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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: 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: Nicola De Blasio, Fridolin Pflugmann, Henry Lee
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Clean hydrogen is experiencing unprecedented momentum as confidence in its ability to accelerate decarbonization efforts across multiple sectors is rising. New projects are announced almost every week. For example, an international developer, Intercontinental Energy, plans to build a plant in Oman that will produce almost 2 million tons of clean hydrogen and 10 million tons of clean ammonia.1 Dozens of other large-scale projects and several hundred smaller ones are already in the planning stage. Similarly, on the demand side, hydrogen is gaining support from customers. Prominent off-takers such as oil majors like Shell and bp, steelmakers like ThyssenKrupp, and world-leading ammonia producers like Yara are working on making a clean hydrogen economy a reality. Despite the optimism surrounding clean hydrogen, key uncertainties remain. One of hydrogen’s attractions is that it can provide carbon-free energy in multiple sectors—transport, heating, industry, and electricity generation. But this advantage also creates uncertainties. The infrastructure needed in an economy in which hydrogen is primarily used as a transport fuel is very different from one in which its primary value is as a heating fuel. Today no major hydrogen pipeline networks exist,2 and no liquified hydrogen ships are in commercial operation. There is a true chicken and egg problem. If there is no infrastructure to move hydrogen, will investments in supply and demand happen at the pace needed to meet national decarbonization targets? This challenge raises an even more pressing question: what should be the respective roles of the public and private sectors in deploying enabling infrastructure at scale?
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Infrastructure, Renewable Energy, Hydrogen
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Shaugn Coggins, James D. Ford
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Arctic regions are experiencing transformative climate change impacts. This article examines the justice implications of these changes for Indigenous Peoples, arguing that it is the intersection of climate change with pronounced inequalities, land dispossession, and colonization that creates climate injustice in many instances.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Poverty, Culture, Income Inequality, Justice, Indigenous, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Arctic
  • 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: Nicola Bilotta
  • Publication Date: 12-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The last decade has witnessed a progressive change in what had long been considered global priorities for achieving growth. The global financial crisis of 2007–2008 and the following European sovereign debt crises of 2011–2012 have brought to light important pitfalls in the functioning of globalized financial markets. Trade and financial liberalization policies have at times caused severe strains in some communities, raising concerns over the effects of rapid increases in international integration. Environmental and social risks have come to the forefront of the policy debate. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought enormous challenges to what was the normal way of living. All these events have had far-reaching consequences on the global economy. Currently, the world is facing at least three major shocks that are affecting health (COVID-19), prosperity (the recession) and the planet (climate change). These have been chosen as the three keywords for Italy’s G20 Presidency. These shocks are different in nature and have very diverse effects across countries, regions and municipalities. This calls for differentiated and targeted responses that take into account the specific needs of individual communities.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Infrastructure, G20, Economic Growth, Investment, Integration, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, India, Vietnam, Philippines, United States of America, Congo
  • Author: Alice Politi
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been described as the largest infrastructure project in history, affecting around 60 per cent of the global population. Whilst promoting a narrative of connectivity, growth and “win-win partnerships”, the project has received opposing assessments regarding its wider impact, particularly in the environmental domain.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Infrastructure, Green Technology, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Helle Munk Ravnborg, Bernard Bashaasha, Rikke Broegaard, Michael Byaruhanga, Evelyne Lazaro, Festo Maro, Khamaldin Mutabazi, Teddy Nakanwagi, David Tumusiime
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This DIIS Working Paper describes the design of a questionnaire survey developed and implemented in order to trace the development outcomes of foreign agricultural investments in six research locations in Tanzania and Uganda. The questionnaire survey was conducted as part of the Agricultural Investors as Development Actors (henceforward AIDA) research programme which, in particular, focuses on development outcomes in terms of employment, migration, food security and wider dynamic economic effects, such as access to technology, infrastructure and markets; land markets and perceived security of land tenure; and water access and security of tenure. The working paper which serves as a methodological reference document describes the approach which was employed for drawing six independent samples of 400 respondents each, as well as the approach developed for computing a foreign agricultural investment exposure index and for computing a locally informed household poverty index.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Environment, Poverty, Water, Food, Governance, Inequality, Investment, Land Rights
  • Political Geography: Sub-Saharan Africa, Africa
  • Author: Marie Ladekjær Gravesen, Mikkel Funder
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to climate- and development-related challenges have recently gained attention in development cooperation. Among other, approaches that fall under the NbS umbrella include Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA), Ecosystem-based Mitigation (EbM) and Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR). This new DIIS Working Paper focuses on nature-based solutions to climate change adaptation, EbA. It provides an overview of selected lessons learnt from EbA in the context of development cooperation, with a particular emphasis on the opportunities and risks regarding poverty alleviation and rights. It generates learning for Danish development cooperation, including future programming under Denmark’s 2021 development strategy, in which NbS approaches are emphasised. However, the paper can also be read as a general discussion of experiences with EbA in the development context. The three-legged EbA approach focuses on human well-being, ecosystem management, and climate change adaptation. EbA has already been applied to a range of ecosystems, including the restoration of mangroves to shield them against storm and sea-level rises, the management of watersheds to protect against droughts and flooding, the management of rangelands to inhibit desertification and land degradation, and more sustainably managed fisheries and forestry to tackle food insecurity. EbA thus not only addresses the restoration of already degraded ecosystems, but also the sustainable use, management, and conservation of intact ecosystems. The paper provides a conceptual overview of EbA in relation to NbS, outlines the potential in using EbA approaches, and describes the landscape of the institutions and agencies that fund, promote and implement EbA. The paper then provides a synthesis of lessons learned from PES and REDD+ schemes that are of relevance to EbA. For instance, it is emphasised that many REDD+ measures have effectively existed as project islands that were not anchored in national or subnational planning and governance mechanisms. As a result, the conservation activities and socioeconomic benefits were often not effectively integrated or scaled up beyond small project sites. If comprehensively implemented, the EbA approach builds on these experiences by insuring full inclusion of stakeholders from all relevant sectors, as well as demanding full integration in existing policies, planning and governance practices from the ministry levels to sub-national governments. Among the final recommendations and possible entry points for Danish development cooperation, the paper highlights that the support must have a strong focus on ensuring that EbA is pro-poor (i.e. supports poverty alleviation) and rights-based (i.e. supports the rights of local resource users). Experience from EbA and related efforts show that EbA is not automatically pro-poor or supportive of local rights to natural resources and ecosystem services. In particular, there is insufficient attention to and knowledge of rights issues in EbA. Therefore, Danish development cooperation should help lead the way in ensuring that EbA takes a rights-based approach and supports poverty alleviation.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Environment, Poverty, Natural Resources, Water, Food, Governance, Inequality, Investment, Land Rights
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Boubacar Ba, Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Following Mali’s coup d’état of 18 August 2020, the transitional government is yet to present a roadmap for peace in central Mali outlining a new strategy for dialogue with armed non-state actors. To support this process, it is important that Mali’s international donors identify already-existing local peace agreements and support local-level dialogue with all parties to conflicts. Recommendations: Immediate de-escalation of conflicts is needed through disarmament of militias and rebuilding of trust between local communities and Mali’s armed forces, with a strong focus on protecting civilians. Mali needs a national, comprehensive strategy for how to include jihadists and local militias in dialogue, reconciliation and dispute resolution. International donors need to identify already-existing local peace agreements and support local-level dialogue between all parties to conflicts. Long-term solutions regulating equal access to natural resources for different population groups are key.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Democratization, Environment, Terrorism, Water, Food, Non State Actors, Governance, Fragile States, Investment, Peace, Land Rights
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali
  • Author: Flemming Splidsboel Hansen
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: A survey of current Russian strategies and military thinking about the Arctic points to clear separate military and development goals. Leading Russian military commentators usually include both in their analyses, often highlighting the softer development aspect of security. Moreover, much of the military writing identifies broad possibilities for international co-operation in the Arctic. Key findings Russian military commentators usually insist that all relevant actors need to act with care to avoid a deterioration of the situation in the Arctic. Russian military writing contains a strong focus on the development of the Russian Arctic. Russian military writing identifies broad possibilities for co-operation in both the military and civilian fields.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Climate Change, Diplomacy, Environment, International Organization, Oil, Power Politics, Gas, Minerals
  • Political Geography: Russia, Arctic
  • Author: Lily Salloum Lindegaard, Mikkel Funder, Esbern Friis-Hanse
