Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

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

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Showing posts for "Oceans"

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

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for 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 »

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 »

Turbulent Waters: The United States, China, and the South China Sea

by Stewart M. Patrick
Filipino protesters shout anti-China slogans while holding placards during a demonstration outside the Chinese consulate in Manila's Makati financial district May 11, 2012. About 200 Filipino activists held a protest on Friday outside a Chinese consular office in Manila over the disputed Scarborough Shoal islands in the South China Sea claimed by both nations (Erik de Castro/ Courtesy Reuters). Filipino protesters shout anti-China slogans while holding placards during a demonstration outside the Chinese consulate in Manila's Makati financial district May 11, 2012. About 200 Filipino activists held a protest on Friday outside a Chinese consular office in Manila over the disputed Scarborough Shoal islands in the South China Sea claimed by both nations (Erik de Castro/ Courtesy Reuters).

–Singapore (November 2, 2012)

The dynamic city-state and commercial entrepot of Singapore offers an ideal vantage point to consider the geopolitical and economic crosscurrents washing over East Asia. The past three years have underscored the contradictions between East Asia’s dual geoeconomic and geopolitical orders. Notwithstanding China’s modest recent slowdown, three decades of explosive growth have made it the region’s clear economic fulcrum. At the same time, regional stability remains undergirded by a “hub and spoke” system of longstanding bilateral alliances between the United States and China’s neighbors—including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand—as well as emerging security partnerships with Indonesia, Vietnam, and others. Read more »

The South China Sea and the Law of the Sea

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) speaks with ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan (R) during a meeting at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta September 4, 2012 (Jim Watson/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) speaks with ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan (R) during a meeting at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta September 4, 2012 (Jim Watson/Courtesy Reuters).

Conflict is simmering in the South China Sea, where China is butting heads with four members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)—Vietnam, the Phillippines, Malaysia, and Brunei (as well as Taiwan)—over territorial claims. As China seems to gradually step up aggression in the region, the Obama administration continues the seventeen-year-old policy of  backing ASEAN as a hedge against nationalist aggression by the burgeoning naval power, China. 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 »

Governing and Protecting the World’s Oceans: Still At Sea in Rio

by Stewart M. Patrick
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon reacts as he talks to journalists during a news conference after the opening of the Rio+20 United Nations sustainable development summit in Rio de Janeiro June 20, 2012 (Nacho Doce/Courtesy Reuters). UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon reacts as he talks to journalists during a news conference after the opening of the Rio+20 United Nations sustainable development summit in Rio de Janeiro June 20, 2012 (Nacho Doce/Courtesy Reuters).

As the UN Conference on Sustainable Development—more popularly known by its moniker, “Rio+20”—wraps up today in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, initial reports from the summit are bleak. The final outcome document, painstakingly hashed out in down-to-the-wire negotiations, contains few concrete and time-specific commitments. The World Wildlife Federation dubbed the text a “colossal failure,” a sentiment echoed by the European Union, which lamented the document’s “lack of ambition.” Read more »

Everyone Agrees: Ratify the Law of the Sea

by Stewart M. Patrick
Philippine and U.S. marines during a Philippine-U.S. joint military exercise on the western coast of Philippines April 25, 2012. Thousands of American and Philippine troops participated in a mock assault to retake a small island near disputed areas in the South China Sea, an exercise expected to raise tension with rival claimant China (Romeo Ranoco/Courtesy Reuters). Philippine and U.S. marines during a Philippine-U.S. joint military exercise on the western coast of Philippines April 25, 2012. Thousands of American and Philippine troops participated in a mock assault to retake a small island near disputed areas in the South China Sea, an exercise expected to raise tension with rival claimant China (Romeo Ranoco/Courtesy Reuters).

It is high time the United States joined 162 other states and the European Union in becoming party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)—thirty years after the Reagan administration first negotiated the treaty.

On May 23, the White House dispatched its big guns to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where Senator Kerry is holding hearings on UNCLOS. The message from Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, was unequivocal: Acceding to the treaty is profoundly in the U.S. national interest. Read more »

Eating Our Seed Corn: Warnings from the Global Sustainability Report

by Stewart M. Patrick
An illegal logger cuts down a tree to be turned into planks for construction in a forest south of Sampit, in Indonesia's Central Kalimantan province November 14, 2010.  Indonesia has one of the planet's fastest rates of deforestation (Yusuf Ahmad/Courtesy Reuters). An illegal logger cuts down a tree to be turned into planks for construction in a forest south of Sampit, in Indonesia's Central Kalimantan province November 14, 2010. Indonesia has one of the planet's fastest rates of deforestation (Yusuf Ahmad/Courtesy Reuters).

Last week, as the world’s media focused on the deepening crisis over Syria, it missed a less pressing story with profound long-term implications. The High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, released a sobering assessment for the world’s seven billion inhabitants. The document—Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing­­—offers humanity a stark choice: modify our patterns of production and consumption, or risk crashing through the “planetary boundaries” of growth and social progress. Read more »