Senior officials from almost two hundred nations are meeting in Paris, France, for the twenty-first annual United Nations Conference of Parties (COP21), also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. Below, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Foreign Affairs magazine offer resources on the challenges of climate change.
The Paris talks have been built up as a critical moment for confronting climate change, making even the perception of success important for momentum on lowering carbon emissions, writes CFR’s Michael Levi.
The visit of Pope Francis cast a spotlight on U.S. climate policies, which rely on executive action to chase emission reduction targets pledged ahead of a year-end conference, write CFR’s Varun Sivaram and Allison Dorey.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jingping met September 25, 2015, to discuss both countries' previous commitments to combat climate change in preparation for the Paris Climate Conference from November 30-December 11, 2015. They also discussed trade and investment initiatives and cyberespionage.
Deforestation is a major man-made source of greenhouse gas emissions, and is especially significant in countries with large tropical forests. CFR hosted a workshop designed to draw lessons from Brazil’s recent success at limiting deforestation, understand why countries such as Indonesia have so far struggled, and identify ways to further reduce deforestation.
Although history is not usually taught this way, one could argue that cities have played a more important role in shaping the world than empires. From Athens and Rome to Paris and Venice to Baghdad and Beijing, urban ideas and innovators have left indelible marks on human life.
President Barack Obama and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon met on August 4, 2015, to discuss several international initiatives that the United States is addressing with the UN, including climate change, humanitarian crises, political violence, and economic development.
Pope Francis released this document on June 18, 2015. The encyclical states that humans have made "irresponsible use" of the Earth, that climate change affects most people living in poverty, and that all must unite to protect the planet.
U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) released this draft of its report Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States on April 7, 2015, in response to President Obama's Climate Action Plan. The final report, expected to be published in early 2016, is "intended to present a comprehensive, evidence-based, and, where possible, quantitative estimation of observed and projected public health impacts related to climate change in the United States."
The new House budget sets a deadline of October 1 to “cut waste, eliminate redundancies and end the abuse or misuse of taxpayer dollars,” and it specifically targets the Department of Defense (DOD) for spending “part of their budget studying climate change.” Varun Sivaram highlights how the military’s broad portfolio of climate change adaptation efforts should not be considered redundant or wasteful because it bolsters American national security interests.
Michael A. Levi, CFR’s David M. Rubenstein senior fellow for energy and the environment, and director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for geoeconomic studies, discusses climate change and the evolving global response.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »