Showing posts for "Climate Change"
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
The Internationalist explores how new threats and rising powers are altering world politics and how multilateral institutions can adapt.
The IIGG program identifies the institutional requirements for effective multilateral cooperation in the twenty-first century.
The Global Governance Monitor tracks, maps, and evaluates multilateral efforts to address today's global challenges, including armed conflict, public health, climate change, ocean governance, financial coordination, and nuclear proliferation.