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The Evaluation of Danish Support to Climate Change Adaptation in Developing Countries has just come out. But what knowledge does it build on and what fundamental questions does it explore? This Preparatory Study, commissioned by the EVAL Department of Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2019, lays the groundwork for the evaluation. It sought to help define the scope of the evaluation; identify potential country case studies, case projects and evaluation themes; and point out overarching issues and questions to be addressed in the evaluation. To do so, the study provides overviews of all Danish climate change adaptation-related Official Development Assistance (ODA) from 2008 to 2018 and of adaptation support through the Danish Climate Envelope, which provides Fast Start Finance for climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. The study also includes an analysis of trends and gaps in the Climate Envelope. These, and other outputs from the study, are now available in this DIIS Working Paper. The paper’s analysis and findings continue to have relevance for discussions of how we approach climate change, particularly adaptation, in Danish development assistance.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Poverty, Inequality
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark
  • Author: Per Kalvig, Hans Lucht
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Rare earth elements (REEs) are vital for communications, the green energy transition and defense, but are produced almost exclusively in China. As the projected REE mines in southern Greenland inch closer to realization, Denmark and its EU partners remain sidelined from future supply chains for raw materials. Key findings: Rare earth elements (REEs) are vital to daily life, communications, green energy and defense. Yet, REEs and products containing REEs are almost exclusively controlled and produced by China. Significant long-term strategic state or supra-state support is required to challenge Chinese dominance of the REE sector and reduce the vulnerability of European and American energy supplies. In the absence of REE industries in Europe or America, the two REE projects in South Greenland, with their potential to become significant suppliers of REE, will most likely supply Chinese-controlled raw materials industries.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Climate Change, Environment, Oil, Power Politics, Gas, Minerals, Rare earth elements (REEs)
  • Political Geography: China, Denmark, Greenland, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Peer Schouten
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The Horn of Africa and the Sahel are among the most fragile regions in the world: poor, lacking basic infrastructure and state presence across much of their respective territories, and both form hotbeds of conflict and political instability compounded by climate change. This DIIS Working Paper focuses on identifying evolving notions of fragility that could strengthen Danish stabilisation efforts in the Horn and Sahel. It foregrounds notions of fragility that move away from a focus on strong state institutions towards the adaptive capacities of populations in the hinterlands of the Horn and the Sahel to deal with conflict and climate variability. The paper gives an overview of this rapidly evolving field and distils key insights, challenges and future options by exploring the question, how can we support people in the Sahel and Horn to re-establish their responsibility for their respective territories and the management of their natural resources? The paper addresses this question by exploring the implications of recent climate change and livelihoods research on how we approach fragility and, by extension, stabilisation. On the basis of such research, the Working Paper advocates a move away from a sector-based understanding of fragility towards a way of working that is more in line with contextual realities, alongside the ‘comprehensive approach’ to stabilisation that Denmark promotes. The key message is that, programmatically, Danish stabilisation efforts across both regions could benefit from a more explicit focus on supporting the variability that dominant livelihood strategies require and that need to be considered if sustainable security and development outcomes are to be achieved. Failing to do this will only serve to marginalise key communities and may drive them further into the arms of radical groups.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Climate Change, Democratization, Development, Environment, Radicalization, Fragile States, Violence, Peace, Justice
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Denmark, Horn of Africa
  • Author: Mikkel Funder, Holle Wlokas, Karen Holm Olsen
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Renewable energy is key to combatting climate change, but it is critical to ensure a just energy transition that benefits all. Denmark’s development cooperation supports the growth of large-scale renewable energy schemes in several countries, but what is good for recipient governments and Danish exports is not automatically good for the poor. In recent years large-scale wind- and solar schemes in developing countries have increasingly met with local resistance from communities who do not feel they benefit from such projects. How can Denmark help ensure that renewable energy projects contribute to community development in the areas where projects are situated? This policy brief provides lessons learnt and associated recommendations from one particular attempt to address this issue, namely South Africa’s efforts to incorporate community development as a criteria in the auction schemes through which renewable energy is procured. This policy is implemented through the nationwide REIPPP programme, which is among the few of its kind globally. While South Africa’s REIPPPP is not perfect and still developing, the programme does exemplify the basic principle that governments can build requirements for privately owned wind- and solar projects into procurement schemes. Requirements to finance community development, support Community Trusts, and allocate shares to communities are thus examples of approaches that could be developed and adapted elsewhere. In addition, the South African programme includes scoring and - performance criteria in the tendering and monitoring process that align with South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment policy. The South African experience also, however, illustrates how public, private and community interests may differ in terms of what community development is and how it should be supported. This highlights the importance of developing democratic and inclusive structures for debating and decision-making on the use and allocation of benefits from large-scale renewable energy projects. Drawing on the lessons from South Africa and other similar schemes, the policy brief recommends that Danish development cooperation should: Support the incorporation of community benefits in regulatory frameworks for public procurement of private renewable energy generation Support development of practice frameworks for community engagement in the renewable energy sector Support community co-ownership of renewable energy generation and democratic governance of benefit sharing arrangements The policy brief is the result of collaborative research between DIIS, Stellenbosch University and the UNEP DTU Partnership. It forms part of the wider TENTRANS project, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and administered by Danida Fellowship Centre.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Poverty, Natural Resources, Inequality, Emerging States
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Rasmus Hundsbæk Pedersen, Ole Winckler Andersen
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Development assistance for new renewable energy in Sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly being used to mobilise additional private capital. Recipient countries do not always share the priorities of donors. Realism and long-term support are key. RECOMMENDATIONS: Continue funding, but also acknowledge different interests and objectives, in order to move new renewable energy to scale. Balance the support for market development with support to government entities. Support longer-term capacity-building to ensure energy sector sustainability in recipient countries. Adopt flexible approaches and ensure independent advice to governments and institutions.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Foreign Aid, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Denmark, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Michael Eisenstadt, David Pollock
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Areas for especially timely U.S.-Israel cooperation include climate resilience, agtech, and medical research, as well as longstanding work in the military and security arenas. In the fifth in a series of TRANSITION 2021 memos examining the Middle East and North Africa, Michael Eisenstadt and David Pollock assess the multifaceted strengths of the U.S.-Israel partnership and its prospects for growth under the Biden administration. Areas for especially timely cooperation include climate resilience, agtech, and medical research, as well as longstanding work in the military and security arenas. Israel’s recent normalization deals with several Arab states only further widen the horizon. “Israel is a world-class innovator in technologies that will be critical to meeting future challenges, including artificial intelligence, information technology, and cybersecurity; sustainable water, food, and energy solutions; and high-tech medicine,” explain the authors. “All these areas are supportive of America’s foreign policy priorities.” In the coming weeks, TRANSITION 2021 memos by Washington Institute experts will address the broad array of issues facing the Biden-Harris administration in the Middle East. These range from thematic issues, such as the region’s strategic position in the context of Great Power competition and how to most effectively elevate human rights and democracy in Middle East policy, to more discrete topics, from Arab-Israel peace diplomacy to Red Sea security to challenges and opportunities in northwest Africa. Taken as a whole, this series of memos will present a comprehensive approach for advancing U.S. interests in security and peace in this vital but volatile region.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, International Cooperation, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, North America, United States of America
  • Author: 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: Dong-Hyeok Kwon, Alistair Ritchie
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: Emissions trading systems (ETS) are increasingly being introduced as a way of cost-effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet ambitious national climate change targets, including Nationally Determined Contributions and net-zero long-term goals under the Paris Agreement. A key concern for governments and industry, however, is how to protect industry’s global competitiveness and prevent “carbon leakage”, that is, the transfer of production to world regions with less ambitious climate policies that would lead to an increase in total emissions. To address this concern, ETS allowances are typically allocated for free to greenhouse gas (GHG)-intensive or trade-intensive industries at risk of carbon leakage. The type of free allocation design is important because it directly impacts on the financial performance of companies. It also determines how companies are rewarded. Those that have invested more in GHG reduction technologies will be rewarded better under a benchmark (BM)-based allocation approach, where allocation is based on the level of production multiplied by an emissions intensity benchmark. Those that have invested less in such technologies will be rewarded better under a grandfathered approach, where allocation is based on historic emissions. However, while BM-based allocation is generally regarded as a fairer method, it is also considered more difficult to design and implement. This Asia Society Policy Institute issue paper, Developing Effective Benchmark-Based Allocation for Industrial Sectors: The Case of the Korean ETS, shows how BM-based allocation has been successfully implemented for some of Korea’s most important industrial sectors, steel and petrochemicals. It provides valuable insights and recommendations for other countries to develop an effective allocation system in a timely and efficient way.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Trade, Carbon Emissions, Paris Agreement
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Patrick Suckling
