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July 2021: Environmental impacts of production processes underscore need for global cooperation for climate action

The Brief

July 16, 2021

As nations across the globe take different paths to address climate change, Johns Hopkins SAIS experts are providing commentary on the environmental impact of food production, India's challenge with coal production, issues with electric vehicle development, and the need for cooperation for global climate action.
Jessica Fanzo, Interim Vice Dean and Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Global Food & Agricultural Policy and Ethics, explained the impact global food production has on the environment in Shape Magazine, telling the outlet the process “contributes some of the most substantive pressures on natural resources, ecosystems, and the overall Earth system."
Johannes Urpelainen, Director and Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment, contributed to a Brookings Institution report where he cautioned that India faces a challenge phasing out coal production because it may be "unable and unwilling to invest in major decarbonization efforts" due to slower economic growth accentuated by the COVID-19 crisis. Read more
Nina Gardner, Adjunct Lecturer in International Law, touched on electric vehicle development difficulties on the American Question podcast, where she advocated for "increased innovation and government-to-government discussions" to address environmental and human rights concerns associated with mining minerals in the global South for materials used in these vehicles. (16:07-16:50)
Benjamin Gedan, Adjunct Lecturer of Latin American Studies, called for the establishment of a Western Hemispheric environmental pact in Foreign Policy, writing cooperation between the Biden administration and Latin American leaders "would greatly strengthen existing environmental protections, send a strong signal of the region’s commitment to conservation, and offer novel tools for monitoring and enforcement." 
Jonas Nahm, Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment, proposed the U.S. "push China [on including financing opportunities] in its Belt and Road Initiative or create an alternative institution with European countries" during a National Committee on U.S.-China Relations webinar to ensure developing countries receive funding to transition to clean energy. (52:16-53:06)
Simone Tagliapietra, Adjunct Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment, wrote about climate cooperation between the U.S. and European Union in Project Syndicate, emphasizing that their efforts on global climate initiatives "will not count for much if they do not also support the green transition in developing countries." 
Hafed Al-Ghwell, Foreign Policy Institute Senior Fellow, explained in Arab News that without "unprecedented support from the world’s wealthier economies, climate action will remain a distant priority in regions burdened by systemic challenges such as poverty and limited access to healthcare and education." 

The Brief highlights Johns Hopkins SAIS expertise on current events and is produced monthly by the Office of Marketing, Communications and Community Engagement.