Australia is at a crossroads in the global hydrogen race – and one path looks risky

Analysis in new report from the Australian National University’s Centre for Climate & Energy Policy shows that producing hydrogen from fossil fuels carries significant risks, and is likely to be incompatible with decarbonisation objectives. These findings have big implications as Australia looks to become a ‘hydrogen superpower’.

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New study shows vast majority of Australian voters support climate action, up to a point

A new peer-reviewed study has found that the vast majority of Australian voters support climate action, but also highlights that more will need to be done to counter the fact that support for strong climate policy action may be limited by voters’ preparedness to incur personal costs, especially among older and conservative voters.

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The US-Japan alliance in 2020: an equal alliance with a global agenda (Armitage-Nye)

Richard Armitage and Joseph Nye have led a team to produce a new “bipartisan Armitage-Nye” report on the state of the US-Japan alliance, seen as critical to addressing both regional and global challenges. On the question of China and US strategy in Asia, the report is both entirely predictable and refreshingly surprising.

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US-led global arms sales grew 8.5% in 2019, Australia top host of foreign arms companies (SIPRI)

New data from SIPRI’s Arms Industry Database shows that arms sales by the world’s 25 largest arms companies totalled US$361 billion in 2019, an 8.5 per cent increase over 2018. The top five arms companies were all based in the United States: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics. Outside of North America and Western Europe, the largest number of foreign arms company entities are hosted by Australia (38).

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Sustaining an undersea advantage: Hudson Institute anti-submarine warfare report

The spotlight is back on Australia’s future submarine program, SEA1000. The Hudson Institute report Sustaining the Undersea Advantage: Disrupting Anti-Submarine Warfare Using Autonomous Systems is an excellent introduction to the history of anti-submarine warfare, and to some recent transformational developments in its conduct. It will help readers understand the long history of undersea warfare and how past experience has made older concepts hard to shift.

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Strategic autonomy in the face of competing US and China technology strategies: a European perspective (IFRI)

An invaluable introduction to the complex and critical struggle for technological superiority which will the characterise the geopolitical environment for decades to come. This report sets out all the key issues and addresses the question of how the EU could maintain strategic autonomy in the face of this competition between China and the US.

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Divided we stand: Democrats and Republicans diverge on US foreign policy (Chicago Council)

Based on the results of its 2020 Survey of American Public Opinion and US Foreign Policy, this Report from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs provides insight into the potential differences in US foreign policy settings depending on the outcome of the presidential election. The Report finds that there are profound differences between Democrats and Republicans on which foreign policy issues matter most today. And that they are even more sharply divided on how the United States should deal with these issues and engage the rest of the world.

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By 2030, US could be unable to shape when and why wars occur: RAND Corporation

Discussion around defence policy and spending tends to focus on the quantum, efficiency, and economic impacts and not on the implied end use: war. The Future of Warfare in 2030 looks at what war might mean in the near to medium term for the United States. Defence policy is put clearly in the context of war, and the issues surrounding conflict are explored. The study provides valuable inputs into US allies’ considerations of the consequences of following America into major power conflicts.

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One per cent of humanity displaced: UNHCR Global Trends report

The UNHCR’s Global Trends report brings together important information about the scale and changing nature of forced displacement. The Report describes a reality that solutions for refugees are in decline, at the same time that “we are witnessing a changed reality in that forced displacement nowadays is not only vastly more widespread but is simply no longer a short-term and temporary phenomenon”.

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Earth may temporarily pass dangerous 1.5℃ warming limit by 2024, new WMO report says

The Paris climate agreement seeks to limit global warming to 1.5℃ this century, a target likely to be exceeded by 2024. This first overshoot would be temporary – but it casts new doubt on whether Earth’s climate can be permanently stabilised at 1.5℃ warming. Modelling shows that if emission reductions are large and sustained, the Paris goals can still be met, and the most severe damage to the natural world, economy and people may be avoided. But worryingly, we also have time to make it far worse.

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After the ice: the Arctic and European security (Paul Taylor)

Friends of Europe have released a comprehensive study on Arctic defence cooperation. The report examines the strategic and political context surrounding Arctic security and defence focusing on the changing Arctic environment – the resurgence of great power competition worldwide against a backdrop of accelerating global warming which is melting the polar ice cap at a record pace.

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National Cyber Power Index 2020: which is the world’s most powerful cyber nation? (Belfer Center)

Which is the most powerful cyber nation in the world? A recently published Belfer Center report, National Cyber Power Index 2020, is a new approach to conceptualizing and measuring cyber power at the country level – a multidimensional and disaggregated measure of national cyber power that reflects the complexity of the concept. The results provide a richly-layered and informative way of assessing the cyber capabilities of the studied countries.

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Debunking the myth of ‘Debt-trap Diplomacy’: how recipient countries shape China’s Belt and Road Initiative (Chatham House)

Critics of the BRI accuse China of pursuing a policy of ‘debt-trap diplomacy’: luring poor, developing countries into agreeing unsustainable loans to pursue infrastructure projects so that, when they experience financial difficulty, Beijing can seize the asset, thereby extending its strategic or military reach. This paper from the UK’s Chatham House demonstrates that the evidence for such views is limited.

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Primer on Hypersonic Weapons in the Indo-Pacific Region (Atlantic Council)

With Russia, China and the United States leading the development of operational hypersonic weapons, other Indo-Pacific states, including Australia, have indicated that they intend to do so in the intermediate future. This comprehensive Atlantic Council primer seeks to marry technological characteristics, geostrategic and military imperatives, and regional dynamics in order to provide a basis for further analysis about hypersonic development and application trajectories in the Indo-Pacific.

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