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: China’s recent commitment to reach carbon neutrality before 2060 means that for the first time ever, India is on track to become the world’s largest emitter. At a time that demands urgent action if we are to stay within the goals of the Paris Agreement, this brings into contrast India’s traditionally bifurcated approach that it has used to guard against taking greater action in light of the responsibility of the developed world to lead the way. Nevertheless, in recent decades, a political appetite for climate action has been growing in India, including reinforcing its global leadership credentials at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Climate-related disasters have also driven public support for more constructive engagement by Delhi. However, this appetite does not yet match growing international expectations for Indian action, as momentum for global climate action and ambition accelerates rapidly around the world in the lead-up to the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow in November 2021. The election of U.S. President Joe Biden and recent commitments to net-zero by other Asian economies such as Japan and Korea underscore the weight of growing expectations on India. A sophisticated and holistic strategy to catalyze climate ambition from India is needed if the world is to succeed and help the country navigate a new low-carbon development model. India’s recent establishment of an Apex Committee on the Implementation of the Paris Agreement and its commitment to produce a long-term strategy to reduce emissions provide two particular openings for this even if signals elsewhere are mooted, including the impact of India’s economic response to COVID-19. And at a geopolitical level, India’s relations with China can help reinforce the need for action, and so too can India’s shifting relations with the G77 group of developing nations. This strategy must involve a mix of both greater political and policy engagement and deeper technical and financial support to help accelerate action — including through helping unlock greater private finance domestically. The recently announced U.S.-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership is an excellent first step in this regard. This Asia Society Policy Institute issue paper, Catalyzing India's Climate Ambition, authored by Senior Fellow and former Australian High Commissioner to India and Ambassador for the Environment Patrick Suckling, sets out how the wider international community should sensitively, constructively, and intelligently now work with India to catalyze greater climate ambition in the lead-up to COP26 and beyond.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Carbon Emissions, Decarbonization
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: After four years of U.S. absence from the global climate stage, a majority of voters—including a plurality of Republican voters—agree the United States should take ambitious actions to address climate change and lead the world in tackling the climate crisis, even if China and other countries do not increase their own ambition. With the exception of nuclear disarmament, a majority of voters see climate change as the most important issue for the United States and China to cooperate on—more so than tackling COVID-19. At the same time, competing with China to become the world leader in the development of clean energy technologies drives up support among voters across the political spectrum for the United States ramping up its own clean energy industry. Similarly, voter support for the United States enhancing its climate ambition increases if China takes additional steps. Despite voters expressing apprehension toward partnering with China on innovation and trade in a number of sectors like automobiles and healthcare, voters are also very receptive to a potential partnership around clean energy development. However, voters want President Biden to also uphold his campaign promise to devise policies that will hold China “accountable” for its climate commitments. Voters support this more than any of Biden’s other proposals for global climate action. With this in mind, voters support the idea of the United States providing competitive financing for renewable energy projects to Belt and Road Initiative countries and instituting a carbon border tax as possible ways to increase pressure on China to do more both at home and abroad. For instance, an overwhelming majority of voters think China should aim to achieve carbon neutrality much sooner than 2060. Notably, a near majority of voters are also supportive of the U.S. military and Chinese military working together even more to assess climate risks and improve disaster preparedness around the world. Though President Biden may face some roadblocks from Republicans who are less supportive of U.S.-China climate cooperation than Democrats and independents, messaging around maintaining U.S. leadership over China on climate action and clean energy development clearly resonates with Republican voters.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Public Opinion, Voting, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, United States of America
  • Author: Wendy Cutler, Anubhav Gupta, Nathan Levine, Richard Maude, Elina Noor, Jing Qian, Alistair Ritchie, Kevin Rudd, Daniel R. Russel, Thom Woodroofe
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: The Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) Notes for the Biden Administration is designed to offer creative and practical ideas for how the United States might re-engage in the Asia Pacific, particularly in the critical first six months of the new administration. The administration will immediately face a range of challenges and opportunities in this important region, including on climate change, public health, and the global economy. President-elect Biden and his team have signaled the need for the United States to lean into and deepen its engagement with friends and allies. This will mean leveraging the Asia Pacific’s multilateral architecture as well as using global forums such as the G20 and international organizations. Trade policy will also figure importantly in any effort to renew and expand America’s engagement. Additionally, the U.S.-China relationship will loom large from the outset. Tensions with China will surely linger, whether in the South China Sea or the Taiwan Strait, complicating the task of establishing a new framework of “managed strategic competition” – a combination of each side's "red lines," continued competition, plus agreement on areas of mutually beneficial cooperation. ASPI Notes for the Biden Administration provides a diverse package of 20 actionable proposals to address specific risks or objectives in reconnecting with the Asia Pacific. These notes carefully reflect the views, perspectives, and expectations of the region itself – a hallmark of ASPI’s approach.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Economy, Trade, Public Health, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia, Asia-Pacific, United States of America
  • Author: 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: Timothy A. Wise
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: Rising global hunger in recent years has prompted calls for a broad reckoning over what is wrong with global food systems. Our changing climate has added urgency to the crisis. Many experts warn that our current agricultural practices are undermining the resource base – soil, water, seeds, climate – on which future food production depends. Now the global COVID-19 pandemic threatens to further exacerbate food insecurity for many of the world’s poor. Africa is projected to overtake South Asia by 2030 as the region with the greatest number of hungry people. An alarming 250 million people in Africa now suffer from “undernourishment,” the U.N. term for chronic hunger. If policies do not change, experts project that number to soar to 433 million in 2030. A growing number of farmers, scientists, and development experts now advocate a shift from high-input, chemical-intensive agriculture to low-input ecological farming. They are supported by an impressive array of new research documenting both the risks of continuing to follow our current practices and the potential benefits of a transition to more sustainable farming. The new initiatives have been met with a chorus of derision from an unsurprising group of commentators, many associated with agribusiness interests. They dismiss agroecology as backward, a nostalgic call for a return to traditional peasant production methods which they say have failed to feed growing populations in developing countries. For such critics, the future is innovation and innovation is technology: the kinds of commercial high-yield seeds and inorganic fertilizers associated with the Green Revolution. This paper explores the ways in which this innovation narrative flips reality on its head, presenting Green Revolution practices of the past as if they were new innovations. It does so through the lens of the battle for Africa’s food future, examining the disappointing results from the Alliance for a Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA). In contrast, the real innovations in Africa are coming from soil scientists, ecologists, nutritionists, and farmers themselves who actively seek alternatives to approaches that have been failing small-scale farmers for years. A wide range of farmer organizations, scientists, and advocates offer a broad and diverse array of ecologically-based initiatives based on sound science. These are proving far more innovative and effective, raising productivity, crop and nutritional diversity, and incomes while reducing farmers’ costs and government outlays.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Green Technology, Rural, Innovation, Land, Farming
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • 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: Marcin Andrzej Piotrowski
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In April 2021, the U.S. intelligence community published the extensive report “Global Trends 2040: A More Contested World”. It analyses the main demographic, political, and strategic trends that will likely shape the world for the next two decades. The report will be intensively used by the Biden administration in the preparation of the new U.S. National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy, as well as in new military doctrines. The “Global Trends” document reflects the main tendencies in American strategic thinking, such as the growing “Sinocentrism” and traditional U.S. attachment to transatlantic relations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Intelligence, Strategic Planning
  • Political Geography: China, United States of America
  • Author: Nicola Di Cosmo
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Nicola Di Cosmo, Henry Luce Foundation Professor of East Asian History, Institute for Advanced Study; Associate Member at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University Moderated by: Gray Tuttle, Leila Hadley Luce Professor of Modern Tibetan Studies, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University Three decades of climatological research in Mongolia and neighboring regions have transformed our knowledge about the environmental history of Inner Asian empires. The processes that gave rise to these political formations, many of which have played a distinct and crucial role in Chinese history, are still very poorly understood. High-resolution climatic reconstructions, when placed in historical contexts, provide clues about the nomads' responses to climatic variability, and thus illuminate critical nexuses between economic production, social structures, and political change. By illustrating a range of representative historical cases studies, this lecture will explore both the nature of the data and the methods that historians and climatologists have adopted to gauge the impact of climate upon pre-modern nomadic peoples.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Politics, History, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Mongolia, Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Foundation for Electoral Systems
