Met with an enthusiastic round of applause and cheers, US President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law on Aug. 16, 2022. In his address to the American people, Biden triumphantly said the IRA–a bill dedicated to fighting climate change and reducing fossil fuel emissions in a way that will also lower inflation–is one of the most significant laws in American history.
Posts published in “Insights”
The 27th UN Conference on Climate Change, COP27, saw a pronouncement from French President Emmanuel Macron that the Bezos Earth Fund had pledged $1 billion to protect carbon reserves and biodiversity. With such a prominent pledge, many have begun to ask, what is the Earth Fund, and where is it situated in the architecture of global environmental governance? Non-state actors are not new to the area, with NGOs and activists becoming increasingly prominent at these international conferences. But philanthropic groups like the Bezos Earth Fund are comparatively new. While they may be able to bring large amounts of money to the table, these actors raise concerns about legitimacy and the power of wealthy individuals like Jeff Bezos. As a result, the fund and its plans are worth a closer look.
The melting of the glaciers is changing geopolitical arrangements. In the Arctic, global warming is opening opportunities for the allocation of needed resources even to non-Arctic states. The region is indeed opening up to new power dynamics and competition as states propel their economic, military, and political claims. New powers, such as China and India, have joined the resources race; but what can they really gain from the frozen Arctic lands? And how will this affect the regional and global balance of power?
When the Chinese Communist Party’s National Congress concludes, it is a ripe time for many observers of Chinese politics to look at the new set of appointments and get a sense of the direction in which the country might be headed. Backgrounds of leaders elected to the Politburo Standing Committee (the highest decision-making body in the party) or the Politburo (the second-highest decision-making body) are revealed at the end of the Party Congress, and they would stay in power for the next five years. In Leninist-Marxist regimes, these leaders–who have historically been mostly men– are the living embodiment of the ‘five-year plans’ that rule planned economies.
What does it mean to be Chinese? Am I Chinese? With my recent move to New York City, I am surprised at how often I am asked this question: Are you Chinese? I struggle to respond every time because the word “Chinese” can mean a lot of things – a nationality, an ethnicity, a language, and even a culture. And it requires much more than a simple yes or no to answer.
As Putin’s rhetoric and violence continues to increase, and accusations of war crimes mount against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many around the world are wondering why Russia can’t simply be dismissed from the UN Security Council or at least blocked from voting. In February 2022 Russia Vetoed several Security Council decisions regarding the invasion. Since then,there has been discussion of UN Security Council reform as it has been well established that Putin’s military operation violates the UN Charter on many levels.
On September 16, I watched as Hong Kongers lined up for hours outside the British Consulate in Admiralty, the city’s eastern central business district, to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II. A colossal bed of flowers and pictures of the queen were gradually built up against the consulate walls—it may have been one of the greatest displays of affection for the late monarch witnessed outside the UK.
On Sept. 29, the US-Asia Law Institute at NYU Law invited attorneys Jennifer Wu (NYU Law, 2004) and Lawrence Wee (Harvard Law, 1994) from the Paul Weiss Law firm to discuss anti-Asian hate crime. Wu and Wee spoke on the difficulty of prosecuting hate crimes through the nature of collecting evidence, and why the community response, both digital and protest advocacy, should be made first and foremost with the voice of the victims in mind. In a city-campus where students are already cautious of daily safety, the rise in hate crimes and the deaths of young professionals alarmed safety concerns and brought forward attention and support for the Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community.
The war in Ukraine, when viewed side by side with recent wars around the world from Yemen to Syria to Ethiopia, indicates disturbing global trends. There is far too little protection for civilians, and the detrimental impact is heightened for already vulnerable groups. Civilians displaced by war sit in limbo for years, and those lucky enough to escape their war-torn countries are relegated to overcrowded and under-resourced camps. The Council on Foreign Relations reports shrinking opportunities for refugee resettlement, a result of the international community’s inability and/or unwillingness to support them or resolve the conflict that caused their displacement in the first place. Refugees in camps can face intense discrimination and fall victim to starvation, illness, and human trafficking. And the perpetrators of all this global violence and suffering tend to be met with impunity. This is the grim status quo.
The first national federation of unions, the National Labor Union, was created in 1872 after workers demanded for an eight-hour workday. In the following decades, unions representing an assortment of trades and demands sprang up across the US. Their goal was to protect the rights – to safety, humane conditions, and social and economic freedom – of workers as booming corporations seemingly sought to eliminate them.