By Morena Skalamera, Associate, Geopolitics of Energy Project
On Nov 24, 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet after it veered into its airspace for 17 seconds. On December 13, a Russian ship fired warning shots at a Turkish vessel in the Aegean Sea. Bilateral tensions, with overt military dimensions, have seemed to quickly replace the goodwill that characterized relations only a year ago.
January 4, 2016
By Philippe Fargues, Associate, Middle East Initiative
"As 2015 comes to a close, the annual numbers of migrants smuggled to Greece and Italy and asylum claims lodged in Germany have passed a million, as well as the number of additional displacements produced this year by the conflict in Syria. Moreover, Europe’s Mediterranean shore has now the unchallenged title of the world’s most lethal border. Not only this. The migrant crisis is also putting to the test some of Europe’s most fundamental values, from the freedom of circulation within its territories, to international protection beyond..."
China's continuing commitment to a nuclear strategy of assured retaliation indicates that it will prioritize avoiding a nuclear arms race with the United States. Nevertheless, leaders and militaries in both countries will need to be exceptionally careful to avoid nuclear escalation in a crisis.
December 8, 2015
By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
When the new report is brought before the IAEA’s Board of Governors on December 15, it should adopt a resolution based on: a credible baseline for monitoring and verification; assurances, with high confidence, that all weapons-related activities have been terminated; and future sampling and investigations carried out in-situ by IAEA inspectors and experts.
By René Castro
Improvements in eco-efficiency—defined as a combination of reducing waste and reducing the use of raw inputs—offer one strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions while also lowering production costs. In addition, changes in culture—at the level of individual businesses, countries, or both—can enhance the eco-competitive position of these businesses and countries. This paper describes three examples from Costa Rica and shows how the goal of achieving carbon neutrality can provide incentives for improving eco-efficiency and eco-competitiveness.
"Evaluating Mitigation Effort: Tools and Institutions for Assessing Nationally Determined Contributions"
By Joseph E. Aldy, Faculty Affiliate, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
The emerging pledge and review approach to international climate policy provides countries with substantial discretion in how they craft their intended emission mitigation contributions. The resulting heterogeneity in mitigation pledges places significant demands for a well-functioning transparency and review mechanism. In particular, the specific forms of intended contributions necessitate economic analysis in order to estimate the aggregate effects of these contributions as well as to permit "apples-to-apples" comparisons of mitigation efforts. This paper discusses the tools that can inform such analyses as well as the institutional needs of climate transparency.
By Philippe Fargues, Associate, Middle East Initiative
"Irregular migration has great resonance in the Gulf, just as in the West. Migrants in irregular situation avoid state administrative procedures and so their numbers are unknown. The largest amnesty (Saudi Arabia 2013) would have affected more than 50 per cent of the migrants in the country. Irregular migration is by definition a breach of legislations that regulate the migrant’s status.
In the Gulf States it is, in particular, a by-product of: the sponsorship (kafâla) system that hampers both a migrant’s individual freedom of movement and the free functioning of the labour market; nationalisation policies that continue to extend the list of occupations reserved for nationals; and nationality laws that bar citizenship to all but a very few first- and second-generation migrants."
Plants draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, sequestering the carbon in biomass and thus helping to mitigate climate change. This mitigation has an economic value commensurate with reduced damages from climate change. However, the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) has not calculated the carbon-sequestration benefits provided by the 84 million acres of land it manages, even though 85% of this land is vegetated.
The NPS has a dual mission—to foster both tourism ("visitation" to those researching this topic) and land stewardship. Measuring the value of carbon sequestration would complement ongoing attempts to measure the economic value of tourism by providing an initial estimate of the economic importance of one component of the NPS's stewardship obligations.
"The Role of Border Carbon Adjustment in Unilateral Climate Policy: Insights from a Model-Comparison Study—Summary"
In the absence of an effective global agreement to reduce carbon emissions, some industrialized countries have taken unilateral action to reduce emissions. However, unilateral carbon policy can lead to leakage of carbon emissions and precludes abating emissions where such abatement would be least expensive (possibly in other countries). Border carbon adjustment (BCA) is one policy option to mitigate these two disadvantages of unilateral action, but the effectiveness of these measures remains unclear. Comparing the results of simulated carbon policy and BCA in multiple computable general equilibrium (CGE) models of the global economy offers several estimates of the effectiveness of BCA.
By Charles L Glaser, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 1982–1985; Editorial Board Member, Quarterly Journal: International Security
A grand bargain would not constitute the entirety of U.S. policy toward China. Unilateral measures and alliances would remain essential components of U.S. policy. When uncertain about a state's motives and goals, a state should pursue a mix of cooperative and competitive policies.