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"

A Brighter Future for the Planet

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for 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). 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 »

Surface Tension: Chinese Aggression Roils Southeast Asian Waters

by Stewart M. Patrick
Filipino activists protest Chinese reclamation in the South China Sea outside the Chinese embassy in Manila on April 17, 2015. Filipino activists protest Chinese reclamation in the South China Sea outside the Chinese embassy in Manila on April 17, 2015 (Erik De Castro/Reuters).

In telling the Group of Seven (G7) yesterday to butt out of its controversial maritime claims in East Asia, China has doubled down on an historic strategic blunder. Beijing’s belligerence in the South China Sea is especially imprudent. By refusing to compromise on its outrageous sovereignty claims, the government of Xi Jinping discredits its “peaceful rise” rhetoric and complicates efforts by member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to “triangulate” between China and the United States. Continued Chinese muscle-flexing will only undermine support for president Xi Jinping’s signature One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative and push regional fence-sitters into the U.S. embrace. The most promising outcome for all concerned would be a face-saving climb-down by China. Under this scenario, Beijing would promote détente rather than confrontation—without explicitly abandoning its jurisdictional claims. These are the main takeaways from a week’s worth of discussions with officials, policy analysts, and academics in China, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Read more »

Oceans and Climate Change: A Bleak Outlook

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for 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 »

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 »

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 »