Humanity has made tremendous strides in reducing poverty and food insecurity over the last decades. Agricultural productivity growth and the modernization of food systems have played an important part in this process. Yet there are several structural weaknesses and challenges for global food systems. Our food systems are unequal, unhealthy and unsustainable and the COVID-19 crisis has exposed these problems clearly.
President Biden’s recently announced American Jobs Plan is potentially transformative to the federal government’s role in rebuilding the economy, combating climate change, and reasserting leadership on the world stage. Not surprisingly, much of the attention has been centered on the package’s direct economic costs and impacts – but at the same time, the nearly $2 trillion package, if enacted, would amount to the single most significant climate-related policy intervention in U.S. history.
Climate change - or climate crisis, as some media outlets relabelled it - is increasingly getting attention from governments and civil societies worldwide.
The Soviet era brought heavy industrialization of the agriculture sector in Central Asia (CA), aiming at the expansion of cotton (called “white gold”) cultivation but also at an increase in cereals and other staple crops.
Climate change is affecting the entire South Caucasus region, which includes vast mountain ecosystems and remote coastal areas. The human security implications of climate change are likely to become more pronounced over time.
After the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in September 2013, China underwent major changes in domestic growth objectives. Green growth became a paramount vector of the country’s overall strategy. At the September 2020 United Nations General Assembly, for instance, President Xi Jinping announced the country’s aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
Over the last few years, environmentalism has proven to be an increasingly pressing civil society issue and climate change concerns spreaded across civil society. However, Russian environmentalism hardly has common traits with its Western counterparts. While 2019 was the culminating year of Greta Thunberg and the youth movement Fridays For Future in the West, similar initiatives did not enjoy such popularity in Russia, they did not gain importance within the public discourse and they had virtually no influence on policy-making processes.
Russia, one of the world’s leading suppliers of fossil fuels, is facing new challenges: as the world is entering a zero-emission path, the country’s future will largely depend on diversification of the country’s economy, including decarbonizing its energy sector.
The Arctic has always been very important for Russia. First, it makes up a considerable part of the country’s territory. Second, the region hosts important transport and military infrastructure. Finally, it possesses significant natural resources potential, which is not limited to oil and natural gas, but also includes minerals, timber, fish, and other resources including land itself.
In 1994 Russia ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and subsequently took part in all of its Conferences of the Parties. The Kyoto Protocol, adopted in 1997, was ratified by Russia in 2004. Developed countries, including Russia, have committed themselves to an annual 5% emission reduction compared to 1990 levels. But for Russia, these commitments do not imply a real "environmental breakthrough".
Several post-Soviet states are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Furthermore, two of the worst environmental disasters of our times – the Chernobyl nuclear accident and the Aral Sea desertification – happened in the post-Soviet region, with implications that have crossed state and time boundaries.
At first glance, a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) would appear to be a welcoming tool. It is designed to ensure that countries and regions that are curbing their greenhouse gas emissions are not penalised by the transfer of industrial production to other locations. However, amidst the current Covid-19 pandemic, there are some indications suggesting that a CBAM could be treated as a good opportunity for the introduction of protectionist measures or be perceived by trading partners as such.