On October 28, Brazilians elected Jair Messias Bolsonaro as the next president of the republic, following a hyper-polarized and contentious election. The impetus, in part, for the frustration: Brazilians’ anger with rampant corruption.
In this Spotlight, we ask: What are the five most important areas Brazil’s new administration must focus on to effectively fight corruption?
The H-1B visa program is one of more than twenty US guest worker programs, but it has arguably been in the spotlight more than any other. While the H1-B was originally intended to attract foreign workers to satisfy unmet demand for skilled labor, the current system undercuts opportunities for US workers and enables the exploitation of H-1B workers, many of whom who are underpaid, vulnerable to abuse, and frequently placed in poor working conditions. Adopting safeguards to ensure H-1B workers are provided fair working conditions and given greater employment rights would both improve the lives of visa holders and better protect US workers. In the Atlantic Council South Asia Center’s new report, Reforming US’ High-Skilled Guestworker Program, Dr. Ron Hira, Associate Professor at Howard University, and Dr. Bharath Gopalaswamy, Director of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center, explore the current flaws of the H-1B visa system and discuss potential policy measures for reform.
10 questions for 2019: New presidents, new policies, new opportunities...What will be the biggest shock of the year?
JOIN US AND VOTE! How do you think some of the biggest questions of 2019 will unfold? Will President Bolsonaro find success with his economic plan? What is the fate of the Maduro regime this year? Will Latin America see more investment than ever from China? Will Latin artists take the music world by storm?
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January 10 is both the start of Nicolás Maduro’s second term in office as well as a day to reinforce the lack of democratic conditions that led to his declaring victory and what is at stake. Today, one day earlier, the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center releases infographic that depict the illegitimacy of this new term, Maduro’s first-term results, and options for the road ahead.
Although the 2018 electoral event was not recognized by the international community, Maduro has been unwavering in his quest for power. His authoritarianism and the schemes enriching high-level government officials and members of the military persist despite a ramp-up of international sanctions and growing internal and external pressure.
There have been many interpretations regarding the exact nature of China’s obligations in reducing emissions under the 2015 Paris Agreement. The e is complicated by the inherent difficulties of implementing climate policies across a vast region where policy execution requires cooperation and coordination among offices of the Chinese central government, its diverse subnational governments, and many other stakeholders.
In his paper, “From Paris to Beijing: Implementing the Paris Agreement,” Craig A. Hart identifies the disparate national and local government offices that have varied roles in setting emissions targets in order to provide context for the challenges that China faces in fulfilling its climate commitments. Finally, Hart portrays the nongovernmental organizations—both entrepreneurs as well as local environmental activists—that are also advocating on climate policy issues. Hart’s analysis makes the case for greater transparency at all levels of government, the elimination of subsidies—with the exception of low-carbon energy and technology, the alignment of climate policy with China’s trade stance, and inclusion of the Chinese public on climate policy debates.
Demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) has increased in recent years, as it has become increasingly available, affordable, and more environmentally sustainable than coal and crude oil. While Asian markets have become key importers of LNG, piping LNG to many countries in East Asia has presented great difficulties that have required, instead, transport by sea.
Jean-Francois Seznec’s paper, “Meeting Asian Energy Demand,” explores the many ways in which demand for LNG has had an impact on shipping routes as well as trade issues between the suppliers and importers of natural gas. Seznec presents the story of LNG transport against the backdrop of geopolitical tensions and diplomatic relations. Finally, Seznec evaluates countries that may soon come online as global suppliers of LNG, and assesses the political implications of countries in Africa, as well as Canada and Israel joining the ranks of exporters of natural gas.
Most consumers in the United States are familiar with the advances in the electrification of cars and, perhaps to a lesser extent, with innovations in automotive biofuel. However, the importance of powering the aviation sector (both military and commercial) through sustainable fuels cannot be overstated. David Hitchcock’s paper, “Ready for Takeoff? Aviation Biofuels Past, Present, and Future,” provides a keen look at the history of biofuels, current uses of biofuel, and investments in research and development that will yield future dividends.
Hitchcock explains the context of US policy on biofuels, anchored in the revamped Renewable Fuel Standard as part of the 2007 Energy Policy Act, and also examines the interplay between federal and state legislation, using the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard as a case study. Finally, Hitchcock provides an overview of some of the most exciting research in the field, highlighting the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium and its innovations in producing biofuel through aquaculture.
As oil has faced increasing competition from other energy sources—from natural gas to renewables, many observers are questioning the future of oil demand. Against this backdrop of uncertainty, a number of sovereign wealth funds—which had originally been created as holders of oil wealth, now have mandates that include economic diversification.
In her report, “Sovereign Investors: A Means for Economic Diversification?” Bina Hussein provides case studies of four sovereign wealth funds: the Kuwait Investment Authority, the UAE’s Mubadala Investment Company, the Qatar Investment Authority, and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. As an analytic counterpoint, Hussein also examines the case of Singapore’s Temasek. Throughout, Hussein argues for transparency metrics and measures in governance that will help sovereign investors build partnerships in a wide range of industries, bolstering countries’ efforts to move beyond reliance on oil.
Over the last ten years, the United States has become the world’s leading producer of oil and gas, going from energy import dependence to energy dominance. This shift is due to the ability to produce from shale plays, a story which started in Texas and grew to have global ramifications. In a new report, The Future of Shale: The US Story and Its Implications, Global Energy Center Senior Fellow Ellen Scholl looks at the factors which enabled the rise of oil and gas production from shale deposits, focusing on the developments which have transpired in Texas.
This Global Energy Center report examines the Texas experience to draw lessons learned for countries hoping to utilize their shale resource potential and implications for global energy markets and geopolitics. The report concludes that the US case illustrates the challenges of operating in both a rural and an urban environment, underscores the unique advantages of the enabling ecosystem in the country, and demonstrates the importance of size and scale.