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Saleem H. Ali is Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Energy and the Environment at the University of Delaware (USA) and a Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia. He is also a Senior Fellow at Columbia University's Center on Sustainable Enterprise. Dr. Ali is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for 2010 and World Economic Forum "Young Global Leader" (2011). His books include "Environmental Diplomacy" (with Lawrence Susskind, Oxford Univ. Press) and "Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed and a Sustainable Future" (Yale University Press). He can be followed on Twitter @saleem_ali.

Sustainable bricks, metals from mine waste, and carbon capture innovations at MIT

As part of my role on the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Advanced Materials, I invited a contribution from MIT’s Metals & Minerals for the Environment Initiative.  Article by Suzanne Greene  Metals and minerals are at the core of mankind’s existence — vital for infrastructure, transportation and consumer goods. They are also identified…

Tunisia’s Tempestuous Triumph: Reconciling Islam, Democracy and Sustainable Development?

This article is based on a learning journey organized by the Tunisian delegates of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders and Global Shapers Initiatives from September 27 to October 1, 2017. The visit included in-depth meetings with key government officials including, the President of the Republic; The Prime Minister; The Head of the Parliament…

Mining and Biodiversity Protection – Efforts at International Governance

Recently, I was asked to contribute a small section on mining and biodiversity to the first global assessment of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).  This contribution, which would be part of section 2.2.5 of Chapter 6 of the IPBES Global Assessment, is provided below and the full assessment will be published later…

Environmental Education in an Extractive Economy: Azerbaijan’s IDEA Initiative

Oil and gas economies are often perceived by conservationists to have diminished sensibilities towards the environment. However, the wealth generation in such economies can also create opportunities for conservation, as there is less incentive for excessive land-use and mineral revenues can lead to investments in environmental education. Some earlier research by Sven Wunder on oil…

Tanzania’s Formalization of Artisanal and Small-scale Mining

Artisanal and Small-scale mining (ASM) continues to be a major source of hope for millions of peasants and rural entrepreneurs worldwide. Yet, it also poses challenges for states in terms of regulation and capturing resource rents for national development. The sector has been widely studied in social science and has interested me for the past…

Rice Bran Oil and Economic Diplomacy in South Asia

For most households across South Asia, rice is life. It is the stable source of carbohydrates for the more than 1.7 billion citizens of the region who consume it morning, noon and night; and a vital source of income for the 50 million or so farmers who cultivate it across India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. However,…

Why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reflects Patriotism

By Saleem H. Ali, Cristina Archer, Jeremy Firestone On December 2, 1970, Republican President Richard Nixon established the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This was the world’s first major government organization dedicated to ameliorating the environmental condition of its citizens. The world marveled at how the United States was able to address pollution concerns that…

The Legendary Gem Mines of Mogok Myanmar (Burma): Is Responsible Sourcing Possible Beyond Sanctions?

Almost five years ago, I invited two eminent gemologists to post their perspectives on linking environmental conservation and gemstone mining through an innovative mechanism of supply chain tracing. In this post, Dr. Laurent Cartier, one of the authors of the earlier article, shares perspectives on how the colored gemstone sector in post-sanctions Myanmar / Burma…

Malaysia’s Green Energy Path

The Asia-Pacific region will play a pivotal role in realizing the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. In this vein, I am presenting here select excerpts of an annotated interview with one of Malaysia’s leading technology advisors, Prof. G. Lalchand that was conducted by the Institution of Engineers of Malaysia (IEM). Malaysia is often…

Science Diplomacy across the Bering Straits: Experiential Learning as an Opportunity for Thawing US-Russian Relations

By Saleem H. Ali, Helena Voinov Vladich and Caroline Karp Introduction The geographic point where the Russian and United States’ mainlands are closest lies in the Bering Strait between the State of Alaska and the Russian territory of Chukotka (Fig. 1, 2). At this point, these countries are less than 82 km (51 miles) apart.…

Peace Eludes Islamic Enclaves of the Philippines: Could Responsible Resource Extraction be part of the Solution?

The brutal murder of Canadian mining executive John Ridsdel in the Philippines this week is yet another sobering reminder that Southeast Asia’s most literate country (over 95% literacy), with a population of over a hundred million has many challenges ahead. As a major election approaches, this tragedy will likely strengthen the case of hard-line politicians…

Shale Gas “Evolution”: Is Environmental and Social Certification an Option?

Guest article by Matthew Bach The rise and possible fall of unconventional gas sources in recent years has been widely debated. In this guest posting, I have invited Matthew Bach, of Erasmus University, in The Netherlands, to evaluate the efficacy of certification mechanisms to ensure improved environmental and social performance of the shale gas sector. …

Human Connections Across Nations Charting the Future of Academia

Economists tend to agree that knowledge is the quintessential “non-rival good” – meaning it does not diminish by sharing, and in fact increases with greater connectivity. Among the greatest collective triumphs of globalization and the internet has been the speed and span of research collaboration. The value of such international exchanges cannot be underestimated for…

Healing the Wounds of War between Bangladesh and Pakistan

The flight from Karachi to Dhaka spans the heartland of South Asia and gives travelers an appreciation for the complexity of The Great Partition. So many linguistic and ethnic divides had to be traversed to formulate national identities for countries that now exist in the area. Nearly a fourth of the world’s population resides here.…

Climate Change Science Conflicts and Pluralism: The Subtext at COP21 in Paris

“What we need is an agreement that’s ambitious — because that’s what the scale of the challenge demands. We need an inclusive agreement — because every country has to play its part. And we need an agreement that’s flexible — because different nations have different needs. And if we can come together and get this…