Josh Busby

Thursday Linkage: Hey! A Non-World Cup/Brazil post

Thursday Linkage: Hey! A Non-World Cup/Brazil post

by on 2014-07-17- Leave a reply

I'm ready to move on from Brazil and football/soccer news. Really I am. Here are some links related to climate change and I've thrown in a link to Will Moore's post about using satellite rain data rather than rain gauge data to track rainfall (the latter may be subject to variation due to conflict. Hard to collect rain gauge data in conflict zones!). In other news, Australia votes to repeal carbon tax, while lots of action afoot to deal with emissions from autos, HFCs, impacts, etc. 
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Nearing the End of the World Cup Linkage

Nearing the End of the World Cup Linkage

by on 2014-07-09- Leave a reply

This might be might last football related post, what with the World Cup coming to a close and host country Brazil departing ignominiously from the competition by a margin of 7 to 1 in the semifinal against Germany. I've got a few football/Brazil related links for this week. I'm sitting on a goodly number of climate change and conservation related themes that I'll come back to in coming weeks.

I'm also aiming to write about restive criticism of President Obama's foreign policy, both by the usual suspects as well as some more unlikely folks like Peter Beinart. I'll leave that to a later post. In the meantime, what does Brazil's loss mean for Dilma Rousseff's re-election prospects? Why is that almost all the Brazil fans at the games appear to be white? Brazil's got a ton of water but Sao Paulo doesn't, what gives? At the end of the day, this is just a game, and with the deterioration of the situation in Israel, among other calamities, there are certainly some bigger issues looming.
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Attempt to Depose University of Texas President

Attempt to Depose University of Texas President

by on 2014-07-07- Leave a reply

Over the July 4th weekend, UT System Chancellor Cigarroa demanded that UT President Bill Powers resign or be fired by July 10th. Bill Powers refused but offered a timetable to step-down. Supporters of the embattled president have launched a petition drive that now has nearly 8500 signatures. At stake is the future of higher education in the state of Texas and whether or not Texas values tier 1 research institutions. 
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Belabored Belated Thursday Football Linkage

Belabored Belated Thursday Football Linkage

by on 2014-06-27- 1 Comment

I'm back from Brazil and resurfacing with many story ideas from my recent adventures. In the meantime, if you are like me, you have soccer on the brain and are getting your head around yesterday's winning loss to Germany by the U.S. team.

I'll make a tangential attempt to make a linkage to international politics, which is rather easy when you see the scope of money involved in building the stadiums in Brazil, the threats of player work stoppages, particularly by African teams, for failure to pay appearance fees, and the outlandish price of Neymar's new shoes for Nike. Here is what I've been reading that connects soccer to international politics:

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The Waste Pickers of Brasilia

The Waste Pickers of Brasilia

by on 2014-06-18- Leave a reply

Two weeks ago as part of our class, we visited Brasilia's landfill site, known as Lixão, which again underscored some of the incredible contradictions in the country.  It is a vast site, with six open dumping sites, this is one of the largest landfills in all of Latin America. Controversy surrounds this landfill, as it is slated to be closed and moved some 45km away.  The government is shutting down landfills like this one in favor of lined landfills with water protection systems.  They have already closed Rio's massive dump in 2012. Brasilia's landfill harkens back to an earlier age, when unlined landfills with no specially designed containment ponds existed.  However, this landfill won't shut quietly.

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Blogging from Brazil: Problems of Connectivity

Blogging from Brazil: Problems of Connectivity

by on 2014-06-14- Leave a reply

So, at this point, I've been all over Brazil, though that's like saying I've toured the United States in five weeks. That said, I've been in five or six cities all over the country (I'll load a better map soon), and the internet speed has invariably been crap, even in pretty expensive hotels. I'm not sure what that tells you about the country's fortunes in the 21st century, but it does mean access to information and commerce in Brazil is limited, let alone the ability for people to watch streaming video of Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black or local soccer. It also makes it so much harder for Brazilian voices to get their stories heard outside of official media. 
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Brazil Linkage

Brazil Linkage

by on 2014-05-31- 1 Comment

Here are some stories we've been reading about Brazil:

  • Street artist captures iconic image of impending World Cup (see mural above)
  • Rio residents ambivalent about the World Cup

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Notes from Brazil

Notes from Brazil

by on 2014-05-30- Leave a reply

A long overdue post from Brazil. I've been here about two weeks, first in Rio and have just concluded the second week in the Amazonian city of Belém.  I hope to come back with more substantive thoughts about the country's direction, but here are some preliminary thoughts. The Brazilians we met were somewhat ambivalent about the World Cup. Many of them expressed the concern that this was a lot of money that the country could have used to address its myriad social needs.

