Geopolitics of Energy
The high oil prices and the Iraq war have rekindled international concern about oil security. These are magnified by the emergence of China as a major oil importer and the reality that over 85% of the world's oil is now controlled by national governments ó not the major oil companies. ENRP continues to work on all dimensions of the energy security problem with an immediate focus on China.
Both the United States and Europe have announced major programs to produce biofuels either in the form of biodiesel or ethanol. ENRP and the Sustainability Science Program at the Center for International Development have initiated several major projects. The first examines the effect of biofuel production on the development of third world countries. The second looks at the trade implications of biofuels. The third examines the transportation infrastructure needs of the ethanol and biodiesel industries. The final project will assess the economics of biomass to liquid fuels.
Climate Change Policy
ENRP and STPP oversee the Energy Technology Innovation Policy (ETIP) program. One of ETIP's principal mandates is to focus on technologies for a climate constrained world. In this capacity, it has recently undertaken a major project assessing the policy options to reduce the US's reliance on gasoline. A paper surveying the options was recently published and extensive modeling work is now underway to quantify the implication of these options. Included is a new effort to examine the implications of feebates that have been used extensively in Europe and Japan, but not the United States, as well as extensive work on automobile efficiency, carbon fuel standards, tradable permits, and research and development priorities.
Senior Research Fellow Cristine Russell has completed a paper on how the media covers complicated scientific issues, including climate change: "Covering Controversial Science: Improving Media Reporting on Science and Public Affairs." Russell is currently focusing her research on the coverage of climate change and how it has changed over the past decade, with a focus on the dramatic upswing in the number of stories in 2006.
Green Chemistry is emerging as an important area of technological development that uses fundamental chemistry and engineering design to move towards sustainable products, processes, and systems. The experience of Green Chemistry in promoting radical innovations for sustainable development is the central focus of a partnership launched between the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and the American Chemical Society's Green Chemistry Institute. This initiative seeks to better understand the factors that catalyze or impede the implementation of new Green Chemistry technologies in industry. The goal of the overall project is to provide perspectives on what are the unique impediments to Green Chemistry innovations and what strategic and tactical actions can be used to overcome these impediments by the communities that confront them.