BEIJING — While China’s much-hyped clean energy drive has become bogged down in problems of impracticality and policy incoherence, the U.S. has quietly effected a genuine energy revolution that creates huge cost advantages for America’s manufacturing base going forward. With major structural shifts already underway, changing international energy market dynamics present Washington with an opportunity to fundamentally reorient its foreign policy approach, toward China and a broader range of actors, in the decades to come. In 2011, China overtook the U.S. in terms of renewable energy investment and under current plans will surpass the European Union in 2014. Beijing plans […]

Too often, political and economic analysts summarily lump Bolivia together with the rest of South America’s leftist governments. That has not been a comfortable category to be in over the past decade, and recent developments on the continent — such as Argentina’s nationalization of Spanish oil company YPF in April and Venezuela’s January announcement that it would withdraw from the World Bank-hosted International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, a key arbitration forum — have only further rattled investors and governments. Even moderate Brazil has recently raised eyebrows with its tough treatment of multinational oil companies. But President Evo Morales’ […]

The agricultural ministers of China, Japan and South Korea signed an agreement last month to work together to improve food security and increase agricultural trade. In an email interview, Roehlano M. Briones, a senior research fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies and research fellow of the Asia Pacific Policy Center, discussed East Asian cooperation on food security. WPR: What are the major food security priorities for China, Japan and South Korea, respectively? Roehlano M. Briones: Let me answer this question from the viewpoint of policymakers. For China the major food security priority is to ensure that the population […]

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) recently confirmed that Pakistan’s lackluster economic performance in recent years is essentially a reflection of its ongoing energy crisis. A combination of factors, including an unbalanced power-generating portfolio, the insurgency in Balochistan and natural calamities such as the devastating floods in 2010, have complicated the task of Pakistan’s energy planners. Long dependent on natural gas to meet transport and urban domestic requirements, Pakistan is facing a spike in its oil import bill due to gas shortages. Meanwhile, the electricity sector is finding it difficult to deal with the inherently intermittent nature of hydropower as a […]

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In one of several military operations that have been launched over the past year to tackle illegal gold mining, illegal deforestation and drug smuggling in the Amazon rain forest, Brazil is sending more than 8,500 troops to patrol an area that stretches across the northern border of the country. The deployment, which underscores Brazil’s efforts to assert greater control over the more than two-thirds of the Amazon that falls within its borders, comes as international expectations over Brazil’s role as a regional power rise — and as a United Nations conference on sustainable development to be held in Rio de […]

GUATEMALA CITY — Goldcorp is one of the many mining companies winning big on the Central American Gold Belt. Amid soaring gold prices, its Marlin mine in Guatemala made $609 million in profit last year, up 125 percent from 2010. The second-biggest gold miner in the world, Goldcorp was also Guatemala’s largest single taxpayer last year, paying more than $80 million in royalties and taxes, while also funding community development and health projects. But the Marlin mine has a downside. Guatemalans living nearby claim to have lead poisoning, and environmentalists say Goldcorp is harming local water supplies irreversibly. Meanwhile, anti-mining […]