When I think about whether Brazil can be a major player internationally, even more important than it is now, I've generally been struck by the contrasts, between the rich cosmopolitan parts of Rio and the rougher, grittier favelas that intersperse the city. Similar contrasts abound between the Rio's relatively nice beach neighborhoods (like Ipanema) and Belém. Belém looks like it has seen better days since the time when it was a major port city exporter of rubber. The agencies and individuals we met with here have treated us with great kindness and generosity, but the city itself has aging infrastructure, cracked sidewalks, inadequate sewerage, and a fair amount of garbage.
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Thursday Linkage – Heading to Brazil Edition

Thursday Linkage – Heading to Brazil Edition

by on 2014-05-15- Leave a reply

I'm so glad the semester is over so I can leave Friday to head to Brazil for a three week short course with my colleague Eugene Gholz. The topic is the World Cup "Rising Powers and Global Governance." We have reprised our 2010 edition of our South Africa short course (notice the pattern). I'm hopeful I'll be able to provide some flavor from our trip as we have an exciting series of meetings with government officials, scientists, academics, practitioners, diplomats, activists, and members of the business community.

We're focused on three main themes, the environment, public health, and the economy, and we have stops in Rio, the Amazon city of Belém, and the capital Brasilia. I'm hopeful that the trip is eventful but drama-free, as my wife and two-year old will be joining me in short order. In preparation for this trip, we've put together a hell of a syllabus. I'll post a version of it soon from the road. In the meantime, we identified a few Brazil-centric readings as teaser articles for our students to whet their appetites as we head down. I'm linking to some of them here.

I think everyone is waiting, wondering if the World Cup will come off without a hitch. The preparations seem to be belabored and late. The population is restive, with corruption, cost overruns, and the lack of accountability making this soccer-mad but highly unequal country question whether the Cup was the right way to spend the nation's money. There are thousands of squatters occupying lands right near the São Paulo football stadium, and today marks a day of simultaneous protests against the World Cup across 50 cities. There are questions about whether the country has the appetite or even the ability to pull off the Olympics on top of the World Cup, with preparations lagging way behind. On top of all this, it's an election year, with national elections scheduled for October and the Workers' Party Dilma Rousseff running for re-election. It should be an interesting time!
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Thursday Heading into Summer Linkage – Climate Change Edition

Thursday Heading into Summer Linkage – Climate Change Edition

by on 2014-05-07- Leave a reply

Apologies for the missing linkage from last week. I took a team of students to DC to present to policymakers the key findings from my year-long course on climate change and the major economies (see the embedded video at the bottom). The timing was opportune because this was a big week for climate policy. Thousands of world leaders gathered in Abu Dhabi to prepare for the UN Secretary General's fall meeting on the topic. China appears poised to crack down on polluters. Though air pollution is the primary target, there may be potential co-benefits for the climate.

Here at home, the U.S. scientific community released a major report documenting the effects of climate change already buffeting the United States. Seizing on that report, the Obama administration redoubled its effort to change the political narrative in this country. Jon Huntsman weighed and encouraged the GOP to come around on climate. Meanwhile, the campaign to force universities to divest their fossil fuel holdings landed their first major achievement when Stanford agreed to divest from coal. Read on for links to these stories and more.

