Environmental Change, Vulnerability, and Governance [Working Papers]

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    Electrifying North Korea : bringing power to underserved marginal populations in the DPRK
    (Honolulu, HI : East-West Center, 2014-04) Forster, Alex S.
    North Korea is an extremely isolated and impoverished nation. While its political elites are able to enjoy some degree of luxury in spite of UN sanctions, the lower classes suffer from shortages of food, electricity, healthcare, and other basic needs. Many of the lower class and fringe populations reside in rural areas with limited infrastructure, and rely on black markets to survive. Their situation could be dramatically improved if electricity could be provided to their communities to power heating, health clinics, manufacturing facilities, fertilizer plants, and water pumps for agricultural irrigation. Given the unpredictability of the North Korean regime and its known hostility toward the US, any action to benefit the marginal populations there must be done in such a way that the regime can get no benefit. By erecting small wind power arrays connected only to local microgrids, rural residents will benefit without the regime being able to divert the resources. Homes can be warmed in the harsh winters, farmland can be returned to productivity, economic output can be boosted, and health services can be dramatically improved. Resultant environmental benefits will include slowing deforestation and river siltation, which exacerbates floods, will be reduced. This proposal outlines the needs of the North Korean people, the justifications for helping them, and the specific steps that should be taken by both the public and private sectors to reduce the scale of the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
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    The shadow of urbanization : the periurban interface of five Indian cities in transition
    (Honolulu, HI : East-West Center, 2014-01) Narain, Vishal ; Banerjee, Poulomi ; Anand, Pooja
    Periurban areas refer to areas at the periphery of cities. They provide the land and water resources needed for urban expansion, while receiving urban wastes. This paper describes the process of periurban expansion around five major Indian cities, namely, Patna, Guwahati, Chandigarh, Chennai and Ahmedabad. These cities have expanded under the current regime of neo-liberal policies, infrastructure development and real estate growth. As spaces in transition, periurban areas around these cities have absorbed much of the migrant population. However, the cities have grown beyond the carrying capacity; this has caused the ecological foot-print of the cities to spill over into the peripheries. While conventional approaches to urban planning and rural development create a dichotomy between rural and urban areas, the concept of periurban raises questions both about the sustainability and equity dimensions of urban expansion, also raising issues of the politics of urbanization.
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    A research strategy for the Pacific climate information system
    (Honolulu, HI: East-West Center, 2010-11) Finucane, Melissa L. ; Marra, John ; Weyman, James C.
    Based on a selective review of the outcomes of previous meetings, conferences, workshops, and papers highlighting climate variability and change research needs in the Pacific region, this paper presents a research strategy for increasing understanding of climate-society linkages in Pacific Island settings. The strategy provides a synopsis of emerging research goals and illustrative activities that users can rank according to their priorities. Grounded in the framework of the Pacific Climate Information System, the strategy is comprised of three key research elements: (1) research to enhance understanding of regional climate risks and consequences; (2) research to improve decision support and risk communication; and (3) research to improve climate adaptation capacity. We envision the strategy will contribute to enhanced understanding of scientific and societal knowledge of climate processes and their impacts and stakeholder capacity for building sustainable island communities for future generations.
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    In what format and under what timeframe would China take on climate commitments? : a roadmap to 2050
    (Honolulu: East-West Center, 2009-06) Zhang, ZhongXiang
    Given that China is already the world's largest carbon emitter and its emissions continue to rise rapidly in line with its industrialization and urbanization, there is no disagreement that China eventually needs to take on binding greenhouse gas emissions caps. However, the key challenges are when that would occur and what credible interim targets China would need to take on during this transition period. This paper takes these challenges by mapping out the roadmap for China's specific commitments towards 2050. Specifically, I suggest that China make credible quantified domestic commitments during the second commitment period, commit to voluntary no lose targets during the third commitment period, adopt binding carbon intensity targets during the fourth commitment period, and take on binding emissions caps starting the fifth commitment period and aimed for the global convergence of per capita emissions by 2050. These proposed commitments should be viewed as China's political commitments, not necessarily China's actual takings in the ongoing international climate change negotiations, in order to break the current political impasse between developed and developing countries. It is worthwhile China considering these political commitments either on its own or through a joint statement with U.S. and other major countries, provided that a number of conditions can be worked out. These commitments are principles, and still leave flexibility for China to work out details as international climate change negotiations move on. But in the meantime, they signal well ahead that China is seriously committed to addressing climate change issues, alleviate, if not completely remove, U.S. and other industrialized country's concerns about when China would get in, an indication that the whole world has long awaited from China, help U.S. to take on long-expected emissions commitments, and thus pave the way for reaching an international climate agreement at Copenhagen.
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    Interregional burden-sharing of greenhouse gas mitigation in the United States
    (Honolulu, HI: East-West Center, 2004-09) Rose, Adam ; Zhang, ZhongXiang
    Emissions trading is an attractive candidate for implementing greenhouse gas mitigation, because it can promote both efficiency and equity. This paper analyzes the interregional impacts of alternative allocations of carbon dioxide emission permits within the U.S. The analysis is performed with the aid of a nonlinear programming model for ten EPA Regions and for six alternative permit distribution formulas. The reason that various alternatives need to be considered is that there is no universal consensus on the best definition of equity. Advance knowledge of absolute and relative regional economic impacts provides policy-makers with a stronger basis for making the choice. The analysis yields several useful results. First, the simulations indicate that no matter how permits are allocated, this policy instrument can substantially reduce the cost of greenhouse gas mitigation for the U.S. in comparison to a system of fixed quotas for each of its regions. Interestingly, the welfare impacts of several of the allocation formulas differ only slightly despite the large differences in their philosophical underpinnings. Also, the results for some equity criteria differ greatly from their application in the international domain. For example, the Egalitarian (per capita) criterion results in the relatively greatest cost burden being incurred by one of the regions of the U.S. with the lowest per capita income.
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