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Emerging Policy and Market Opportunities
The global climate change problem has finally entered the world's consciousness. While efforts to find a solution have increased momentum, international attention has focused primarily on the industrial and energy sectors. The forest, and land-use sector, however, remains one of the most significant untapped opportunities for carbon mitigation. The expiration of the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period in 2012 presents an opportunity for the international community to put this sector back on the agenda.
In this timely, wide-ranging volume, an international team of experts explain the links between climate change and forests, highlighting the potential utility of this sector within emerging climate policy frameworks and carbon markets. After framing forestry activities within the larger context of climate-change policy, the contributors analyze the operation and efficacy of market-based mechanisms for forest conservation and climate change. Drawing on experiences from around the world, the authors present concrete recommendations for policymakers, project developers, and market participants. They discuss sequestration rights in Chile, carbon offset programs in Australia and New Zealand, and emerging policy incentives at all levels of the U.S. government. The book also explores the different voluntary schemes for carbon crediting, provides an overview of best practices in carbon accounting, and presents tools for use in future sequestration and offset programs. It concludes with consideration of various incentive options for slowing deforestation and protecting the world's remaining forests.
Climate Change and Forests provides a realistic view of the role that the forest and land-use sector can play in a post-Kyoto regime. It will serve as a practical reference manual for anyone concerned about climate policy, including the negotiators working to define a robust and enduring international framework for addressing climate change.
A Billion Lives in the Balance?
Climate change threatens all people, but its adverse effects will be felt most acutely by the world's poor. Absent urgent action, new threats to food security, public health, and other societal needs may reverse hard-fought human development gains. Climate Change and Global Poverty makes concrete recommendations to integrate international development and climate protection strategies. It demonstrates that effective climate solutions must empower global development, while poverty alleviation itself must become a central strategy for both mitigating emissions and reducing global vulnerability to adverse climate impacts.
The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Climate Change
Global climate change poses not only environmental hazards but profound risks to planetary peace and stability as well. Climatic Cataclysm gathers experts on climate science, oceanography, history, political science, foreign policy, and national security to take the measure of these risks. The contributors have developed three scenarios of what the future may hold. The expected scenario relies on current scientific models to project the effects of climate change over the next 30 years. The severe scenario, which posits a much stronger climate response to current levels of carbon loading, foresees profound and potentially destabilizing global effects over the next generation or more. Finally, the catastrophic scenario is characterized by a devastating "tipping point" in the climate system, perhaps 50 or 100 years hence. In this future world, the land-based polar ice sheets have disappeared, global sea levels have risen dramatically, and the existing natural order has been destroyed beyond repair. The contributors analyze the security implications of these scenarios, which at a minimum include increased disease proliferation; tensions caused by large-scale migration; and conflict sparked by resource scarcity, particularly in Africa. They consider what we can learn from the experience of early civilizations confronted with natural disaster, and they ask what the three largest emitters of greenhouse gases the United States, the European Union, and China can do to reduce and manage future risks. In the coming decade, the United States faces an ominous set of foreign policy and national security challenges. Global climate change will not only complicate these tasks, but as this sobering study reveals, it may also create new challenges that dwarf those of today. Contributors include Leon Fuerth (George Washington University), Jay Gulledge (Pew Center on Global Climate Change), Alexander T. J. Lennon (Center for Strategic and International Studies), J.R. McNeill (Georgetown University), Derek Mix (Center for Strategic and International Studies), Peter Ogden (Center for American Progress), John Podesta (Center for American Progress), Julianne Smith (Center for Strategic and International Studies), Richard Weitz (Hudson Institute), and R. James Woolsey (Booz Allen Hamilton).