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Thursday Linkage: Earth Day edition

Thursday Linkage: Earth Day edition

by on 2014-04-24- 1 Comment

Johannes gave a spirited and optimistic take on Earth Day, which was Tuesday April 22nd. I think as an advocacy strategy that an optimistic call to arms strikes the right tone. One of the core findings from some framing studies carried out in the early 2000s suggested that overwhelmingly negative messages on issues like climate change leave people feeling fatalistic. This fatalism was on display this week when I advertised a yearlong MA class I'm teaching next year on global wildlife conservation. I only had 3 students sign up in an open registration where my class was up head to head with four others. One of my colleagues asked one of the students with an environmental bent why she didn't sign up, and her response was that it was hopeless, that saving rhinos or elephants was like the war on drugs. I can't tell you how disappointing and dispiriting that is, all the more odd because she identified climate change and water scarcity her preferred issue (talk about a hard issue to solve!).

Don't Give in to Fatalism

In terms of the global wildlife crisis, my answer is that we can't afford to give in to fatalism. I refuse to admit that allowing poachers to kill the remaining rhinos and elephants is inevitable. There have been major poaching crises before, and though, as Elizabeth Kolbert's new book argues, we are in the midst of an era of human-induced mass extinction, political activity and study of the issues we care about is pointless if the world cannot be changed. I'm not blind to the challenges, but I wouldn't be in this business if positive change weren't possible. So, to that student, I say take my class and do one better, get involved. The environment is due for a mass movement again. Here are my set of links of stories that ought to get us off the couch. The news isn't good, but it's no time to throw in the towel. 
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Thursday Linkage: Get the Duck out of this Semester

Thursday Linkage: Get the Duck out of this Semester

by on 2014-04-18- 1 Comment

With the tale end of this semester bearing down on me, this Duck is barely keeping his head above water. Fortunately, time has stopped and nothing has happened in the world. Ukraine is fine (no more Russian incursions). The global environment has put the threat of major disruption from climate change on pause. It's clear skies in Beijing. All the poachers of wildlife around the world have dropped dead. I wish. Read on for what's really happening.

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The IPCC Working Group III Report on Climate Mitigation in 11 Tweets

The IPCC Working Group III Report on Climate Mitigation in 11 Tweets

by on 2014-04-15- 1 Comment

The IPCC released the Working Group III summary report for policymakers on Sunday. I wrote about the Working Group II report on impacts on The Monkey CageWorking Group III covers climate mitigation, that is the challenges of reducing greenhouse gases. Tonight, I read through the report and tweeted my sense of the main findings in an 11 part series that I embed below. My short take: there is not nearly enough in the 33 page document on barriers to implementation and international cooperation. I'm really looking forward to the release of the longer chapters. In the meantime, I encourage interested readers to take a look at five sectoral reports from my research group on the Major Economies and Climate Change.
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Thursday Linkage

Thursday Linkage

by on 2014-04-10- 1 Comment

As we hurtle to the end of the semester, here are some stories for the week that caught my eye:

  • Felix Salmon on why wonk bloggery is the future of journalism
  • From Kyle Dropp and co-authors, Americans who can't find Ukraine on the map are more likely to support intervention there. What does this say about low information voters?
  • Kim Yi Dionne and coauthor review the strange raid of a US-funded AIDS effort by Ugandan authorities as part of the emergent state-backed homophobia campaign
  • Rich Cincotta pours cold water on the idea that food prices drove the Arab Spring: local prices didn't increase that much
  • Seymour Hersh suggests that Turkey might have been behind the chemical weapons attacks in Syria, as an attempt to draw the U.S. in

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Thursday Linkage: Slouching towards Semester’s End

Thursday Linkage: Slouching towards Semester’s End

by on 2014-04-04- Leave a reply

While Amanda is a glutton for punishment with both ISA and Midwest appearances, my wife and I are tag-teaming it - ISA for me and Midwest for her. In between diaper changes, Finding Nemo, and oatmeal, here is what I'm reading. Cambridge refuses to publish book on Putin for fear of libel, the IPCC Fifth Assessment report on climate change impacts is out, Japan cancels a whale hunt after ICJ ruling, China bags clean mountain air, no climate change at this year's G20, and more.

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Thursday ISA edition

Thursday ISA edition

by on 2014-03-27- 1 Comment

Greetings from Toronto. In advance of tonight's OAIS blogging awards gathering at 7:15pm in Sheraton Ballroom C, the Duck non-collective collective got together for a pre-soiree soiree.  Folks were in good from. For many of us, it was the first chance for us to ever meet in person.

