A New Era for Climate Diplomacy

The groundbreaking agreement reached at the 2015 Paris climate change conference is a diplomatic triumph. Laurent Fabius, foreign minister of France and president of the meeting formally known as the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) called the final text “differentiated, fair, dynamic, durable, balanced, and legally binding.”

Environmental Refugees

One of the hidden costs of climate change is the displacement of millions of people in some of the poorest regions of the globe.  The existing international refugee regime is ill-suited to cope with those seeking refuge from environmental disasters. Countries must get serious about developing coordinated plans to address the issue, lest they be caught by surprise when another humanitarian crisis hits.

Wilson Perspectives: The Paris Climate Agreement


by Jane Harman

In each edition of Wilson Perspectives, our top experts put breaking news in context. Leveraging our broad focus on the issues and our deep expertise in key regions, this collection frames last month’s landmark climate talks in Paris. Embracing the spirit of the 'high ambition coalition,' nations around the world promised to take a dizzying range of steps toward a safer, more prosperous, more resilient future. Here, we explore the key issues and chief questions.

An Empty Table? Food-Climate-Conflict Connections in Paris

Security, terrorism, conflict, and peace: you won’t find any of these words in the landmark agreement released on December 12 at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21). It’s never been front-and-center on the agenda at previous Conference of Parties, from Copenhagen to Cancun. But in Paris, a city reeling from terrorist attacks, the specter of climate-related conflict haunted delegates and the potential of a climate-resilient peace inspired grassroots protests.

Small Island States and the Paris Agreement

“I’m an island boy”

—President Barack Obama

Federalism and Climate Policy, Canada-Style

Canada is about to show whether federalism facilitates or deters progress in climate governance, because the country’s highly decentralized system of energy development and environmental protection requires the individual provinces to act for the country to meet its national environmental goals.

The Climate Community Turns to Pragmatism, Mostly

The good news out of Paris is that the world is finally getting serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Here are a few reasons to cheer and one quibble.

Concrete, domestically crafted plans

Humanity is now coming down to the wire with the reality of an already rapidly changing climate.  Action has been delayed too long and options for resolving in a good way the complex set of issues that make up the climate challenge are narrowing. 

American Attitudes on Climate Change

Following the conclusion of the Paris climate talks, we took the opportunity to speak with current Wilson Center Fellow, Barry Rabe. His work includes measuring public opinion on climate change and related issues. He shares the latest on American attitudes. That’s the focus of this edition of  Wilson Center NOW.

Success in Paris: Adoption of the Global Climate Agreement

Negotiations in Paris concluded successfully when a deal was reached. The Wilson Center’s Director of Population, Environmental Security, and Resilience, Roger-Mark De Souza, explains the expected impact that adoption of the global climate agreement will have on island nations and beyond.

Path to Prosperity: Empower, Educate, and Employ Youth to Realize the Demographic Dividend

In the course of development, most countries undergo a demographic transition. Health conditions improve and mortality rates decline, causing rapid population growth and a relatively high proportion of young people. Over time, if fertility declines, as it has in most places, growth slows and there is a period when the proportion of very young “dependents” shrinks in comparison to the working age population.