The quantity of global carbon emissions, already at an unsustainable level, are continuing to rise despite modest steps to increase renewable energy use and electrify transport. This quandary is because most countries are not moving fast enough to implement climate policies. The United States in particular has been retreating from its commitments to decarbonize, although…

The magnitude and success of 21st Century international trade would have been impossible without containerization and the long-haul container ship. Intriguingly, the innovation emerged not so long ago: Malcolm McLean made inter-modal transport with standardized containers a reality in the mid-1950s. Today, approximately 90 percent of international trade transport is done by container ship. The…

The European Union’s (EU) political and economic achievements are impressive. It has helped to keep the peace in Europe after the horrors of two 20th century world wars; promoted democracy; established good governance standards; and expanded trade. Recent years, however, have been unkind to the EU project due to bad decisions and bad luck. First,…

Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased 1.4% to 32.5 gigatonnes in 2017, a new and dubious record. According to environmental organizations such as the International Energy Agency (IEA), China continues to be the largest annual CO2 emitter, with the United States in second place (the United States is still the largest cumulative or historic CO2…

In addition to many other tobacco control measures that have sharply reduced smoking within its borders, Australia in 2011 became the first country to adopt a tobacco plain packaging law. Intended to reduce smoking, especially among young people, the law requires tobacco packs to be sold without attractive designs, logos, and colors, and with health…

Transportation surpassed electricity production in the United States in 2016 to become the country’s largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at 28.5 percent of the total. Approximately 60 percent of U.S. transportation-related GHG emissions are caused by light-duty vehicles (LDVs), which chiefly consist of gasoline-powered passenger cars and light-duty trucks, including sport utility vehicles,…

Although the U.S. unemployment rate is currently 4.1%, which probably approximates full employment, there are still many discouraged workers. Especially in the manufacturing sector there continues to be job insecurity and layoffs largely due to technology, the shift to a services economy, curtailed unions, and international trade competitiveness. The plight of displaced workers International trade has…

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement was signed in December 2015 to widespread acclaim. Although largely symbolic and non-enforceable, it begat optimism that governments would act to substantially decrease carbon pollution. The agreement focuses on voluntary pledges to reduce carbon pollution in order to limit global warming to a 2.0°…

Tobacco harms and kills. Direct or passive consumption of tobacco causes annually the premature deaths of six million people worldwide. Even worse is the frustration, pain, and cost of living with tobacco disease and addiction. Although smoking kills more people than illegal drugs–and nicotine is as addictive as heroin–tobacco remains legal, albeit highly regulated in…

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed by Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, and American President George H. W. Bush on December 17, 1992, and entered into force on January 1, 1994. In addition to substantially increasing trade between the three countries, NAFTA has reduced trade friction…

2017 may be the year that cognizance of the global warming threat reached a tipping point. Powerful hurricanes inundated Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico, and other lands, causing painful losses in lives and treasure. In what some might have thought was an Orson Welles “The War of the Worlds” sci-fi redux, Hurricane Ophelia, the easternmost Atlantic…