Forthcoming February 2013
Applied Energy, volume 102
The key findings derived from this study improve the understanding of the effects of China's domestic investment on its energy consumption expansion and reflect the fact that China's rapid urbanization and industrialization processes are among the main reasons for the large amount of energy consumption in China. The authors provide some quantitative information for further determining the energy-saving potentials of China's economy during these processes.
In a new discussion paper, authors Richard Schmalensee, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Robert N. Stavins, director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, explore four ironic outcomes associated with the otherwise very successful sulfur-dioxide cap-and-trade system created by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.
A treaty satisfies what we call International Paretianism if it advances the interests of all states that join it, so that no state is made worse off. The principle might seem obvious, but it rules out nearly all the major proposals for a climate treaty, including proposals advanced by academics and by government officials. We defend International Paretianism, and for that reason urge commentators in the debate over climate justice to abandon efforts to right past wrongs, redistribute wealth, and achieve other abstract ideals through a climate treaty
"Agenda for Peace or Budget for War? Evaluating the Economic Impact of International Intervention in Somalia"
International Journal, issue 2, volume 67
By Aisha Ahmad, Former Research Fellow, Initiative on Religion in International Affairs/International Security Program, 2011–2012
This article shows how international humanitarian aid, particularly food aid, has played an instrumental role in perpetuating chronic civil war and state collapse in Somalia from 1992–2012. During the 1992 famine, food aid created lucrative opportunities for criminal elements of the Somali business community, who partnered with local warlords to create an enduring system of corruption and aid dependence. International aid financed this elite pact between business and warlords, which subsequently undermined domestic processes of order-making and reduced the bargaining power of local communities in the peace-building process.
Some of the most dramatic energy developments of recent years have been in the realm of natural gas. Huge quantities of unconventional US shale gas are now commercially viable, changing the strategic picture for the United States by making it self-sufficient in natural gas for the foreseeable future. This development alone has reverberated around the globe, causing shifts in patterns of trade and leading other countries in Europe and Asia to explore their own shale gas potential. Such developments are putting pressure on longstanding arrangements, such as oil-linked gas contracts and the separate nature of North American, European, and Asian gas markets, and may lead to strategic shifts, such as the weakening of Russia’s dominance in the European gas market.
The outcome of the December 2011 United Nations climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa, provides an important new opportunity to move toward an international climate policy architecture that is capable of delivering broad international participation and significant global CO2 emissions reductions at reasonable cost. This paper addresses an important component of potential climate policy architecture for the post-Durban era: links among independent tradable permit systems for greenhouse gases.
Gasoline taxes can be employed to correct externalities associated with automobile use in order to reduce dependency on foreign oil and raise government revenue. This paper examines how gasoline taxes affect consumer behavior as distinct from tax-exclusive gasoline prices. It suggests that traditional analysis could significantly underestimate policy impacts of tax changes and discusses the implications of these findings.
This paper uses housing market data to estimate the welfare costs of shoreline loss along coastal beaches in Florida. The work examines homeowners' willingness to pay for an extra foot of sand and then addresses how changes in beach width generally have little impact on housing prices. The results imply that the welfare costs of sea level rise may be low up to a threshold, and then increase sharply.
July 16, 2012
By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
This publication is based on a presentation at the “Verification in the 21st Century – Technological, Political and Institutional Challenges and Opportunities”, 17 – 20 June 2012, Wilton Park, UK.
July 13, 2012
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, issue 4, volume 68
By Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom
China currently has far fewer nuclear weapons than the U.S., possibly the fewest of the five original nuclear weapons states. But if China feels threatened by the deployment of U.S. missile defenses, that could well change.