Until recently, carbon released into the atmosphere from wildfires was not considered a significant component of atmospheric greenhouse gas as it was assumed that over the climatic cycle this carbon would be returned to vegetative re-growth. In Australia this may well be the case. Globally, however, a growing body of evidence suggests that carbon produced by wildfires is making a significant contribution to the volume of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere where it contributes to climate change.
The issue of independence in West Papua will likely reignite as Indonesia renews its autonomy laws for the region. The prospects for West Papua’s independence movement are bleak; Indonesia simply has too much at stake in the region and does not face enough external pressure to hold an independence referendum. Further compounding matters, in the current geopolitical climate, concerns relating to China will also heighten sensitivities surrounding the potential vulnerability of an independent West Papua.
Neither Democrats nor Republicans can afford to ignore India or the Indian-American community, sizeable proportions of which are located in key battleground states. Given the size of India as a market and its increasing strategic relevance, a future Biden Presidency is unlikely to significantly change the direction of US foreign policy towards India. What remains to be seen is whether the choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate helps Joe Biden in attracting more of the South Asian vote in general and the Indian vote in particular.
The Politicisation of Australian Agricultural Trade with China Suggests that New Export Markets Need to be Cultivated
While Australian agricultural exports to China remained steady in the first half of 2020, the latest trade data suggests that they will face considerable headwinds for the foreseeable future. As Beijing continues to target Australian agricultural industries with trade bans and tariffs, in an attempt to apply political pressure to Canberra, it is in Australia’s interests to cultivate new export markets.
The United States and China reaffirmed their commitment to the Phase One Trade Agreement last month. While Beijing is unlikely to reach the import commitments that it agreed to in that deal, it has increased the volume of US agricultural goods that it is importing. It remains to be seen whether that will be sufficient to save the agreement after the US presidential election in November.
The massive ammonium nitrate blast that rocked Beirut has brought to the fore – and exacerbated – the ongoing political crisis in Lebanon. The country’s geographical location and the vortex of geopolitical tensions among which it is positioned can hardly be under-emphasised. The combined forces of domestic politics and international influence have led to Lebanon becoming a proxy battleground.
Agriculture sits at the nexus of some of the most pressing challenges facing the world today: climate change, food security and nutrition, water quality, biodiversity and livelihoods. The COVID-19 crisis is exacerbating pressures across the agriculture supply chain, revealing the fragility of the food system. It has shone light on core societal values of health and nutrition and highlighted the importance of essential food system workers. A transition toward regenerative practices could bring a huge win-win for farmers, food companies and the environment and a foundation for a truly future-fit agricultural system.
While all eyes have been on New Delhi’s tensions with Nepal, China has bolstered its economic and strategic links with Dhaka, and Colombo-Beijing ties already are robust. There have been signs of a thaw between New Delhi and Kathmandu, and India has worked to strengthen its economic ties with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, but New Delhi needs to view its neighbourhood beyond the China factor, resolve domestic problems and address its own economic challenges.
The decision of the United Arab Emirates to normalise links with Israel will have a disruptive effect on the geopolitics of the Middle East, which could see the region divided into factions that either support or object to the initiative.
There is likely to be a significant increase in poverty across Iraq as a result of a severe economic downturn brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, a decline in oil production and a sharp decrease in international oil prices. That is expected to contribute to a significant, and persistent, rise in food insecurity across the country.