Courtney Weatherby

Research Analyst

Southeast Asia

Courtney Weatherby is a research analyst with the Stimson Center’s Southeast Asia and Energy, Water, & Sustainability programs. Her research focuses on sustainable infrastructure and energy development challenges in Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific, particularly food-water-energy nexus issues in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Weatherby was lead author on the Stimson Center Mekong Power Shift report, the TRENDS Institution UAE Energy Diplomacy report, wrote a chapter “China Invests in Myanmar: The Political Fallout of ‘Going Out’ Next Door” in the 2014 book China’s Great Leap Outward, and has authored and co-authored numerous short pieces a range of online publications including East by Southeast, The Bangkok Post, Nikkei Asian Review, and China Dialogue.

She served as a US-Japan-Southeast Asia Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington in early 2019, focusing her fellowship research on US-Japan collaboration on energy infrastructure in Southeast Asia. She has spoken publicly on panels at a variety of institutions including the Greater Mekong Forum on Water, Food, and Energy, the US-Asia Institute, and Chulalongkorn University. Before joining Stimson in 2014, Weatherby interned with the Center for Strategic International Studies, the State Department, and Human Rights Watch. She holds a M.A. in Asian Studies from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a B.A. in East Asian Studies with honors from Dickinson College.

Projects

Addressing the regional environmental and social impacts along the Mekong River to improve food security, stability and cross-country relations.

We act to conserve the mighty Mekong’s ecosystem through system-scale planning methods and promoting the renewable energy revolution in mainland Southeast Asia.

Research & Writing
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Stimson in the News
Courtney Weatherby quoted in article about China’s global role in the coal industry

Why Is China Placing A Global Bet On Coal? China, known as the world’s biggest polluter, has been taking dramatic steps to clean up and fight climate change. So why is it also building hundreds of coal-fired power plants in other countries? President X…

Report
Letters from the Mekong: Toward a Sustainable Water-Energy-Food Future in Cambodia

the fifth issue brief in Stimson’s Letters from the Mekong series, which explores the vital role that Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake plays in the Mekong and identifies alternative pathways for development which can optimize trade-offs to the water-energy-food nexus. These alternative approaches include basinwide water-energy planning and a deeper incorporation of non-hydropower renewable energy sources into Cambodia’s future power mix.

Stimson in the News
Op-ed by Courtney Weatherby on a renewable opportunity for Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia’s urban population is projected to rise to nearly 400 million by 2030, requiring significant investment in waste management to cope with the increase in garbage. The growth in electricity demand is also prompting countries to more t…

Stimson in the News
Op-Ed by Courtney Weatherby on Power Demand in Southeast Asia

It’s decision time for Southeast Asia as power demand soars Southeast Asia’s energy demand is expected to grow by two-thirds by 2040, requiring massive investment in new energy generation and transmission. Installed capacity will double from…

Report
UAE Energy Diplomacy: Exporting Renewable Energy to the Global South

Over the past decade, the United Arab Emirates has emerged as a global leader in renewable energy innovation. The UAE’s record-setting prices for utility scale solar caught the world by surprise in 2014 and continued to attract international admiration…

Stimson in the News
Courtney Weatherby Quoted on the Environmental Costs of OBOR

  Read the full article here

Interactive
Powering Up: Mekong Basin Connect

Countries in the Mekong Basin need a strategic, basin-wide approach to efficiently develop the basin’s water and energy resources in ways that protect the natural productivity of the river system. Otherwise, poorly coordinated hydropower planning on the Mekong mainstream and its tributaries will lead this resource rich region into a water and food security crisis.

Stimson in the News
Brian Eyler and Courtney Weatherby Op-Ed on Solar and Wind Energy in Mekong

  Read the full article here. 

Interactive
How Smart Water & Energy Planning Can Save the Mekong Delta

MEKONG DELTA UNDER THREAT Despite growing recognition of the serious impacts that upstream dams have on the Mekong Delta, Vietnam is still searching for an effective strategy to work with policy-makers in Laos and Cambodia to avoid the impacts from the…

Stimson in the News
Stimson Report on Emerging Energy Trends in Mekong Subregion cited

Read the article here. 

Stimson in the News
Courtney Weatherby and Brian Eyler on Solar and Wind in Mekong

  Read the article here. 

