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Global Issues

Australia's next climate push must come from the right

Interpreter alumnus Andrew Carr is hardly the first to point this out, but on the day the carbon tax is repealed in the Australian parliament, it is worth repeating this sentiment: The answer to this anomaly probably lies in this Nicholas Gruen piece on The Interpreter from last May, which was a

Australia's carbon price repeal: The global context

With the repeal today of Australia's two-year-old carbon pricing scheme, the Abbott Government has formalised Australia's transition from climate laggard to climate wrecker. But just how serious a blow to global climate efforts is this repeal? To answer this question we can compare Australia

Middle powers in Asia: The limits of realism

In the world of international relations theory, the realist paradigm reigns supreme. In large part, this is because it has core features that exert strong appeal beyond the academy: explanatory parsimony and the use of historical analogy. Realists place great emphasis on Europe's experience of

Australians shifting on climate change

A month ago my colleague John Connor wrote an op-ed for the Sydney Morning Herald welcoming the fact that for the first time in years, climate change was a major story coming out of the Lowy Institute's poll of public attitudes to international affairs. Expectation for leadership on the issue was up

The economic impact of environmental crime

A new report from the UN Environment Programme claims that  the monetary value of 'environmental crime' — logging, poaching, animal trafficking, illegal fishing, illegal mining, etc — is between US$70 billion and US$213 billion each year.  If this upper figure is to be believed, then

Asia's coal demand: You ain't seen nothing yet

Sam Roggeveen yesterday showed us how much demand for coal has risen in Asia during this century. Now consider what the future will hold. A recent joint publication from the International Energy Agency and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia forecasts what is in store for the

China's banking sector: More equity, less debt

So China's economy will soon overtake the US in PPP terms. Some commentators believe market-rate calculation is more meaningful than PPP, and forecast that on this basis China still is decades away from catching America. For here is a remarkable fact: the equity market capitalisation of the US

Climate change: Asia leads, but not in a good way

Vox has some remarkable — and depressing — charts on why the world is failing on climate change, all derived from BP's latest Statistical Review of World Energy. Half of the world's greenhouse gas emissions now come from Asia, with China alone consuming half of the world's coal. This is the

G20: dealing with too-big-to-fail banks, corporate tax avoidance, and development

This issue of the G20 Monitor addresses the ‘too big to fail’ dilemma of major financial institutions, combating tax evasion and avoidance through ‘base erosion and profit shifting’ (BEPS), and a report from the ‘G20 and Development’ conference hosted by the G20 Studies Centre and

When should the IMF apologise?

If you make a mistake, common courtesy says you should apologise. The IMF made a mistake in its forecasts for the UK economy — a high profile mistake. It admitted it got it wrong. But should the IMF have apologised? In 2013, IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard publicly said that UK

Climate and energy policy merging, but where is Australia?

Australia's low level of ambition ahead of next year's climate change talks in Paris reveals more than the negative effect of domestic politics on our international reputation and economic future. The broader message to trading partners, investors and policymakers is that Australia is unwilling

Global financial crisis: Did the system really work?

Much of the mountain of commentary and analysis of the 2008 Great Recession has been either critical (Paul Krugman might be typical), or a self-interested defence (Tim Geithner and Larry Summers provide examples). Daniel Drezner's The System Worked is atypical in two respects: he was not a

Football vs international policy: No contest

Tomorrow I begin a bleary-eyed month of World Cup watching. In part to justify my reduced productivity over the next four weeks, I wanted to identify some of the key points at which global politics and world football intersect. …(cue crickets chirping)… I know others have done it, I have done

Climate change: The G20 can add value

Yesterday I gave an interview to the Sydney Morning Herald for a story published today: 'Stopping climate change talks "could hurt" G20' (p. 8 in the paper version). Here I want to offer a little more background to the three direct quotes that made it to the final story: Climate change will be