For me, this is a quick trip, as I'm headed back this am after a busy day of panels, the business meeting of the new ISA section on global health, and a lovely dinner sponsored by Bridging the Gap. With a toddler at home and a busy spring of travel, this Duck is needed to tag team on the toddler front before my wife heads to Midwest next week. Before I go, here are a few reads that caught my eye. Bob Gates on Ukraine, expats fleeing Beijing's bad air, new WHO report on deaths from air pollution, debates about the climate coverage at the new 538, and more.

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Thursday Linkage

Thursday Linkage

by on 2014-03-20- Leave a reply

With Crimea's secession and accession drama still unfolding, we wait with baited breath about whether we will bear witness to yet another war (Kimberly Marten's post on the Monkey Cage is sobering). Sure hard to believe that Steven Pinker is right with Syria blazing, the Central Africa Republic aflame, and Ukraine and Russia poised for conflict.

More parochially, I've been reading the story, perhaps apocryphal of the female job candidate whose negotiations for a job led to the school rescinding the offer. I've also been followed additional debates about underrepresentation of women in foreign policy and whether academics have anything to say. Krugman had some choice words for Nate Silver's new enterprise, reminding us of the importance of theory. 
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Thursday Linkage

by on 2014-03-13- 1 Comment

We're on spring break here in Austin, Texas so this will be a short post as I'm just back from some SXSW events (trying to steer clear of the drunk drivers). Mostly, I'll link to some news from the blogosphere, including changes at the Monkey Cage (4 new additions) and Foreign Policy (Drezner and Lynch depart). I also link to some good exchange on RCTs and Bill Easterly's new book on experts and development. Oh, and Les Gelb goes off on all parties with respect to Ukraine (Crimea secession/join Russia referendum this weekend!). I'm also including a playlist of the bands I've seen at SXSW which I hope to add to.

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Of Polls and Public Engagement in International Relations

Of Polls and Public Engagement in International Relations

by on 2014-03-08- Leave a reply

This is a guest post by Idean Salehyan.

There has been a lot of hand-wringing and debate lately as to whether or not academics are engaged enough with important policy questions (See Nicholas Kristof’s article in the New York Times and just a few responses, here and here).  As this conversation was circling around the blogosphere, there was an impressive initiative to poll International Relations (IR) scholars about their views and predictions regarding foreign affairs.   Such surveys have the potential to make a big splash inside and outside of academia.

For several years, scholars at the College of William and Mary have conducted the Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) survey, which gauges IR scholars’ views of the discipline, including department and journal rankings, epistemology, and so on.  This endeavor was largely inward-looking.  Yet for the first time, the folks at TRIP conducted a “snap poll” of IR scholars to measure the collective wisdom of the field regarding current international events.  The results of the first snap poll were recently released at Foreign Policy.  It included questions on Syria, the crisis in Ukraine, and the U.S. Defense Budget.  Key findings include that IR scholars do not think that Syria will comply on time (if at all) with plans to eliminate its chemical weapons; very few correctly predicted that Russia would send troops to Ukraine; and most do not believe that proposed cuts to the U.S. military budget will negatively effect national security.  Additional polls are being planned, providing an extremely important tool for engaging policy makers and the general public.
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Thursday Linkage

Thursday Linkage

by on 2014-03-06- 3 Comments

In the all Ukraine all the time edition of the Duck, here are some essential reads from this week. Will ad more in a bit.

  • Dan Nexon channeling his inner Henry Kissinger on the Monkey Cage
  • Henry Kissinger channeling his inner Henry Kissinger in the WaPo
  • Joshua Rovner on why Russia's intervention in Ukraine is a blunder
  • What will Germany, one of Russia's main trading partners, do?
  • Obama administration issues new sanctions
  • Crimea prepares for a snap referendum in 10 days on secession
  • Bob Gates tells Republican critics of Obama and Ukraine policy to cool it
  • Hillary unhelpfully compares Putin to Hitler (see Kissinger above)
  • Lindsey Graham even more unhelpful on Twitter

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