All CFR Reports

Venture Capital and Cleantech: The Wrong Model for Clean Energy Innovation

Author: Varun Sivaram

Venture capital (VC) firms spent over $25 billion funding clean energy technology (cleantech) start-ups from 2006 to 2011 and lost over half their money; as a result, funding has dried up in the cleantech sector. In this report, we present the most comprehensive account to date of the cleantech VC boom and bust, aggregating hundreds of investments to calculate the risk/return profile of cleantech, compared with those of medical and software technology investments. The results are stark—cleantech offered VCs a dismal risk/return profile, dragged down by companies developing new materials, chemistries, or processes that never achieved manufacturing scale. We conclude that the VC model is broken for the cleantech sector, which suffers especially from a dearth of large corporations willing to invest in innovation. Fortunately, new public and private capital may be on the way after announcements made at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Summit. If a new and more diverse set of actors avoids the mistakes of the cleantech VC boom and bust, then they may be able to support a new generation of cleantech companies."

The publisher of the third featured publication should be "Stanford University Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance

See more in Global; Energy and Environment

Global Economics Monthly August 2016

Author: Robert Kahn

Steven A. Tananbaum Senior Fellow for International Economics Robert Kahn argues that markets have absorbed the initial economic shock from Brexit, but navigating the new landscape will remain a challenge. Two months after the vote, the politics of Brexit is producing a lengthy and uncertain renegotiation of Britain’s place in Europe and the world. Such extended uncertainty is likely to produce a long-lasting drag on both UK and European economies, which could ultimately threaten the viability of the European Union (EU).

See more in Europe; Economics

Global Economics Monthly July 2016

Author: Robert Kahn

Steven A. Tananbaum Senior Fellow for International Economics Robert Kahn argues that summer has seemingly brought a new optimism about the Russian economy. Russia’s economic downturn is coming to an end, and markets have outperformed amidst global turbulence.  But the coming recovery is likely to be tepid, constrained by deficits and poor structural policies, and sanctions will continue to bite. Brexit-related concerns are also likely to weigh on oil prices and demand. All this suggests that Russia’s economy will have a limited capacity to respond to future shocks.

See more in Russia and Central Asia; Economics

The Future of Global Supply Chains

The Future of Global Supply Chains

CFR hosted a workshop to explore how globalized production patterns are evolving, the risks they face, and how companies and countries can improve compliance and resilience across supply chains through new trade standards, legal regimes, and policies. 

See more in Global; China; Trade; Global Future Trends

Reconfiguring USAID for State-Building

Reconfiguring USAID for State-Building

Authors: Max Boot and Michael Miklaucic

The United States needs a civilian capacity to foster better-functioning institutions in chaotic countries, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) should lead that effort. To embrace a state-building mission, however, USAID will have to be transformed. Max Boot and Michael Miklaucic argue that the agency will need to do less but do it better, and limit its efforts to strategically important states while enhancing its focus on building core state functions. 

See more in United States; Foreign Aid; Nation Building

Reforming the U.S. International Military Education and Training Program

Reforming the U.S. International Military Education and Training Program

Author: Joshua Kurlantzick

The International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, which provides U.S. government funds to members of foreign militaries to take classes at U.S. military facilities, has the potential to be a powerful tool of U.S. influence. Joshua Kurlantzick explains how the program can be reformed to more effectively promote U.S. interests.

See more in Asia and Pacific; United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft; Military Leadership

Challenging Multilateralism and the Liberal Order

Challenging Multilateralism and the Liberal Order

While globalization has intensified the need for global cooperation, the current global order is fraying. New forms of competition are making international cooperation more difficult and will continue to do so. The sixth Princeton workshop on global governance convened scholars and former policymakers to examine the state of global governance and consider how to correct its shortcomings. 

See more in Global Governance; Diplomacy and Statecraft; Global

China’s G20 Challenge

China’s G20 Challenge

China’s leadership of the Group of Twenty (G20) in 2016 comes at a moment when the role of the G20 itself is being challenged. CFR's Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies and the Asia Global Institute convened a workshop in Hong Kong to assess the agenda facing the G20, why the group had fallen short of expectations in recent years, and whether China’s leadership in 2016 provides an opportunity for renewal. 

See more in China; Economics; International Organizations and Alliances

A New Framework for Cross-Border Data Flows

A New Framework for Cross-Border Data Flows

Author: Karen Kornbluh

The flow of data across international borders creates jurisdictional challenges and causes international tensions. Increasingly, countries have responded by imposing new requirements to store data locally, threatening cross-border data flows, which generate approximately $2.8 trillion of global gross domestic product each year. CFR Senior Fellow for Digital Policy Karen Kornbluh argues that the United States should take the lead in addressing these tensions.

See more in Europe; United States; Internet Policy; Privacy

New Geopolitics of China, India, and Pakistan

New Geopolitics of China, India, and Pakistan

South Asia is in the midst of a geopolitical transformation wrought by several simultaneous developments: China’s rise, India’s rise, and attempts by the United States to recalibrate its own strategy to address new power dynamics across the arc of Asia from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean. CFR's Asia program convened a symposium to discuss the new geopolitics of southern Asia.

See more in Asia and Pacific; Diplomacy and Statecraft; Global Governance

Global Economics Monthly May 2016

Author: Robert Kahn

Steven A. Tananbaum Senior Fellow for International Economics Robert Kahn argues that the crisis in Venezuela continues to escalate, with no recovery or relief in sight. A messy and chaotic default looms, and the rescue will likely involve a tough adjustment program, large-scale financing from international policymakers, and deep sacrifices from Venezuela’s creditors and, most of all, the Venezuelan people. China’s role, as Venezuela’s largest creditor, will be critical and precedential for other emerging market commodity exporters with too much debt.

See more in Americas; Economics

The Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership as a Foreign Policy Tool

The Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership as a Foreign Policy Tool

What are the ways in which the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) could advance the noneconomic foreign policy interests of the United States, the European Union (EU), and EU member states? The Council on Foreign Relations gathered experts—including current and former policymakers, economists, political scientists, investors, and business representatives—to explore whether and how the still-evolving TTIP could be designed to meet foreign policy objectives.

See more in Europe; Trade; Treaties and Agreements