Environment & Climate Change

646 Items

Assorted plastic collected during a spring community cleanup at the shoreline and harborfront of Hamilton, Ontario.

Jasmin Sessler

Paper

Avoiding a Plastic Pandemic: The Future of Sustainability in a Post COVID-19 World

| January 2021

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is upending our lives and the global economy in ways unimaginable until recently. While the overall impacts are still difficult to quantify, ramifications are sure to be felt for decades to come. Providing secure, reliable, and affordable resources for all without causing devastating environmental consequences is perhaps the greatest challenge of the 21st century. But the pandemic has significantly altered dynamics and changed priorities. How is this impacting the quest for sustainability?

In this paper we analyze these challenges by focusing on the plastic industry. There is no doubt that plastic has molded society in many ways that make our lives easier and safer, but it has also created a global environmental and sustainability crisis. In order to curb our addiction to plastic, the world had been waging a war against virgin plastic, but the pandemic has turned an enemy into a much-needed ally. How can we leverage the advantages of plastic without contributing to the world’s environmental crisis? This dilemma poses a significant challenge, but also opens an opportunity to address sustainability at a systemic level through circularity and the transition to low-carbon alternatives to petroleum-based plastics.

President-elect Joe Biden and his climate envoy, John Kerry, at The Queen theater.

Carolyn Kaster/AP

Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

What Does Success Look Like for a Climate Czar?

| Dec. 02, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden’s decision to create a new cabinet-level position for climate-related issues — and to choose so prominent a figure as former Secretary of State John Kerry to fill it — demonstrates Biden’s sincerity over putting climate at the very center of U.S. foreign policy. It is easy to understate the importance of this appointment, given the flurry of czars created by most new administrations.

United Nations Building

AP/Mary Altaffer

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

International Institutions Still Matter to the US

| Nov. 09, 2020

Joseph Nye writes that with less preponderance and facing a more complex world, the United States must exercise power with as well as over others and use its soft power to attract their cooperation. To do that, the United States will have to rediscover the importance of the institutions Donald Trump's administration abandoned.

European Commissioner for European Green Deal Frans Timmermans

AP/Virginia Mayo, Pool

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

Post-Pandemic Geopolitics

| Oct. 06, 2020

Estimating the long-term effect of the current pandemic is not an exact prediction of the future, but an exercise in weighing probabilities and adjusting current policies. When envisioning the international order in 2030,  joseph Nye details five scenarios that stand out.

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Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

After Oil: Throwing Money at Green Energy Isn’t Enough

| Sep. 17, 2020

The geopolitical and geo-economic forces wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, as examined previously in this series, are likely to slow the transition to a more sustainable global energy mix. Fortunately, the pandemic has also resulted in governments gaining vastly greater influence over whether this shift stalls or accelerates.

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Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

Pandemic Is Hurting, Not Helping, Green Energy

| Sep. 16, 2020

For most people, there was nothing to celebrate when the International Monetary Fund downgraded its outlook for global economic growth in June, anticipating a contraction of 4.9% for 2020. Yet for others, such as the small but persistent group of economists and others known as the degrowth movement,” the Covid-induced economic slowdown has a silver lining.