East-West Center Research in the News

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26 November 2018—Threat to Pacific from climate change more severe: US report, Radio New Zealand: Zena Grecni

The 4th US National Climate Assessment, just released, is the federally sanctioned work of about 300 academics and experts on the threat posed by climate change. Zena Grecni, Project Specialist for the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment based at the East-West Center, said that in the four years since the last US National Climate Assessment, threats from climate change have increased substantially. "Especially with sea level rise. It's accelerated and is now actually beginning to damage beaches, eco-systems, infrastructure like roadways and airports and housing," Ms Grecni said. "The projections have been continually revised to be more severe and more quick." Freshwater systems would also be compromised, coral reefs destroyed, and the region's biodiversity would come under greater stress, she said.

26 November 2018—Why Taiwan is likely to remain an important card for the US to play against China, South China Morning Post: Denny Roy

Taiwan is expected to remain a major flashpoint for China and the US despite the election defeat of the independence-leaning ruling party over the weekend. Denny Roy, a senior fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu, said he did not think the DPP’s losses would cause the party to adopt “any formulation implying that Taiwan is part of China.” Washington’s increasingly antagonistic mood towards Beijing also reduces the prospect that Donald Trumps’s administration, which has stepped up its military and diplomatic support for the island, will make any major changes in policy. “Some in the US policy-making community might see the election result as a welcome swinging of the pendulum in Taiwan back toward a cross-strait policy that lowers tensions with China, but others think the real troublemaker is China rather than Taiwan.”

25 November 2008—New climate change report not good for Hawaii, KHON2 (Honolulu): Victoria Keener

A new U.S. Climate Assessment report highlights many factors that could change the landscape of the islands and cost Hawaii billions of dollars. Victoria Keener of the East-West Center said, "All you have to do is go down Mapunapuna on a high-tide day, and you can see the roads already flooding. A lot of these impacts are happening sooner and more severely than was predicted in the past." She adds, "As the temperature changes, a lot of our native species are forced to go higher, and our coral reefs are bleaching from rising temperatures and from acidity."

24 November 2018—Climate report paints dire picture for Hawaii, Honolulu Star Advertiser: Victoria Keener

“It’s definitely a warmer future,” said Victoria Keener of the East-West Center, lead author of the Hawaii and U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands chapter of the fourth National Climate Assessment. “We can see it in the observed data, and it is reflected in the model projections. We can’t just keep living in a world of apathy.”

23 November 2018—US climate report warns of worsening weather disasters, Honolulu Civil Beat from The Associated Press: Victoria Keener

“This report makes it clear that climate change has arrived far sooner and as a greater threat than we previously thought,” Dr. Victoria Keener stated in a press release from the East-West Center on Friday. “Here on Oahu, we already see road closures during morning rush hour because of flooding, and with sea level rise we’ll see this more and more. Our Pacific Island neighbors on atolls will face sustainability challenges sooner rather than later. The world’s largest insurers recently stated that climate change is creating an ‘uninsurable’ world. Only by acting now can we hope to effectively manage these risks."

23 November 2018—East-West Center researchers see impacts of climate change in Hawaii, KHON2 (Honolulu): Victoria Keener

Researchers from the East-West Center say we're already seeing the impacts of climate change here in Hawaii from rising sea level temperatures to coral bleaching and changes in rainfall patterns. "All you have to do is go down Mapunapuna on a high-tide day," said East-West Center researcher Victoria Keener. "You can see the roads already flooding.  They call that sunny day flooding. It's not raining.  It's ocean water and fish in the street. We really have to start looking at this. It's impacting us now, can impact our families, where we live and the way we live our lives. There are some impacts we can't reverse, but we can do our part to slow things down."

22 November 2018—The many ways climate change will leave us high and dry, in one table, ThePrint (New Delhi, India): Abby Frazier

“So many studies look at how individual climate hazards will change in the future, but none of them consider all of the variables together,” Abby Frazier, climate scientist at the East-West Center and co-author of a recent study published in Nature told ThePrint. “This paints an unrealistic picture of the future and underestimates the consequences that climate change will have on humanity.”

22 November 2018—460+ ways climate change affecting humans: Shocking study, India Today: Keith Bettinger

"From a practical perspective, our recent findings, published in Nature illustrate the compounded and synergistic effects of climate change impacts," East-West Center Fellow and expert on climate change adaptation Keith Bettinger said. "This underscores the necessity of taking anticipatory adaptation action that will be necessary to confront these challenges," he added.

20 November 2018—Society faces much larger threat from climate change than perceived, Business Standard: Abby Frazier and Keith Bettinger

East-West Center researchers Abby Frazier and Keith Bettinger are among the authors of a recent study published in Nature "Most previous studies have focused on a single climate hazard and its intensification due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions," Frazier said. "But when you study the impact of these hazards individually you really don't see the full picture of the total impact of climate change on humanity." "From a practical perspective, these findings illustrate the compounded and synergistic effects of climate change impacts," ast-West Center Adjunct Fellow and expert on climate change adaptation Keith Bettinger said. "This underscores the necessity of taking anticipatory adaptation action that will be necessary to confront these challenges."

