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"

The Vatican Takes on Climate Change: Making Sense of the Pope’s Encyclical

by Stewart M. Patrick
Pope Francis waves to a crowd on St. Peter's Square in Vatican City on June 13, 2015. Pope Francis waves to a crowd on St. Peter's Square in Vatican City on June 13, 2015 (Giampiero Sposito/Reuters).

Pope Francis’s new encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si” (“Praise Be to You”), is a profoundly important document. It has the potential to shake up the stalled climate change debate in the United States, not least by broadening the definition of what it means to be a “conservative.” Read more »

The G7 Summit: An Exclusive Club—But a Global Role

by Stewart M. Patrick
A view of the Bavarian retreat of Schloss Elmau, where leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries will gather for their annual summit on June 7–8, 2015. A view of the Bavarian retreat of Schloss Elmau, where leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries will gather for their annual summit on June 7–8, 2015 (Michaela Rehle/Reuters).

When President Obama and his fellow Group of Seven (G7) leaders convene this weekend at the Bavarian retreat of Schloss Elmau, they will face two tasks. The most obvious is to formulate common positions on a global agenda so sweeping that it will strain even the lengthiest communiqué. Their more subtle challenge is to signal that their advanced market democracies remain not only an anchor of order in a turbulent world but also a potential engine to drive global governance reform. Read more »

Earth Gets Its Day: When Will It Get Its Due?

by Stewart M. Patrick
A photo of Earth—dubbed "Earthrise"—taken by U.S. astronaut William Anders during the Apollo 8 mission in December 1968. A photo of Earth—dubbed "Earthrise"—taken by U.S. astronaut William Anders during the Apollo 8 mission in December 1968 (William Anders/Courtesy NASA).

Earth Day 2015 finds the planet in dire straits. Future generations will mock the inanity of designating a single day each year to honor the Earth while despoiling the planet on which human well-being depended.

The World Bank warns that temperatures will almost certainly rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius by midcentury. The consequences will be dramatic and likely devastating. Glaciers will disappear,ice sheets will melt, sea levels will rise, oceans will acidify, coral reefs will die, fish stocks will collapse, droughts will intensify, storms will strengthen. Global averages, moreover, will conceal dramatic local swings in temperature. Under current climate scenarios, global warming will make many current population centers uninhabitable, causing mass migrations. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ office, even by the most conservative predictions, extreme weather will displace up to 250 million people by midcentury. Read more »

Senator Rubio and U.S. “Leadership”: Three Questions for the Candidate

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio announces his 2016 presidential campaign at the Freedom Tower in Miami, Florida, on April 13, 2015. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio announces his 2016 presidential campaign at the Freedom Tower in Miami, Florida, on April 13, 2015 (Joe Skipper/Courtesy Reuters).

The decision by Marco Rubio to seek the Republican presidential nomination is audacious. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the first-term senator from Florida. As the current occupant of the White House attests, a thin political resume is no barrier to the highest office in the land when you have charisma and a compelling biography. Read more »

No Blue, No Green: Climate Change and the Fate of the Oceans

by Stewart M. Patrick
A Chinese fishing vessel that ran aground in Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is pictured in Palawan Province, west of Manila. A Chinese fishing vessel that ran aground in Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is pictured in Palawan Province, west of Manila (Naval Forces West/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Alexandra Kerr, assistant director of the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations. Read more »

‘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 »