Stimson in the News
Courtney Weatherby Quoted on China’s Investments in Southeast Asia

Not many world leaders have to care about what Panama thinks. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is among the few. The Central American country’s decision in mid-June to shift its Chinese diplomatic policy away from Taipei, flipping its recognition to Be…

Report
Letters from the Mekong: Mekong Power Shift – Emerging Trends in the GMS Power Sector

This issue brief, the fourth in Stimson’s “Letters from the Mekong” series, explores the shifting terrain for power sector development in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), analyzing hydropower within the context of a broader range of emerging factors…

Stimson in the News
Courtney Weatherby Quoted in Mongabay on American Environmental Leadership in Cambodia

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” U.S. President Donald Trump declared during a speech announcing his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement. In so doing, Trump sent a message to the worl…

Stimson in the News
Stimson’s “Hun Sen’s Cambodia and the 2017 Commune Elections” event cited in The Phnom Penh Post

The mixed results of the June 4 commune elections may have allowed both major parties to save face, but the opposition’s large gains show it has a serious chance of winning next year’s national election – and that could attract violent backlash from th…

Impact
Generating Sustainable Energy Solutions in the Mekong River Basin

Stimson’s Mekong Basin Connect coalition is helping policymakers find sustainable energy solutions in the region.

Stimson in the News
Courtney Weatherby quoted in Voice of America on Pak Beng Dam

WASHINGTON DC — Members of Mekong River Commission and civil society groups will be heading to Luang Prabang in Laos to attend the regional stakeholder meeting on Wednesday to discuss Laos’ proposal to build a third dam on the Mekong mainstream, t…

Stimson in the News
Courtney Weatherby’s Op-Ed in Global Taiwan Institute on Southeast Asia Energy Policy

Tsai Ing-wen has clearly marked the New Southbound Policy of improving business and social linkages between Taiwan and Southeast Asia as a foreign policy priority for her administration, with investment expos and student exchanges playing a central rol…

Commentary
Briefing: A Call for Strategic, Basin-wide Energy Planning in Laos

By Brian Eyler, Courtney Weatherby, and Richard Cronin The Stimson Center’s “Letters from the Mekong” series challenges the assumption that the current rapid pace of dam construction on the Mekong River will continue until the entire river is turned in…

Stimson in the News
Courtney Weatherby op-ed in The Diplomat on Mekong dam anxieties

The government of Laos officially submitted the Pak Beng Dam to the Mekong River Commission in mid-November and has begun preparatory work around the future dam site. While this announcement appears to indicate that the government of Lao…

Stimson in the News
Courtney Weatherby and Brian Eyler cited in Voice of America Khmer on Laos plans for dams

WASHINGTON — Laos, the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia, plans to build more than a hundred hydropower dams on major tributaries and the mainstream of the Mekong River, aiming to become the “Battery of Southeast Asia”. Controversies surro…

Commentary
A Call for Basin-Wide Energy Plans

By Brian Eyler, Courtney Weatherby, and Richard Cronin: Preparatory work for the next big dam on the Mekong – Pak Beng – in northern Laos has begun. This news supports the widespread narrative that the current rapid pace of dam construction on the…

Stimson in the News
Brian Eyler, Courtney Weatherby, and Richard Cronin op-ed in Bangkok Post on the call for Mekong basin-wide energy plans

Preparatory work for the next big dam on the Mekong — Pak Beng — in northern Laos has begun. This news supports the widespread narrative that the current rapid pace of dam construction on the Mekong River will continue until the entire river is…

Report
Letters from the Mekong: A Call for Strategic Basin-Wide Energy Planning in Laos

This issue brief—the third in Stimson’s “Letters from the Mekong” series — continues to challenge the prevailing narrative that the current rapid pace of dam construction on the Mekong River in mainland Southeast Asia will continue until the…

Stimson in the News
Courtney Weatherby quoted in VNExpress on Vietnam, Laos, and the Mekong River

On August 16, Laos began work on its second effort to dam the lower Mekong River, despite vehement objections from environmental groups and its neighbors — including Vietnam — who warn that doing so will sabotage the fisheries, farms and livelihoods…

Stimson in the News
Rich Cronin, Brian Eyler and Courtney Weatherby quoted in Voice of America on Hydropower Dams and the Future of the Mekong River

From the snowy plateaus of Tibet to the mountain gorges of China’s Yunnan province and beyond to the jungled borders of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and down to the plains of Cambodia and paddy fields of Vietnam – the Mekong River is of crucial importance t…