  • Abstract: Environmental disasters such as fires, droughts, floods, hurricanes and rising sea levels displace more and more people each year. According to the University of Oxford, the scale of displacement related to climate change is difficult to forecast but has been “estimated at between 50 and 200 million people by 2050, mostly in developing countries.” Climate change, other environmental crises and migration resulting from environmental displacement increase the likelihood of insecurity and conflict – and put democratic rights at risk. A new paper from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Electoral Rights of Environmentally Displaced Persons, examines these questions and provides recommendations for election management bodies, governments, international organizations, political parties, the media, civil society organizations and displaced persons. Environmental challenges can exacerbate pre-existing vulnerabilities, including marginalization due to race, gender, disability and other identity factors. Widely ratified international treaties and resolutions obligate the state to provide accessible electoral processes, including special measures for women, persons with disabilities, youth, Indigenous peoples and racial and other minorities who may be at increased risk of marginalization. They also are critical agents to address the consequences of climate change. Electoral Rights of Environmentally Displaced Persons emphasizes how environmental challenges can exacerbate pre-existing vulnerabilities, including marginalization due to race, gender, disability and other identity factors. Displaced persons are key stakeholders. Those most affected by environmental problems need to be able to vote, run for office and engage with candidates and elected representatives to influence agendas, challenge policies and hold governments accountable. Political participation is particularly important in integrating them into their new environments to avoid conflict with host communities. Displaced persons can also bring skills, insights and talents that benefit their new communities.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Elections, Displacement, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tobias von Lossow, Louise Van Schaik, Jos Meester, Anouk Schrijver, Maxime van der Kroon
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: The Planetary Security Initiative has launched a first report and overview of climate security practices. Climate security research has evolved tremendously over the past 20 years in the direction of how to address security risks related to climate change. Action on the ground is still limited but holds a lot of potential. Therefore, interest is growing in the development, diplomacy and defence sectors to engage in this space. The climate security practices project from the Planetary Security Initiative seeks to open up a new and vital area of analysis in the climate security community: When it comes to action, what works, and what doesn’t? Although it is still too early to answer this question, it is possible to collect climate security practices and draw lessons from their implementation. With the climate security link having become more evident in many countries and regions of the world it is imperative to scale up efforts to address the climate security nexus and to learn from these efforts. The Planetary Security Initiative aims to inspire learning on how we can combat this complex risk, or at least alleviate security risks related to climate change, and consider it a new entry point for conflict prevention and peacebuilding efforts. The first report draws lessons from and reflects on 8 climate security practices that enhance peace and stability. Many peace-building interventions try to address a wide range of conflict drivers, which include the various manifestations of climate stress such as pressure on natural resources, livelihoods and human security. These can arise from desertification, lack of access to water and unequal natural resource distribution. Examples of these interventions include tree-planting projects, the inclusion of natural resource distribution measures in peace treaties and provision of renewables in refugee camps and military missions. The projects will cover a wide range of practices ranging from human security to hard security-focused practices implemented by actors in the development, diplomacy and defence sectors.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Climate Change, Diplomacy, Human Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Wouter Zweers, Giulia Cretti, Kristina Naunova
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: With the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, the 2050 climate neutrality goal of the European Union has been extended to the six countries in South-Eastern Europe that aspire to join the Union. The Green Agenda is a promising tool for fostering climate and energy policy measures in the Western Balkans, a region with high vulnerability to climate change risks and little energy diversification away from coal. But could the Green Agenda also be a catalyst for renewed interest and enhanced political engagement, leading to a much-needed impetus to the EU enlargement process? This policy brief asks how the Green Agenda can work in the interest of both the objective of a climate neutral continent and the EU accession of the Western Balkan countries.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Diversification
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Luuk Molthof, Giulia Cretti, Aleksandar Macura
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This Clingendael series ‘The Green Agenda for the Western Balkans’ provides an inside perspective on the EU climate ambitions for the Western Balkan Six (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo*, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) and the challenges ahead. In this second contribution, we analyse the state of affairs with regard to energy diversification and greenification. The energy sector in most Western Balkan countries is characterised by a heavy dependency on coal and outdated production facilities, posing severe environmental challenges to the region. Possessing significant renewable energy potential, the Western Balkan Six (WB6) in theory have good prospects of making a successful energy transition. In terms of natural resources, the region is also well placed as Albania and Serbia possess solid reserves of metals and rare earths that are needed to develop energy transition technologies, such as batteries, smart grids, solar panels and windmills. Yet the transition is hampered by several economic and political factors, such as a highly centralised energy market with only a few large suppliers, dynamics of clientelism and controversial outside investment (such as from China). This policy brief analyses the current challenges that prevent energy diversification and greenification in the region and asks how the recently launched EU Green Agenda for the Western Balkans can address these challenges.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Paul Hofhuis, Wouter Zweers, Giulia Cretti, Srdja Popovic
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This Clingendael series ‘The Green Agenda for the Western Balkans’ provides an inside perspective on the EU climate ambitions for the Western Balkan Six (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo*, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) and the challenges ahead. In this third contribution, we analyse the state of affairs with regard to pollution. Across the Western Balkans, air, water and soil pollution levels are incredibly high. Public health is continuously jeopardised by air pollution arising from local heating sources and energy production plants. The Green Agenda for the Western Balkans aims to assist the region in tackling pollution problems and aligning the countries’ environmental quality regulation with the European acquis. This paper analyses the state of affairs with regard to air, water and soil pollution in the WB6 and examines how it affects citizens’ health and socioeconomic prospects. The policy brief argues that countries in the Western Balkans need to address a coal phase-out while simultaneously tackling energy poverty. The EU could more actively support this, not only by providing a platform for dialogue, but through supporting programmes for renewable energy provisions and infrastructure, reskilling of workers and job creation. The Sofia Declaration, that sets out the Green Agenda, needs to be complemented with measures to ensure compliance with environmental regulations, preferably by involving civil society organisations in monitoring implementation and raising public awareness of the socioeconomic costs of pollution.
  • Topic: Climate Change, European Union, Pollution, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia
  • Author: Yuko Ido
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: In 2020, in the midst of a global coronavirus pandemic, food insecurity and crises became more serious worldwide. In October 2020, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its humanitarian assistance in conflict areas around the world. WFP Executive Director David Beasley said, "Food is the best vaccine." However, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Libya and other countries continue, there have been concerns of serious hunger even before the coronavirus outbreak. In addition to conflicts, the region is regarded as one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which is considered to have been one of the factors in these conflicts. This short paper intends to offer an overview of the common challenges faced in pursuing food security in the MENA region and discuss their prospects.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Food Security, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Ben McWilliams, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Many of the technologies that can help the European Union become a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 have been shown to work but are not yet commercially competitive with incumbent fossil-fuel technologies. There is not enough private investment to drive the deployment of new low-carbon alternatives. This is primarily because carbon prices are neither high enough nor stable. There are a number of benefits from the deployment of low-carbon technologies that private firms do not factor in. These include the benefits of decreasing industry-wide costs over time, and the global climate benefits from the development of low-carbon technologies within the EU that can subsequently be exported. The result is an investment level below the socially optimal value in the EU. Commercialisation contracts could be implemented as a temporary measure to remove the risk associated with uncertain carbon prices for ambitious low-carbon projects. The aim of the contracts would be to increase private investment to the socially optimal level. Contracts would be allocated through auctions in which fixed prices for abated emissions over a fixed duration would be agreed on a project-by-project basis. On an annual basis, public subsidies amounting to the difference between the agreed carbon price and the actual EU carbon price would be provided to investors, depending on the total carbon emissions abated. As long as EU carbon prices are low, investors would receive larger subsidies to ensure their competitiveness. Contracts would be auctioned at EU level. This would generate increased competition compared to national auctions, leading to more efficient outcomes and preventing fragmentation of the single market. From about €3 billion to €6 billion would be provided to the main industrial emitting sectors annually, with the amount reducing as the EU carbon price rises and low-carbon technologies become competitive without subsidy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Science and Technology, Investment, Trade, Carbon Emissions, Decarbonization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marta Dominguez-Jimenez, Alexander Lehmann
