the Arctic. But if they recognise their own political and economic significance and work collectively, the Nordic states and Canada can still play an instrumental role in steering the region’s future away from confrontation. Recommendations: Recognise how US–China strategic competition represents a false binary for policy choices in the Arctic. Understand how economic connectivity provides room for manoeuvre against big power pressure. Encourage participation of non-Arctic states with similar economic and political norms on natural resource and infrastructure development.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Climate Change, Diplomacy, Environment, Oil, Power Politics, Gas, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, Arctic, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: In September 2020, President Xi Jinping announced new goals for China to reach carbon neutrality before 2060, as well as to strengthen its existing 2030 commitments under the Paris Agreement. With these announcements, China has signaled a move to join the European Union—as well as the United States under a Biden administration—in leading long-term climate action among the big emitters. Our analysis demonstrates that if China’s new long-term goal covers all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and not just carbon dioxide (CO₂), this could bring the country within reach of the emissions reductions required by mid-century for its actions to be in line with the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal of limiting average global temperature increases to 1.5°C. However, if President Xi’s announcement is only meant to cover CO₂, then China would need to achieve carbon neutrality around 2050 for this to be compatible with the Paris Agreement.1 Either way, China’s short-term actions will also need to be quickly brought into line with its new long-term trajectory. This includes doing more than simply peaking CO₂ emissions before 2030 as President Xi foreshadowed. Instead, our analysis demonstrates that China would need to peak its emissions by 2025 and rapidly reduce these thereafter to be compatible with the Paris Agreement. This also implies a need for significant adjustments to the other quantifiable targets identified in China’s existing Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement and the ramping up of action to achieve these. Reducing coal-fired power generation quickly and phasing it out entirely by 2040 would be an important step toward achieving this early peak and rapid reductions. Under the Trump administration, the United States has reneged on past climate action promises and rolled back existing policies resulting in an increase in emissions compared with the Obama administration. As a result, this report highlights that even under a Biden administration, the United States is likely to miss its previous 2025 target under the Paris Agreement. However, a Biden administration means that the United States now has the potential to reverse the Trump administration’s rollbacks and make a significant contribution to closing the Paris Agreement’s ambition gap in a new 2030 NDC. Indeed, by taking the initiative to reboot U.S. action in line with the Energy and Climate Package touted by President-elect Biden during his campaign, including its goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, U.S. emissions could be reduced substantially by 2030.2 For example, our analysis indicates that if the Biden campaign’s policies were to be fully implemented with the support of Congress (see below), and continue to be supported by strong subnational action, they could bridge more than half of the U.S. share of the global ambition gap by 2030 through reducing emissions by up to 38%–54% below 2005 levels (GHGs, including land use, land-use change and forestry)3. This would also reduce estimates for average global temperature increases in 2100 by 0.1°C, on top of the 0.2°C–0.3°C reduction achieved by China’s recent announcement. As this report shows, President-elect Biden’s plan to decarbonize the U.S. electricity system by 2035 would represent by far the biggest contribution to this effort and is in line with the Paris Agreement temperature goal. It would result in savings of ~1,350 MtCO₂ out of a total abatement potential of ~1,810 MtCO₂e [1,630–2,100] in 2030 across his Energy and Climate Package. However, this report also estimates that potentially only half of this potential could still be achieved through Executive Authority in the event of Congress not supporting action, although this estimate carries a large degree of uncertainty. We also outline how additional emissions reductions could come from action in other areas, including freight transport and industry—with the electrification of end-use sectors and green hydrogen important opportunities to achieve this. If the United States and China fully implement these ambitious goals and are able to achieve net-zero GHG emissions around mid-century, it would be a monumental step forward toward bringing the Paris Agreement goals within reach. It would also mean that for the first time more than 60% of the world’s emissions are in countries with a clear pathway to decarbonize their economies. However, achieving the goals will require bold action in all sectors of the economy, with an early coal phaseout being paramount for both countries.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Carbon Emissions, Paris Agreement , Decarbonization
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jason Thistlethwaite, Andrea Minano, Daniel Henstra, Daniel Scott
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Nearly every year, Indigenous peoples in First Nations communities face property damage, disrupted livelihoods and the severe social and psychological burdens associated with evacuation due to flooding. Perhaps the most striking example is the recurrent flooding that afflicts the Kashechewan First Nation in Northern Ontario, whose residents have been forced to evacuate their homes every spring for 17 years. Although it’s known that Indigenous communities face a greater flood risk and experience more flood emergencies than the general Canadian population, the scope and magnitude of the current threat, and how it might evolve under climate change, has been little studied. This policy brief reports on research at the University of Waterloo that is assessing, quantifying and mapping the flood risk to Indigenous peoples living on reserve lands and includes policy recommendations to help with better understanding and reducing that risk.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Indigenous, Flood
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Alison D. Nugent, Ryan J. Longman, Clay Trauernicht, Matthew P. Lucas, Henry F. Diaz, Thomas W. Giambelluca
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Hurricane Lane, which struck the Hawaiian islands on 22–25 August 2018, presented a textbook example of the compounding hazards that can be produced by a single storm. Over a four-day period, the island of Hawaiʻi received an average 17 inches of rainfall. One location received 57 inches, making Hurricane Lane the wettest tropical storm ever recorded in the state and the second wettest ever recorded in the US. At the same time, three wildfires on the island of Maui and one on Oʻahu burned nearly 3,000 acres of abandoned agricultural land. As the global climate warms, the number and strength of hurricanes is expected to increase, both in Hawaiʻi and in the Pacific region generally. A better understanding of the relationship between hurricanes and global climate change is critical in order to predict the vulnerability of people and resources during a severe weather event and to plan an appropriate course of action.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Natural Resources, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: North America, Asia-Pacific, Hawaii
  • Author: David L. Goldwyn
