Tim Sahay is co-director of the Net Zero Industrial Policy Lab at Johns Hopkins University. He tweets here here.

May 17, 2024

Analysis

Great Green Wall

Cat and mouse games are afoot

Biden’s announcement this week to sharply raise tariffs on Chinese imports is an escalation in the yearslong tariff war on China. The new tariffs specifically target green goods, most notably electric vehicles, duties on which have now quadrupled to 100…

April 17, 2024

Analysis

New World Order?

Lender(s) of last resort, dollar dominance, and the global financial safety net

We live in a dysfunctional system in which money flows out of the countries that need it most and into the coffers of the wealthiest. In 2023, the private sector collected $68 billion more in interest and principal repayments than…

March 14, 2024

Analysis

Liberal Blindspots

An interview with Chris Shaw

Protests led by farmers have been roiling Europe for months. In Belgium, Germany, Romania, the Netherlands, Poland, and France, farmers—armed with grievances ranging from subsidized Ukrainian grain imports to the EU-Mercosur trade deal and falling prices—have been taking to the…

January 25, 2024

Interviews

Brand New India

An interview with Ravinder Kaur on the BJP’s “India Shining” campaign, Hindu nationalist designs, and globalist visions

With India headed to elections this April, the ruling BJP is rolling out enormous publicity campaigns to promote its record on economic growth and Hindu nationalism. Central to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s third bid for reelection is the narrative that…

December 21, 2023

Analysis

A Year in Crises

Trade, war, labor, and South-North dynamics in 2023

When we launched The Polycrisis a year ago, we set out to examine the intersecting crises in the economy, energy system, commodities markets, geopolitics, and climate. Our aim was to break intellectual and political silos to give a fuller picture…

December 15, 2023

Interviews

Governing the Climate

An interview with Navroz Dubash on COP28, the history of international climate diplomacy, and the developmentalist turn in climate politics

An interview with Navroz Dubash on COP28, the history of international climate diplomacy, and the developmentalist turn in climate politics

November 9, 2023

Analysis

October War

An interview with Guy Laron on the Gaza War, failure of the Netanyahu doctrine, and risks of Middle east conflagration

It is now over a month since Hamas launched its attack on Israel, killing an estimated 1,400 Israelis and taking more than 200 people hostage. Israel’s response has, in Netanyahu’s words, sought to “crush and destroy” Hamas, but the main…

October 26, 2023

Interviews

Oil and Politics in the Mid-Transition

A discussion on the geopolitics of a transitioning global energy system

A world with terminally declining oil demand has never been experienced before, but the growth era for fossil fuels is ending, as many producers, investors and forecasters are acknowledging. This does not put climate goals in close reach, as CO2…

October 12, 2023

Analysis

Hot Labor

Labor movements, labor markets, and mining

The energy transition is underway and the global North is putting up the cash. In our series, we have investigated questions about the international hierarchy of money, the distribution of economic power, and trade wars. Today, we turn to labor,…

September 15, 2023

Analysis

Trading Order

Protectionism and interdependence pact?

Export Bans. Sanctions. Investment screens. The liberal trading order has been weaponized; security, not efficiency, is the new watchword. And yet, 2023 has seen an all-time high of goods traded across borders. Even bilateral trade between the warring great powers,…

September 2, 2023

Interviews

Defining Bidenomics

Industrial policy, labor, and the New Cold War

A new American industrial policy—“Bidenomics”—has arrived, consisting of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act, and the CHIPS and Science Act. The proclaimed goals of Bidenomics are to propel a green energy transition to confront climate…

August 31, 2023

Analysis

Grievance and Reform

Will the BRICS bargaining chip bear fruit for smaller and lower-income countries?

The precursor of 2022’s energy crisis was 2020–2021’s vaccine apartheid. These shortages were in no way natural but reflected financial and geopolitical hierarchies: those with more power and resources bid up prices and developing countries lost out in the process.…

August 3, 2023

Analysis

Global Boiling

Stocks and flows, action and inaction in the planetary impasse

This July has been the hottest in our recorded history and, most likely, over the last 120,000 years. Four “Heat Domes” across the northern hemisphere—over West Asia, North America, North Africa and Southern Europe—contributed to soaring temperatures, not just breaking…

July 20, 2023

Analysis

Washington-Paris-London Calling

Modi, Mottley, Zelenskyy’s attempts to change the existing world order

On June 22, three leaders of developing countries made expeditions to three different Western capitals to plead their case for greater support from the rich world. Viewed jointly, these demands—largely successful—provide a neat panorama of the escalating global crises of…

June 29, 2023

Analysis

Carbon Budget versus Fiscal Budget

What’s at stake in the fiscal rules debate?

