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  • Author: Thom Woodroofe, Brendan Guy
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society Policy Institute
  • 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 potential 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. This paper, therefore, assesses the international climate policies of both Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders across six areas, including their proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; engage with other major emitters, including China; use trade policy as a lever for climate action; increase climate finance and remove fossil fuel subsidies; take action across other sectors, and embed climate action as a core national security priority. The authors also lay out three cross-cutting considerations for a potential new Democratic administration to maximize their efforts in the global fight against climate change, including how they can best structure their administration; engage other major emitters most strategically; and use all tools in the toolkit to reduce emissions. This includes a number of specific recommendations for how the candidates’ existing policies can best be elaborated, including with regard to China; plans to host a world leader summit on climate early in a new administration; and the tabling of a new 2030 emissions reduction target. The likely constraints and choices that will confront a new U.S. administration as they determine their approach to climate action are also highlighted in the paper. This paper is the first in a series of policy products that the Asia Society Policy Institute will publish as part of a new project exploring the possibilities around U.S.-China climate cooperation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Government, Treaties and Agreements, Donald Trump, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Andrew Liu
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In 2016 alone, China saw $9 trillion in mobile payments—in contrast to a comparably small $112 billion of mobile payments in the United States (Abkowitz 2018). The use of mobile payment systems such as Alipay and WeChat Pay are widespread in China, with users ranging from beggars to lenders to criminals. Previously, the mobile payments landscape was largely untouched and unregulated by the Chinese government because of its relative insignificance in the Chinese economy. However, with the explosive growth in mobile payment transactions, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) implemented a new mobile payment regulation on June 30, 2018. Most notably, the government will require all mobile payments to be cleared through the PBOC, and hence, all mobile payment transactions will begin to touch the hands of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) (Hersey 2017). The PBOC’s stated reasoning for implementing this regulation is to curb money laundering and fraud. While those are valid concerns, it is unlikely that there are not additional motivations for the new regulation. In this article, I analyze the effects this new regulation has had and will likely have on the various mobile payment system stakeholders, competitors, and users, and also uncover what underlying motives the PBOC has in implementing the regulation.
  • Topic: Government, Regulation, Economy, Banks, Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: John J. Chin
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Hong Kong, once renowned as an apolitical and orderly British entrepôt, is now seething with political discontent, student unrest, and pro-democracy protests. Nothing less than the future of “one country, two systems”—the framework through which China agreed to maintain Hong Kong’s autonomy for fifty years in exchange for British agreement to restore Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in July 1997 after more than a century of British administration—is at stake.
  • Topic: Government, History, Social Movement, Law, Democracy, Protests
  • Political Geography: Asia, Hong Kong
  • Author: Elina Noor
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Malaysia’s foreign and security policy faces myriad challenges, but not much is likely to change under Mahathir Mohamad’s ‘New Malaysia’ framework. The return of Mahathir Mohamad to the prime ministership of the country he had previously led for 22 years has raised questions about the direction Malaysia’s foreign and security policy might take. While there may be some course-corrections in foreign and security policy under Mahathir’s Pakatan Harapan government, it will not stray far from the approach of previous administrations. Continuities will include its non-aligned status, its pragmatic dealings with both the United States and China, its focus on ASEAN centrality and Malaysia’s economic development through trade. Malaysia will revisit its earlier “Look East” policy; it has plans to upgrade its defence capabilities in the South China Sea; and it will take a more consultative approach to foreign policy-making.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Government, Politics, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Malaysia, Asia
  • Author: Olivier Blanchard, Takashi Tashiro
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: For many years, the Japanese government has promised an eventual return to primary budget surpluses, but it has not delivered on these promises. Its latest goal is to return to primary balance by 2025. Blanchard and Tashiro, however, argue that, in the current economic environment in Japan, primary deficits may be needed for a long time, because they may be the best tool to sustain demand and output, alleviate the burden on monetary policy, and increase future output. What primary deficits are used for, however, is equally important, and the Japanese government should put them to better use. The authors recommend that, given Japan’s aging population, the government should spend on measures aimed at increasing fertility—and by implication population and output growth—which are likely to more than pay for themselves.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Budget, Fiscal Policy, Deficit
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia
  • Author: Michael Kugelman