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In 2019, the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center began an effort in partnership with the United States Department of Energy to consider a fresh approach to energy in the Americas that is comprehensive in nature and targeted in its approach. Following a year-long period of engagements alongside six representative stakeholder countries participating, the resulting report: “A New US Energy Strategy for the Western Hemisphere,” was launched in March 2020 and will serve as the launch point for additional work by the Atlantic Council on energy and sustainability issues across the hemisphere.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Governance, Nuclear Power, Geopolitics, Renewable Energy, Fossil Fuels
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America, North America
  • Author: Molly Jahn
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: US public investment in agricultural research in the 20th and 21st centuries has resulted in unprecedented worldwide production of a few staple crops and the improvement of dozens more. Increased crop yields and animal production have drastically reduced famine compared to previous centuries and supported an overall increase in global affluence. Today, agricultural producers around the world are facing new challenges as global climate changes become increasingly unpredictable. Inconsistent rain, extreme temperatures, droughts, flooding, wildfires, and shifting pest and disease patterns are just a few of the obstacles farmers face as they try to feed their families and produce enough food to feed the world. In spite of these dire challenges, US public agricultural research funding has been decreasing over the past several decades. This has allowed competitors such as China and Brazil to outpace American ingenuity, take over American markets, and put American farmers at a disadvantage. The lack of investment in agricultural research and development is a critical national security concern. Historical US agricultural strength has contributed to US hard and soft power around the world. As the US food system is beset by increasing climate, economic, financial, and security threats, US rural communities have been left behind, undermining US power and domestic well-being. Increasing global food insecurity, which has been amplified by increasing weather extremes, will lead to economic and political instability in many areas of the world, further threatening US national security. Although the private sector plays a crucial role in the development of new agricultural techniques and products, public funding has been the backbone of many agriculture and food system advances. While agricultural research and development has historically focused primarily on increasing yields, this narrow focus does not adequately support the food requirements of today’s growing global population. There must be a revitalization of public investment in agricultural research, American food systems, and international agricultural development that focuses on the challenges of the future. US leadership is vital to ensuring the global research agenda does not leave farmers behind. Opportunities to build upon and enhance existing US agricultural research infrastructure across many diverse government entities abound. The US government should recognize these investment opportunities to address current and future climate challenges.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Environment, Research
  • Political Geography: China, Brazil, North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Paul Hofhuis
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: Green COVID-19 Recovery and Transatlantic Leadership: What Are the Prospects? OCTOBER 20, 2020 By: Paul Hofhuis, Senior Research Associate, Clingendael Institute As the US presidential election rapidly approaches, an important question is the prospects for (renewed) transatlantic cooperation, especially in the areas of green recovery to the economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, tackling climate change, and addressing these issues through multilateral approaches. In analyzing ambitions and initiatives on both sides of the Atlantic in three connected policy arenas, this brief argues that while a Democratic victory provides greater opportunity for collaboration, underlying structures for cooperation among societal stakeholders in the United States need to be reinvigorated to diminish polarization in society, which could continue to block the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, European Union, Leadership, Economy, Green Technology, Transatlantic Relations, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Olaf Weber, Vasundhara Saravade
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: India’s energy future needs to be low-carbon, climate-resilient and protected against price fluctuation. It can meet these needs by investing in Canadian oil companies, given the country’s political stability and rule of law. India can also attract greater foreign direct investment at home through the issuance of green bonds, a climate finance debt instrument that addresses environmental and climate-related challenges. This paper explores the regulatory perspective of the green bond market.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Foreign Direct Investment, Rule of Law, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Canada, India, North America
  • Author: Jason Bordoff
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: In the U.S. Democratic Party, perhaps no issue has risen more in prominence during this election year compared with prior ones than climate change. The number of self-identified Democrats who consider it a “major threat” is up from 6 in 10 in 2013 to almost 9 in 10 today. A slew of proposals—from the Green New Deal embraced by many progressive environmental groups to a new 538-page climate plan released by Democratic members of a special committee on the climate crisis in the U.S. House of Representatives—lay out various policies. Yet while these plans offer much to celebrate, all of them fall short by focusing on domestic actions while paying scant attention to the global nature of the crisis. Every ton of carbon dioxide contributes to climate change no matter where it is emitted, so an ambitious climate strategy cannot only be domestic—it must put the issue squarely at the center of U.S. foreign policy. Past U.S. efforts to advance global action, such as Washington’s leadership to help secure the 2015 Paris climate agreement, have been key to progress. Yet given both the urgency and global nature of climate change, the issue cannot be siloed into U.S. State Department or Energy Department offices and spheres of diplomacy. Many aspects of U.S. foreign policy will impact, and be impacted by, climate change. An effective foreign policy requires taking climate change directly into consideration—not just as a problem to resolve, but as an issue that can affect the success and failure of strategies in areas as varied as counterterrorism, migration, international economics, and maritime security. Human rights offers some important lessons. In the wake of the Vietnam War and the United States’ secret bombings of Cambodia, public concern for human rights was on the rise. Upon taking office in 1977, President Jimmy Carter declared human rights to be a “central concern” of U.S. foreign policy. In contrast to the realpolitik promoted by outgoing Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Carter argued that protecting human rights would advance U.S. interests and was too important to be divorced from other aspects of U.S. foreign policy. Rather, human rights must be “woven into the fabric of our foreign policy,” as then Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher testified before a Senate subcommittee. Despite Carter’s mixed foreign-policy success, climate change demands a similar centrality. As the defining challenge of our time, climate change must be elevated to a foreign-policy priority and cannot be addressed with a compartmentalized approach. It is necessary, of course, to rejoin the Paris agreement, contribute to international finance efforts such as the Green Climate Fund, curb multilateral coal financing, and collaborate with other countries on clean-energy innovation. Yet all these efforts add up to an international climate strategy, not a climate-centered foreign policy. Truly making climate change a pillar of a foreign-policy strategy would have five key elements.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, International Cooperation, Paris Agreement