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: International debt investors increasingly demand assets that are aligned with environmental, social and governance objectives. Sovereign debt is being belatedly swept up in this change. This huge asset class represents a uniquely long-term claim and funds a wide range of public expenditure, both brown and green. Public capital expenditures will be a central part of the roughly €3 trillion investment budget needed to pay for the European Green Deal. European Union countries have so far met investor appetite for climate-aligned assets through sovereign green bonds, the issuance of which has rapidly grown since 2017. The EU itself will also issue green bonds in large volumes. However, because of some inherent flaws in such instruments and as their still-weak frameworks, these bonds are unlikely to meet the environmental criteria demanded by investors, and will complicate established principles in sovereign debt management. Much more comprehensive information is needed on the climate related aspects of the public budgets of EU countries. Greater transparency in this respect would support stability and improve the functioning of capital markets, given that sovereign debt plays a pivotal role in all investor portfolios and also in regulatory and monetary policy. Adoption by sovereign issuers of green budgeting principles, based on a common taxonomy of sustainable activities, would enhance transparency. It could also be driven by investors who, under new EU rules, must disclose the climate-related aspects of all financial instruments offered in the capital market.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Debt, Markets, Sovereignty, European Union, Finance, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ben McWilliams, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Hydrogen is seen as a means to decarbonise sectors with greenhouse gas emissions that are hard to reduce, as a medium for energy storage, and as a fallback in case halted fossil-fuel imports lead to energy shortages. Hydrogen is likely to play at least some role in the European Union’s achievement by 2050 of a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target. However, production of hydrogen in the EU is currently emissions intensive. Hydrogen supply could be decarbonised if produced via electrolysis based on electricity from renewable sources, or produced from natural gas with carbon, capture, and storage. The theoretical production potential of low-carbon hydrogen is virtually unlimited and production volumes will thus depend only on demand and supply cost. Estimates of final hydrogen demand in 2050 range from levels similar to today’s in a low-demand scenario, to ten times today’s level in a high-demand scenario. Hydrogen is used as either a chemical feedstock or an energy source. A base level of 2050 demand can be derived from looking at sectors that already consume hydrogen and others that are likely to adopt hydrogen. The use of hydrogen in many sectors has been demonstrated. Whether use will increase depends on the complex interplay between competing energy supplies, public policy, technological and systems innovation, and consumer preferences. Policymakers must address the need to displace carbon-intensive hydrogen with low-carbon hydrogen, and incentivise the uptake of hydrogen as a means to decarbonise sectors with hard-to-reduce emissions. Certain key principles can be followed without regret: driving down supply costs of low-carbon hydrogen production; accelerating initial deployment with public support to test the economic viability and enable learning; and continued strengthening of climate policies such as the EU emissions trading system to stimulate the growth of hydrogen-based solutions in the areas for which hydrogen is most suitable.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Carbon Emissions, Decarbonization, Hydrogen
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Ottmar Edenhofer, Mirjam Kosch, Michael Pahle, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Putting carbon pricing at the centre of the EU climate policy architecture would provide major benefits. Obtaining these benefits requires a uniform, credible and durable carbon price – the economic first-best solution, however, several preconditions required to attain this solution are not yet met. This paper proposes a sequenced approach to ensure convergence of the policy mix on the first-best in the long run.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Carbon Tax, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mark Leonard, Jeremy Shapiro, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Simone Tagliapietra, Guntram B. Wolff
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The European Green Deal is a plan to decarbonise the EU economy by 2050, revolutionise the EU’s energy system, profoundly transform the economy and inspire efforts to combat climate change. But the plan will also have profound geopolitical repercussions. The Green Deal will affect geopolitics through its impact on the EU energy balance and global markets; on oil and gas-producing countries in the EU neighbourhood; on European energy security; and on global trade patterns, notably via the carbon border adjustment mechanism. At least some of these changes are likely to impact partner countries adversely. The EU needs to wake up to the consequences abroad of its domestic decisions. It should prepare to help manage the geopolitical aspects of the European Green Deal. Relationships with important neighbourhood countries such as Russia and Algeria, and with global players including the United States, China and Saudi Arabia, are central to this effort, which can be structured around seven actions: Help neighbouring oil and gas-exporting countries manage the repercussions of the European Green Deal. The EU should engage with these countries to foster their economic diversification, including into renewable energy and green hydrogen that could in the future be exported to Europe. Improve the security of critical raw materials supply and limit dependence, first and foremost on China. Essential measures include greater supply diversification, increased recycling volumes and substitution of critical materials. Work with the US and other partners to establish a ‘climate club’ whose members will apply similar carbon border adjustment measures. All countries, including China, would be welcome to join if they commit to abide by the club’s objectives and rules. Become a global standard-setter for the energy transition, particularly in hydrogen and green bonds. Requiring compliance with strict environmental regulations as a condition to access the EU market will be strong encouragement to go green for all countries. Internationalise the European Green Deal by mobilising the EU budget, the EU Recovery and Resilience Fund, and EU development policy. Promote global coalitions for climate change mitigation, for example through a global coalition for the permafrost, which would fund measures to contain the permafrost thaw. Promote a global platform on the new economics of climate action to share lessons learned and best practices.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Volodymyr Omelchenko
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: Achieving climate goals is the economic policy priority. In fact, Ukrainian Green Deal is the best economic tool for Ukraine’s gradual entry into a single European political and economic space and its achievement of sustainable development goals, as defined by the UN resolution of 25 September 2015.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Sustainable Development Goals, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Elizabeth Saleh
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Discussions on waste policy in Lebanon tend to focus on the country’s corrupt practices and the health and environmental impact of bad waste management. This paper examines an overlooked aspect: the story of waste pickers — many of whom are economic or forced migrants — who are essential to Lebanon’s garbage management. Through an ethnographic study of a group of underage waste pickers, it argues that it is time for policy debates on garbage in Lebanon to integrate the perspective of waste workers.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Labor Issues, Recycling, Garbage
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • 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: Katherine Peinhardt
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Public spaces are an often-overlooked opportunity for urban climate adaptation. It is increasingly clear that the unique role of public spaces in civic life positions them to enhance not only physical resilience, but also to enhance the type of social cohesion that helps communities bounce back.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Social Cohesion, Resilience, Adaptation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Netherlands
  • 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: 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: Moussa Sall, Intissar Fakir, Hajar Khamlichi, Thowaba Ben Slema, Houssem Hamdi
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Across the MENA region, civil society plays a key role in putting climate on the agenda for governments and the private sector. How are activists and advocates in North Africa building momentum in their communities and globally to address climate change? How can social media, film, and art bridge gaps and create a global demand for greater sustainability? Intissar Fakir will be joined in conversation with leading figures in the fight for climate action in North Africa.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Climate Change, Arts, Social Media, Film, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Silvia Crescimbeni, Vahakn Kabakian, Jessica Obeid
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Amid converging political, economic, and humanitarian crises, Lebanon has recently doubled down on its climate ambition for the next ten years. In its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the country has revised both its GHG emission reduction targets and renewable-energy-sourced power generation targets upwards. Does climate change bear national security implications for Lebanon today? How can climate-proofed infrastructure projects and low-carbon technologies attract investments, create jobs and support Lebanon’s economic revival post-collapse? How will immediate policy choices and renewable energy integration ensure economic growth and shape the future of critical sectors such as energy, water, food, and transportation? What is the role of climate diplomacy and partnerships in achieving Lebanon's climate ambitions? How can Lebanon ensure that its climate policy does not fall through the cracks?
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, National Security, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Robert Glasser
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: This Strategic Insight report warns that within a decade, as the climate continues to warm, the relatively benign strategic environment in Maritime Southeast Asia - a region of crucial importance to Australia - will begin unravelling. Dr Robert Glasser, Head of ASPI's new Climate and Security Policy Centre, documents the region’s globally unique exposure to climate hazards, and the increasingly significant cascading societal impacts they will trigger. Dr Glasser notes that hundreds of millions of people living in low-lying coastal areas will not only experience more severe extremes, but also more frequent swings from extreme heat and drought to severe floods. The diminishing time for recovery in between these events will have major consequences for food security, population displacements and resilience. According to Dr Glasser, 'Any one of the numerous increasing risks identified in the report would be serious cause for concern for Australian policymakers, but the combination of them, emerging effectively simultaneously, suggests that we’re on the cusp of an overlooked, unprecedented and rapidly advancing regional crisis.' The report presents several policy recommendations for Australia, including the need to greatly expand the Government’s capacity to understand and identify the most likely paths through which disruptive climate events (individually, concurrently, or consecutively) can cause cascading, security-relevant impacts, such as disruptions of critical supply chains, galvanized separatist movements, climate refugees, opportunistic intervention by outside powers, political instability, and conflict. Dr Glasser also proposes that Australia should identify priority investments to scale-up the capability within Defence, Foreign Affairs, the intelligence agencies, Home Affairs and other key agencies to recognise and respond to emerging regional climate impacts, including by supporting our regional neighbours to build their climate resilience.
