A Liberian liquefied natural gas tanker arrives at port, Yokohama, Japan, April 21, 2014 (AP photo by Koji Sasahara).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on countries’ risk exposure, contribution and response to climate change. Japan announced earlier this year that it had been successful at cutting its carbon dioxide emissions by 3 percent—the first time emissions have decreased since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. In an email interview, Aiko Shimizu, of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, discussed Japan’s contribution and response to climate change. The views expressed in this interview are her own. WPR: What impact has the 2011 Fukushima disaster had on Japan’s carbon footprint and efforts to reduce it? Aiko Shimizu: As […]

People crowd around market stalls, Lagos, Nigeria, June 20, 2016 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Nigeria’s currency, the naira, lost 30 percent of its value after the Central Bank of Nigeria abandoned its peg to the dollar on June 20. The bank’s move was a substantial but long-overdue shift after a year of haphazard and detrimental economic policy under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. It took 16 months for the bank to abandon its peg, which had exacerbated negative external economic factors, including depressed global oil prices, and helped move the country toward a recession. The lag in policy change is indicative of a slow, centralized and politicized decision-making process under Buhari. The abandoning […]

Pipelines running from an oil production site in eastern Ecuador, Dec. 3, 2012 (DPA photo by Erwin Patzelt via AP).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on the impact of falling oil and commodities prices on resource-exporting countries. Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa defended his legacy last month in his last state of the nation address, saying that the current recession is the result of a perfect storm of falling oil prices and a strengthening U.S. dollar. In an email interview, Diego Grijalva, a professor of economics at the University of San Francisco of Quito, discusses Ecuador’s economy in the wake of the commodities bust. WPR: How important are commodities for Ecuador’s economy, and what impact […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during their meeting in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia, May 8, 2015 (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko).

When Russian President Vladimir Putin travels to Beijing in late June, he can rightfully take some satisfaction in his rapport with his host and Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping. While Moscow’s relations with other strategically important countries are troubled, there has been a remarkable strengthening of Russian-Chinese security, economic and ideological ties since Putin took charge of the Kremlin in 1999. Since then, Russia and China have cooperated more to promote common regional interests; their bilateral defense relationship has evolved to become more institutionalized and better integrated; and China has become Russia’s leading national trade partner and gateway to other […]

Vehicles move past the Presidential Palace through smog, New Delhi, India, Jan. 13, 2016 (AP photo by Tsering Topgyal).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on countries’ risk exposure, contribution and response to climate change. During his visit to Washington last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed to formally ratifying the Paris climate change agreement by the end of 2016. In an email interview, Neil Bhatiya, the climate and diplomacy fellow at the Center for Climate and Security, discusses India’s response to climate change. WPR: What is India’s risk exposure to climate change, what effects of climate change are already apparent, and what sorts of mitigation approaches will it have to adopt or […]

Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, May 15, 2016, Jiddah, Saudi Arabia (Saudi Press Agency via AP).

When Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, delivered her first speech after the weekend massacre at an Orlando LGBT nightclub, she listed a predictable collection of problems contributing to the killings, from the availability of assault rifles in the U.S. to the proliferation of extremist ideologies emanating from the Middle East. Then she delivered a surprisingly blunt message to America’s Arab allies: It is “long past time,” she declared, for Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar to stop their citizens from funding extremist organizations, as well as from “supporting radical schools and mosques” that send young people into extremism. The […]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a welcoming ceremony at the Saadabad Palace, Tehran, May 23, 2016 (Iranian Presidency Office via AP).

With international sanctions against Iran lifted, India is keen to get ties with Tehran back to their pre-sanctions level. This was reflected in the flurry of high-level visits that took place this year in the run-up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran in late May. While India is looking to Iran to help in its transition to an economy fueled by natural gas, it is also betting on Iran to be its gateway into markets in Central Asia, through the development of the Iranian port of Chabahar. For its part, Iran seems keen to deepen its strategic economic […]

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the COP21 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Paris, France, Nov. 30, 2015 (AP photo by Michel Euler).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on countries’ risk exposure, contribution and response to climate change. Leaders from Canada, the United States and Mexico are to meet later this month for the so-called Three Amigos summit, and climate change is expected to dominate the agenda. In an email interview, Alexis Arthur, an independent energy consultant, discussed Mexico’s response to climate change. WPR: What is Mexico’s risk exposure to climate change, what effects of climate change are already apparent, and what sorts of mitigation approaches will it have to adopt or develop? Alexis Arthur: Like many […]

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a joint news conference, Ankara, Turkey, April 16, 2016 (AP photo by Burhan Ozbilici).

Last week, a Turkish energy firm signed a $4.2 billion deal for the construction of seven natural gas power plants in Iran, the largest investment deal in Iran since international sanctions over its nuclear program were lifted. In an email interview, Nader Habibi, the Henry J. Leir professor of economics of the Middle East in Brandeis University’s Crown Center for Middle East Studies, discussed the evolution of Turkish-Iranian ties. WPR: What were the main areas of political, economic and energy cooperation between Turkey and Iran pre-2011, and what impact did international sanctions on Iran and the Syrian conflict subsequently have […]

Muslim pilgrims walk toward the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 13, 2015 (AP photo by Mosa'ab Elshamy).

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—Since ascending to the Saudi throne in January 2015, King Salman has launched a range of reform initiatives. One of the more radical, but least sign-posted, is a drive for greater accountability and transparency in public life. Saudi commentators believe the move is aimed in part at cutting the ground out from under the scores of critics on social media who accuse senior Saudi officials and members of the royal family of pocketing a large share of the country’s huge oil revenue. The initiative may also be intended to compensate for the absence of political reform in the […]

The Eiffel Tower lit up with a slogan as part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, Dec. 11, 2015 (AP photo by Francois Mori).

Energy minsters and clean energy leaders from around the world descended upon San Francisco, California, this week for the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), the first major international follow-up to the historic global climate accord struck in Paris last December. Diplomats and negotiators have rightly been praised for the success of the COP 21 Paris agreement, the most comprehensive global deal to date on climate change, with buy-in from virtually every nation on earth. But to mitigate the worst effects of climate change by displacing greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels, countries must expand their clean energy infrastructure. The CEM, which has […]