Overall verdict is not enough done
Professor Tim Benton
Not enough has been done at this meeting to reduce emissions consistent with avoiding dangerous climate change in decades to come.
There have been lots of pledges and the launching of encouraging new international initiatives, some more meaningful than others. But genuine urgency and a willingness to match words with action and to close the yawning gap between pledges and detailed, short-term plans is still missing.
Governments need to move forward from this summit with renewed determination to cooperate, urgently build on what’s been agreed here, and strengthen their nationally-determined contributions (NDCs) in the next year, while providing the finance that poor countries and vulnerable populations need.… Seguir leyendo »
Success at Glasgow depends on bridging fault lines
The G20 summit’s lack of progress on climate highlights the scale of the challenge – and the stakes – for COP26. The countries responsible for 80 per cent of global emissions recognized but failed to agree concrete action to limit global warming to 1.5C.
The leaders’ gathering reveals multilateralism’s fault lines. One is the tension between domestic politics and international priorities, reflected in the lack of ambition to reduce coal dependency. The second is the tension between industrialized and developing states over responsibility for delivering global goods.
The G20 failed to endorse the G7’s pledge to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 or to accelerate the mobilization of previously agreed climate financing.… Seguir leyendo »
This paper explores the role of the global food system as the principal driver of accelerating biodiversity loss. It explains how food production is degrading or destroying natural habitats and contributing to species extinction. The paper outlines the challenges and trade-offs involved in redesigning food systems to restore biodiversity and/or prevent further biodiversity loss, and presents recommendations for action.
The paper introduces three ‘levers’ for reducing pressures on land and creating a more sustainable food system. The first is to change dietary patterns to reduce food demand and encourage more plant-based diets. The second is to protect and set aside land for nature, whether through re-establishing native ecosystems on spared farmland or integrating pockets of natural habitat into farmland.… Seguir leyendo »
When the pandemic struck, many countries were quick to close their borders, turning inward in the scramble to protect lives and livelihoods. Sadly, the crisis has done little to bond nations against this shared, invisible foe – in some cases, blame for the outbreak and rows over responses actually exacerbating geopolitical tensions.
However, some effects of COVID-19 may yet unite us, in the profound ways the disease has impacted almost every part of life across the planet, giving us a rare opportunity to pause and consider how we live. News of an effective vaccine makes the prospect of a ‘return to normality’ more hopeful but have these dramatic accelerations in existing trends already changed how we travel, work, and consume, and the face of our cities for good?… Seguir leyendo »
The authors of this collection consider the most pressing foreign policy challenges for the next US president, and examine how the outcome of the 2020 election will affect these.
The president will determine how the US’s diplomatic, economic and military resources are invested, and what value the administration will attach to existing alliances and multilateral institutions.
Whoever sits in the White House will shape the trajectory of the US–China relationship and the global economy after the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as international cooperation on climate action, international trade and technology policy, and health.
- The last four years have confirmed that the choices the US makes are highly consequential for international politics.
… Seguir leyendo »
Experts across Chatham House shared their views on Trump and Biden’s performance and their key takeaways from the last debate. More than 47 million Americans have already cast their vote and few voters are undecided, but the debates still provide a good lens into these two very different candidates.
Throughout the presidential race, there have been concerns regarding foreign interference in the election. How did candidates respond to this threat?
Leslie Vinjamuri: The candidates deflected the question, but it could not have been more timely. Only two days ago, John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, and Christopher A. Wray, the FBI director, announced that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration data and used this to send threatening emails to voters.… Seguir leyendo »
Throughout history, humans have been afflicted by diseases transmitted from animals. The current coronavirus outbreak is the latest to have taken place in recent years from the 1998 Nipah virus in Malaysia to the 2014 Ebola virus across West Africa.
Over the past decade, the World Health Organization has declared four global health emergencies and research reveals outbreaks are becoming more common. How do diseases transmit from animals to humans and why are we seeing an increase around the world?
Tim Benton: The fundamental job of pathogens throughout evolution has been to maximize their chances of infecting susceptible organisms.
Pathogens can live in lots of different host organisms and so they are continually looking for an opportunity to jump from one species to another.… Seguir leyendo »
The way we grow, process and consume food — our food system — underpins human social and economic development for centuries. Innovations such as domesticating plants and animals, bread-making, the plough or the refrigerator have transformed what we grow, how we grow it, and how we prepare and consume food.
But our food system now faces its biggest ever challenge. How to feed a growing human population to avoid diet-related ill-health (through too much or too little food) but in a way that does not drive climate change or biodiversity loss.
Research on the future of our food systems has largely focused on incremental changes possible with existing technologies.… Seguir leyendo »
The 2019–20 fire season in Australia has been unprecedented. To date, an estimated 18 million hectares of fire has cut swathes through the bush – an area greater than that of the average European country and over five times the size of blazes in the Amazon.
This reflects previous predictions of Australian science. Since 2008 and as recently as 2018, scientific bodies have warned that climate change will exacerbate existing conditions for fires and other climatic disasters in Australia. What used to be once-in-a-generation fires now re-appear within 10–15 years with increased ferocity, over longer seasons.
In a country known for climate denial and division, debate has erupted around bushfire management and climate change.… Seguir leyendo »
A shared agenda: strengthening democracy at home
As Britain is set to leave the EU, many have argued that the US–UK relationship is bound to suffer a lasting setback, since a UK outside the EU cannot possibly be as important or helpful to the United States as one that is in.
To make matters worse, Trump’s policies on Iran, trade and climate are making it hard for the UK to align with its American ally. And Trump’s popularity among the UK electorate is reported to be as low as 21%, so the UK’s candidates for prime minister are likely to be cautious when considering how to engage this American president.… Seguir leyendo »
Whatever one thinks of Brexit, the process has highlighted a fundamental problem with the UK’s governance mechanisms – namely, that policymaking is often trapped within departmental silos too focused on the short term. In a complex world, decisions made for the benefit of one sector, or group, have the potential to affect other sectors in myriad ways over long periods of time, but government struggles to manage these competing interests.
For example, producing more food – in order to make it cheaper – impacts water, energy and greenhouse gas emissions, and potentially degrades the environment. That trade may allow these impacts to happen overseas and play out over many years doesn’t mean they go away.… Seguir leyendo »