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: David B. Sandalow, Xu Qinhua
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: On June 14, 2020 New York time and June 15, 2020 Beijing time, the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University and Center for International Energy and Environment Strategy Studies at Renmin University convened a joint Zoom workshop on green stimulus programs in the US and China. The workshop offered a chance for scholars from the two universities to explore the recent economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, stimulus measures adopted to date and green stimulus proposals in both countries. Participants also discussed other measures to promote clean energy and low-carbon development in the US and China.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Green Technology, Paris Agreement
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Noah Kaufman, Yu Ann Tan
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: Regulations of greenhouse gas emissions, which are global pollutants, should ideally be coordinated across broad geographic and economic scopes. That way, climate policies can capture important interactions across sectors and borders. However, the United States has repeatedly failed to implement national and economywide climate legislation. That failure has led to an increasing focus on climate actions that are much narrower in scope: sector-specific regulations from subnational governments. A prominent recent example is New York City’s Local Law 97, which limits carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from a large segment of the city’s residential and commercial buildings. This law is among the most ambitious building emissions regulations in the world, but this commentary focuses on a concern with the design of Local Law 97. The law does not account for the planned decarbonization of the local electricity grid over the next decade, and thus fails to sufficiently encourage a shift from fossil fuels to electricity (or “electrification”), a critically important strategy for achieving a low-carbon building sector. Such a narrow focus is common for sector-specific climate regulations. The following sections explain the importance of electrification to deep decarbonization and the failure of building regulations to encourage it, focusing on New York City’s Local Law 97. Fortunately, solutions to the overly narrow focus of the New York City buildings law are readily available, including via New York State’s comprehensive climate strategy, which can align climate action across economic sectors within the state.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Law, Green Technology, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: New York, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: On July 2, 2020, Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) and Harvard University jointly hosted a virtual roundtable on climate-oriented economic recovery and stimulus packages. Stakeholders included senior experts from universities and policy institutes as well as former high-level government officials. Key questions discussed at the roundtable, held under the Chatham House Rule, included the following: What are the appropriate objectives of economic stimulus and recovery packages? What clean energy lessons from the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act are most relevant to the design of economic stimulus legislation today? What climate and energy policies are best suited to deliver on both economic stimulus and climate objectives? How does near-term climate-oriented stimulus complement medium-term climate policy and yield progress on long-term climate goals? The following is an overview of the discussion.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Economic Recovery
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Aimee Barnes, Fan Dai, Angela Luh
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: Averting global climate catastrophe depends in large part on progress by the world’s two greatest powers and emitters: the United States and China. However, relations between these two countries—particularly on climate action—have deteriorated over the past four years. With a new presidential administration set to enter the White House in January 2021, there is an opportunity for the US and China to build trust and cooperation on climate change in a way that supports a cooperative and dynamic bilateral relationship more broadly. This commentary takes a close look at the Biden-Harris presidential platform with respect to climate action and China, and assesses China’s domestic and international climate efforts, particularly with respect to the status of its 14th Five-Year Plan. Importantly, what emerges from this examination is a starting point for China and the US to improve their relationship through climate action and collaboration. China’s announcement that it would seek to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 is an important step towards such cooperation.[1] The most promising potential areas for US-China cooperation fall into three broad categories: renewing a shared commitment to global climate governance under the Paris Agreement; building trust to enable renewed bilateral cooperation, such as on technology innovation and investments; and supporting subnational leaders' progress in both countries through platforms where they can productively convene. Recognizing that a climate-safe future is bound up in our mutuality, these two world powers can promote a new era of climate action and resiliency.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Energy Policy, Environment, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sarah Ladislaw, Nikos Tsafos
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: For several decades, energy security has been defined and pursued in a multilateral world with relatively open markets and technology transfer, where energy relations have become increasingly commodified. But that world may soon disappear—energy relationships might become more political, open trade might give way to friction, and great powers might leverage energy relations or energy technology to gain an edge over each other. For decades the United States has promoted a rules-based, multilateral order, supported by shared gains from free trade and deeper economic and political integration within and among countries. Energy security, the ability to secure affordable and reliable supplies of energy, has been widely recognized as common good promoted by this system. As the world’s largest consumer and importer of energy, it was squarely in the United States’ national interest to support this approach through domestic and international energy policy as well as foreign policy. Today, this multilateral order is being challenged. The world is experiencing a new era of competition for greater geographic and economic power driven by the shifting center of gravity of the global economy, the realignment of relationships between and among countries, and rapid technological change. Energy is poised to play an important role in this upheaval and will be affected by these changes. The United States is no longer the largest consumer or importer of energy. Instead, it is now the largest producer of oil and natural gas and will soon be a net exporter of energy. The energy world also is changing rapidly, with renewable energy resources like solar and wind making up the fastest growing and largest source of