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  • Author: Reinhard Wolf
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Current estimates indicate that several hundred thousand deaths per year can be attributed to climate change. Developed countries have reacted to this growing disaster by increasing the use of renewable energies, but what is to be done with the additional electricity thus generated? Should it be used for cutting back coal-fired energy production or can it be used for substituting nuclear energy? Priority must be given to replacing coal power, since developed countries have a strong duty to minimize the physical harm caused by their electricity generation. Dropping nuclear energy prior to coal power cannot be justified because the risks of nuclear energy pale in comparison to the suffering that emissions from coalfired plants inflict both on their host countries and on poorer countries in the global South that (a) do not benefit from this energy and (b) have far less capacity to cope with the effects of climate change or other environmental damages. This article argues that when faced with a choice between operating coal-fired power plants or nuclear reactors, governments are obliged to opt for nuclear energy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Government
  • Author: Luigi Carafa
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The United States and China recently announced a joint climate agreement that creates unprecedented political momentum for the Paris COP21 to be held in December 2015. Yet, it is unclear whether such a deal is an historic breakthrough or business as usual policy. A closer look at the US-China climate agreement shows that the chances that the agreed measures have of limiting global warming to 2°C are very few. If seen in terms of concrete policy action, the US pledge comes closer to a pathway compatible with a 2°C target. By contrast, however, China's pledges are far from consistent with a 2°C pathway. As the COP21 approaches, it is becoming clear that China matters more than ever for an effective climate deal. But it is also becoming increasingly clear that, in the best case scenario, Beijing will support a start now/sprint later agreement in Paris.
  • Topic: Climate Change
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Steinar Andresen
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Most observers agree that more than 20 years of UN climate negotiations have been a failure. Some argue that the top-down approach is one important reason for this and that a bottom-up approach or more exclusive club approaches would have rendered better results. Based on experience with these approaches so far this is far from self-evident and there are limits to what can be achieved by clever institutional design when deep-seated political conflicts prevail. Many approaches are also hybrids between the various approaches and the future climate regime will probably contain elements of both the top-down and the bottom-up approach. However no quick fixes can be expected for this exceedingly 'malign' problem.
  • Topic: Climate Change
  • Author: Tomas Wyns
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be an important part of a post-2020 climate agreement under the UNFCCC. However, it is not certain yet what these INDCs will contain and how they will be assessed. The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) faced similar challenges in its first years (2005-12). Thus, the mechanisms and lessons learned under the EU ETS could be applied to the INDCs to create a governance and assessment system that increases transparency and builds trust among parties to the UNFCCC.
  • Topic: Climate Change
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jennie C. Stephens
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As the threats of climate change grow, the need to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel burning is increasingly acknowledged by governments around the world. The potential of carbon capture and storage (CCS), a set of technologies that offers a politically appealing vision of a 'cleaner' way to use fossil fuels, has provided powerful motivation for large public and private investments in CCS technology. But investing in CCS is controversial because, although some consider it a critical climate mitigation technology, others view it as an expensive fossil fuel subsidy that could inadvertently perpetuate, rather than reduce, fossil fuel reliance.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Government
  • Author: Katerina Valdivieso
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: As host of the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in December, Peru has assumed a challenging burden. Ministers and high representatives of 195 countries and international organizations, along with roughly 15,000 visitors, will gather in Lima to mark the 20th annual session of the Conference of the Parties (known as COP 20)—the governing body of the international convention. The work plan is as challenging as the conference logistics: delegates are expected to draft a document that will serve as the basis of a multinational agreement on reducing global warming, to be signed in Paris in 2015.
  • Topic: Climate Change
  • Political Geography: Paris, Peru
  • Author: Helmut Philipp Aust
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Journal of International Law
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Cities are beginning to assert themselves as internationally relevant actors. This is particularly noticeable in the climate change context. This development has so far not been accorded a great deal of attention by international lawyers. The review essay discusses four new books by political scientists which offer us a closer look at the political dimension of 'global cities', a term originally coined by sociologist Saskia Sassen. The four books under review as well as this essay pay particular attention to the C40 association – a movement of self-styled city leaders in climate change governance. This group of cities has developed numerous ties with international organizations and private corporations. The review essay analyses how cooperative endeavours such as C40 challenge our understanding of the relationship between the city and the state and assesses how international law as a discipline could come to terms with these developments. It is argued that international law should fulfil two functions in this regard: recognition and contestation. Whereas cities may not yet be recognized subjects of international law, they are moving closer to this illustrious circle. In any case, their law-making processes are beginning to have a significant impact on processes of global governance.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Law, Governance
  • Author: Paul Wapner
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics International Affairs Journal
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Climate change is the most intractable environmental issue, and Stephen Gardiner has written extensively about it, especially from an ethical perspective. He recognizes that climate change is not merely a technical, economic, or political challenge but fundamentally a moral one. It comes about because people—especially the rich and powerful—are unwilling or unable to care about those on the receiving end of climate hardship. This insensitivity generates complacency, or at least confusion, about how to build institutions and shape widespread behavior in the service of climate protection. A Perfect Moral Storm is Gardiner's most extensive and detailed statement to date on this theme.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Environment
  • Author: Patrick J. Michaels
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Yale historian Paul Sabin's The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble over Earth's Future is worth a read because of its detailed tour through the world of environmental doomsaying. Yet, in the end, I was profoundly disappointed, consigning this book to my very large Cassandra File because Sabin endorses that doomsaying as expressed by dreaded global warming.
  • Topic: Climate Change
  • Author: Gabriel Marcella, William McIlhenny
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Leaders' reactions to the revelations are really about domestic politics. Everybody spies, even on allies. BY GABRIEL MARCELLA Should the U.S. spy on its allies? Yes The reported snooping by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) on world leaders is a rich teachable moment. It shows the underside of international relations. Spying on other governments—including friendly ones—is a pillar of modern foreign policy and a vital tool to protect against modern security threats like international crime, terrorism, cyber-attacks, drug trafficking, climate change, and stealing technology. As the saying goes, friends today may be foes tomorrow. We really don't know what information was gathered, but it caused an upheaval in various capitals friendly to the United States. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff cancelled a long-awaited state visit to the U.S. because of the Edward Snowden revelations, claiming that the NSA spying was an attack “on the sovereignty and the rights of the people” of Brazil. Similarly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was upset by reports that the U.S. was listening to her cell phone communications; she, in turn, demanded a no-spying agreement with the United States.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, France, Brazil