After releasing a policy paper on China's rising climate leadership in a changing world, our team received a letter from Washington. It raised a fundamental question: is China able to take up this role, as climate change is now part of broader political and economic agendas? The authors of the policy paper now respond to this letter and argue that the key to the ultimate success is a just energy transition.
Central Asian countries have long been competing over the water resources of the Syr Darya and Amu Darya river basins. Despite political commitment to cooperation, the policies of the five Central Asian republics – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – have largely been driven by uncoordinated and partly contradicting national strategies. This focus on short-term national interests entails significant financial costs and major risks for the future development of the whole region.
The destruction caused by Cyclone Ockhi in South Asia portends what a ‘climate-changed’ world has in store for humankind, especially taking into consideration the adverse human security implications of such disasters that have to be addressed urgently. Dhanasree Jayaram argues that planetary security in this context can be best ensured at the regional level.
Russia is “playing politics with energy supplies,” said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a major policy speech at the Wilson Center in November. In Europe, the debate is raging over how best to achieve energy security in the face of the twin challenges of Russian dominance and the need to decarbonize the economy. The ongoing securitization of Russian natural gas could not only complicate the road to a low carbon future in Europe, it could also undermine a European integration project that has mostly been a success.
The future of climate diplomacy depends on the creation of extensive knowledge-action networks that promote collaborative, transdisciplinary, innovation and solutions-oriented research and help implement long-term strategies geared towards sustainability. Dhanasree Jayaram argues that the achievement of India’s ambitions climate goals is contingent on this strategy as well, and that it must set a clear agenda for COP23.
Women are disproportionately vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Although India’s national climate change action plans recognize this and include a gender dimension, female participation in policy making and climate diplomacy is negligible. Dhanasree Jayaram argues that the South Asian region as a whole urgently needs to deal with gender issues in climate diplomacy.
Recovering after a severe crisis may serve as a critical juncture to mainstream adaptation and drive sustainable resilience outcomes. Reflecting on the failures and missed opportunities in the case of reconstruction in Nepal two years after the devastating earthquake, several important lessons can be drawn that will help other world regions better integrate energy access with resilience thinking and adaptation planning.
The impacts of new dams and diversions are felt across borders, and the development of new water infrastructure can increase political tensions in transboundary river basins. International water treaties and river basin organizations serve as a framework to potentially deescalate hydro-political tensions across borders.
In an unprecedented move, the G-20 minus 1 decided to include three separate paragraphs on climate change in the final communiqué – one spelling out a general pledge to tackle climate change, a boxed one on the US’ (rather the Trump administration’s) rejection of the Paris Agreement, and one on the rest of the leaders’ reaffirmation of their unconditional support to the Paris agreement. This was reportedly after the US’ demand of inclusion of fossil fuels in the communiqué was rejected by others.
While current anti-climate developments in the US administration caused anxiety among climate advocates, its immediate effects might be more positive than initially expected. Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement has awaken a sense of urgency within the international community for dealing with climate issues, as well as filling the power vacuum that this withdrawal creates in collective climate leadership.