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  • Author: Salman Ahmed, Allison Gelman, Tarik Abdel-Monem, Wendy Cutler, Rozlyn Engel, David Gordon, Jennifer Harris, Douglas Lute, Jill O'Donnell, Daniel M. Price, David Rosenbaum, Christopher Smart, Jake Sullivan, Ashley J. Tellis, Eric Thompson, Janell C. Walther, Tom Wyler
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: U.S. foreign policy has not come up often in the 2020 presidential campaign. But when it has, candidates on both sides of the aisle frequently have stressed that U.S. foreign policy should not only keep the American people safe but also deliver more tangible economic benefits for the country’s middle class. The debate among the presidential contenders is not if that should happen but how to make it happen. All too often, this debate takes place within relatively small circles within Washington, DC, without the benefit of input from state and local officials, small business owners, community leaders, local labor representatives, and others on the front lines of addressing the challenges facing middle-class households. That is why the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace convened a bipartisan task force in late 2017 to lift up such voices and inject them into the ongoing debate. The task force partnered with university researchers to study the perceived and measurable economic effects of U.S. foreign policy on three politically and economically different states in the nation’s heartland—Colorado, Nebraska, and Ohio. The first two reports on Ohio and Colorado were published in December 2018 and November 2019, respectively. This third report on Nebraska has been prepared in partnership with a team of researchers at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL). To gauge perceptions of how Nebraska’s middle class is faring and the ways in which U.S. foreign policy might fit in, the Carnegie and UNL research teams reviewed household surveys and conducted individual interviews and focus groups, between July and August 2019, with over 130 Nebraskans in Columbus, Scottsbluff/Gering, Kearney, Lincoln, North Platte, and Omaha.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Politics, Immigration, Economy, Domestic politics, Class, Trade
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ryan Warsing
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Woodrow Wilson School Journal of Public and International Affairs
  • Institution: Woodrow Wilson 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: 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: 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: Margareth Sembiring
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: 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: 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: Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Perrine Toledano, Sophie Thomashusen
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: With the support of Oxfam, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment reviewed select provisions in the Mines and Minerals Act 2009 and corresponding policy statements from the Minerals Policy 2018 to provide recommendations for how to best align the anticipated new mining law with international best practice. The 2009 law was reviewed with a focus on the following topics: • Fiscal regime; • Climate change; • Access to and use of land; • Community consultations and participation; • Human rights; and • Community development agreements.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Natural Resources, Mining, Land, Sustainability, Community
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa, Sierra Leone
  • Author: Kinga Raś
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At the end of January 2020, the Latvian government approved the country’s climate neutrality strategy until 2050, and in March it supported even more ambitious EU targets for reducing emissions. These declarations are connected with the need for a thorough transformation of the economy. The Latvian authorities combine these changes with the outlook for economic growth, including the development of the newest technologies in the energy sector. Latvia’s approach, subordinated to climate action, coincides with the policy of other countries in the region, but differs from the Polish vision of energy transformation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Government, Europe Union, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Poland, Latvia