new supplies and global imperatives like climate change challenging the role of status quo fuels. These changes have heralded a reexamination of the United States’ national interest regarding energy in this changing global system. The United States has important decisions to make about its position in this new environment. Can energy play an influential role in achieving U.S. foreign policy objectives in various regions of renewed geopolitical competition? Is any country or group of countries poised to dominate a given energy market or fuel and might that negatively affect U.S. national security interests? How does this changing global dynamic in which countries are vying for greater geographic and economic spheres of influence affect our approach to global energy security? Will the energy sector become fundamentally more mercantilist, and will the United States be competitive if it does? Greater insight about each of these questions is a prerequisite to the formulation of U.S. foreign and energy policy. So far, the United States has grappled with these questions by pursuing “energy dominance,” a strategy in which energy represents (1) a tool for gaining geopolitical influence in a given region and (2) an area of competitive and strategic economic advantage for the United States. But other global powers, like China and Russia, pose strong competition for this U.S. strategy. Energy features prominently in the economic, foreign, and national security strategies of all three countries but in different ways. And although all three recognize the importance of maintaining affordable and reliable energy supplies for the good of the global economy as well as their own economic well-being, they also recognize the influence of energy in the execution of foreign policy at the global and regional level. The issue for the international energy community is whether the multilateral approach to shared energy security, supported by the promotion of free and integrated markets, is breaking down into regional and economic spheres of influence more mercantile in nature—and if so, how the United States should respond.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • 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: Elana Wilson Rowe, Helge Blakkisrud
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: One widely recognized achievement of the Arctic Council and its various working groups has been the production of collectively generated assessments on Arctic problems. Assessment reports such as the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) provide an important baseline of shared knowledge for making collective circumpolar policy recommendations. But how does the knowledge produced through Arctic Council working groups figure into the policymaking of the Arctic states? This is an important question for understanding Arctic politics and the relationship between national decisionmaking and international relations more generally. Much of what the Arctic Council produces is in the form of recommendations, declarations of intent, and commitments to "best practices" in areas of shared interest and activity. While in recent years the Council has produced three binding agreements covering specific functional areas—search and rescue (2011), oil pollution preparedness and response (2013),and science cooperation (2017)—much ongoing Arctic collaborative work falls outside of these areas. This policy brief explores how science/policy outputs of and discussions at the Arctic Council fit into the Arctic political discourse of the USA, with an emphasis on key actors within the executive branch: the White House, the Department of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Energy Policy, Domestic Policy, Arctic Council
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Asia, North America, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Heidi Peltier
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: Letting climate change continue unabated will have significant economic costs. Economists from the IMF and elsewhere have estimated costs on the order of 10% of US GDP by 2100 in the absence of climate change policies, and even with policies that limit warming to 2.6°C, climate damages are expected to cost 1-2% of GDP by 2100.i If unchecked, climate change will wreak havoc on natural and human systems, including on the economy. One year ago, a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stressed the need and urgency to limit global warming to no more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.ii The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, of Medicine, and of Engineering have affirmed and corroborated those findings.iii On the other hand, taking steps to mitigate and adapt to climate change, such as by shifting to a clean energy economy, may have short-term costs, but will also have some short-term benefits and many longer-term benefits. How can we pay for a transition to clean energy?
  • Topic: Climate Change, Budget, Economy, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Neta C. Crawford
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: If climate change is a “threat multiplier,” as some national security experts and members of the military argue, how does the US military reduce climate change caused threats? Or does war and the preparation for it increase those risks?
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Climate Change, War, International Security, Military Spending, Fossil Fuels
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Olaf Weber, Adeboye Oyegunle
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Recently, a task force has been established by the Financial Stability Board that addresses climate risks for the financial industry. The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) has published recommendations for standardized disclosure about climate-related risks, and it has proposed developing scenario analyses to address climate-related risks for the financial industry. Using the climate risk indicators developed by the TCFD, an impact analysis that explored how direct impacts of the risk indicators influence one another was conducted. In addition, the influence of indirect impacts of the risk indicators on each other was examined by using a mathematical approach, the cross impact matrix-multiplication applied to classification (MICMAC Analysis). Finally, three scenarios were generated (a business as usual scenario; a reduced climate policies scenario; and a strong climate policies scenario), from which recommendations were made that will enable the Canadian financial sector to address risks and take proactive action, including investing in a low-carbon economy, to mitigate climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Investment, Financial Institutions
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Andrea Minano, Daniel Henstra, Jason Thistlethwaite
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Flooding is a growing source of financial insecurity for Canadian households. Flood maps serve a far more effective function in many countries than they currently do in Canada, and they are an essential tool with which to communicate flood risk to the public, encourage property owners to purchase insurance and encourage flood preparedness. Existing flood maps in Canada, however, are difficult to find, outdated and of poor quality, containing few of the characteristics that experts associate with high-quality maps. Improving information about flood exposure, by improving the quality of and access to these maps, can play an important role in protecting Canadians from significant financial risk.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Natural Disasters, Flood, Property
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Sarah Burch
