Last month, energy ministers from around the world gathered in San Francisco for the annual Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), which for the past seven years has focused on deploying existing clean energy technologies around the world. But for the first time, clean energy innovation was on the gathering’s agenda as well. In a parallel “Mission Innovation” Ministerial (MIM), twenty countries and the European Union — accounting for over 80 percent of the world’s public energy research and development (R&D) funding — committed to collectively double R&D funding to $30 billion by 2021.
The Amazon rainforest absorbs more greenhouse gases than any other tropical forest. But in Brazil, deforestation has claimed nearly a fifth of its tree cover, which threatens biodiversity and contributes to climate change.
As the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris came to a close in December 2015, foreign ministers from around the world raised their arms in triumph. Indeed, there was more to celebrate in Paris than at any prior climate summit.
After dithering for decades, governments finally seem to be paying serious attention to the problem of global climate change. Late last year, at the Paris climate conference, they adopted a major new agreement to limit global warming, beginning a process to strengthen commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over time.
If the world is to avoid climate calamity, it needs to reduce its carbon emissions drastically by the middle of this century—a target that is simply out of reach with existing technology. Varun Sivaram and his co-author present the case for a massive investment in clean energy research and development to reach that goal.
Last week, Nigeria’s Senate passed President Muhammadu Buhari’s proposed 2016 budget, which projected a deficit of $15 billion due to falling oil prices. In an email interview, Matthew Page, an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, discussed the impact of falling oil prices on Nigeria’s economy and politics.
or decades, Nigeria’s state oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been the leading symbol of official corruption and a seemingly boundless source of political patronage. Faced with plummeting global oil prices and dwindling state coffers, president Muhammadu Buhari cannot afford to allow the NNPC, under a veneer of reform, to operate much as it did before.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released this statement on March 10, 2016. The leaders agreed to move forward on the Paris Agreement and support other international efforts to combat the effects of climate change. The joint statement also details U.S.-Canada cooperation on curbing emissions, integrating renewable energy into existing grids, and developing additional clean technologies.
Robert Kahn testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, describing the crisis risks generated by persistently low oil and gas prices. He argued that the risks are especially acute for energy exporters such as Venezuela and Nigeria, and that such countries need sizable policy adjustments in the immediate future.
With oil prices collapsing, Saudi Arabia is facing similar problems that the Soviet Union faced decades ago. Saudi policymakers’ economic reform strategies also echo those of Mikhail Gorbachev. However, different from Gorbachev’s Soviet Union, Saud Arabia’s foreign policy is both confrontational and interventionist. Saudi seeks change, but hopes to keep it in bounds, and may want the world to remain a dangerous place.
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 »