By Joseph E. Aldy, Faculty Affiliate, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
Joseph Aldy's Viewpoint makes a case for how transparency through policy surveillance can facilitate more effective international climate change policy architecture.
"Identifying Options for a New International Climate Regime Arising from the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action"
By Ottmar Edenhofer, Christian Flachsland, Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and Robert C. Stowe, Executive Director, Harvard Environmental Economics Program; Manager, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
The Harvard Project co-sponsored a research workshop in May 2013 examining options for the UNFCCC's Durban-Platform process. This Issue Brief draws from and extends the discussion at the workshop.
The influence of oil on conflict is often poorly understood. In U.S. public debates about the 1991 and 2003 Iraq wars, both sides focused excessively on the question of whether the United States was fighting for possession of oil reserves; neither sought a broader understanding of how oil shaped the preconditions for war.
"Smashing Atoms for Peace: Using Linear Accelerators to Produce Medical Isotopes without Highly Enriched Uranium"
By David Nusbaum, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom
Accelerators can eventually be substituted for nuclear research reactors for the production of medical isotopes and for neutron-based research and other applications. The use of accelerators would reduce dependence on HEU and decrease the resulting risks. The United States and other countries should work together to provide the funding and exchange of information and ideas needed to speed up the development, demonstration, and deployment of technically and economically viable accelerator technologies to substitute for research reactors.
Assessing the risk of nuclear attack-by-proxy turns on the question of whether a state could sponsor nuclear terrorism and remain anonymous. A leader could rationalize such an attack—and entrust terrorists with a vitally important mission—only if doing so allowed the sponsor to avoid retaliation. After all, if a leader did not care about retaliation, he or she would likely conduct a nuclear strike directly. Giving nuclear weapons to terrorists makes sense only if there is a high likelihood of remaining anonymous after the attack.
By Alan Kuperman, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2000–2001
"The biggest misconception about NATO's intervention is that it saved lives and benefited Libya and its neighbors. In reality, when NATO intervened in mid-March 2011, Qaddafi already had regained control of most of Libya, while the rebels were retreating rapidly toward Egypt. Thus, the conflict was about to end, barely six weeks after it started, at a toll of about 1,000 dead, including soldiers, rebels, and civilians caught in the crossfire. By intervening, NATO enabled the rebels to resume their attack, which prolonged the war for another seven months and caused at least 7,000 more deaths."
August 8, 2013
While the United States and Russia have a responsibility to draw down their arsenals, these bilateral nuclear reductions will be increasingly difficult if other nuclear powers do not join in....[I]t is time to engage the so-called "second tier" nuclear powers, especially China. The evolution of the US-China strategic relationship can affect the next stages of international arms control, even if China does not directly participate.
By Leonardo Maugeri, Associate, Environment and Natural Resources Program/Geopolitics of Energy Project
A new study by Belfer Center Geopolitics of Energy researcher Leonardo Maugeri finds that oil production capacity is surging throughout the world, but the United States in particular will experience unprecedented output as a result of technological advances and some unique attributes. This increased production will not be without challenges, however, as the drilling industry adapts to this relatively new method and overall output depending greatly on price stability. In the end, the U.S. may yet still import oil from other countries. The findings by Maugeri, a former oil industry executive who is now a fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, are based on an original field-by-field analysis of the world’s major oil formations and exploration projects.
By Terence Roehrig, Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom
A nuclear North Korea makes it crucial that all countries in Northeast Asia work hard at maintaining a stable security environment that avoids the dangers of a crisis while encouraging North Korea to adopt a nuclear strategy that retains its "no first use" pledge, a strong command and control system, and a stable nuclear weapons posture. Given its relationship with North Korea, China is best positioned to encourage DPRK leaders in these directions.
By Donna Lee
Forests can play a significant role in helping to avoid dangerous climate change, and a global agreement under the UNFCCC would be uniquely placed to support efforts in this regard. The rising global demand for agricultural and other land-based products means that pressures on land are increasingly cross-border, and there is an accelerating expansion of the deforestation frontier. Smart domestic policies are critical to solving the deforestation challenge, and recent private sector interest in "sustainable agriculture" is encouraging. However, global agreements that value standing forests and provide incentives that positively impact land use change decisions can be an equally important tool.