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Michael Kugelman is Deputy Director for the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center and is also the Center’s Senior Associate for South Asia. He is responsible for research, programming, and publications on South Asia. His specialty areas include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and U.S. relations with each of them. His recent projects have focused on India’s foreign policy, U.S.-Pakistan relations, India-Pakistan relations, the war in Afghanistan, transboundary water agreements in South Asia, and U.S. policy in South Asia. He is a regular contributor to publications that include Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Government, Science and Technology, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, Asia
  • Author: Mashail Malik, Niloufer Siddiqui
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Pakistan’s 2018 elections marked just the second time in history that power transferred peacefully from one civilian government to another after a full term in office. Although the initial months of campaigning were relatively free of violence, the two weeks before polling were dangerous for campaigners and voters alike, and the elections provided a platform for some parties to incite violence, particularly against Pakistan’s minority sects. This report provides a deep examination of how exposure to political violence in Pakistan’s largest city affects political behavior, including willingness to vote and faith in the democratic process.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Minorities, Elections, Violence, Peace, Voting
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, Asia, Karachi
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The politico-governance landscape in 20th century Lhasa oversaw a system of hierarchical government–one in which, the hierarchy was composed of both, clerical and lay departments, each consisting of an equal number of men. The 165 priests belonging to the higher ranks attending to the affairs of the State bore the title “Tse Dung.” The lay officials with corresponding rank and number held the title “Dung Khor.” The most visible distinguishing mark between the priests and laymen was that while the former shaved their hair and wore priestly robes, the latter did not.1 The priestly functionaries of higher ranks were subjected to control by four Grand Secretaries, bearing the title “Tung yk chen mo”, though the real powers were vested in the seniormost priest. Similarly, four “Shabpe” (Premiers) were appointed over the higher lay officials.2 Only one among the four “Shabpe” held precedence in wielding real power, while the other three were his councilors and advisers.
  • Topic: Education, Gender Issues, Government, Religion, Governance, Finance, Trade
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Tibet
  • Author: Farzana Naheed Khan, M. Tariq Majeed
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The growing importance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and egovernment has attracted the attention of policy makers who are committed to increase the GDP per capita of a country. Therefore, this study investigates the growth effects of ICT and egovernment for a sample of eight South Asian economies over the period 1980-2016. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first empirical study, which examines the relationship between economic growth and ICT with a special emphasis on the role of ICT implementation in public sector. In particular, we use diverse indicators of ICT to assess the robustness of empirical findings. Moreover, the study employs instrumental estimation techniques 2SLS and GMM to deal with the possible problem of endogeneity. The empirical findings of our study indicate that growth effects of ICT as well as e-government are positive and significant in all models. Finally, our study concludes that the South Asia region can greatly benefit from the implementation of ICT infrastructure in general and in public sector in particular.
  • Topic: Government, Science and Technology, Internet, Political Science
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia, Punjab
  • Author: Ashwin Parulkar, Sunil Kumar
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In May 2017, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) demolished a Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) shelter located in an informal settlement in South Delhi’s Amir Khusro Park. DUSIB had built the shelter in response to a 2014 Delhi High Court Order. DDA demolished the same structure in cognizance of a 2015 Delhi High Court Order, issued in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a private citizen urging the state to remove illegal encroachments in the area. The demolition of the shelter led to the eviction of various groups of people in Khusro Park: families in self-constructed ‘jhuggis’; women in the DUSIB shelter managed by a local NGO; and various people in a temporary shelter not authorized by government agencies. Field visits revealed connections between these settlements. Women and children of some jhuggi families, for instance, lived in the shelter where food, nutrition, documentation, education and health services were provided by the managing NGO for shelter residents and joint and nuclear jhuggi families. In this context, the report raises and responds to two salient questions. What makes homeless shelters in Delhi vulnerable to government sanctioned demolition and eviction? What is the implication of the particular case of Amir Khusro Park on the fate of shelters in Delhi’s other numerous informal geographies? The authors examine events that preceded and unfolded during and after the demolition through ethnographic research in Khusro Park, interviews with government officials and NGO social workers, and legal analysis of both Supreme and High Court Orders and policies that assign powers to various federal, state and municipal land owning agencies. The report finds that Khusro Park residents’ Court-substantiated, though broadly defined, rights to live in shelters and urban informal settlements were violated by government agencies, such as DDA. Such government agencies are permitted to undermine general rights urban poor people have to city spaces and resettlement through the existence of specific provisions that categorize jhuggi and shelter residents on government land ‘encroachers’. The authors conclude that due process measures of DUSIB’s current resettlement policy – land surveys, provision of notice and rehousing – should be based on a thorough understanding of (a) types and nature of settlements along the informal urban housing continuum (b) infrastructure and services used by residents and (c) the nature of contracts between (i) state and federal agencies and (ii) government agencies and NGOs that authorize land use and service provision.
  • Topic: Government, Poverty, Public Policy, Resettlement, Urban, Informal Settlement, Homelessness
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia