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  • Author: Ziad Al Achkar
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University
  • Abstract: The Arctic region has not traditionally been the focus of international politics and world economics; however, recently environmental scientists have flooded the news with the effects of global warming in the region concerning the significant melting ice caps, dramatic ecological degradation, and potential irreversible loss of many species. Climate change is manifesting around the world through floods, ecological degradation, and potentially driving violence and conflict; in the Arctic, all these risks are compounded. The nature of the Arctic pole means that what will happen in the region is guaranteed to have an impact elsewhere. While environmentalists have sounded the alarm about the risks to the environment in the region, there is an ever-growing security danger that faces the Arctic. With ice caps melting and retreating to unprecedented levels, the arctic seabed is now open for nations to explore its reported vast amount of natural resources. This article will identify issues that will shape the twenty-first century of the Arctic. The scope of the article is not meant to be exhaustive of the problems and challenges but offer a thematic overview of the problems. There are three broad categories covered in this article. First, an overview of the changing climate, its ecological and environmental impact, and the challenges of operating in the Arctic. Second, an overview of the economics and international law implications that are a result of climate change and of increased activity in the region. Third, the geopolitics of the Arctic region.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Law, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Greenland, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Nancy Birdsall, Frances Seymour, William Savedoff
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In March 2004, the Brazilian government initiated a range of policies and enforcement actions (under the Action Plan for Preservation and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon) that brought sharp reductions in the rate of deforestation. In 2008, Brazil signed an agreement with Norway to receive payments during a 5-year period for bringing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation below a 10-year average (1996–2005). Norway pledged up to US$1 billion for this agreement, which stipulated that these funds would be donated to the Amazon Fund (Fundo Amazônia), managed by the Brazilian National Development Bank and invested in actions to prevent deforestation and to promote the conservation and sustainable use of the Amazon biome.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Treaties and Agreements, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Norway, Brazil
  • Author: Erlend A. T. Hermansen, Sjur Kasa
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Norway – a small northern country with only 5 million inhabitants – is at present a global leader in REDD+ financing. In this paper, we explain why and how this happened by telling the story about the emergence of Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) in 2007 and its institutionalization in the following years. We emphasize how a set of Norwegian climate policy characteristics prepared the ground for NICFI. These characteristics were the relative absence of less expensive potential emission cuts domestically, a tradition of seeking cheaper emission reduction options abroad, and few fiscal constraints due to high petroleum revenues. When the domestic demand for a more proactive climate policy started to increase from 2006 onward, two Norwegian environmental NGOs, The Rainforest Foundation Norway and Friends of the Earth Norway, exploited the window of opportunity that emerged from the tension between high domestic abatement costs and increasing domestic climate policy demands by proposing a large-scale Norwegian rainforest effort. This proposal resonated well with the new emphasis on reduced deforestation as a promising climate policy measure internationally. Towards the end of 2007, these ENGOs managed to convince a broad majority in Parliament that large-scale financing of measures to reduce deforestation globally should become an important part of Norwegian climate policy. Financing NICFI through the growth in the steadily increasing development aid budget dampened opposition from more fiscally conservative actors and facilitated the rapid set-up of a flexible implementing organization directly linked to some of the most proactive politicians. Several agreements with key rainforest countries were rapidly established, and including ENGOs in policy formulation and implementation helped maintaining the momentum and legitimacy for NICFI as a more permanent solution to Norway's climate policy dilemmas. NICFI's robustness and high level of legitimacy are illustrated by the fact that the initiative has survived the recent 2013 change of government quite intact. However, we also suggest that the long-time survival of the initiative may be dependent on the future of the UNFCCC process as well as the destiny of the national projects.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Europe, Norway
  • Author: Siemon T. Wezeman
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: In recent years the forecast of far-reaching climate change in the Arctic has led to fears of future conflict in the region. Such fears have been expressed in official documents, including defence policy documents, of the five Arctic littoral states—Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States. Three of them—Canada, Denmark and Russia—have recently adopted foreign and defence policies that have put a special emphasis on the Arctic. They have strengthened their military presence in the Arctic or increased military capabilities for Arctic use and have presented plans for additional military strengthening. Meanwhile, Norway has moved a substantial part of its operational forces to the north of the country. Of the five littoral states, only the USA has placed less focus on Arctic security.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Climate Change, Natural Resources, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Canada, Norway, Denmark