Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

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Showing posts for "Environment"

Canary in the Coal Mine: The Arctic as a National Imperative

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, in the midst of their ICESCAPE mission, retrieves supplies for some mid-mission fixes dropped by parachute from a C-130 in the Arctic Ocean in this July 12, 2011 NASA handout photo obtained by Reuters. (NASA/Reuters)

The following is a guest post by Theresa Lou, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

The Arctic is changing rapidly. It is warming at twice the rate as the rest of the planet, causing sea ice to melt and water levels to rise. Once considered the world’s least accessible ocean, the Arctic Ocean now contains additional sea routes for shipping and commercial activity. Countries such as China and Russia—eager for emerging economic opportunities—are investing new resources in the region as the United States lags behind.  Meanwhile, rising sea levels and erratic weather patterns are endangering coastal communities in all Arctic nations. Read more »

America’s Stakes in the Oceans Go Well beyond the South China Sea

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. President Barack Obama looks out at Turtle Beach on a visit to the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument on September 1, 2016. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

This week the Chinese and Russian navies launched eight days of war games in the South China Sea. For Beijing, it’s a chance to brush off the July ruling by an international tribunal dismissing the merit of its claim to jurisdiction over those waters. For Moscow, it’s an opportunity to flex Russia’s global muscles and tweak U.S. pretensions to be the arbiter of Asia-Pacific security. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is hosting a very different ocean reunion in Washington. On September 15-16, Secretary of State John Kerry will welcome representatives from some sixty countries, as well as hundreds more from business, science, and civil society to the third Our Ocean conference. According to the agenda, the conferees will focus on how to: protect oceans from global warming, expand marine protected areas, support sustainable fisheries, and stem oceanic pollution. Read more »

A Brighter Future for the Planet

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick and Stewart M. Patrick
A photo taken by Expedition 46 flight engineer Tim Peake International Space Station shows Italy, the Alps, and the Mediterranean on January, 25, 2016 (Reuters/NASA).

Coauthored with Naomi Egel, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations

This year, the global environmental outlook is sunnier than last Earth Day. Read more »

A G20 Agenda for China: Meeting the World’s Infrastructure, Climate, and Development Needs

by Stewart M. Patrick
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening ceremony of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing, China, on January 16, 2016. Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening ceremony of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing, China, on January 16, 2016 (Mark Schiefelbein/Reuters).

This week thousands of government officials, journalists, academics, and private sector and civil society representatives convene in Washington for the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. But the most important event for global economic governance occurs later this year. And it won’t be in the United States. In September, China will host the eleventh summit of the Group of Twenty (G20) in the eastern city of Hangzhou, one of the country’s ancient capitals. Read more »

2016: Seven Summits to Watch

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and other leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations sit together at the forum's 2015 summit in Germany. U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and other leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations sit together at the forum's 2015 summit in Germany (Michael Kappeler/Reuters).

From the breakthrough at the Paris climate change conference to the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals at the UN General Assembly, summits in 2015 heralded major progress in international cooperation. As we ring in the New Year, it’s time to look at what lies ahead for global summitry. Read more »

Paris is Just One Piece of the Climate Change Puzzle

by Stewart M. Patrick
The Eiffel Tower is seen at sunset in Paris, France, on November 22, 2015. The Eiffel Tower is seen at sunset in Paris, France, on November 22, 2015 (Charles Platiau/Reuters).

Coauthored with Naomi Egel, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Next week’s Paris meeting on climate change—officially, the twenty-first Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)—is shaping up to be a watershed moment in the fight against global warming. Unlike the disappointing 2009 conference in Copenhagen, the Paris summit is expected to produce a strong global agreement that charts the next steps in combatting climate change. Read more »

Oceans and Climate Change: A Bleak Outlook

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick and Stewart M. Patrick
Waves crash against stairs to Broad Beach in Malibu, California, United States. Waves crash against stairs to Broad Beach in Malibu, California, United States (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters).

Coauthored with Naomi Egel, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

As the Paris climate meeting rapidly approaches, the preparatory discussions have been remarkably silent on the crucial links between global warming and the health of the world’s oceans. This is a missed opportunity to galvanize global political will behind significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Read more »

Turning the Tide on Global Ocean Acidification

by Stewart M. Patrick
A scuba diver swims near a school of swirling jacks off the coast of Bali, Indonesia, in May 2011. A scuba diver swims near a school of swirling jacks off the coast of Bali, Indonesia, in May 2011 (David Loh/Reuters).

Last night I had the honor to participate in a great New York event—the announcement of the winners of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPrize, presented by Foreign Affairs LIVE. Two years ago, the XPrize Foundation announced that they would offer $2 million to any private team that could do something many had considered impossible: create a device to reliably measure the acidity of the deep ocean, while surviving pressures equivalent to hundreds of atmospheres. The big winner was Sunburst Sensors, a tiny company  based in Missoula, Montana, which came in first place for both accuracy and affordability. 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 »