Politics and Ideology in American Universities
Contrary to popular belief, the problem with U.S. higher education is not too much politics but too little. Far from being bastions of liberal bias, American universities have largely withdrawn from the world of politics. So conclude Bruce L. R. Smith, Jeremy Mayer, and Lee Fritschler in this illuminating book. C losed Minds? d draws on data from interviews, focus groups, and a new national survey by the authors, as well as their decades of experience in higher education to paint the most comprehensive picture to date of campus political attitudes. It finds that while liberals outnumber conservatives within faculty ranks, even most conservatives believe that ideology has little impact on hiring and promotion. Today's students are somewhat more conservative than their professors, but few complain of political bias in the classroom. Similarly, a Pennsylvania legislative inquiry, which the authors explore as a case study of conservative activism in higher education, found that political bias was "rare" in the state's public colleges and universities. Yet this ideological peace on campus has been purchased at a high price. American universities are rarely hospitable to lively discussions of issues of public importance. They largely shun serious political debate, all but ignore what used to be called civics, and take little interest in educating students to be effective citizens. Smith, Mayer, and Fritschler contrast the current climate of disengagement with the original civic mission of American colleges and universities. In concluding, they suggest how universities can reclaim and strengthen their place in the nation's political and civic life.
How Much Can Later Retirement Help?
As the average age of the population continues to rise in industrialized nations, the fiscal impacts of aging demand ever-closer attention. Closing the Deficit examines one oft-discussed approach to the issue encouraging people to work longer than they now do.
Workers would spend more years paying taxes and fewer years drawing pension and health benefits. But how much difference to spending and revenues would longer working lives make? What steps could be taken to make longer working lives attractive? And what would happen to older Americans not in a position to prolong their work lives? Leading scholars examine these issues in Closing the Deficit, edited by Brookings economists Gary Burtless and Henry Aaron.
Lessons for Modern Russia
"My goal is to show the reader that the Soviet political and economic system was unstable by its very nature. It was just a question of when and how it would collapse...." From the Introduction to Collapse of an Empire The Soviet Union was an empire in many senses of the word a vast mix of far-flung regions and accidental citizens by way of conquest or annexation. Typical of such empires, it was built on shaky foundations. That instability made its demise inevitable, asserts Yegor Gaidar, former prime minister of Russia and architect of the "shock therapy" economic reforms of the 1990s. Yet a growing desire to return to the glory days of empire is pushing today's Russia backward into many of the same traps that made the Soviet Union untenable. In this important new book, Gaidar clearly illustrates why Russian nostalgia for empire is dangerous and ill-fated: "Dreams of returning to another era are illusory. Attempts to do so will lead to defeat." Gaidar uses world history, the Soviet experience, and economic analysis to demonstrate why swimming against this tide of history would be a huge mistake. The USSR sowed the seeds of its own economic destruction, and Gaidar worries that Russia is repeating some of those mistakes. Once again, for example, the nation is putting too many eggs into one basket, leaving the nation vulnerable to fluctuations in the energy market. The Soviets had used revenues from energy sales to prop up struggling sectors such as agriculture, which was so thoroughly ravaged by hyperindustrialization that the Soviet Union became a net importer of food. When oil prices dropped in the 1980s, that revenue stream diminished, and dependent sectors suffered heavily. Although strategies requiring austerity or sacrifice can be politically difficult, Russia needs to prepare for such downturns and restrain spending during prosperous times. Collapse of an Empire shows why it is imperative to fix the roof before it starts to rain, and why sometimes the past should be left in the past.
U.S. Telecommunications since the 1996 Telecom Act
The 1996 Telecommunications Act was an attempt to increase competition among telecommunications providers in the United States by reducing regulatory barriers to market entry. This competition was expected to drive innovation in the telecommunications sector and reap economic benefits for both American consumers and telecommunications providers. The legislation, however, had a markedly different impact. While many of the more aggressive providers enjoyed sharp short-term rises in stock market values, they soon faced sudden collapse, leaving consumers with little or no long-term benefit.
In Competition and Chaos, Robert W. Crandall analyzes the impact of the 1996 act on economic welfare in the United States and how the act and its antecedents affected the major telecommunications providers. He argues that the act was far too stringent, inviting the Federal Communications Commission and state regulators to micromanage competitive entry into local telecommunications markets. Combined with the bursting of the dot.com and telecom stock market bubbles, this aggressive policy invited new and existing firms to invest billions of dollars unwisely, leading to the 200102 collapse of equity values throughout the sector. New entrants into the market invested more than $50 billion in unproductive assets that were quickly wiped out through massive failures. The 1996 act allowed the independent long-distance companies, such as MCI and AT& T, to live a few years longer. But today they are a threatened species, caught in a downward spiral of declining prices and substantial losses. The industry is preparing for an intense battle for market share among three sets of carriers: the wireless companies, the local telephone carriers, and the cable television businesses. Each has its own particular advantage in one of the three major segments of the market voice, data, and video but none is assured a clear path to dominance. Although the telecom stock market collapse is now history and the survivors are investing once again, Crandall concludes that the regulators have failed to adapt to the chaos to which they contributed.