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Canada cannot deliver on its international obligations under the Paris Agreement without meaningfully engaging its small business sector. Small businesses are more than simple profit-maximizers: they are social and political actors. Policies and incentives to foster sustainability should be carefully tailored to respond to the variety of drivers at each size of firm, rather than employing the same approach across the spectrum. Government can accelerate small business sustainability innovation by providing information, cases and success stories; technical skills and expertise; financial support and incentives; and legitimation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Innovation, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Chios Carmody
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This is a guide to the legal framework for emissions trading under the cap-and-trade system created and adhered to under the Western Climate Initiative (WCI). This guide is intended to serve three aims. First, the guide is an overview of the WCI cap-and-trade system for emissions trading by current users of the system; potential industry participants; state, provincial and municipal governments; academic institutions; and members of civil society. Second, the guide’s aim is to foster learning among domestic and international actors interested in North America’s collective response to climate change and highlights one attempt to combat climate change through a subnational cap-and-trade system on the continent. Third, during the course of research for this guide in 2018, the province of Ontario linked its WCI-inspired cap-and-trade system with that of California and Quebec and six months later delinked its system, eventually terminating it altogether and announcing its intention to withdraw from the WCI. A third purpose of this guide is therefore to serve as an account of Ontario’s short-lived cap-and-trade system and its brief experience with linkage.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Climate Change, Environment, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America, Mexico
  • 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: Carl Conetta
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Project on Defense Alternatives
  • Abstract: The United States must partner with other nations in addressing challenges like climate change, epidemics of disease, nuclear proliferation, and human rights and humanitarian crises. None of these challenges are best dealt with by military force. Rather, they will depend on building non-military capacities for diplomacy, economic assistance, and scientific and cultural cooperation and exchange which have been allowed to languish in an era in which the military has been treated as the primary tool of U.S. security policy.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Climate Change, Economy, Sustainability, Hybrid Threats
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Kathryn Sikkink
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Centerpiece
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: And so the topic of the book is a broader book about how to combine rights and responsibilities. And climate change is just one of about five topics I talked about in that book, but it's a particularly useful case to make the main point of the book, and that is that it's not enough in these days to talk about rights. We have a big gap in implementation with rights. And in order to implement rights more fully, we have to think simultaneously about rights and responsibilities. And that when we think of responsibilities, it's not enough to think just about state responsibilities. Of course, and of course with climate change, we want to think about state responsibilities for mitigating climate change, we want to think about corporate responsibilities. But we also want to think about responses of other nonstate actors. And in that I include—I include not just corporations for nonstate actors, but also NGOs, also universities, also individuals.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Political Activism, Leadership, NGOs
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Randolph Mank
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Canada’s contemporary foreign policy has been shaped by deep integration with, and dependence on, the United States, offset by multilateral support for a rules-based international order. The Trump administration’s confrontational nationalism, combined with other global events and trends, has now disrupted Canada’s position and assumptions. This raises the question of whether or not it’s time for a Canadian foreign policy review. While the Trudeau government deserves credit for several initiatives, a series of discontinuities in Canada’s domestic and foreign policies suggests that our interests could be better served. The Canadian government has two main options: it can follow its current path of adjusting its policies in an ad hoc fashion, while waiting out the Trump administration and hoping for more favourable successors, or it can attempt to set Canada on a new path, in which case a foreign policy review would be warranted. The review option would only be useful if everything were on the table, including what to do about bilateral relations with the U.S., the future of our multilateral commitments, and domestic policies on such critical global issues as energy and the environment. The ultimate goal should be to advance Canada’s national interests through better aligned domestic and foreign policies.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Christy Clark, Monica Gattinger, Wilfrid Greaves, P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Geoffrey Cann, Matthew Foss, Kelly Ogle, Jean-Sebastien Rioux, Wenran Jiang, Robert Seeley, Dennis McConaghy, Ron Wallace
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Global Exchange
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The demand for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) continues to grow and Canada’s unconventional reserves remain amongst the very best in the world. With political will and an appetite to embrace gas the way Premier Lougheed once championed oil, we can still put the wealth of Western Canadian gas to work for the good of all Canadians. The papers that follow will be essential pieces for policy makers as they map out the path to Canada’s next great economic transformation.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Oil, Gas, Risk, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, Australia, North America
  • Author: Adam Frost, Colin Robertson, Randolph Mank, Robert Hage, Claudia Marín Suárez, David J. Bercuson, Julian Lindley-French, David Perry
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Global Exchange
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The international arena is as dynamic as ever. The rate of technological development continues to accelerate beyond the pace society is capable of adapting to it. Climate change indicators are approaching and surpassing key thresholds, fragile and failed states are proliferating, and great power competition has returned. Given the magnitude of these challenges, the cultivation of friends, partners and allies is paramount to furthering Canada’s national interests beyond its borders. The lead package of this issue examines some of the global challenges facing Canadian policy-makers and offers recommendations for how best to navigate this unruly world. Colin Robertson outlines today’s messy international arena and emphasizes the importance of Canada’s active engagement. He explains why Canadian leadership must carefully manage the Canada-U.S. relationship and the necessity of supporting multilateral co-operation to stand up against disruptive revisionist powers. He also says Canada should enthusiastically support the implementation of recent trade agreements and address the causes of social upheaval in the Western world. Considering the release of the Trudeau government’s extensive defence policy review, Randolph Mank questions why a similarly extensive foreign policy review was not first conducted. He argues that Canadian foreign policy is misaligned with Canada’s national