Negotiations at the Summit for a Global Finance Pact in Paris last week took place between fifty heads of state. They revolved around how poor countries might develop and decarbonize, within the confines of the existing financial system. A common…

June 15, 2023

Analysis

Mottley in Paris, Modi in DC

Prospects for the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact

Next week, a couple of dozen heads of state—from countries including China, Brazil, Indonesia, and almost a dozen African countries, among them Kenya, Zambia, and Senegal—will gather in Paris for the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact. Instigated by…

June 1, 2023

Analysis

Friends With (Metal) Benefits

Australia’s bid for “friendshoring” in the shifting green world order

When Americans ran short on baby food last year, President Joe Biden made use of a Korean War-era authority—the Defense Production Act (DPA)—to airlift goat milk from Australia, despite protectionist howls from American formula companies. Operation Fly Formula funded the…

May 18, 2023

Analysis

A New Foreign Policy

To beat China you must become China

Leaders need followers. Last month, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan delivered a speech outlining the Biden administration’s international economic policy at the Brookings Institute in Washington. The “New Washington Consensus” was not directed at citizens but at capitals abroad.…

May 5, 2023

Analysis

The End of the Cold Peace

Can the Asian growth miracle survive?

Watch the Korean Peninsula. It is in South Korea that the New Cold War has most visibly upset the delicate balance between industry, security, and domestic politics. South Korea’s growth miracle has been based on deterrence and detente between China,…

April 20, 2023

Analysis

The Gigantic Austerity Drive Underway

Two billion people are suffering austerity as governments follow IMF diktat

We are quietly witnessing the largest shift to austerity undertaken in this century. Debt-strained developing countries are making further cuts to already ragged budgets, in many cases as they battle to meet punishing new conditions demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which held…

April 6, 2023

Analysis

Mercantilist Deals of the Great Powers

Decoupling from China is an uphill task in both the global North and the global South

This is the twelfth edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. The maiden flight of a new cargo route between Shenzhen and São Paulo took off on…

March 23, 2023

Analysis

Stranded Countries and Stranded Assets

Outsourcing the energy transition to the Gulf

This is the eleventh edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. The US routinely flouts its international climate financing commitments, rarely delivering on its promises. Last year, for example,…

March 9, 2023

Analysis

Cash, Cars, Chemicals (and Corn)

Three big decarbonization plots

This is the tenth edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. Decarbonization—reducing the output of invisible CO2 molecules into the atmosphere—requires nothing less than remaking the chemical basis of…

February 23, 2023

Analysis

Debt and Power in Pakistan

The subcontinent’s embattled debtor isn’t merely the passive victim of the climate crisis— it is being plundered by its elites

The subcontinent’s embattled debtor isn’t merely the passive victim of the climate crisis—it is being plundered by its elites.

February 9, 2023

Analysis

The EU and the IRA

Supply and demand in the great powers’ decarbonization race

This is the eighth edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. At Davos last month, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced Brussels’ “Green Deal Industrial…

January 26, 2023

Analysis

Don’t Say “Scramble for Africa”

Debt and diplomacy on the African continent

Debt, diplomacy, and the risks of a new Cold War.

December 15, 2022

Analysis

Europe’s “Leap Into the Future”

Do exceptional crisis-fighting policies signal the arrival of an interventionist Europe? 

This is the fifth edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. In 2020, as demand for liquefied natural gas boomed in Asia, the shippable fuel was an afterthought in…

December 2, 2022

Analysis

Development Bank Self-Sabotage

What’s stopping MDBs?

This is the fourth edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. When the World Bank and IMF make radical noises, the US is typically the voice of restraint. So…

November 18, 2022

Analysis

Collective Action and Climate Finance

Can the COP move markets?

This is the third edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. At UN climate summits, the items that appear on the agenda are usually those that advocates have fought…

November 9, 2022

Analysis

A New Non-Alignment

How developing countries are flouting Western Sanctions and playing the great powers off each other

This essay first appeared in GREEN, a journal from Groupe d’études géopolitiques. In March of this year, as Russia’s war in Ukraine intensified, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a trip to New Delhi to speak with his Indian counterpart…

November 3, 2022

Analysis

Domestic Politics & Planetary Change

Will a Lula victory be better for the climate than anything that happens at COP27?

Will a Lula victory be better for the climate than anything that happens at COP27?

October 20, 2022

Analysis

An Introduction

An introduction to The Polycrisis

This is the first edition of The Polycrisis newsletter, written by Kate Mackenzie and Tim Sahay. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox. What crisis? A year ago, one might be forgiven for thinking there was a moment of relative calm…

October 13, 2022

Interviews

The Geopolitics of Stuff

A discussion on supply chains, commodities, and climate

The material economy is back. Economists and commentators in recent decades had heralded (or lamented) the arrival of an automated, redundant, frictionless system of international commerce. But over the past two years, multiple global crises have exposed the fragile physical…

June 18, 2021

Interviews

Investment and Decarbonization

A conversation on investment strategies for the green transition

In late March, the Biden administration announced the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, with approximately half of the sum dedicated to fighting the climate crisis. While the legislation would mark a sea change in federal action to avert climate catastrophe,…

May 13, 2021

Analysis

Investment and Decarbonization: Rating Green Finance

A proposal for a public ratings agency for green finance

The Biden administration has committed the United States to cutting its carbon emissions in half by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.