  • Topic: Climate Change, National Security, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE)
  • Abstract: This policy memorandum analyses the extent to which climate change is integrated in the Uganda National Budget Framework Paper for Financial Year 2021/2022. This will inform policy and the final budgetary appropriations for climate change interventions in key National Development Plan III Programmes.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Budget
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Robert Bakiika, Christine Mbatuusa, Anthony Mugeere, Anna Amumpiire
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE)
  • Abstract: This report seeks to contribute to informing the mobilization of climate finance in light of the climate change impacts across all sectors. The report highlights the operating policy, legal and institutional framework on public climate finance, makes reference to country case studies on climate finance mobilization, proposes various options for climate finance mobilization based on stakeholders consulted and ranks the most efficient option.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Governance, Finance, Mobilization
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Simon Happersberger, Eleanor Mateo, Selcukhan Ünekbas
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: Fossil fuel subsidies have negative consequences on the climate change, public budgets and and the transition to an environmentally friendly economy. Nevertheless, governments do not keep up with their commitments to phase out fossil fuel subsidies but misallocate again COVID-19 recovery funds in fossil fuel subsidies. This article provides an analysis of the current obstacles for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and the potential of the WTO to advance a reform on fossil fuel subsidies. It argues that the WTO can contribute to a fossil fuel subsidies reform by its technical expertise in regulating subsidies, by its broad membership and by its institutional setting. Under the current framework of the ASCM, WTO member can use existing mechanisms, such as the TPRM, to increase transparency in the short term and facilitate discussions on the scope of subsidies while mitigating impacts on vulnerable groups or sectors. This would provide the ground for governments to work towards a new and ambitious agreement to stop producer fossil fuels subsidies and phase out consumer fossil fuels subsidies in the mid-to-long-term. However, the phase out of consumer subsidies needs to be carefully designed and embedded, to avoid unintended consequences on energy access and vulnerable households.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources, Trade, Fossil Fuels, COVID-19, WTO, Ecology
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Thauan Santos, Luan Santos
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Contexto Internacional
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Abstract: This paper discusses Brazil’s role in climate governance, methodologically and metaphor- ically comparing it to chess pieces moves, based on national and regional official documents, com- mitments and data. Unlike other IR studies, our proposal suggests different behaviours at different levels of analysis for the same country. Nationally, the country played the role of pawn. Regionally, there is no unitary behaviour: in international cooperation (carbon pricing case), it moves like a queen; in the regional integration process (energy integration case), like a king. The current scenario raises doubts about these roles, suggesting that Brazil has been presenting an increasingly moderate and conservative behaviour in the past years.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, International Cooperation, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America
  • 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: Jasmina Brankovic, Augustine Njamnshi, Christoph Schwarte
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
  • Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has created human suffering on a global scale, but also a window of opportunity to rethink how we live, work and play. For the time being, calls for a green recovery that builds back better by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, protecting the environment and creating a fairer, more equitable society have become commonplace. This could help to build new momentum in international efforts to combat climate change and rebuild lost trust and goodwill between parties in the intergovernmental negotiations through new collective approaches. If we are serious about creating a better future, transitional justice can provide some important guidance on the way forward. It would provide a framework to deal with past inequitable use of the global environment in a transparent and inclusive manner and shape a new path of international solidarity and collaboration. This paper provides a brief overview of the concept of transitional justice, its techniques and potential relevance in the climate negotiation context.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Cooperation, Transitional Justice, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Melina Risso, Julia Sekula, Lycia Brasil, Peter Schmidt, Maria Eduarda Pessoa de Assis
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Igarapé Institute
  • Abstract: The Brazilian Amazon is rife with illegal gold mining operations, with 321 identified points of illegal, active and inactive mines arranged in the 9 states that comprise the Brazilian Amazon Basin. This devastation has a price — according to Brazil’s Federal Public Prosecutors Office, 1kg of gold represents roughly R$1.7m in environmental damages, culminating in an environmental cost roughly 10 times greater than the current price of gold. The Amazon is nearing its critical ‘tipping point’, beyond which both the Amazon biome and our global climate will suffer irreversible damages. As such, discussions on illegal mining in the Brazilian Amazon present two interrelated challenges: combating deforestation and protecting the distinct cultures of indigenous populations, who constitute the forests’ principal environmental defenders. Considering the urgency of the discussion, the Igarapé Institute launches the publication Illegal Gold That Undermines Forests and Lives in the Amazon: An Overview of Irregular Mining and its Impacts on Indigenous Populations. The article presents urgent recommendations, in the short and long term, to avoid an irreversible climatic collapse, in which the preservation of the Amazon rainforest plays a fundamental role.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Natural Resources, Culture, Mining, Indigenous, Ecology
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • 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: Peter Schmidt, Robert Muggah
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Arab Barometer
  • Abstract: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that climate change will generate alarming consequences for West Africa. A rise in global temperature between 3°C to 6°C by the end of the century (or earlier) is associated with greater irregularity in rainfall, and a delay in the beginning of the rainy season. Another risk involves higher frequency of extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, rainstorms, and flooding. According to some models, sea levels could rise by more than 75cm on average by the end of the century, forcing hundreds of millions of people to move, mostly within their own countries, and often to cities.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Migration, International Security
  • Political Geography: Latin America, West Africa
  • 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: Erik Brattberg
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: To get the transatlantic relationship back and on track and to ensure that it will remain relevant in the future, the United States and the European Union should prioritize putting forward concrete ideas and taking actionable steps on climate and energy, democracy and human rights, and digital technology issues. While the election of Joe Biden to the U.S. presidency presents an opening to restore the transatlantic relationship after Donald Trump, the real question facing U.S. and European officials is whether they can successfully manage to advance a new transatlantic agenda for the coming decade. Three pivotal areas where cooperation has fallen short in recent years but where there is now significant potential to do more are climate and energy, democracy and human rights, and digital technology issues. Representing the most pressing challenges our societies are facing in the twenty-first century, progress in these three areas could also help rebuild trust and promote cooperation in other policy areas. To get the transatlantic relationship back and on track and to ensure that it will remain relevant in the future, the United States and the European Union should therefore prioritize putting forward concrete ideas and taking actionable steps in each of these areas over the coming four years.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Science and Technology, Democracy, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, 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: Henry Lee, Abigail Mayer
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Corporations, organizations, and even governments are purchasing offsets to reduce their carbon footprint. This policy brief provides an overview of the offset process – who buys them, who produces them, and who certifies them; describes the emerging challenges facing this market; and makes recommendations for the future.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Carbon Emissions, Decarbonization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Cecilia Springer
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: China announced it would launch a national carbon market in 2017, yet this policy is taking years to come into effect. What will it take for a carbon market to work in command-and-control China? This policy brief explores an understudied challenge—emissions accounting—and identifies potential opportunities that have arisen in the first phase of China’s national carbon market.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: China, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: 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: Tae Yong Jung
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The South Korea case study indicates the co-benefits of air quality and climate change policy, by designing relevant legal and institutional frameworks in a more comprehensive and holistic way.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Science and Technology, Law, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Shababa Haque, M. Feisal Rahman, Saleemul Huq
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: While climate change continues to threaten all nations, the full severity of its impacts is yet to be understood. A range of root factors including geographic location, socioeconomic conditions, and political landscape will determine the particular risks and hazards faced by different countries and communities. The southwestern coast of Bangladesh, for example, is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Salinity increases in the region continue to threaten local livelihoods and may render traditional adaptation strategies unsustainable in the long run. This article first discusses how increasing salinity affects existing adaptation strategies in coastal Bangladesh. It then argues that adaptation approaches without consideration for long-term impacts or system-wide change will ultimately be insufficient.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Bangladesh, South Asia, Asia
  • Author: Anne Merrild Hansen, Melody Brown Burkins
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Arctic is warming at a rate that is almost twice the global average. While one can generalize about the global impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels, food insecurity, and more droughts and floods, the impacts on Arctic communities—or any specific global community—are best understood through conversations at the local level.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Climate Change, Environment, Governance, Culture, Mining, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Greenland, Arctic
  • 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: Thomas Wright
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: With the international order weakened by COVID-19, economic recession, and receding American leadership, the 2020 presidential election will be even more consequential than that of 2016. There is no reason to believe that President Trump will follow in the tradition of other Republican presidents and pursue a more multilateral and cooperative strategy in his second term. Emboldened and unconstrained, a second Trump administration could spell the end of the alliance system and the postwar liberal international order. A Biden administration would be a reprieve for the US-led international order, and will act on climate change, COVID-19, immigration, and multilateralism, while Biden will need to adjudicate internal debates on China, the Middle East, globalisation, and foreign economic policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Globalization, Elections, Economic Policy, Donald Trump, COVID-19, International Order, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, United States of America
  • 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: Daniele Fattibene
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development stands at a crossroads. While Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have progressively entered the political discourse and agendas of numerous states, without long-term financial investments, building a more just and sustainable future will remain little more than a rhetorical embellishment.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, United Nations, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Daniela Huber
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The coronavirus crisis deeply challenges the assumption that we human beings can dominate nature. Contraposing the new European Commission Green Deal and geopolitical language with critical/green thought, this paper aims to provoke reflections on a re-imagination of the European Union as part of a larger regional and global community that lives together within a green and diverse planet.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Environment, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marta Massera
