Commentary

Bottling the Sun

LONDON – This December, world leaders will gather in Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, where they will attempt – yet again – to hammer out a global agreement to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

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From Nuclear Safety to Nuclear Security

WASHINGTON, DC/MOSCOW – Four years ago, a devastating tsunami crashed into the coast of Japan. Fifty-foot waves breached the seawall of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, cutting off its emergency power supply and disabling its cooling systems.

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The Paris Climate-Change Spectacular

OTTAWA – The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December will feature all the tightly choreographed production values of a Hollywood blockbuster. The cast will be huge: presidents and prime ministers at center stage, supported by thousands of extras, including protesters, riot police, and busloads of media. The script may still be under wraps, but the plot has already leaked: This time, in sharp contrast to the failed negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009, the planet is going to win.

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Africa’s Opportunity in Addis

DAKAR – This week, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and a city full of symbolic importance for all of Africa, will host the Third International Conference on Financing for Development. Most developing countries hold high expectations for the conference. They hope it will offer new means to improve social welfare at a time when financing their development needs has become increasingly difficult.

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Plugging the Leaks in Africa’s Economies

DAKAR – Africa is usually perceived as a net beneficiary of the global financial system, with aid and investment flowing to the continent from richer parts of the world. This is simply not true.

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Educating Syria’s Refugee Children

BEIRUT – When I took charge of Lebanon’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education in February 2014, I was presented with two huge challenges.

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Knowledge for Progress

LONDON – Some 236 years ago,a young governor from the Americanstate of Virginia broke the mold on education reform. In hisBill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge, ThomasJefferson called for “a system of general instruction” that wouldreach all citizens, “from the richest to poorest.” It was the first step in the creation of the American system of public education – an institution that helped to propel the country’s rise to global prominence.

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The Escalating Arab Wars

BEIRUT – The violence unleashed in Arab countries in the last four years may turn out to be just a first taste of what is to come. Escalating brutality and the actions of governments have put Arab citizens under immense pressure. Without a change of course, the outcome could easily be further conflict and a new wave of uprisings – this time not peaceful.

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Renovating the World Order

WARSAW – Russia-instigated violence has returned to Ukraine. The Islamic State continues its bloodstained territorial conquests. As violent conflicts and crises intensify worldwide, from Africa to Asia, it is becoming abundantly clear that there is no longer a guarantor of order – not international law or even a global hegemon – that countries (and would-be state-builders) view as legitimate and credible.

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Africa’s Low-Carbon Revolution

LONDON – Imagine you woke up tomorrow without access to modern energy. You have no fridge, cooking stove, or air conditioning. Your kids can’t do homework after sundown. You can’t charge your mobile phone. Welcome to the world of Africa’s unconnected – and to a market failure that is destroying opportunities for development on an epic scale.

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