Energy and Environment

Ask CFR Experts

What is the most urgent global environmental issue and how should it be addressed?

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.

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See more in Global; Climate Change; Environmental Policy

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What do Israel’s Mediterranean natural gas resources mean for the region’s economy and security?

Asked by Larry Davenport, from Virginia Beach, Virginia

Israel has discovered substantial natural gas deposits off its shores in the last four years. While these gas finds are not significant in terms of global gas supply (they constitute less than two percent of the world's proven gas reserves), they do appear large enough not only to meet Israel's needs, but to enable Israel to export significant quantities.

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Primary Sources

United States and China Agreement on Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) Consumption and Production, June 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California June 7-8, 2013. Based on the Montreal Protocol findings regarding ozone layer-depleting emissions, they issued this agreement to reduce the production and consumption of HFCs, to address one aspect of climate change. In 2014, the United States and China committed to additional carbon emissions reductions.

See more in China; Pollution; United States

Article

China’s Environmental Future: The Power of the People

Author: Elizabeth C. Economy
McKinsey Quarterly

The costs of China's deep and enduring environmental crisis are growing, yet Beijing's response to the country's environmental challenges has been far from sufficient. Increasingly, the Chinese people are pushing the government to do more to protect the environment, and Beijing must rise to the occasion, says Elizabeth Economy.

See more in China; Energy and Environment; Environmental Policy; Politics and Strategy

Primary Sources

U.S. Coast Guard: Arctic Strategy

Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp released this maritime governance document on May 21, 2013, which will "guide our efforts in the region over the next 10 years" based on "three key objectives: improving awareness, modernizing governance, and broadening partnerships."

See more in Arctic; Defense Strategy; Oceans