A parallel Chinese financial order

The Financial Times ran a front page piece last Monday claiming that China has ordered a ban on state-owned companies using Western management consulting companies. It is alleged by senior Chinese sources that 'foreigners use their consulting companies to find out everything they want about our

The far right in Europe's elections: Not such a big a deal

The most sensational result of the elections to the European Parliament is the gains made by xenophobic nationalists in some member countries, particularly France and the UK. The most important result however is that this will not change Europe profoundly, at least not in the short term. In the

Obama at West Point: The limits of American power

Barack Obama has declared a new foreign policy doctrine: the limits of American power. The US, he argues, 'must always lead on the world stage,' but 'US military action cannot be the only — or even primary — component of our leadership in every instance.'   Addressing future US Army

Egypt's opposition: Three scenes from Cairo

 Below are photos taken by journalist Lisa Main in Cairo over recent days of the opposition to presumptive new president Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi. We published Lisa's post on the Egyptian elections earlier today.   Ahmed Harara, a former dentist who was blinded by gunfire in the 2011 uprising. His

False choices in Egypt's presidential election

It goes something like this: over the next two days, Egyptians will elect the former head of the military, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, as Egypt's new president. His sole challenger, Hamdeen Sabahi, may do a little better than expected, perhaps denying Sisi his landslide. But by hook or by crook, Sisi will

Women in finance (or: Why is there no Lehman Sisters?)

 [youtube:fwIO4zbJt10#t=2229] As I mentioned previously, I was in the US last week to attend the Council of Councils conference in New York. Council of Councils is an initiative of the Council on Foreign Relations, and brings together 24 foreign policy think tanks from around the world around the

Movie trailer: Godzilla

A new trailer for the Godzilla reboot has just emerged, and it looks pretty awesome: Judging by the trailer, environmentalists should be ecstatic with this one. In fact, maybe James Cameron and his Hollywood actor pals could have saved themselves the effort of making a worthy documentary about

Why Kevin Rudd won't be the next UN Secretary General

Wherever Kevin Rudd goes, leadership speculation seems to follow. During his time in Australia, it centred on the stewardship of the Australian Labor Party. Now that he is based in America, it involves an even more disparate, unruly and opaque body, the UN. According to a front-page report in The

IPCC and clean energy: Easy on the optimism

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report makes for gloomy reading. The world needs 'drastic changes' to reduce carbon emissions and prevent global temperature rises, reports the ABC; investment in renewable energy needs to triple, says the BBC; the emissions problem is

Think20 2014: Progress report on Australia’s G20 presidency

Leading analysts from influential think tanks from 11 countries across the world provide their interim assessment of the Australian G20 presidency in this report. They all participated in last year’s Think20 meeting in Sydney, organised by the Lowy Institute, and are now discussing whether

G20: BRICS muscle up over Russia

The good news is that the odds are clearly in favour of the Brisbane G20 Summit going ahead: Sportsbet is offering $1.05 that the Summit will be held and $8.00 that it won't. The bad news is the fact that odds are being offered at all, even if they are long. The question mark that has arisen over

G20 2014: perspectives from business, civil society, labour, think tanks and youth

G20 engagement partners from Business (B20), Civil Society (C20), Labour (L20), Think Tanks (T20) and Youth (Y20) have each provided a contribution for this issue of the Monitor. Each address how the groups are organising their contribution to the G20 process in 2014, their priorities for the

A larger Australia? Sure, but for what, exactly?

I'm going to focus on one aspect of Michael Fullilove's National Press Club address, neatly summarised in his conclusion: Australia has a choice. Do we want to be a little nation, with a small population, a restricted diplomatic network, a modest defence force, and a cramped vision of our future

Is the IMF a political football in the Ukraine crisis?

The way they were. Yanukovich and Strauss Kahn in 2010. Ukraine faces an economic crisis as well as a political one. Its economy is a mess and it will take a lot of money and time to put it on a sustainable growth path. It may not have enough of either. Caught in the middle is the IMF. The

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