The authors examine the pledge and review system of the Paris Agreement, which gives states much more freedom in setting goals for reducing emissions. This is quite different than the Kyoto Protocol, which set specific targets and timetables.
Estimates of damages from climate change are dependent on estimates of global-average-temperature increase, which in turn depend on how marginal increases in greenhouse-gas concentrations affect temperature. The "likely" range of temperature increase from a doubling of concentrations has stalled for 35 years at 1.5–4.5° C—making estimates of damages difficult and unreliable.
"Frameworks for Evaluating Policy Approaches to Address the Competitiveness Concerns of Mitigating Greenhouse Gas Emissions"
By Joseph E. Aldy, Faculty Affiliate, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
Joseph Aldy examines competitiveness risks from domestic carbon pricing policies, as well as the risks posed by competitiveness policies (for example, border tax adjustments) intended to alleviate adverse impacts of carbon pricing. The paper presents two alternative frameworks for evaluating competitiveness policy options.
"Federal Coal Program Reform, the Clean Power Plan, and the Interaction of Upstream and Downstream Climate Policies"
Can supply-side environmental policies that limit the extraction of fossil fuels reduce CO2 emissions? We study interactions between a specific supply-side policy — an environmental charge on federal coal — and demand-side emissions regulation under the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Using a detailed dynamic model of the power sector, we estimate that, absent the CPP, an environmental charge equal to the social cost of carbon would generate three-quarters of the projected CPP emissions reductions. With the CPP in place, the charge reduces emissions by reducing leakage and causing the CPP to be non-binding in some scenarios.
"Government's Role in Vulnerability Disclosure: Creating a Permanent and Accountable Vulnerability Equities Process"
"When government agencies discover or purchase zero day vulnerabilities, they confront a dilemma: should the government disclose such vulnerabilities, and thus allow them to be fixed, or should the government retain them for national security purposes?"
One of the great questions of energy geopolitics over the last few years has been the nature and extent of Russia’s shift in export strategy away from Europe. This question necessitates a thorough investigation of Gazprom’s reaction to a set of factors that threaten its position in the European gas market and, in turn, an assessment of key factors driving future European supply structures. This paper aims to do just that; it explores the extent to which this new Russian export strategy is real, and to the extent that it is, it investigates the drivers of the new approach in terms of timing, substance, and the prospects for this new approach to succeed. To this end, this discussion paper relies on a set of background interviews with policy makers, industry representatives, and analysts in Russia and Brussels.
April 15, 2016
By Kalman A. Robertson, Former Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom, August 2015–June 2016 and John Carlson, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom
As India’s civilian nuclear energy program expands with the assistance of international nuclear suppliers, it creates new potential pathways to the acquisition of fissile material that could be diverted for military purposes. A key question is whether and how India’s civilian and military nuclear facilities are separated. In this discussion paper from the Belfer Center’s Project on Managing the Atom, Kalman A. Robertson and John Carlson argue that India has not established a complete and verifiable separation of its civilian and military nuclear programs. The authors recommend steps for India to take under its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency to provide assurances to all states that components of its civilian program are not contributing to the growth of its nuclear arsenal. These steps include renouncing options that would facilitate the use of safeguarded items to produce unsafeguarded nuclear material, and placing the proliferation-sensitive components of its nuclear power industry under continuous safeguards.
By Xiaoqi Xu, Former Giorgio Ruffolo Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Sustainability Science Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2013–2014, Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Henry Lee, Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program
Various policies targeting at building energy efficiency have been promulgated by the Chinese government in the past decade. However, few studies evaluate if China is on the right path to meet its energy goals through these policies by providing an assessment of their effect in reducing energy consumption in residential buildings or the feasibility of such policies to catalyze these reductions. This paper attempts to fill this gap by systematically quantifying (1) the energy savings catalyzed by existing policy instruments; (2) the additional energy savings that could be realized by strengthening these policies; and (3) the relative advantages of each policy.
The authors conducted a survey of joint terminal attack controllers. Their responses indicate that the A-10 is vastly more capable than its proposed replacement at providing highly precise CAS. A cost analysis demonstrates that the replacement plan would also waste billions of dollars. The A-10 fleet just received a service life extension through 2035, and is relatively affordable to operate. In stark contrast the F-35s that would replace the A-10s entail staggeringly high procurement and operating costs.
"Education, Research, and Innovation in Africa: Forging Strategic Linkages for Economic Transformation"
By Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development; Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project; Principal Investigator, Agricultural Innovation in Africa
Africa is a youthful continent: nearly 41% of its population is under the age of 18. To address the unique challenges of this demographic structure, the African Union (AU) hopes to reposition the continent as a strategic player in the global economy through improved education and application of science and technology in development. The paper proposes the creation of “Innovation Universities” that combine research, teaching, community service and commercialization in their missions and operations. They would depart from the common practice where teaching is carried out in universities that do little research, and where research is done in national research institutes that do not undertake teaching. Under this model, there is little connection with productive sectors. The idea therefore is not just to create linkages between those activities but to pursue them in a coordinated way under the same university structure. Innovation universities can be created in diverse fields such as agriculture, health, industry, services, and environment to advance sustainable development and inclusive growth.