Stimson in the News
Rich Cronin, Brian Eyler and Courtney Weatherby quoted in Radio Free Asia on the Future of the Mekong

Millions of people living along the Mekong River face a possibly irreversible depletion of key food supplies resulting from dam building and other diversions of its waters. -snip- “China’s construction of hydropower projects on the upper Mekong River…h…

Report
Letters from the Mekong: Time for a New Narrative on Mekong Hydropower

This issue brief – the second in Stimson’s “Letters from the Mekong” series – examines the current status of mitigation efforts at Laos’ Xayaburi and Don Sahong dam projects and the relevance of the existing narrative surrounding hydropower development…

Commentary
Shwe Mann’s Ouster, Military Involvement, and Implications for Myanmar’s Elections

August 13 dawned in Myanmar with the news that Shwe Mann – chairman of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and Speaker of Myanmar’s Parliament – had been unexpectedly removed from his party leadership position.  Though the deployment…

Commentary
A Universal Dilemma: Boat People, Humanitarian Concerns, and National Sovereignty

Debates over whether sovereignty trumps moral responsibility towards refugees has taken on new urgency in Southeast Asia, as Thailand’s crackdown on human trafficking pushes traffickers to reroute thousands of migrants and refugees out to sea. The May…

Video
Stimson’s Rare Access to Luang Prabang and Xayaburi Dam

Courtney Weatherby, Research Associate, along with Richard Cronin, Director of the Southeast Asia program, were recently given rare access to dams being built in Laos to examine their potential impact on food security in the region. Weatherby discusses…

Commentary
Dams and Food Security in the Mekong: Visiting the Don Sahong Dam

This is the second in a two-part series of Spotlights documenting Stimson Research Associate Courtney Weatherby’s travel to the Mekong River basin in Southeast Asia. Weatherby along with Richard Cronin, Director of the Southeast Asia program, were give…

Commentary
Dams and Food Security in the Mekong: Site Visits to the Xayaburi and Don Sahong Dam Projects

This is the first in a two-part series of Spotlights documenting Stimson Research Associate Courtney Weatherby’s travel to Mekong River basin in Southeast Asia. Weatherby along with Richard Cronin, Director of the Southeast Asia program, were given rar…

Report
Letters from the Mekong: Site Visit to Laos’ First Two Mainstream Dam Projects

This executive summary of the second Letters from the Mekong issue brief examines the current status of mitigation efforts at Laos’ Xayaburi and Don Sahong dam projects on the mainstream of the lower Mekong River. These two controversial projects have…

Commentary
The Karen Conflict: Divisions Challenge Myanmar’s Peace Process

By Courtney Weatherby and Robert Hutton:  Renewed fighting in Myanmar’s Mon and Karen States between factions of the Karen resistance and the Burmese military broke out in late September 2014, posing a new challenge to the already-foundering natio…

Issue Brief
Letters from the Mekong

This issue brief, the first in a new series of “Letters from the Mekong,” discusses the current status of hydropower planning, development, cooperation and decision-making in the Mekong Basin. Hydropower dams, especially large dams on major tributaries…

Commentary
Letters from the Mekong: Obstacles to Equitable Hydropower Development Planning

Pressure from governments and commercial developers to build dams on the mainstream of the Lower Mekong is increasingly threatening to marginalize the Mekong River Commission (MRC), which is the sole regional organization that addresses water governanc…

Commentary
Indonesia’s Global Maritime Nexus: Implications for Illegal Fishing

By Kara Junttila and Courtney Weatherby:  Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing impose huge economic costs on Indonesia. To combat this challenge, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has made a much-needed connection between managemen…

Commentary
Indonesia’s Weather Forecast: Hazy, with a Chance of Clear Skies

By Di-Hoa Le and Courtney Weatherby:  Hazardous levels of haze from Indonesian forest fires have become an annual occurrence for neighboring Southeast Asian countries. El Nino weather patterns like the one currently prevailing in Southeast Asia gr…

Commentary
Climate Change in Southeast Asia: ASEAN Needs to Act Now to Forge a Common Approach

June was unexpectedly active for climate change, with announcements from the U.S. and China that could influence ASEAN’s future development. On June 2, 2014, the Environmental Protection Authority proposed to reduce U.S. power plant carbon emissions by…

Commentary
China’s Social Risk Assessment Mandate

While the Chinese media focused on the outcome of the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th Party Congress last November, an announcement by Minister of Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxian mandating strict environmental and social impact assessments…