October 2, 2015
Science, issue 6256, volume 350
By Carlo Carraro, Ottmar Edenhofer, Christian Flachsland, Charles Kolstad, Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and Robert C. Stowe, Executive Director, Harvard Environmental Economics Program; Manager, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
"The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has proven its value as an institution for large-scale scientific collaboration to synthesize and assess large volumes of climate research for use by policy-makers, as well as for establishing credibility of findings among diverse national governments. But the IPCC has received considerable criticism of both its substance and process."
International History Review, issue 5, volume 37
By Jayita Sarkar, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom
The article examines the strategic circumstances leading to non-aligned India's safeguard of its nuclear option during a crucial period in its proliferation trajectory, when it was one of the states closest to nuclear-weapons development, and faced US pressures to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that was being negotiated at the time.
Nature Climate Change
By Zhu Liu, Associate, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Steven J Davis, Kuishuang Feng, Klaus Hubacek, Sai Liang, Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Bin Chen, Jingru Liu, Jinyue Yan and Dabo Guan
International trade has become the fastest growing driver of global carbon emissions, with large quantities of emissions embodied in exports from emerging economies. International trade with emerging economies poses a dilemma for climate and trade policy: to the extent emerging markets have comparative advantages in manufacturing, such trade is economically efficient and desirable. However, if carbon-intensive manufacturing in emerging countries such as China entails drastically more CO2 emissions than making the same product elsewhere, then trade increases global CO2 emissions.
September 22, 2015
On September 21, 2015, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano informed the Board of Governors that one day earlier he had visited a suspect site within the Parchin Military Complex in Iran. A few days prior to Director General Amano’s visit, as foreseen in an unofficial draft Iran/IAEA agreement, Iran, took environmental samples at the suspect location. Amano said in a public statement that access to the site was important in order to “clarify issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.” However, the manner in which environmental samples were taken raises troubling precedents for both the IAEA’s investigation into Iran’s past work on nuclear weapons and the verifiability of the long term nuclear deal, the Joint Compreheansive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
This paper calculates, for the top twenty emitting countries, how much pricing of CO2 emissions is in their own national interests due to domestic co-benefits alone. The answer: a significant (though varying) portion of the price that would also include climate benefits.
Energy & Environmental Science
High cost and technical immaturity of bulk (multi-hour) electricity storage (BES) systems are often cited as major hurdles to increasing the penetration of intermittent renewables. The authors use a simple model to assess the economics of BES under carbon emissions constraints.
Uncertainty about "climate sensitivity"—the impact on temperature of increased concentrations of greenhouse gases—grew from the IPCC's 4th to 5th Assessment Reports. The authors conclude that this "bad news" outweighs the "good news": a lower value for the bottom end of the range for temperature rise.
The authors argue that reducing uncertainty about the impacts of climate change will facilitate effective adaptation, even in the absence of effective international climate agreements.
By Christian Binz, Associate, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Gabe Chan, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2012–2015, Claudia Doblinger, Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Joern Huenteler, Associate, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Dongbo Shi, Former Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, 2014–2015, Tian Tang, Former Giorgio Ruffolo Doctoral Research Fellow, Sustainability Science Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2014–2015, Lei Xu, Former Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2014–2015 and Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
The Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Tsinghua School of Public Policy and Management convened a workshop at Tsinghua University in Beijing on June 18–19, 2015 to build on the momentum created by the U.S.-China joint emissions agreement and the upcoming Paris negotiations. The objective of the Workshop was to discuss the current state of affairs in China, in the United States, and in selected other countries as well as academic research on: (1) the funding and allocation of government investments in R&D, with a particular focus in energy; (2) the impact of policy on private sector innovation in energy; and (3) the management of publicly funded R&D organizations.
Nature, volume 524
By Zhu Liu, Associate, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Dabo Guan, Wei Wei, Steven J Davis, Philippe Ciais, Jin Bai, Shushi Peng, Qiang Zhang, Klaus Hubacek, Gregg Marland, Robert J. Andres, Douglas Crawford-Brown, Jintai Lin, Hongyan Zhao, Chaopeng Hong, Thomas A. Boden, Kuishuang Feng, Glen P. Peters, Fengming Xi, Junguo Liu, Yuan Li, Yu Zhao, Ning Zeng and Kebin He
The authors findings suggest that overestimation of China's emissions in 2000–2013 may be larger than China's estimated total forest sink in 1990–2007 or China's land carbon sink in 2000–2009. The revisions of the Chinese emissions are substantial enough that they may lead to adjustments in the Global Carbon Cycle.