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Energy, Security, and Climate

CFR experts examine the science and foreign policy surrounding climate change, energy, and nuclear security.

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Showing posts for "Diplomacy"

What do Julian Assange and (Some) Climate Activists Have in Common?

by Michael Levi

Answer: Both don’t seem to understand that effective diplomacy requires some secrecy. Here’s what I mean.

Assange, the man behind WikiLeaks, seems to think that indiscriminately publishing hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables will somehow improve the world. I’m as opposed to counterproductive secrecy as much as the next guy, but by making private diplomacy much more difficult, WikiLeaks is undercutting efforts aimed at peaceful conflict resolution. As my former FAS colleague Steve Aftergood, a leading anti-secrecy crusader, wrote last week, “If [WikiLeaks] were anti-war, it would safeguard, not disrupt, the conduct of diplomatic communications.” Read more »

India Steps Up At Cancun

by Michael Levi

India is one of the more inscrutable players on the global stage. Four years ago, when I was still spending most of my time thinking about nuclear security, I marveled at how much difficulty they had in accepting a U.S.-India nuclear deal that every non-Indian analyst thought was a gift to New Delhi. Last year, I watched in fascination as Jairam Ramesh, the Indian environment minister, floated a very forward-leaning approach to the international climate talks, only to get smacked down by the rest of the Indian establishment (and by some foreign partners). Given how Indian politics works, I suspected that that wasn’t the last we’d hear. Read more »

Could the U.S. Walk Out at Cancun?

by Michael Levi

The buzz around the Cancun climate talks is that progress is possible on a range of issues, including things like technology centers, support for avoided deforestation, and a financial mechanism for helping developing countries. What these all have in common is that they involve developed countries doing things for developing countries. The one thing that developed countries could get in return is progress on transparency – but that file is in worse shape. Read more »

A Hint of What’s in Store at Cancun

by Michael Levi

We’re now a week away from the start of the Cancun climate talks. Two big questions looming over the negotiations have been how China will address the question of transparency – it agreed last year to a process of “international consultation and analysis”, but has been balking on fleshing out the details – and whether there will be fissures within the broader group of developing countries. (There are, of course, many other big questions, not the least of which is what the United States can do given its domestic deadlock.) Read more »

Kyoto Lives!

by Michael Levi

I’m in India this week for a series of meetings on energy, climate, and global governance, and I’ve been reminded, once again, of how wedded some major countries still are to the Kyoto protocol.

A quick bit of recent history: U.S. analysts (and many U.S. policymakers) spent much of 2009 trying to dream up the best possible successor to the Kyoto protocol. Kyoto itself, they assumed, was essentially in the past as a negotiating issue. (This was a natural extension of the U.S. domestic scene, where Kyoto is irrelevant.) Then they showed up at Copenhagen and were forced to spend much of it debating the future of Kyoto. Indeed many of the procedural issues that made a mess of the conference had to do with how Kyoto would be handled. Read more »

Explaining the BASIC Coalition

by Michael Levi

I had the privilege of participating in a workshop last week in Shanghai that included participants from all four BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India, and China). Our conversations took me back to a question that’s been bothering me since the rise of the BASIC coalition last year, and its influential (and in many ways very counterproductive) influence at Copenhagen. With BASIC set to continue its role as a major negotiating coalition, it’s important to make sure we understand what motivates each of its members to negotiate collectively. Here are some thoughts: Read more »