20 November 2018—Unnecessary fussing: China, the United States and APEC, International Policy Digest: Charles Morrison

Charles E Morrison of the East-West Centre in Hawaii noted, “Some wag described APEC as an international dating service for leaders.” On this occasion, the dates failed to reach a merry accord.

13 November 2018—Wary of China, US wants South Asia to join Indo-Pacific Strategy, My Republica (Kathmandu): Denny Roy and Christopher McNally

“China and United States at the moment are essentially competing for some degree of control over the same geographic space. So this is an irreconcilable situation at the moment,” said Dr Denny Roy, Senior Fellow at the East-West Center. Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center Dr Christopher McNally does not see it that way. It might seem like we are entering a new cold war with China, he said, but “this is not going to be the case. There will be friction, there will be competition and the future may be chaotic. At some point it's going to be quite harmonious, at other points it's going to be laden with friction.”

13 September 2018—US makes move on trade war talks as pressure mounts ahead of midterm elections, South China Morning Post: Christopher McNally

Christopher McNally, an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii, said the Trump administration may seek a deal on the trade war before the elections, though he cautioned that the president could easily throw out any negotiated settlement if he felt it did not “help him politically or doesn’t go far enough, doesn’t make him look good enough.”

29 August 2018—Americans say Taiwan is the least of their worries about China, South China Morning Post: Denny Roy

Denny Roy, Senior Fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii, said the relationship between Taiwan and China is "a simmering problem but not a front-page crisis, even if people in Northeast Asia feel China is increasing pressure on Taiwan to make political concessions to Beijing. Ordinary Americans are much more aware of other issues involving China.”

23 August 2018—Yes, China wants hegemony over the South China Sea, The National Interest: Denny Roy

Despite disclaimers from Chinese President Hu Jintao, discussions of the South China Sea need to "deal with the driving issues of China's desire for a sphere of influence and U.S.-China hegemonic rivalry."

22 August 2018—China's new alliance stirs US worries over possible 'military base' in El Salvador, South China Morning Post: Charles Morrison

As El salvador cuts official ties with Taipei and establishes a formal alliance with Beijing, Charles Morrison, a US-Asia security affairs expert at the East-West Centre in Hawaii, doubts "whether either Taipei or Beijing have a deep interest in El Salvador apart from the symbolic meaning of the diplomatic switch."

12 August 2018—Two months after Trump-Kim summit, North Korea hasn't changed at all, South China Morning Post: Denny Roy

The Americans want immediate action on denuclearization, while the North Koreans say they want to begin with a "peace regime" that includes a formal end to the Korea war, a permanent peace treaty, and a "security guarantee" from Washington.

22 July 2018—What would the US do if Beijing decided to take Taiwan by force?, South China Morning Post: Denny Roy

Polls show only a minority of Americans would favour US soldiers fighting to defend Taiwan, but a decision by Washington not to intervene in a Taiwan Strait conflict in which China appeared to be the aggressor would represent a dramatic shift in US strategy.

19 July 2018—Asia leads the world's response to protectionism, Nikkei Asian Review: Peter A. Petri and Michael G. Plummer

As U.S. President Donald Trump's risky world trade war escalates, a global response has become urgent. The best proposals so far are coming from Asian economies. These reaffirm international trade rules and are creating new coalitions to fight for a rules-based trading system.

8 July 2018—RIMPAC 2018: US Navy tests its limits after series of accidents, CGTN America: Denny Roy

Two deadly collisions in 2017 revealed that the U.S. Pacific forces are stretched to the limit, but Denny Roy comments that the Navy's planned expansion to 355 ships probably "won't happen until the 2050s."

28 June 2018—How climate change is threatening the Navy's footprint in the Pacific, USA Today: Victoria Keener

The island of Guam, home to two of the US's most strategically important military bases, is threatened by declining rainfall associated with climate change. If water mismanagement practices are not quickly corrected, Victoria Keener explains, overuse will spell disaster for Guam’s supply of freshwater.

27 June 2018—Will Asia grow old before it becomes rich?, Asian Development Blog: Sang-Hyop Lee

In several countries of East and Southeast Asia, very low fertility, combined with increasing longevity, is leading to large proportions of elderly in national populations. This demographic shift can potentially slow economic growth, leaving these countries in a "middle-income trap."

19 June 2018—Is China winning the innovation race?, leapsmag: Dieter Ernst

“There’s a growing consensus that China is poised to overtake us,” says Dieter Ernst, “and that we need to design policies to obstruct its rise.” Ernst argues, however, that such measures are motivated largely by exaggerated notions of China’s ability to reach its ambitious goals and by the political advantages of fearmongering.

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