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President Obama and Thai Prime Minister Shingluck on Climate Change

President Obama’s historic trip to Asia, which included the first visit to Burma by a sitting U.S. president, is clearly a watershed moment for U.S. foreign policy, human rights and democracy promotion. But it also marks an important development in addressing the global climate crisis. The U.S. is reconsidering its national security priorities and “pivoting” to the Asia-Pacific for a number of reasons. One of those reasons, though it often goes unsaid, is to compete (and sometimes cooperate) with China for influence in this key strategic region. However one feels about that strategy, this momentum should be harnessed in order to address the current and future effects of climate change on the vulnerable places and nations of Asia-Pacific (see here for our piece on this subject from last February, A Marshall Plan to Combat Climate Change in the Asia-Pacific). (more…)

Secretary Clinton on Energy Diplomacy

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a speech yesterday titled “Energy diplomacy in the 21st Century.” See a video of the speech, and the Secretary’s official remarks. Below is an excerpt from the remarks, which details the framework of the State Department’s conception of energy as a foreign policy issue. (more…)

Secretary Clinton on Food and Water Security

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been making the rounds recently and speaking of the importance of tackling both food and water security, two resource issues that are inextricably linked. Three days ago, Secretary Clinton met with the President of Malawi, where she discussed both the U.S. “Feed the Future” program, and other food security goals. She also announced an extraordinary commitment to eradicating hunger by U.S.-based NGOs: (more…)

Could Climate Change Increase the Probability of Future Mass Atrocities?

As reported today in the New York Times, “a group of foreign policy experts, among them Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, gathered at the Holocaust Memorial Museum on Tuesday to consider modern threats of genocide and how to prevent them.” Interestingly, the subjects of climate change, water, food and energy security came up. (more…)

Room for Climate Diplomacy: Secretary Clinton’s Trip to Asia and the Future of U.S. Engagement in the Region

A recent New York Times article covering Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s current diplomatic travels in Asia focused on her efforts to ramp up trade with the region. This move is seen by some analysts as the softer side of the Obama administration’s so-called “pacific pivot” or “rebound,” where the spotlight has until now shone primarily on plans to expand the U.S. military presence in the region. (more…)

Secretary Clinton Tours the Arctic

Secretary Clinton is touring the Arctic Circle, signalling how important this region is becoming to the United States as ice melts, and sea lanes open up. Commenting on her visit, she stated: “many of the predictions about warming in the Arctic are being surpassed by the actual data.” “That was not necessarily surprising but sobering…” (more…)

Methane Emerging From Arctic Ice Melt in the Deep Ocean

Methane, an extreme, short-lived climate forcer (it is 70 times more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas, but breaks down far quicker in the atmosphere) is usually found under the ice on frozen landmasses, or at the bottom of shallow Siberian seas. However, scientists flying over cracks in melting Arctic sea ice in the deep ocean have recently found high levels of methane emerging – a highly unexpected finding. This is particularly worrying, as any warming in the Arctic is bound to lock into feedback loops that further accelerate warming. (more…)