Weak States and U.S. National Security
Former Brookings Senior Fellow Susan E. Rice spearheads an investigation of the connections between poverty and fragile states and the implications for American security. Coedited by Rice and former Brookings colleagues Corinne Graff and Carlos Pascual, Confronting Poverty is a timely reminder that alleviating global poverty and shoring up weak states are not only humanitarian and economic imperatives, but key components of a more balanced and sustainable U.S. national security strategy.
Rice elucidates the relationship between poverty, state weakness, and transnational security threats, and Graff and Pascual offer policy recommendations. The book's overarching conclusions highlight the need to invest in poverty alleviation and capacity building in weak states in order to break the vicious cycle of poverty, fragility, and transnational threats.
Confronting Poverty grows out of a project on global poverty and U.S. national security that Rice directed at Brookings from 2002 through January 2009, before she became U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations.
It has been nearly a half century since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. Back in the 1960s tackling poverty "in place" meant focusing resources in the inner city and in rural areas. The suburbs were seen as home to middle- and upper-class families affluent commuters and homeowners looking for good schools and safe communities in which to raise their kids. But today's America is a very different place. Poverty is no longer just an urban or rural problem, but increasingly a suburban one as well. In Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube take on the new reality of metropolitan poverty and opportunity in America.
After decades in which suburbs added poor residents at a faster pace than cities, the 2000s marked a tipping point. Suburbia is now home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population in the country and more than half of the metropolitan poor. However, the antipoverty infrastructure built over the past several decades does not fit this rapidly changing geography. As Kneebone and Berube cogently demonstrate, the solution no longer fits the problem.
The spread of suburban poverty has many causes, including shifts in affordable housing and jobs, population dynamics, immigration, and a struggling economy. The phenomenon raises several daunting challenges, such as the need for more (and better) transportation options, services, and financial resources. But necessity also produces opportunity in this case, the opportunity to rethink and modernize services, structures, and procedures so that they work in more scaled, cross-cutting, and resource-efficient ways to address widespread need. This book embraces that opportunity.
Kneebone and Berube paint a new picture of poverty in America as well as the best ways to combat it. Confronting Suburban Poverty in America offers a series of workable recommendations for public, private, and nonprofit leaders seeking to modernize poverty alleviation and community development strategies and connect residents with economic opportunity. The authors highlight efforts in metro areas where local leaders are learning how to do more with less and adjusting their approaches to address the metropolitan scale of poverty for example, integrating services and service delivery, collaborating across sectors and jurisdictions, and using data-driven and flexible funding strategies.
"We believe the goal of public policy must be to provide all families with access to communities, whether in cities or suburbs, that offer a high quality of life and solid platform for upward mobility over time. Understanding the new reality of poverty in metropolitan America is a critical step toward realizing that goal." from Chapter One
Aiding Political Parties in New Democracies
Beset with persistent problems of self-interest, corruption, ideological incoherence, and narrow electoral majorities, political parties are the weakest link in many democratic transitions around the world. A large and ever-growing number of U.S., European, and multilateral assistance programs seek to help parties become effective pro-democratic actors. But given the depth of the problems, is success possible? C onfronting the Weakest Link is a pathbreaking study of international aid for political parties. Beginning with a penetrating analysis of party shortcomings in developing and postcommunist countries, Thomas Carothers draws on extensive field research to diagnose chronic deficiencies in party aid, assess its overall impact, and offer practical ideas for doing better. This critical analysis spans Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. It sheds invaluable light on a major element of the contemporary challenge of democracy building, a subject now occupying center stage in the international policy arena.