After months of whispered warnings, Russia’s economic troubles made global headlines when its currency collapsed halfway through December. Amid the tumbling price of oil, the ruble has fallen to record lows, bringing the country to its most serious economic crisis since the late 1990s.
The post-2015 global climate change agreement should be flexible and fully resourced or else condemn Africa to another cycle of poverty resulting from the adverse effects of climate change.
On Nov. 18, a committee of the United Nations General Assembly voted
111 to 19, with 55 abstentions, in favour of drafting a non-binding resolution referring North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Rampant unsustainable logging in the southwest Pacific Island states of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, where the majority of land is covered in tropical rainforest, is worsening hardship, human insecurity and conflict in rural communities.
At the height of the Cold War the world’s total arsenal of nuclear weapons, counted as explosive potential, may have amounted to three million Hiroshima bombs. The United States alone possessed 1.6 million Hiroshimas’ worth of destructive capacity.
Less than a week after everybody celebrated the historical agreement
on Nov. 17 between the United States and China on reduction of CO2
emissions, a very cold shower has come from India.
There is a good chance that economic jockeying between China and Russia in Central Asia will intensify in the coming months. For Russia, Chinese economic expansion could put a crimp in President Vladimir Putin’s grand plan for the Eurasian Economic Union.
- In recent days, two major developments have injected new life into international action on climate change.
In just a few days, a meeting is scheduled that will be decisive for the security of the Middle East and of the whole world.
China and the United States are responsible for 35 percent of global carbon emissions but could do their part to keep climate change to less than two degrees C by adopting best energy efficiency standards, a new analysis shows.
The new European Commission looks more like an experiment in balancing opposite forces than an institution that is run by some kind of governance. It will probably end up being paralysed by internal conflicts, which is the last thing it needs.
The Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti was recently sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of separatism.
The steady increase in patent applications and grants that is taking place in developed and some developing countries (notably in China) is sometimes hailed as evidence of the strength of global innovation and of the role of the patent system in encouraging it.
A gift of nature, or a valuable commodity? A human right, or a luxury for the privileged few? Will the agricultural sector or industrial sector be the main consumer of this precious resource? Whatever the answers to these and many more questions, one thing is clear: that water will be one of the defining issues of the coming decade.
The Taiwan government’s plan to liberalise tariff-free imports of agricultural produce from China and other countries for processing in free economic pilot zones, which will then be exported as ‘Made in Taiwan’ items, may mean suicide for Taiwanese farmers if approved by the national legislature.