Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

Patrick assesses the future of world order, state sovereignty, and multilateral cooperation.

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Showing posts for "Climate Change"

‘Our Ocean’ Summit: Stemming the Tide of Ocean Degradation

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
A scuba diver swims in the middle of a school of Jet fish near the island of Sipadan in Celebes Sea (Peter Andrews/ Courtesy Reuters). A scuba diver swims in the middle of a school of Jet fish near the island of Sipadan in Celebes Sea (Peter Andrews/ Courtesy Reuters).

Below is a guest post by Alexandra Kerr, program coordinator in the International Institutions and Global Governance Program. Read more »

Re-Engineering the Earth’s Climate: No Longer Science Fiction

by Stewart M. Patrick
geoengineering climate change sulfates A portrait of global aerosols is seen in this undated NASA handout released November 14, 2012. In the image, dust (red) is lifted from the surface, sea salt (blue) swirls inside cyclones, smoke (green) rises from fires, and sulfate particles (white) stream from volcanoes and fossil fuel emissions (William Putman/NASA/Goddard courtesy Reuters)

By continuing to spew greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, humanity is conducting the largest uncontrolled scientific experiment in the Earth’s 4.5 billion year history. The most recent assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints a dire portrait. Under a “business as usual” scenario, average global temperatures are predicted to rise by between 4.5 degrees and 14 degrees Fahrenheit—and temperatures at the earth’s poles are predicted to rise by as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit over several decades. Even under the most optimistic scenario, which presumes unprecedented mitigation efforts, average global temperatures will almost certainly rise above the 2 degrees Celsius. The catastrophic implications will include melting polar icecaps, dramatic sea rise, mass extinction events, more extreme weather events, and the death of the world’s coral reefs from ocean acidification. Unfortunately for humanity, in the words of UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, “There is No Planet B.” Read more »

Typhoon Haiyan and Global Disaster Readiness

by Stewart M. Patrick

It will take months to fully understand the human and economic losses brought about by Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines on November 8. But at its most basic level, this occurrence underscores the importance of disaster preparedness and has spurred an important conversation about what can and cannot be done in the wake of natural disaster. Here I outline three things to know about disaster preparedness and relief. Read more »

The Fifth IPCC Report: Humans are to blame. It’s science.

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E), a high-resolution passive microwave instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite shows the state of Arctic sea ice (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio/Courtesy Reuters). Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E), a high-resolution passive microwave instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite shows the state of Arctic sea ice (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio/Courtesy Reuters).

Below is a guest post by Alexandra Kerr, program coordinator in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

Today the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). After a week of intense deliberations in Stockholm, Qin Dahe, co-chair of the working group that produced the report, summarized the findings, revealing that “the atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, the global mean sea level has risen and that concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.” And perhaps more importantly—in case there remained an inkling of doubt—humans are definitely to blame. Read more »

Introducing the Global Governance Report Card

by Stewart M. Patrick
Screen shot of the Global Governance Report Card page. Click www.cfr.org/reportcard to access the report. Screen shot of the Global Governance Report Card page. Click www.cfr.org/reportcard to access the report.

As Mayor of New York, the late Edward Koch famously asked constituents, “How’m I doing?” He got an earful. But he valued the instant feedback and even adjusted occasionally. As we commemorate Earth Day, we might ask the same question of ourselves – but on a planetary scale. When it comes to addressing the world’s gravest ills, how are we doing? Read more »

Technological Change and the Frontiers of Global Governance

by Stewart M. Patrick
An agricultural aircraft flies over Prachuab Khirikhan in a bid to seed clouds to provide Thailand with rain during the height of summer. (Sukree Sukplang/Courtesy Reuters) An agricultural aircraft flies over Prachuab Khirikhan in a bid to seed clouds to provide Thailand with rain during the height of summer. (Sukree Sukplang/Courtesy Reuters)

The history of global governance is in many respects the story of international adapation to new technologies. As breakthroughs emerge, sovereign governments have tried to craft common standards and rules to facilitate cooperation and mitigate conflict. Consider the phenomenon known as standard time. We now take for granted the world’s division into twenty-four separate hourly zones, with Greenwich Mean Time as the baseline. But in the middle of the nineteenth century, there were 144 local time zones in the United States alone. It was only with the global spread of railroad lines in the late nineteenth century—and the need to standardized train schedules both nationally and internationally—that major countries convened in Washington and agreed to synchronize time within each zone, rather than continue to allow localities to calculate time according to local meridians or solar time. Read more »

Charting the Future of Global Development

by Stewart M. Patrick
Courtesy Reuters Courtesy Reuters

For more than a decade, the global conversation about development has been dominated by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Established at the United Nations’ Millennium Summit of 2000, these eight objectives focused on what the international community could do to meet basic human needs in the developing world. Read more »

Sea Change: A New Tool for Measuring Ocean Health

by Stewart M. Patrick
A fisherman is seen near a rubbish dump on the Sidon seafront in south Lebanon September 27, 2010. The dump, located near schools, hospitals and apartment blocks in Lebanon's third biggest city, has partially collapsed into the Mediterranean sea several times (Ali Hashisho/Courtesy Reuters). A fisherman is seen near a rubbish dump on the Sidon seafront in south Lebanon September 27, 2010. The dump, located near schools, hospitals and apartment blocks in Lebanon's third biggest city, has partially collapsed into the Mediterranean sea several times (Ali Hashisho/Courtesy Reuters).

I spent late July alongside the Bay of Fundy, marveling at the world’s most spectacular tides. But the power of the sea can be misleading. The world’s oceans may look omnipotent, but they are all too vulnerable to the short-sighted actions of mankind. As I wrote last summer from Norway’s  Lofoten Islands, the oceans are in deep crisis, thanks to rampant overfishing, calamitous pollution, and unprecedented acifidication induced by climate change. Read more »

Man-Made Cities and Natural Disasters: The Growing Threat

by Stewart M. Patrick
Residents use an improvised raft, made of styrofoam, to cross floodwaters at Dampalit town in Malabon city, north of Manila August 11, 2012. The death toll in nearly two weeks of steady monsoon rains in the Philippine capital and nearby provinces had climbed to more than 100 people, while more than two million people were affected by the worst flooding in three years, disaster officials said (Romeo Ranoco/Courtesy Reuters). Residents use an improvised raft, made of styrofoam, to cross floodwaters at Dampalit town in Malabon city, north of Manila August 11, 2012. The death toll in nearly two weeks of steady monsoon rains in the Philippine capital and nearby provinces had climbed to more than 100 people, while more than two million people were affected by the worst flooding in three years, disaster officials said (Romeo Ranoco/Courtesy Reuters).

The world is experiencing the most abrupt shift in human settlements in history. After decades of rural to urban migration, half of all humanity now lives in cities. By 2050, that figure will surge to 75 percent, with the developing world responsible for most of this increase. Mankind’s unprecedented urbanization will create new economic opportunities. But it will also place extraordinary strains on national and municipal authorities struggling to provide the poor inhabitants of these chaotic agglomerations with basic security, sustainable livelihoods, and modern infrastructure. Read more »

Guest Post: Ready for Primetime? The $100 Billion Climate Fund

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Curtis Wold, of the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, examines one of the dry pools at the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, in Great Bend, Kansas August 7, 2012 (Jeff Tuttle/Courtesy Reuters). Curtis Wold, of the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, examines one of the dry pools at the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, in Great Bend, Kansas August 7, 2012 (Jeff Tuttle/Courtesy Reuters).

Below, my colleague Farah Thaler, associate director of CFR’s International Institutions and Global Governance program assesses the progress of and prospects for the Green Climate Fund. Read more »