This study, undertaken for the European Commissioner for Energy and the European Commissioner for Climate Action, assesses the concept of renewable energy imports from North Africa to Europe. Often referred to as "Desertec", this concept involves great amounts of renewable energy capacity - mainly solar - to be rolled out in the Sahara desert to generate clean electricty both for domestic markets as well as for export to Europe through high-voltage transmission across the Mediterranean Sea. Regarded by some as a great leap towards the European goals of energy security and climate change mitigation, others view the concept as a pipe dream or even a wrong turn of European energy policy. Rather than answering this question, the authors find that Europe is not yet even in the position to decide on the concept: a host of barriers are prohibitively high at this point. This paper disaggregates these barriers into three categories: directly related barriers that must be addressed as much as is needed to reach feasibilty of the concept, indirectly related barriers that are being worked at already for other reasons and therefore should not figure in the debate about the concept of trans-Mediterranean trade in renewable energy, and lastly a set of barriers that are overestimated and should not hold up progress. This paper concludes by matching each barrier with concrete policy recommendations to the European Union for the coming years.
This project aims to analyze the accessibility and equity of higher education in Egypt, assess the extent of its underlying problems, and provide sustainable policy recommendations for their rectification. The higher education system now fails to meet its goals: learning outcomes are very low, the system fails to produce sufficiently skilled workers for the labor market, and Egyptian academia is not a sustainable, robust establishment. Policy recommendations focus on addressing the dual goals of increasing access and increasing quality while stemming off any large tradeoffs. Given the scale of the proposed reforms, gradual and deliberate implementation of these policies will be important in ensuring that reforms are properly paced, expectations are realistic, and outcomes optimized. In Egypt's context, it will be of utmost importance to garner political and social will in order to effectively implement these policies.
March 11, 2010
All Stocks of Weapons-Usable Nuclear Materials Worldwide Must be Protected Against Global Terrorist Threats
The possibility that terrorists could get and detonate a nuclear bomb poses a real and urgent risk to international security. No one knows the real probability of such an attack. But the evidence of terrorist efforts to get the nuclear materials and expertise needed to make a crude nuclear explosive is sufficiently troubling, and the consequences of such an event sufficiently grave, to justify urgent action to reduce the risk.
"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."