"Analysis of Policies to Reduce Oil Consumption and Greenhouse-Gas Emissions from the U.S. Transportation Sector"
By W. Ross Morrow, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2008–2009, Kelly Sims Gallagher, Senior Associate, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Gustavo Collantes, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy Research Group/Enviroment and Natural Resources Program, 2007–2008 and Henry Lee, Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation will be a much bigger challenge than conventional wisdom assumes — requiring substantially higher fuel prices combined with more stringent regulation. This paper finds that reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the transportation sector 14% below 2005 levels by 2020 may require gas prices greater than $7/gallon by 2020. It also finds that while relying on subsidies for electric or hybrid vehicles is politically seductive, it is ineffective and extremely expensive.
By Justin Dargin, Former Associate, The Dubai Initiative
This article examines the legal and political aspects of resource nationalism as it relates to Venezuela's energy sector.
By Kelly Sims Gallagher, Senior Associate, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group
This paper outlines the current situation regarding advanced coal and carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the United States and China. The strategic interest in cooperation on coal and CCS is explored, and then three options for collaboration are identified and discussed. None of the options are mutually exclusive. Remaining questions for discussion are provided at the end.
Russia's Non-strategic Nuclear Weapons in Their Current Configuration and Posture: A Strategic Asset or Liability?
By Simon Saradzhyan, Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
In the eyes of Russian leaders, non-strategic nuclear weapons (NSNWs) play a critical role in the nation's defense and security posture as part of the country's overall nuclear arsenal and as an equalizer for the weakness of the nation's conventional forces vis-a-vis NATO and China. Russia's military-political leadership and policy influentials also assign a number of specific roles to NSNWs, including deterrence of powers in the south. Given these perceived and real benefits of possessing NSNWs, it is rather difficult to imagine that Russia will agree to eliminate all of its non-strategic nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future even if its actions are fully reciprocated by the U.S. and other nuclear weapons states.
By Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Several terrorist groups have actively sought weapons of mass destruction (WMD) of one kind or another. To date, however, al Qaeda is the only group known to be pursuing a long-term, persistent and systematic approach to developing weapons to be used in mass casualty attacks. There are many plausible explanations for why the world has not experienced an al Qaeda attack using chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons, but it would be foolish to discount the possibility that such an event will occur in the future.
December 21, 2009
By Lorenzo Vidino, Former Research Fellow, Initiative on Religion in International Affairs/International Security Program, 2009–2010
"...[F]or a long time the American authorities and commentators seemed unable to acknowledge the existence of radicalisation among small segments of the American Muslim population. In the FBI's parlance, for example, until 2005, the term ‘homegrown terrorism' was still reserved for domestic organisations such as anti-government militias, white supremacists and eco-terrorist groups such as the Earth Liberation Front. Such groups were termed ‘homegrown' to distinguish them from jihadist terrorist networks, even though some of the latter possessed some of the very same characteristics (membership born and raised in the US and a focus on US targets). Since the cause of the jihadists was perceived to be foreign, the US government did not label them as ‘homegrown', despite the typically homegrown characteristics of many of them."
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, Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy; Associate Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-PI, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group and Ambuj D. Sagar, Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program
"The technology-led transformation of the U.S. energy system that the administration is seeking is unlikely to succeed without a transformation of energy innovation institutions and of the way in which policymakers think about their design, according to scholars with the Belfer Center's Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group. They set out principles for a much-needed conversation among analysts, managers, scientists, and policymakers on how to enhance the effectiveness of these institutions."
September 11, 2009
By Simon Saradzhyan, Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Although powerful contingents within the Russian leadership ascribe significant value to the various roles played by the country's nuclear arsenal, they have nonetheless enumerated consecutive or simultaneous external conditions necessary for Russia to embark on the road towards eliminating nuclear weapons. These include: universal implementation of existing nuclear arms control and nonproliferation treaties; further and irreversible cuts in U.S.-Russian nuclear arsenals; constraints on U.S. missile defense and enhancement of Russian conventional forces; and resolution of major conflicts. Subsequently, there will be a verifiable accounting of all nuclear powers' nuclear arsenals, their reduction and elimination, followed by guarantees that no country or sub-state actor would be able to develop/acquire such weapons in the future.
By Elaine Kamarck, Lecturer in Public Policy
Dr. Kamarck's paper explores some of the politics and pitfalls surrounding climate change policy, specifically carbon tax and cap-and-trade solutions. A carbon tax would directly tax the carbon content of fuels. A cap-and-trade system would set an overall cap for emissions and allow trading of emission permits between companies that more than meet their caps with those that don't. The analysis is intended to help decision makers and the public better understand some of the pros and cons associated with these particular climate policies.
"Enhancing Full-Spectrum Flexibility: Striking the Balance to Maximize Force Effectiveness in Conventional and Counterinsurgency Operations"
By William D. Anderson, Jr., Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2008-2009
With the United States currently engaged in difficult and taxing counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, renewed emphasis has been focused upon the country's capabilities and priorities vis-à-vis this type of warfare. Within the military, the Air Force has been especially and increasingly criticized for being too enamored with a Cold-War era conventionally minded force structure and for not shifting aggressively to meet the threats of COIN-style conflicts that many predict will be pervasive throughout the Global War on Terror.
This paper addresses the conceptual capabilities and limitations of air power in COIN in order to illuminate how the Air Force can leverage the distinct asymmetric advantage that air power presents across the spectrum of conflict. This asymmetry is founded upon a clear U.S. superiority in air power capabilities combined with the unique flexibility inherent in air power. An understanding of air power's efficacy in COIN, measured against conventional requirements and capabilities, will inform decisions on appropriate force structure and employment.