The author conducts a comparative analysis of fixed and intensity carbon targets, as these might be used in national policy or a multilateral climate agreement. The discussion is relevant to the ongoing UNFCCC negotiations on the 2015 Durban-Platform agreement.
The authors analyze global climate policy as the problem of transforming governance of the atmosphere from an open-access to a global-commons regime. They also review several challenges to effecting this transformation.
The authors, using data from the recent history of international climate policy to test organizational ecology theory, attempt to explain changes in diversity, growth rates, and composition of organizations dealing with global climate change.
By Leonardo Maugeri, Associate, Environment and Natural Resources Program/Geopolitics of Energy Project
A study just released by Belfer Center researcher Leonardo Maugeri finds that the shale oil revolution taking place in the United States could result in the tripling of shale oil output to five million barrels a day by 2017, likely making the U.S. the top oil producer in the world in just a few years. The study by Maugeri, a Roy Family Fellow working with the Belfer Center's Geopolitics of Energy project, looked at whether the surge in shale oil production is just a temporary bubble or an event capable of significantly altering the U.S.—and possibly global—energy outlook.
Climate change is a complex long-run phenomenon. The speed and severity with which it is occurring is difficult to observe, complicating the formation of beliefs for individuals. The authors use Google Insights search intensity data as a proxy for the salience of climate change and examine how search patterns vary with unusual local weather. The responsiveness to weather shocks is greater in states that are more reliant on climate-sensitive industries and that elect more environmentally-favorable congressional delegations. Furthermore, they demonstrate that effects of abnormal weather extend beyond search behavior to observable action on environmental issues.
"A Voting Architecture for the Governance of Free-Driver Externalities, with Application to Geoengineering"
Climate change is a global "free rider" problem because significant abatement of greenhouse gases is an expensive public good requiring international cooperation to apportion compliance among states. But it is also a global "free driver" problem because geoengineering the stratosphere with reflective particles to block incoming solar radiation is so cheap that it could essentially be undertaken unilaterally by one state perceiving itself to be in peril.
"The Next Frontier in United States Unconventional Shale Gas and Tight Oil Extraction: Strategic Reduction of Environmental Impact"
By Meagan Mauter, Former Visiting Scholar, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group (ETIP), 2012–2013; Former Research Fellow, ETIP, 2011–2012, Vanessa R. Palmer, Yiqiao Tang and A. Patrick Behrer
The unconventional fossil fuel extraction industry—in the U.S., primarily shale gas and tight oil—is expected to continue expanding dramatically in coming decades as conventionally recoverable reserves wane. At the global scale, a long-term domestic supply of natural gas is expected to yield environmental benefits over alternative sources of fossil energy. At the local level, however, the environmental impacts of shale gas and tight oil development may be significant. The development of technology, management practices, and regulatory policies that mitigate the associated environmental impacts of shale gas development is quickly becoming the next frontier in U.S. unconventional fossil resource extraction.
By Mansour Salsabili, Associate, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom
Ambiguity in Iran's weapon acquisition dynamics exacerbates mistrust, which is the core reason for the present standoff at the negotiating table. This paper elucidates the Iranian military's capability and intention by delving into the main componential elements of weapon acquisition.
By Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy; Professor of Physics, Harvard; Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-Principal Investigator, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Tolu Odumosu, Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Project on Technology, Security, and Conflict in the Cyber Age and Lee Vinsel
In this paper we hope to provide an alternative point of view. By examining both the evolution of the famous "linear model of innovation" — which holds that scientific research precedes technological innovation — and the problematic description of engineering being "applied science" we seek to challenge the existing dichotomies between basic / applied research, science and engineering, tracing how knowledge travels between different knowledge domains through a case study of a selected group of Nobel Prizes in physics.
This paper assesses how certification programs adopted by EU countries have affected biofuel development in Brazil, and identifies some of the lessons learned in designing future certification programs. The paper challenges the idea of the central importance of market benefits as the driving force behind private regimes for environmental and social governance.