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In mid-October, the European Commission issued a communication on energy poverty to member states[1] that was published jointly with the Renovation Wave initiative[2] for the building sector under the European Green Deal. The document gave further impetus to the long-standing discussion on energy poverty in Europe and can be related to renewed references to the need for a “just transition” in EU policy. Energy poverty is an important issue in Europe today and a number of recent factors risk exacerbating the problem. Action by member states has thus far been limited and differences persist regarding national definitions and approaches. Addressing energy poverty is urgent and the next months will be a test for Europe’s ability to protect the poorest segment of the society while pursuing increasingly ambitious goals of decarbonisation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Green Technology, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mikkel Funder, Lily Salloum Lindegaard, Esbern Friis-Hanse, Marie Ladekjær Gravesen
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Climate change has a severe impact on the livelihoods and economies of developing countries and will constrain achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals on virtually all fronts. While efforts to reduce emissions are obviously vital, it is equally critical that societies adapt to the already ongoing impact of climate change. Integrating climate change adaptation broadly into development cooperation is therefore a pressing issue and has never been more relevant. Discussion of the relationship between climate change adaptation and development and how to ‘mainstream’ adaptation into development support is not new. However, uncertainty persists regarding the ways and extent to which adaptation should be addressed as part of broader development efforts. This new DIIS Report seeks to address the integration of adaptation and development, with a particular focus on Denmark’s development cooperation. The report discusses the linkages between adaptation and development, examines the approaches of selected development actors, and discusses selected trends in Denmark’s funding to climate change adaptation. The report concludes that despite challenges there are currently good opportunities and a growing momentum among key actors towards finally integrating adaptation and development. Denmark should take a global leading role in this by making climate action a main aim in development cooperation, and by adopting approaches that address climate change and development in an integrated manner from the outset of policy development and -programming.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark
  • Author: Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde, Peer Schouten
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Pastoralism is the key to climate change adaptation in African drylands, but it is threatened by conflicts with farmers, regional insecurity and violent extremism. Stabilisation and development efforts should place pastoralism at the centre by strengthening pastoral livelihoods and should include herders as peacebuilding and development partners. RECOMMENDATIONS ■ Strengthen pastoralist capacities to cope with risk and variability by boosting inclusive and equitable resource governance in new development programmes. ■ Include pastoralists as potential peace-builders in conflict resolution efforts. ■ Support dialogue between pastoralists and local and national governments in order to prevent the further marginalisation of vulnerable pastoralist groups.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Democratization, Development, Environment, Migration, Non State Actors, Fragile States, Economy, Conflict, Investment, Peace, Land Rights
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Mikkel Funder, Lily Salloum Lindegaard, Esben Friis-Hansen, Marie Ladekjær Gravesen
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The world needs resilient societies. In order to achieve this, adaptation to climate change is key. Denmark’s development cooperation should take a leading role in the integration of climate change adaptation and development. DENMARK SHOULD ■ Develop a clear overall strategy for support to climate action, giving equal attention to climate change mitigation and adaptation ■ Adopt an ambitious approach to integrating climate change adaptation across supported sectors, rather than relying on “add-on” mainstreaming ■ Strengthen the engagement with development partners in the integration of adaptation and development
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark
  • Author: Luke Patey
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Many fear that strategic competition between the US and China threatens longstanding regional cooperation and stability in the Arctic. But if they recognise their own political and economic significance and work collectively, the Nordic states and Canada can still play an instrumental role in steering the region’s future away from confrontation. Recommendations: Recognise how US–China strategic competition represents a false binary for policy choices in the Arctic. Understand how economic connectivity provides room for manoeuvre against big power pressure. Encourage participation of non-Arctic states with similar economic and political norms on natural resource and infrastructure development.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Climate Change, Diplomacy, Environment, Oil, Power Politics, Gas, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Jessica Larsen, Mikkel Funder
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Climate change is increasingly being raised as a security concern. How should Denmark’s Ministry of Defence approach the issue in its international operations and collaboration, and what are other security actors doing? RECOMMENDATIONS: Denmark’s Ministry of Defence should: Draw up a clear and demarcated mandate for the Danish armed services’ climate role in international operations in close collaboration with civilian actors. Team up with like-minded international partners to develop joint approaches under already existing multilateral frameworks. Identify specific tasks where the armed forces can contribute on the ground, such as disaster support, capacity development and alignment with civilian actors in the field of Environmental Peacebuilding.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Climate Change, Armed Forces, Peace
  • Political Geography: Denmark, Global Focus
  • Author: Rasmus Hundsbæk Pedersen, Ole Winckler Andersen, Henning Nøhr
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Development assistance plays an important role in the development of energy sectors in sub-Saharan African countries and it is increasingly being used to promote new renewable energy like solar and wind. The relationship between aid and domestic African priorities is however complex and outcomes are not always as donors had intended. By way of collecting experiences from a number of different approaches in different African country contexts a new DIIS Working Paper analyses recent trends in development assistance for new renewable energy. Overall, the paper demonstrates a shift to promoting market-led approaches that aim at mobilising private capital for power-sector investments. Whereas more capital has indeed been mobilised for new renewable energy projects the paper suggests that more support is needed if a transition to cleaner energy and universal access to energy services are to be achieved. Furthermore, the promotion of market-led approaches poses not only opportunities, but also a number of challenges to governments and donors. Clean energy and decarbonisation are often less of a priority among key decision-makers in African countries than they are for western donors. The paper argues that it is important to recognise these different interests and to be realistic about how to bridge them. Furthermore, despite improvements in recent years the capacity to plan, procure and integrate renewable energy in power systems remains a challenge in many countries. This points to the importance of ensuring a balance between support for market development and support for capacity-building of government entities. Needs are likely to differ from one country to another and change as renewable technologies develop. The constant adaption of approaches is therefore crucial.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Marco Siddi
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: This Working Paper analyses the main aspects of the European Green Deal proposed by the European Commission in December 2019. It puts the Green Deal into the broader context of EU climate governance in order to assess whether and how it advances the EU’s climate agenda. The paper proposes four broad and interrelated categories to evaluate the Green Deal. Its performance depends on whether it is and will remain a policy priority, despite the Covid-19 emergency and the ensuing economic crisis. Second, successful implementation depends on adequate financial endowment, including the shift of public funding from hydrocarbons to renewables and energy efficiency in post-pandemic economic programmes. The legal competence of EU institutions to coordinate and enforce the implementation of the Green Deal is also essential, as highlighted by ongoing discussions concerning the governance to achieve zero net emissions by 2050. Furthermore, international cooperation with third partners on issues such as border carbon adjustment, technology transfers and green industry will influence both the implementation of the Green Deal in the EU and the contribution of other major emitters to the climate agenda.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Farwa Aamer
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: On March 2-4, the EastWest Institute (EWI) and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), in concert with the Institute of National Security Studies Sri Lanka (INSSSL) and Consortium of South Asian Think Tanks (COSATT), convened a high-level dialogue entitled: “Water Security and Disaster Management in Asia” in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The dialogue, second in the project series, brought together experts from both the public and private sectors in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives to jointly analyze threats to water security in Asia in the face of worsening hydro-meteorological disasters due to climate change. The two-day dialogue consisted of six panel discussions on varied topics related to the politicization of water security, including the economic vulnerabilities of the water crisis and stakeholder engagement, among others.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Water, Disaster Management
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Gregory Ferguson-Cradler
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Electricity is a key area in climate mitigation. The sector needs to significantly expand while transitioning to renewable production, all in an extremely short timeframe. This paper fo- cuses on ownership and control in the electricity sector in an era of climate change. Bor- rowing substantially from classical American Institutionalism, heterodox theories and his- tories of the firm, and legal institutionalism, this paper discusses the historically constituted nature of the categories of property, capital, and the firm and how these literatures provide helpful frameworks for analyzing the recent history and possible futures of electricity sec- tors. A short discussion of the recent history of the German electricity sector, particularly the large utility RWE, will briefly illustrate the approach. Climate change mitigation will require revised notions of ownership and an updated theory of the firm, property, and cor- porate governance for the Anthropocene.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Governance, Electricity
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Central Europe
  • Author: Gavin Helf
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report offers a road map for understanding the most likely sources of violent conflict in the post-Soviet nations of Central Asia—ethno-nationalism and nativism, Islam and secularism, water resources and climate change, and labor migration and economic conflict. The analysis draws from emerging trends in the region and identifies the ways in which Central Asia’s geography and cultural place in the world interact with those trends. It suggests that the policy goals of the United States, Russia, and China in the region may be more compatible than is often assumed.