Social media has traditionally been unequivocally seen as facilitating democratic transitions and challenging the power of autocratic regimes. Some most recent research, however, contradicts this established narrative, and as a result, this article first aims to show that social media does not have intrinsic political qualities of its own. Rather, they are contingent upon the offline conditions and the actors who use social media. Then, building on the contingent nature of this media, the author aims to show how social cyberspace enables a new kind of influence operations that can be carried out instantly, globally, and with the help of the victims themselves (referred to as ‘sofa warriors’). Finally, the conflict in Ukraine is presented as an example of how social media influence campaigns can be employed in hybrid warfare.
Ventures selling distributed electricity directly to impoverished consumers achieve affordability by minimizing up-front prices and collecting post-sale revenue. Through interviews with 30 practicing entrepreneurs operating at the base of the pyramid (BoP), we evaluate two pricing methods, micro-finance and pay-as-you-go, that accomplish this task. Each of these methods has implications for other aspects of the venture’s business model. With further research, these models might be adapted to other undeveloped sectors around the world that also lack infrastructure and competition.
The World Trade Organization is hindering the ability of member countries to pursue green growth policies. As the nature of international trade evolves, the creation of global supply chains has forced us to measure trade in value added rather than goods produced. These same trends demand a more nuanced and accurate assessment of costs, both economic and environmental. By modernizing its rules governing fossil-fuel subsidies and unincorporated production processes, the WTO can usher in a new era of freer, "greener" trade.
More than twenty years of climate change negotiations have left many observers pessimistic about the prospects of reaching a meaningful global agreement. Despite the urgency of making deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, disagreements between parties seem to have led to stalemate. This paper takes a more optimistic view, examining two of the unexpected successes of the negotiations. The analysis suggests that while onlookers—in a realist mindset—predicted failure for both the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD), negotiators used problem-solving to achieve consensus and concrete results. Based on the analysis of the integrative bargaining that led to these results, if negotiators and observers adopt the liberal "problem-solving mindset," a comprehensive agreement that creates value for all parties is more likely in the 2015 Paris negotiations.
Despite much discussion of the resource curse in recent years, a consensus on a development model for resource-rich states has not emerged. Such states have tremendous economic potential but have tended to under perform when compared to resource-poor states due to a higher propensity to resort to civil conflicts. This article argues that the key to escaping the resource curse is through the application of a rentier state development mode, which creates political stability while increasing GDP per capita through (1) increased military expenditures, (2) private goods transfers to elites, (3) redistributive economic programs, and (4) security guarantees from foreign states.
Over the past 200 years, science has undergone an evolution from curiosity-driven exploration to being the engine of development and recently the voice of planetary sustainability. These changing roles require changes in the skills of scientists and in the relation between science and society. The issues of mitigation and adaptation to global change now demand rapid adjustments in the relation between science and society, which are explored in this article.
This paper will focus on international climate change policy tools, cap-and-trade and the creation of the global carbon market. Additionally, I will review post-Kyoto agreement scenarios.
The EU’s energy and foreign policy vis-à-vis Algeria is ambitious, seeking as it does to achieve three primary objectives—democratization, economic liberalization, and security of energy supplies. Whether the EU will succeed in these objectives is far from certain. This paper analyzes the historical record in an attempt to discern the likelihood that the EU will indeed achieve its objectives. In doing so, it assesses EU policy towards Algeria since 1995, identifies the main challenges and opportunities facing EU policymakers in Algeria, and proposes a new policy approach for EU leaders to consider in pursuing more secure energy supplies and internal political and economic reform in Algeria.
This article explores the issues developing countries face in implementing a biofuels program as a means of growth and security. Biofuel development holds the promise of significant gains, but at the same time, very challenging problems must be addressed if the impact is to be positive on balance. A well-designed biofuels program will stimulate agricultural productivity and green technologies, help to create rural jobs, and free up precious capital from being spent on fossil fuels. Yet attention must also be given to the major pitfalls and hurdles—chief among them food scarcity and climate change—which are changing the calculus for biofuels. It is concluded that the potential for developing countries to harness biofuels for their advantage is real, but only if great care is taken to constrain the potential for adverse consequences.
What should we do about climate change? There is disagreement about what we should do in quantitative terms, but universal agreement about what we should do in qualitative terms. Our aim should be not only to avoid “dangerous interference” with the climate system, but to effect a technological revolution. How can these goals be achieved? The European Union’s favored approach is to tighten up on the Kyoto emission cuts, possibly supported by the application of trade restrictions. A better approach would be to break the problem up into its many parts, using the best means available to enforce each part.
Climate change resulting from anthropogenic activity is posing a serious threat to the delicate balance of natural systems that sustain life on earth. While humans are contributing to this grave problem, they also have the potential to find the solution. Through the rapid development of renewable technology, along with the promotion of conservation efforts, humans can help address the problems caused by climate change without damaging the global economy. It is important for policy efforts on the local, national and international levels to encourage the development of renewable technologies before the damage from climate change becomes insurmountable.
After more than a decade of privatization in Latin American countries, the specter of energy nationalization in the name of national sovereignty has risen in the region’s leftist, populist governments, notably Morales’s Bolivia and Chavez’s Venezuela. Brazil undertook an experiment in energy nationalization lasting five decades, from the formation of Petrobrás in 1938 until the enshrinement of its monopoly in the constitution of 1988; the company remains state-owned today, though recent reforms have changed the nature of the relationship. This paper investigates the successes and challenges of Brazil’s experience with energy nationalization and draws important lessons for any country contemplating a similar experiment.
This paper explores the long-standing energy tensions between Russia and Ukraine, examining developments in the politico-diplomatic role of Russian oil and gas pipelines in order to evaluate their effectiveness as instruments of intimidation. As the analysis will highlight, when Russia has used its energy exports as a “stick” with the goal of blackmailing leaders in Kiev into agreeing to Moscow’s foreign policy objectives, its leverage has been limited. Conversely, in the cases where Russia has used its energy exports as a “carrot,” Moscow has actually seen returns for its efforts. Thus, the Russo-Ukrainian energy relationship is interesting because it calls into question traditional perceptions of relative power.
As economies develop, they increasingly rely on energy to fuel their growth. This energy has historically come from traditional power sources – notably oil and coal – as they are relatively cheap and easily exploitable. Developed economies have derived much of their strength from the use of these energy sources, at the expense of environmental quality. These economies now have the responsibility to lead the world in advancing the utilization of renewable energy; the deregulation of the electric industry in many of these countries offers the perfect opportunity for governments to encourage the promotion of renewable energy through a variety of policies.