Varun Sivaram

Energy, Security, and Climate

CFR experts examine the science and foreign policy surrounding climate change, energy, and nuclear security.

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Showing posts for "Diplomacy"

Another Perspective on the Durban Climate Talks

by Michael Levi

I argued earlier this week that many were overreacting to the outcome from the Durban climate talks. Trevor Houser, partner at RHG and visiting fellow at the Peterson Institute, posted his own thoughtful take on the talks on the PIIE website. I’m reprinting the last part, which is in part a direct response to my earlier post, with his permission. We’re planning to follow this up with a discussion soon. Read more »

Is It Time to Move Beyond the UN Climate Talks?

by Michael Levi

It has become a tradition after the annual United Nations climate negotiations for analysts to lament the dysfunctional nature of the process, and to argue that we’d be better off cutting the talks down to the few countries that really matter. After all, the world’s twenty top greenhouse gas emitters account for north of eighty percent of global emissions. Why bother with all the extra complexity entailed in the UN talks? Read more »

A Misplaced Climate Celebration In Durban

by Michael Levi

The Durban climate talks are over, and many are celebrating. After repeatedly reaching the brink of collapse, the summit produced agreements on several counts. The Associated Press reported that it approved a “landmark deal” that was “meant to set a new course for the global fight against climate change for the coming decades”. Christina Figueres, head of the system that oversees the talks, heralded the arrival of a “remarkable new phase in [the] climate regime”. Read more »

Kyoto Zombie Still Walking

by Michael Levi

Here’s what I wrote the morning after the Cancun climate talks ended:

“There is one big hole in the Cancun agreement that many observers, in their excitement, appear to have quickly forgotten: its treatment of the Kyoto Protocol…. The Cancun result punts the dispute to next year’s talks…. The big challenge for next year’s talks will be to protect Cancun’s progress and momentum from the inevitable acrimony over Kyoto.” Read more »

A View from Kenya on Cancun

by Michael Levi

I asked Josh Busby, an Assistant Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, to write a guest post for this blog. Josh is conducting research on climate change in Kenya right now; in this post, he connects what he’s seeing on the ground to the climate talks in Cancun. Earlier this year, the CFR Program on International Institutions and Global Governance published his paper “After Copenhagen: Climate Governance and the Road Ahead“; he also wrote a study for us a couple years ago on climate change and national security. Read more »

What do Julian Assange and (Some) Climate Activists Have in Common?

by Michael Levi

Answer: Both don’t seem to understand that effective diplomacy requires some secrecy. Here’s what I mean.

Assange, the man behind WikiLeaks, seems to think that indiscriminately publishing hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables will somehow improve the world. I’m as opposed to counterproductive secrecy as much as the next guy, but by making private diplomacy much more difficult, WikiLeaks is undercutting efforts aimed at peaceful conflict resolution. As my former FAS colleague Steve Aftergood, a leading anti-secrecy crusader, wrote last week, “If [WikiLeaks] were anti-war, it would safeguard, not disrupt, the conduct of diplomatic communications.” Read more »