interests, and therefore, a comprehensive strategic realignment is warranted. Canada’s interests are not best served by ad hoc prescriptions. Robert Hage turns to Canada’s energy policies. He criticizes Bill C-48 for limiting transportation options for Canada’s most valuable hydrocarbon resources. He argues that building infrastructure to the West Coast to facilitate the export of Canada’s oil and gas resources should be handled as a nationbuilding project, vital to Canada’s economic well-being. Francisco Suárez Dávila’s article provides an overview of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s first 100 days in office. Mexico’s new leader is a key figure for Canadian policymakers to understand as they manage the trilateral North American relationship, and work to ratify and implement CUSMA. David Bercuson, Julian Lindley-French and David Perry turn to Canada’s defence and security. Bercuson argues NATO is alive, well, and not going anywhere soon, as the Russian threat to Europe remains ever-present. Lindley-French outlines the tactics of Russia’s coercion, the extensive modernization of its military forces and the ambitions that threaten its European neighbours. Finally, Perry returns to Canada’s Strong, Secure, Engaged defence policy two years after its release to provide an assessment of how closely the Trudeau government has followed its spending targets. The 21st century has the potential to be the most violent and chaotic century in human history – or the most prosperous, providing more people with a higher quality of life than any previous era. If Canada’s policy-makers are to successfully manage the challenges of this unruly, messy world, they will have to vigilantly align Canada’s means with its desired ends, including working with other states, like-minded or otherwise, to advance common interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, NATO, Climate Change, Oil, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, Canada, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Arnault Barichella
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Environmental issues have frequently enjoyed bipartisan support in American history: the Clean Air Act was enacted in 1963 under Democratic President Johnson, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established in 1970 under Republican President Nixon. This began to change in the 1980s under President Reagan, due to the rise of neoliberal economic theories pioneered by Republicans. Conservatives increasingly viewed environmental regulations as economic impediments. Partisanship on this issue then accelerated throughout the 1990s and 2000s, subject to the influence of powerful lobbying groups. President Bush Jr. refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in 2001, actively promoted fossil fuels, and his administration attempted to cast doubt about the science of climate change. Climate partisanship somewhat abated during the 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections, since both McCain and Romney were ‘moderate’ Republicans.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Elections, Legislation, Donald Trump, Barack Obama
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Christopher C. Harmon, T. J. Linzy, Jack Vahram Kalpakian, Bruce I. Gudmundsson, Ryan Burke, Jahara "Franky" Matisek, Zsofia Budai, Kevin Johnston, Blagovest Tashev, Michael Purcell, David McLaughlin, Kashish Parpiani, Daniel De Wit, Timothy Chess
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Advanced Military Studies
  • Institution: Marine Corps University Press, National Defense University
  • Abstract: In this issue of MCU Journal, the authors discuss various concepts of power and great power competition. For generations, scholars have debated changes in power and how that evolution could potentially impact the United States, its allies, and those hovering on the edge of greatness in whatever form that may take. The concept of power has taken on many meanings as the character of warfare has adapted to the time—hard power, soft power, sea power, airpower, space power, great power, combat power, etc. So how do we define such an abstract concept as power? The Department of Defense (DOD) defines combat power as “the total means of destructive and/or disruptive force which a military unit/formation can apply against the opponent at a given time.” Clearly, power must be projected; and for our purposes, that means an entity has the “ability . . . to apply all or some of its elements of national power—political, economic, informational, or military—to rapidly and effectively deploy and sustain forces in and from multiple dispersed locations to respond to crises, to contribute to deterrence, and to enhance regional stability.”
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Climate Change, International Cooperation, Migration, History, Power Politics, Armed Forces, Navy, Populism, Grand Strategy, Alliance, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Strategic Competition, Geography, Ottoman Empire, Information Technology , Clash of Civilizations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, China, Europe, Sudan, India, Norway, Asia, France, North America, Egypt, Arctic, United States of America, Antarctica
  • Author: Carl Death
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: Can protest really make a difference? Can social movements change any- thing? Do campaigns like those for fossil fuel divestment rapidly snowballing across campuses, cities, churches, and institutional investors in North America, Europe, and elsewhere have any real impact on global political economies of energy? This article argues that the answer to all of these questions is a qualified “yes.” The fossil fuel divestment campaign is a specific manifestation of environ- mental protest, which, since emerging in 2011, has changed some things and has the potential to change others more profoundly.1 Considering the case of the fossil fuel divestment campaign in detail can illuminate important insights about the role of protest in contemporary global politics. Protest movements can impact the world, as evidenced by both the fossil fuel divestment campaign and longer histories of other divestment movements that have contributed to significant struggles for structural change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Natural Resources, Protests, Global Warming, Fossil Fuels
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: On October 29, 2018, the SFS Centennial Fellowship hosted a Townhall with SFS Centennial Fellow Catherine Novelli in which she answered questions regarding the current relationship between the economy and environmental policy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Oil, Natural Resources, Interview
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: William C. Eacho
