Climate | Wilson Center


Rivers of the Amazon: Can They Be Used on a Sustainable Basis as a Source of Renewable Hydropower?

Are hydroelectric power plants the best approach to meet Brazil's energy demand? The construction of Jirau and Santo Antonio, two hydroelectric power plants on the Madeira River in the Western Amazon, sparked debate about how to balance energy production with environmental conservation.

The Road to Copenhagen: Perspectives on Brazil, China and India

A lone ranger mindset inflicting both developed and developing countries stands in the way of a significant reduction of carbons emissions, but the world will eventually have to put differences aside in order to reach an agreement on climate change, according to a panel with experts on Brazil, China, and India who convened in anticipation of the upcoming UN Convention in Copenhagen.

Book Launch: Walking the Forest with Chico Mendes, by Gomercindo Rodrigues

Gomercindo Rodrigues, a lawyer and activist, began his work as a labor organizer in the state of Acre in the 1980s with the slain rubber tapper and pioneer of the Brazilian environmental movement, Chico Mendes. In his book, Walking the Forest with Chico Mendes, Rodrigues provides a rare and personal account of the events that defined Mendes' life as he struggled to promote environmental protection and social justice in the Amazon.

Here Comes the Sun (and the Wind, Water, and Biogas): Opportunities and Challenges for U.S.-China Renewable Energy Collaboration

As the world's two largest economies, it is not surprising that the United States and China are the top two energy consumers and investors in clean energy development—although in 2009 China invested twice as much as the United States. Both countries have similarly strong motivation to promote renewable energy, namely diversifying energy portfolios, creating jobs, strengthening energy security, and reducing pollution.

U.S.-China Climate Relations in the Run-Up to Cancun

Because expectations were so high before the Copenhagen Climate talks in December 2009, there was major disappointment when the talks did not produce a comprehensive agreement on controlling global greenhouse gas emissions. Climate experts speaking at a November 5th China Environment Forum meeting stressed that expectations for the December talks in Cancun need to be realistic.

Asia's Growing Crisis of Floods and Droughts

The Greater Himalayas, whose glaciers supply crucial seasonal water flows to some 40 percent of the world's population, are a climate change hot spot. The Tibetan Plateau has experienced a 1 degree Celsius temperature rise in the past decade alone and the 40,000+ glaciers in these mountains are in rapid retreat, posing grave environmental and human health threats. The prospect of catastrophic changes in normal season flows (sometimes too much, and at others times too little) from this Tibetan "water tower" is real.

Taking Stock of Carbon Emissions: Policies, Strategies, and Tools for the U.S. and China

Over the past year, the Chinese government has been aggressively promoting low carbon policies to help ensure China's energy security and lower the country's greenhouse gas emissions. At the Copenhagen climate meeting in December 2009, the Chinese leadership committed the country to ambitious CO2 emissions targets.

U.S.-China Cooperation: The Co-benefits of Reducing Black Carbon

Many people think of climate change and air pollution as two different issues, stated Veerabhardan Ramanathan of the University of California, San Diego, but many pollutants have both warming effects and negative health impacts. Black carbon—a form of fine particulates emitted by diesel engines, agricultural & forest burning, cook stoves, and some industries—contributes to lung and heart disease and has significant impacts on climate by warming the atmosphere, affecting clouds and rainfall, and increasing the rate of snow melt in regions such as the Arctic and Himalayas.

U.S.-China Partnership for Climate Action

The Obama-Hu energy agreements in November 2009 and the Copenhagen climate talks reinvigorated discussions on the need for the United States and China to collaborate on energy and climate issues, but translating that enthusiasm into concrete projects can be elusive.

Seeing Through the Smog: Promoting Sino-U.S. Cooperation on Air Quality, Environmental Health, and Climate Change

China's three decades as the world's fastest growing economy have brought it an unfortunate primacy in two other statistical categories: it is estimated to have the world's highest annual incidence of premature deaths triggered by air pollution and to be the greatest emitter of carbon dioxide. Despite slowing economic growth and some improvements in air quality levels and controls, the expected steep increases in China's consumption of energy over the next few decades have troubling implications for both local air quality and global climate change.