President Obama gave this executive order on November 1, 2013. The order establishes the Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, outlines coordination between federal and state planning, and requests a review of policies related to protecting natural and environmental resources.
"This winter, the maximum total Antarctic sea ice extent was reported to be 19.47 million square metres, which is 3.6% above the winter average calculated from 1981 to 2010. This continues a trend that is weakly positive and remains in stark contrast to the decline in Arctic summer sea ice extent (2013 was 18% below the mean from 1981-2010). To further complicate this picture, we find this net increase actually masks strong declines in particular regions around Antarctica, such as in the Bellingshausen Sea, which are on par or greater than those in the Artic."
President Obama spoke at Georgetown University, before the release of his Climate Change Plan, on June 25, 2013. The plan focuses on cutting carbon pollution, preparing for the impact of climate change, and leading international ifforts to address global climate change.
Asked by Matthew Woltmann, from American Military University, California Author: Daniel P. Ahn
Determining the "most urgent" global environmental issue is somewhat subjective; many would argue that carbon emissions and climate change is the most pressing issue. Others are just as passionate about deforestation, water scarcity, groundwater contamination, loss of biodiversity, landfills, ocean acidification, air quality… the list goes on.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) released this report on June 10, 2013. It explains current and future energy and climate policies and the importance of the energy sector's help to meet international targets on greenhouse gas limits.
Many observers have noted that the loss of Arctic ice is already leading to stepped-up human activity in the high north, particularly in the form of increasing commercial traffic and development. This trend has brought forth a range of issues on the geopolitical front, from environmental protection to search-and-rescue capabilities to the delineation of national boundaries—which will determine access to natural resources. These concerns are being addressed cooperatively in both bilateral and multilateral fashion, especially under the aegis of the Arctic Council and the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Asked by Soumaya Maghnouj, from Sciences-Po Author: Daniel P. Ahn
The global economic crisis and the subsequent attention to economic and budgetary issues have monopolized the political debate. With the aftermath of the crisis still being felt, there is not much political will for policies that may create short-term economic pain for long-term benefits. These include policies to combat or adapt to climate change.
The Arctic region is undergoing unprecedented and disruptive change. Its climate is changing more rapidly than anywhere else on earth. Rising temperatures are causing a retreat of sea ice and changes to seasonal length, weather patterns and ecosystems. These changes have prompted a reassessment of economic and development potential in the Arctic and are giving rise to a set of far-reaching political developments.
Asked by Lindsey Wahlstrom, from Columbia University
Climate change has both direct and indirect health consequences. Direct consequences include those resulting from high temperatures and severe weather events; while indirect ones arise from changing air and water quality and ecological shifts that favor tropical diseases and parasites.
Since 1988, Brazilians have cleared more than 153,000 square miles of Amazonian rain forest, devastating the environment and driving global climate change forward ever faster. Recently, however, Brazil has changed its course, reducing the rate of deforestation by 83 percent since 2004. At the same time, it has become a test case for a controversial international climate-change prevention strategy that places a monetary value on the carbon stored in forests.
Michael A. Levi, CFR's David M. Rubenstein senior fellow for energy and the environment, and director of the program on energy security and climate change, leads a conversation on President Obama's climate change policies.
While California may not be getting much attention at this year's UN climate talks in Doha, "California's new cap-and-trade system is perhaps the biggest good news climate story this year, and delegates in Doha should be celebrating it," says Michael A. Levi.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
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.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 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 »