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Every day, in countries around the planet, government employees are working on plans that will reduce greenhouse emissions, as each nation promised to do at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Here in Washington? No one has such an assignment. Global leadership used to be an American staple. In fact, we were in the vanguard a couple of years ago when 195 nations assembled in Paris to finalize the climate change accord. In a 180-degree reversal, President Donald Trump opted to withdraw from this pact. But since the rules do not allow that withdrawal to become official until November 4, 2020, there is time for our government to regain its leadership role as the world struggles to meet this fundamental challenge. And the President can do so in a way that strengthens the global competitiveness of the U.S. economy. How? Ask almost any economist what is the quickest, most efficient and least expensive way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and he or she will say, “a carbon tax.” Carbon has benefited from a subsidy from day one. Yes, fossil fuels have played a critical role in U.S. prosperity, but they also have driven up the rates and severity of lung cancer, asthma, heart disease and other ailments. In addition, they are the leading cause of climate change, which scientists have concluded is running up the frequency and intensity of wildfires, superstorms and other natural disasters. Yet the price we pay for carbon does not cover any of these costs; all of us pick up that tab. If the price of carbon incorporated such costs, then clean energy sources such as the wind, the sun and nuclear energy could compete on a level playing field. It is true that tax incentives have helped renewable sources develop, and loan guarantees have helped nuclear energy, but each has had less help than fossil fuels have received in direct and indirect subsidies. And yet despite the unlevel playing field, renewables have been a tremendous source of job growth in recent years. Solar now employs over 260,000 in the United States, enjoying a double-digit rate of growth in recent years, and wind energy employs over 100,000. Wind already provides 30 percent of Kansas’ electricity. Though Governor Sam Brownback is a longtime member of the GOP’s right flank, he is a true believer in renewables. Wind energy has drawn $7 billion in capital investment to the state and supports, directly or indirectly, 5,000 to 6,000 jobs.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Green Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Michèle Roth, Cornelia Ulbert
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and Peace
  • Abstract: The post-Cold War world has been characterised by global cooperation, largely driven by Western actors and based on the norms of Western liberalism. Today, global power shifts are accelerating. The Western liberal order finds itself in deep crisis. Its previous anchor, the United States (US), is no longer willing or able to run the system. Its most important former ally, the European Union (EU), is struggling with inte- gration fatigue. New nationalist movements in many Western countries are proliferating. In other parts of the world, too, people fear the impact of globalisa- tion and are seeking to regain national autonomy. What does this mean for the future of global cooper- ation? How can the wish for more national autonomy be reconciled with the need to cooperate in the face of unsustainable development, global inequality, conflict and gross violations of human rights? How do changing power constellations affect global cooper- ation? We suggest that new forms of governance will contribute to sustaining global cooperation. This paper uses the example of the Paris Agreement to illus- trate new forms of polycentric and multi-stakeholder transnational governance that are bottom-up rather than top-down. Moreover, constructive coalitions of the willing and more flexibility in global governance provisions might also be key for successful future cooperation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Cooperation, Governance, European Union, Post Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Jeff Rubin
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Even though US President Donald Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement, the country remains much closer to hitting the 2020 emission targets pledged by the previous administration of Barack Obama than Canada is of meeting the targets originally proposed by the government of Stephen Harper. The significant difference in emission performance is the result of the very different trajectories of energy-related emissions in the two countries. In the United States, such emissions have fallen steadily over the last decade as natural gas has usurped coal’s once dominant role in the US power sector. North of the border, oil sands emissions continue to be the fastest-growing source of emissions in Canada as emission-intensive in situ oil sands production continues to increase despite unfavourable economics.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America
  • Author: Sylvie Cornot-Gandolphe, Jean-François Boittin
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Under particular US legal rationale, such as calling foreign imports a “national security threat”, President Donald Trump has started imposing tariffs and/or quotas and has launched national security investigations on a growing number of imported goods from US allies and others alike.In March and June 2018, the US imposed tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminium on all trading partners, but Australia. In July and August 2018, the US began imposing tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese industrial goods on the ground of unfair trade practices. As China has retaliated with tit-for-tat measures, President Trump has imposed tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods from 24 September 2018 onwards, and in an unprecedented escalation of his trade war with China, he has also threatened to impose tariffs on an additional $267 billion in Chinese goods. If eventually carried out, Trump’s latest threat could result in tariffs on all Chinese goods entering the US. China has retaliated and imposed tariffs on $60 billion in US goods, including a 10% duty on liquefied natural gas (LNG). For the time being, trade tensions have had a limited impact on the energy market. But the new round of US tariffs and retaliation measures by China suggest that this is going to change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Gas, Renewable Energy, Coal
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Johannes Urpelainen, Wolfram Schlenker, Alice Tianbo Zhang
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), Columbia University
  • Abstract: Dams are a major source of electricity globally, with hydropower generating 16 percent of the world’s total electricity and 71 percent of all renewable electricity in 2016. Many developing countries possess great untapped hydropower potential. Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, is estimated to have tapped less than 8 percent of its hydropower potential. Proponents of dams praise them as a source of low-carbon electricity, estimated to reduce annual emissions by about 2.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Dams also provide wide-ranging benefits in terms of flood control, irrigation, navigation, and job creation. But harnessing the power of the river comes with concentrated costs, from fragmenting the river system and destroying natural habitat to triggering ecological hazards and displacing millions of people. As the world is undergoing an energy system transformation toward renewable sources to combat climate change and meet emission reduction targets outlined in the Paris Agreement, understanding the costs and benefits of dam construction has important policy implications. In this project, the authors compiled a global geospatial database of dams, the GDAT, to enable rigorous research on the costs and benefits of dam construction. The project was motivated by the absence of a comprehensive, reliable, real-time, easy-to-use database on global dam construction. Such data could allow policymakers to make informed decisions on the use of hydroelectric power in the future, based on systematic evaluations of the costs and benefits of hydroelectric dams along the dimensions of energy access, climate change mitigation, water supply, ecological preservation, and population displacement. Below is a summary of findings: Globally, the authors identify 36,222 dams that are spatially concentrated along major river basins in Asia, North America, South America, and Europe. Compared to two widely used datasets, AQUASTAT and Global Reservoir and Dam (GRanD), GDAT has not only 144 percent and 419 percent more dam observations, respectively, but also more comprehensive attribute information, such as completion year, geographic location, main purpose, and reservoir and generation capacity. Dams are used for a variety of purposes, with considerable heterogeneity across continents. Worldwide, dams are mainly used for irrigation and hydroelectricity, representing 34 percent and 25 percent of the data, respectively. There are notable differences in the distribution of dam completion year across continents. While most developed countries in North America, Europe, and Oceania have witnessed a decline in dam construction since the 1970s, developing countries in Africa, Asia, and South America are experiencing a continued increase in the number of dams currently planned or under construction. GDAT makes three important contributions: First, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, no prior effort has been made to consolidate official records with existing datasets such as AQUASTAT, GRanD, and World Resources Institute (WRI). By collecting and compiling primary data from administrative sources and secondary data from existing databases, the authors have offerred the most comprehensive geo-referenced data on worldwide dam construction to date. Second, through extensive cross-checking and manual validation, the authors fill in important data gaps on key attributes and correct erroneous observations in previous datasets. Third, existing datasets are often static and not frequently updated. Efforts are underway to develop a framework for making the data collection and compilation process easily reproducible, so that it can be updated on a reasonable time interval to facilitate intertemporal analysis. Upon publication of academic research papers, the authors are planning to release the entire dataset and documentations to the public, free of charge.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Water, Displacement, Electricity, Renewable Energy, Dams
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, North America
  • Author: Thad W. Allen, Christine Todd Whitman, Esther Brimmer
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: "The United States, through Alaska, is a significant Arctic nation with strategic, economic, and scientific interests," asserts a new Council on Foreign Relations-sponsored (CFR) Independent Task Force report, Arctic Imperatives: Reinforcing U.S. Strategy on America's Fourth Coast. With the Arctic "warming at twice the rate as the rest of the planet" and melting sea ice opening up this resource-rich region to new trade routes and commercial activities, the report stresses that "the United States needs to increase its strategic commitment to the region or risk leaving its interests unprotected." The report notes that while Russia has numerous ice-breaking vessels and China is building a third icebreaker, the United States owns only two operational icebreaking ships—one heavy icebreaker and one medium-weight icebreaker—to serve both the Arctic and the Antarctic. Asserting that "icebreakers are a national capacity" required for a range of maritime missions to support U.S. security, economic, and commercial needs, the Task Force recommends that the United States fund and build additional icebreakers. The report also finds that the United States needs greater investment in Alaskan infrastructure, including deepwater ports, roads, and reliable telecommunications, to support economic development and a sustained security presence in the region. Currently, "almost no marine infrastructure is in place within the U.S. maritime Arctic."
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure, Hegemony, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia, North America, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Riccardo Vitale
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: This case study takes a retrospective look at the 2010-11 Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG-ECHO) Small-Scale Disaster Project in La Paz and the context within which it took place. Our research found that absorptive, adaptive, and transformative capacities can be fostered by iterative development processes. It also demonstrated that disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation are strongly tied to resilient, sustainable, long-term development. Resilience, however, is not an a priori conceptual framework of development programming; rather it is a life process engendered within specific communities. Consequently, development practitioners must construct programs based on rigorous, ethical, and sound research integrating scientific with local and ancestral knowledge. This is the only approach that can generate environmentally healthy and productive, sustainable, and equitable life systems. This report is part of a series that seeks to draw lessons from resilience projects in Latin America and the Pacific.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Disaster Relief, Gender Issues, Social Movement, Urban, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America, Asia-Pacific
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto
  • Abstract: This report highlights the summary of discussions and key policy recommendations from the 2016 Canada-UK Colloquium Report (CUKC) in Edmonton last November 2016, chaired by the Hon. Jean Charest, which brought together fifty high-level policymakers, academics, industry leaders and young scholars.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America
  • Author: Colin Robertson, Max Cleland, Dennis McConaghy, Amy Myers Jaffe, Petra Dolata, Monica Gattinger, Kelly Ogle, Dennis McConaghy, Michael Mousseau, Kenneth P. Green, John Haffner, Jim Burpee
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Global Exchange
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The Global Exchange is the Canadian Global Affairs Institute’s quarterly magazine featuring topical articles written by our fellows and other contributing experts. Each issue contains approximately a dozen articles exploring political and strategic challenges in international affairs and Canadian foreign and defence policy. This special issue focuses on energy.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Oil, Water, Infrastructure, Gas, Regulation, Tax Systems, Risk, Services, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Joël Plouffe
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Ten months into Donald Trump’s presidency and there is little indication as to how this administration is planning to actively pursue American Arctic interests in its foreign policy. Former president Barack Obama’s strategy had an ambitious agenda on climate change and regional governance leadership. What we have seen over the past several months in terms of foreign policy outlook has been a mixture of continuity and change. In terms of continuity, the State Department has, thus far, maintained multilateral co-operation in the areas of environmental protection, sustainable development, international scientific research and joint military exercises. It has upheld its commitment to the workings of the Arctic Council – including finishing the U.S. term until May 2017 as the chair – and is more likely than not to continue with the status quo. As for change, by reconsidering the role of U.S. leadership, the Trump administration has signalled its intention to approach the Arctic differently from the previous administration. It has distanced the federal government from the global fight on climate change and its impacts on the Arctic, and worked to reverse the Obama-era ban on oil and gas licensing in U.S. Arctic federal waters. This was part of Trump’s campaign promise to loosen regulations that negatively impact the energy industry. The U.S.-Canada bilateral relationship that had been so close under Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is now focused on other areas – especially the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This policy paper looks at the legacies that the Obama administration left in terms of Arctic foreign policy, how the Trump administration has approached the region, and finally, what this could potentially mean for the U.S.-Canada relationship in the North American Arctic.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Borders, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, Arctic, United States of America