Friday 30 Oct 2020 | 10:33 | SYDNEY
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Global Issues

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

Mekong: Laos confirms Don Sahong dam plans

The Lao Government confirmed on Wednesday its intention to go ahead with construction of the controversial Don Sahong dam, commencing in December. Lao government ministers said that all of their actions in doing so would be presented in a transparent fashion. As I reported in The Interpreter on

More Trans Pacific Partnership commentary

Further pushback to the Krugman column that Stephen Grenville quoted in his piece on the TPP yesterday. Gideon Rachman shares Grenville's view that Krugman is too busy looking at the economic trees to see the strategic forest. But unlike Grenville, who wants the TPP to embrace China, Rachman

The global outlook for renewable energy

My previous article showed that there has been an unprecedented level of investment in renewable energy over the last decade. Let's consider the drivers for this in more detail and look to the future. Policy measures introduced in Europe and North America kick-started the market for wind turbines

The case against Assange and Snowden

Get comfortable before you tackle this epic portrait of Julian Assange by his ghost-writer, Andrew O'Hagan. The author writes more in sadness than in anger because he is clearly inspired by WikiLeaks' mission. But the project to produce an Assange autobiography/manifesto drags on and is

Adam Minter on the Junkyard Planet (part 4)

Here's part 1 of my interview with author Adam Minter (on the globalisation of the scrap and recycling industry), part 2 on China's role in this industry, and part 3 on India. In this last instalment, I ask Adam about junk and environmentalism: PB: To finish, let's turn to the future. What do you

Review: Paul Collier's 'Exodus'

Oxford economist Paul Collier has spent much of his career studying the lives of the poorest people on earth. His popular The Bottom Billion considered the causes and possible solutions to extreme poverty.  In his new book, Exodus: Immigration and Multiculturalism in the 21st Century, Collier's

Global cooperation among G20 countries: responding to the crisis and restoring growth

At the outbreak of the global financial crisis, 2008, the G20 was widely acknowledged as helping prevent an even more serious decline in the global economy. It helped to calm the panic in financial markets and articulate a set of possible policy options to restore global stability and growth.

Interview: Adam Minter on the Junkyard Planet

Journalist Adam Minter has written a fascinating account of the global rubbish and recycling industry. I recommended his book, Junkyard Planet, as one of my top 'development books' of 2013. Here is part 1 of an interview I am conducting with Adam via email, and below the text a couple of captioned

Syria and the Geneva conference

The so-called Geneva II conference ended last Friday.  The key to any negotiation regarding Syria is to aim low and keep one's expectations realistic. It is fair to say that UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi's (pictured) aim was simply to get two of the sides in a room.  His claim that he didn't

G20 outreach and non-G20 member views on the G20

This issue of the Monitor addresses the issue of G20 outreach and presents a collection of perspectives from non-G20 member countries on the role and performance of the G20. The contributors have been asked to identify where the G20 process can add value and how it can be improved

Tony Abbott's G20 vision at Davos: It's a start

On 23 February Prime Minister Abbott delivered a much anticipated speech to World Economic Forum at Davos outlining Australia's vision for the G20. The immediate response on Twitter was largely negative.  Chris Giles from the Financial Times tweeted: 'sign of the times, Rouhani (President of Iran

Reader riposte: N enrichment in Australia and beyond

Richard Broinowski writes: In his speculative piece on a regional uranium enrichment plant in Australia, John Carlson gets a few things wrong. First, it is inaccurate to suggest that but for Labor's opposition, Australia might now be well on the way to establishing a uranium enrichment facility.

Syria: Is Assad the solution?

As Syria stumbles into its third year of conflict, President Assad continues to bank on his belief that the longer he remains in power, the more likely that the opposition will be seen as a combination of Islamists, carpetbaggers, proxies and miscreants, and that the West will somehow reluctantly

A regional uranium enrichment centre in Australia?

It may seem anomalous that Australia, with a third of the world's uranium reserves, does not have a uranium enrichment industry to value-add on uranium exports.  This was seriously considered in the 1970s, when a consortium of four major Australian resource companies conducted an enrichment

Why metadata matters (and data too)

If you have been reassured by the claim that intelligence agencies such as the US National Security Agency are 'only' collecting metadata from millions of mobile phone and internet users (for instance, details of whom a user is emailing and when, but not the content of those emails), then this ought

Australia takes the G20 chair: Now what?

The starter's gun has fired on Australia's G20 presidency. It was a low key start. The Prime Minister's media release was very brief. This is a positive. The G20 should always be business-like, with the focus on achieving substantive outcomes rather than on the event itself. Start to worry if we

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