Op-Ed

A sample of short commentaries and opinion essays by Paul G. Harris
Why Donald Trump’s re-election would make Vladimir Putin very happy

Trump has weakened America and its institutions, looked away as Russia extended its influence in Crimea, Syria, the Middle East and Africa and, crucially, blocked global efforts to decarbonize, buying precious time for Russia’s oil and gas export-dependent economy. Read more in the South China Morning Post.

Climate Strike Hong Kong: Today’s demo is just step one – are students ready to walk the talk?

Students in Hong Kong are set to skip classes and join a global student strike to demand action on climate change. They are calling on adults in general, and governments in particular, to recognize the extreme urgency of climate change and to implement policies that will greatly reduce the pollution that causes it. Read more in the Hong Kong Free Press.

Thank the oceans for softening the blow of climate change

Climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity. It’s an almighty catastrophe that will only become worse with time. We’ll be seeing more powerful storms, increasingly devastating wildfires, longer droughts and recurring floods, to name but a few of the impacts of climate change that are quickly becoming commonplace globally. Read more on the Cambridge Core blog.

Mangkhut brought another climate change warning, but Hong Kong officials are still promoting pollution

Super Typhoon Mangkhut was a harbinger of what climate change is likely to bring to Hong Kong. Can the city avoid a future in which such storms – and much worse – become the new normal? Read more in the Hong Kong Free Press.

Catastrophic climate change is more likely, Donald Trump has just made sure of that

The U.S. president has made what will be his most derided decision. It is based on economics, politics, ideology and psychology, feeding his pathological need to be the center of attention. Read more in the South China Morning Post.

The Big Idea: Why are climate change negotiations failing?

Climate politics, and the policies that result from it, should be designed to promote human wellbeing. This goes without saying, unless one is a misanthrope. Nevertheless, climate politics has instead been about something quite different. Read more in the Daily Beast.

Can a new broom really sweep clean in polluted HK?

The recent Rio+20 conference on sustainable development revealed how difficult it is to persuade politicians to take environmental protection seriously. Read more in the South China Morning Post.

Burden of wealth

China has overtaken the United States to become the largest source of greenhouse gases, the pollution that causes climate change. This has increased pressure on China to do more to combat the problem. But is this pressure justified? Read more in the South China Morning Post.

Nuclear push blinds us to safer options

The crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility rekindled doubts in Hong Kong about atomic power, not least because of the city’s proximity to the Daya Bay plant in Guangdong and the government’s plan to double reliance on nuclear energy. Read more in the South China Morning Post.

The art of adding to our bottom line

Hong Kong’s universities are preparing to launch lengthened undergraduate degrees. For the most part, they are not adding more specialized training to existing programs. Instead, they are adding general education and liberal arts courses. Read more in the South China Morning Post.

Under a cloud

Last month, the Hong Kong government released its long-awaited climate change strategy and “action agenda.” As the government works hard to dress up Hong Kong’s reputation for climate action, it should acknowledge some hard truths about the scale of the city’s contribution to climate change. Read more in the South China Morning Post.

Putting a price on ‘yes’ votes for political reform

The Legislative Council vote on the government’s constitutional reform package is shaping up to be a no-win situation for Hong Kong’s pan-democrats. Read more in the South China Morning Post.

Heat is on America

As the Democrats and Republicans rally round their candidates for the US presidency, it’s a good time to ask what we can expect the winner and his administration to do about climate change. Will the next president continue a policy of trying to kill the international climate regime, or will he take this crucial problem more seriously? Read more in the South China Morning Post.

Hong Kong’s climate responsibility

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reaffirmed last week, global warming and climate change will devastate the lives of millions of people in the poorest parts of the world. Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from Hong Kong are contributing to this devastation. Read more in the South China Morning Post.


For a list of more essays, see Professor Harris’s ORCID pages.