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Climate Change, Migration, Economy, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Central Asia, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: In September 2020, President Xi Jinping announced new goals for China to reach carbon neutrality before 2060, as well as to strengthen its existing 2030 commitments under the Paris Agreement. With these announcements, China has signaled a move to join the European Union—as well as the United States under a Biden administration—in leading long-term climate action among the big emitters. Our analysis demonstrates that if China’s new long-term goal covers all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and not just carbon dioxide (CO₂), this could bring the country within reach of the emissions reductions required by mid-century for its actions to be in line with the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal of limiting average global temperature increases to 1.5°C. However, if President Xi’s announcement is only meant to cover CO₂, then China would need to achieve carbon neutrality around 2050 for this to be compatible with the Paris Agreement.1 Either way, China’s short-term actions will also need to be quickly brought into line with its new long-term trajectory. This includes doing more than simply peaking CO₂ emissions before 2030 as President Xi foreshadowed. Instead, our analysis demonstrates that China would need to peak its emissions by 2025 and rapidly reduce these thereafter to be compatible with the Paris Agreement. This also implies a need for significant adjustments to the other quantifiable targets identified in China’s existing Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement and the ramping up of action to achieve these. Reducing coal-fired power generation quickly and phasing it out entirely by 2040 would be an important step toward achieving this early peak and rapid reductions. Under the Trump administration, the United States has reneged on past climate action promises and rolled back existing policies resulting in an increase in emissions compared with the Obama administration. As a result, this report highlights that even under a Biden administration, the United States is likely to miss its previous 2025 target under the Paris Agreement. However, a Biden administration means that the United States now has the potential to reverse the Trump administration’s rollbacks and make a significant contribution to closing the Paris Agreement’s ambition gap in a new 2030 NDC. Indeed, by taking the initiative to reboot U.S. action in line with the Energy and Climate Package touted by President-elect Biden during his campaign, including its goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, U.S. emissions could be reduced substantially by 2030.2 For example, our analysis indicates that if the Biden campaign’s policies were to be fully implemented with the support of Congress (see below), and continue to be supported by strong subnational action, they could bridge more than half of the U.S. share of the global ambition gap by 2030 through reducing emissions by up to 38%–54% below 2005 levels (GHGs, including land use, land-use change and forestry)3. This would also reduce estimates for average global temperature increases in 2100 by 0.1°C, on top of the 0.2°C–0.3°C reduction achieved by China’s recent announcement. As this report shows, President-elect Biden’s plan to decarbonize the U.S. electricity system by 2035 would represent by far the biggest contribution to this effort and is in line with the Paris Agreement temperature goal. It would result in savings of ~1,350 MtCO₂ out of a total abatement potential of ~1,810 MtCO₂e [1,630–2,100] in 2030 across his Energy and Climate Package. However, this report also estimates that potentially only half of this potential could still be achieved through Executive Authority in the event of Congress not supporting action, although this estimate carries a large degree of uncertainty. We also outline how additional emissions reductions could come from action in other areas, including freight transport and industry—with the electrification of end-use sectors and green hydrogen important opportunities to achieve this. If the United States and China fully implement these ambitious goals and are able to achieve net-zero GHG emissions around mid-century, it would be a monumental step forward toward bringing the Paris Agreement goals within reach. It would also mean that for the first time more than 60% of the world’s emissions are in countries with a clear pathway to decarbonize their economies. However, achieving the goals will require bold action in all sectors of the economy, with an early coal phaseout being paramount for both countries.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Carbon Emissions, Paris Agreement , Decarbonization
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Thom Woodroofe, Brendan Guy
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: The United States is the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter. For that reason, the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in November will have an undeniable impact on the future of the global climate change regime. This is especially the case now that the United Nations’ COP26 Climate Change Conference has been postponed to 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, as Asia and the rest of the world consider whether and how to step up their levels of ambition as part of the five-year ratchet mechanism of the Paris Agreement, the United States has the potential to be either a catalytic force for that effort going into 2021 or an even stronger spoiler of the Agreement’s ongoing effectiveness at a crucial juncture. No country will be watching more closely than China. The 2014 U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change between President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping proved to be the watershed moment in the lead-up to the Paris Agreement, as the two countries signaled for the first time that they would act in a coordinated manner to combat climate change. Whether the United States and China can recapture that spirit of shared ambition in the future will have ripple effects on the positions of other major emitters as well—especially India, Japan, and Australia, which may not enhance their own levels of ambition without a stronger indication of further action by the United States and China. While President Donald Trump has begun the process of withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement and rolled back domestic and international measures to combat climate change, it is clear that if a Democrat is elected president in 2020, they would make combating climate change a defining priority of their administration. Therefore, a clearer understanding of the specific approach that would underpin the climate diplomacy of a new Democratic president can provide greater reassurance to the international community as countries consider their own levels of ambition in the lead-up to COP26 and beyond.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Carbon Emissions, COVID-19, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: China, United States of America
  • Author: David B. Sandalow
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: China is the world’s leading emitter of heat-trapping gases, by far. In 2019, Chinese emissions were greater than emissions from the United States, the European Union, and Japan combined. There is no solution to climate change without China. China’s response to climate change is a study in contrasts. China leads the world in solar power, wind power, and electric vehicle deployment, but also in coal consumption. The Chinese government has adopted some of the world’s most ambitious energy efficiency and forest conservation policies, but is financing a significant expansion of coal-fired power plant capacity at home and abroad. China’s leaders are strongly committed to the Paris Agreement, but appear to attach less priority to climate change than in years past. This Issue Paper explores these contrasts. It does so at an important time in Chinese climate change policy. During the next 18 months, the Chinese government will spend heavily on economic stimulus measures, release its 14th Five-Year Plan (for 2021–2025), and develop short- and long-term climate action plans (known as its “updated nationally-determined contributions” and “mid-century strategy” in the terminology of the global U.N. climate process). Decisions by the Chinese government will reverberate globally, including in the United States. A Biden administration’s ambition in addressing climate change would be reinforced by ambition in China. This Issue Paper provides an up-to-date snapshot of China’s climate policies, drawing on data from 2019 and the beginning of 2020 (during the height of the COVID-19 economic lockdown), as well as recent remarks by Chinese leaders. It starts by examining Chinese emissions of heat-trapping gases. It then discusses China’s principal climate policies, explaining the main tools the Chinese government uses to address climate change and related topics. The Issue Paper concludes with a discussion of processes that will shape Chinese climate change policy in the years ahead.
  • Topic: Climate Change, European Union, Economy, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Europe, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Margareth Sembiring
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Low carbon transition is an important climate change mitigation measure. It entails a switch from fossil fuels to renewable sources. The presence of cost-competitive domestic coal in coal-producing countries like Indonesia is often cited as a major stumbling block to renewable energy development. This article aims to probe the cheap domestic coal argument. It does so by examining the changing share of renewable energy sources in electricity production over a certain timeframe. The study finds mixed observations across important coal-producing countries. It thus argues that there is a need to go beyond the low-cost domestic coal axiom and examine deeper underlying factors that support or hinder renewable energy development in coal-producing countries.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Coal
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • 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: 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: Olaf Weber, Vasundhara Saravade
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Emerging economies, such as India, will need significant international investment in climate action in order to transition toward a future that is low-carbon and climate-resilient. India needs fossil fuels at an affordable price and needs to protect itself against price fluctuations. It can meet these needs by investing in Canadian oil companies, given the country’s political stability and rule of law. As an emerging economy, India could attract greater foreign direct investment into its economy through green bonds, a climate finance debt instrument that addresses environmental and climate-related challenges. Not only are green bond issuances linearly increasing over the years, but they also seem to be driven by institutional pressure, provided in part by the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s regulation, as well as by the informal advocacy efforts of market stakeholders. These findings are consistent with institutional theory and contribute to it by introducing the regulatory perspective of the green bond market.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Green Technology, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: This report explores the trade, investment, business, diplomacy, security, education,and people-to-people connections between the United States and the five countries of mainland Southeast Asia referred to as the Mekong region. Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam are bound together and geographically defined by the Mekong River, which has historically provided a rich, natural bounty of fish, agricultural productivity, physical connectivity, and key environmental services to more than 60 million people living in the river basin. The Mekong’s importance has only grown as the region’s social, economic, and diplomatic ties export the river’s bounty to the rest of the world. As the region develops, urbanization, infrastructure development, and climate change—among other changes—are all impacting the river, its resources, and the millions who depend on the mighty Mekong. This publication was produced in partnership with the Stimson Center Southeast Asia Program.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Urbanization
  • Political Geography: Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Southeast Asia, Laos, Myanmar, United States of America
  • Author: Timothy A. Wise
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
  • Abstract: The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) was founded in 2006 with the goal of bringing high-yield agricultural practices to 30 million smallholder farming households. With the adoption of commercial seeds and inorganic fertilizer, AGRA set out to double crop productivity and incomes while halving food insecurity by 2020. As AGRA reaches its self-declared deadline for these ambitious goals, how well has AGRA done in increasing productivity, incomes, and food security? The organization has received roughly $1 billion in funding, two-thirds of it from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and disbursed more than $500 million in grants, mainly in 13 priority African countries. The Green Revolution technology campaign has been supported during this time by international programs far larger than AGRA and notably by national governments in Africa, which have spent roughly $1 billion per year on programs that subsidize the purchase of commercial seeds and fertilizers. There is little publicly available documentation of impacts, from AGRA, the Gates Foundation, or donor governments that have supported the initiative. This paper attempts to fill some of that accountability gap. Because AGRA declined to provide data from its own monitoring and evaluation, we use national-level data to assess progress in productivity, poverty reduction, and food security in AGRA’s 13 countries. We find little evidence of widespread progress on any of AGRA’s goals, which is striking given the high levels of government subsidies for technology adoption. There is no evidence AGRA is reaching a significant number of smallholder farmers. Productivity has increased just 29% over 12 years for maize, the most subsidized and supported crop. This falls well short of doubling yields, which would be a 100% increase. Overall staple crop yields have grown only 18% over 12 years. Meanwhile, undernourishment (as measured by the FAO) has increased 30% in AGRA countries. These poor indicators of performance suggest that AGRA and its funders should change course. We review more promising approaches African governments and donors should consider.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Neoliberalism, Green Technology, Private Sector, Charity
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • 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: Vane Moraa Aminga, Florian Krampe
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: There has been considerable attention on the conventional climate mitigation and adaptation debate in Africa, including the prominent efforts of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change in global climate forums. However, there is little understanding of how the African Union (AU) is discussing and responding to the security implications of climate change. This Policy Brief outlines key strengths of the African Union’s response, such as a rapidly evolving discourse around climate security and efforts to improve collaboration and coordination among different parts of the institution. But also, key weaknesses in the discourse around AU policy responses, such as the lack of tangible policy operationalization as well as financial unpreparedness and limited member state accountability. The Policy Brief makes recommendations highlighting entry points for advancing the understanding and response to climate-related security risks within the AU, such as: (a) develop and institutionalize coordinated responses to climate-related security risks, (b) develop strong climate security leadership within the African Union, and (c) change the narrative to focus on shared problems and therefore shared solutions—multilateralism rather than nationalism.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Multilateralism, Risk, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: 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