By Morena Skalamera, Associate, Geopolitics of Energy Project
On Nov 24, 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet after it veered into its airspace for 17 seconds. On December 13, a Russian ship fired warning shots at a Turkish vessel in the Aegean Sea. Bilateral tensions, with overt military dimensions, have seemed to quickly replace the goodwill that characterized relations only a year ago.
November 16, 2015
By Simon Saradzhyan, Director, Russia Matters Project; Assistant Director, U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Russia’s national interests in Syria do not hinge on continuation of Bashir al-Assad’s rule. Therefore, Vladimir Putin could be prepared let Assad go as long as Russia has a say in transition to the new government in Syria and that government agrees to honor Russia’s national interests at stake.
January 4, 2016
By Philippe Fargues, Associate, Middle East Initiative
"As 2015 comes to a close, the annual numbers of migrants smuggled to Greece and Italy and asylum claims lodged in Germany have passed a million, as well as the number of additional displacements produced this year by the conflict in Syria. Moreover, Europe’s Mediterranean shore has now the unchallenged title of the world’s most lethal border. Not only this. The migrant crisis is also putting to the test some of Europe’s most fundamental values, from the freedom of circulation within its territories, to international protection beyond..."
China's continuing commitment to a nuclear strategy of assured retaliation indicates that it will prioritize avoiding a nuclear arms race with the United States. Nevertheless, leaders and militaries in both countries will need to be exceptionally careful to avoid nuclear escalation in a crisis.
December 8, 2015
By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
When the new report is brought before the IAEA’s Board of Governors on December 15, it should adopt a resolution based on: a credible baseline for monitoring and verification; assurances, with high confidence, that all weapons-related activities have been terminated; and future sampling and investigations carried out in-situ by IAEA inspectors and experts.
By René Castro
Improvements in eco-efficiency—defined as a combination of reducing waste and reducing the use of raw inputs—offer one strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions while also lowering production costs. In addition, changes in culture—at the level of individual businesses, countries, or both—can enhance the eco-competitive position of these businesses and countries. This paper describes three examples from Costa Rica and shows how the goal of achieving carbon neutrality can provide incentives for improving eco-efficiency and eco-competitiveness.
"Evaluating Mitigation Effort: Tools and Institutions for Assessing Nationally Determined Contributions"
By Joseph E. Aldy, Faculty Affiliate, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
The emerging pledge and review approach to international climate policy provides countries with substantial discretion in how they craft their intended emission mitigation contributions. The resulting heterogeneity in mitigation pledges places significant demands for a well-functioning transparency and review mechanism. In particular, the specific forms of intended contributions necessitate economic analysis in order to estimate the aggregate effects of these contributions as well as to permit "apples-to-apples" comparisons of mitigation efforts. This paper discusses the tools that can inform such analyses as well as the institutional needs of climate transparency.
By Philippe Fargues, Associate, Middle East Initiative
"Irregular migration has great resonance in the Gulf, just as in the West. Migrants in irregular situation avoid state administrative procedures and so their numbers are unknown. The largest amnesty (Saudi Arabia 2013) would have affected more than 50 per cent of the migrants in the country. Irregular migration is by definition a breach of legislations that regulate the migrant’s status.
In the Gulf States it is, in particular, a by-product of: the sponsorship (kafâla) system that hampers both a migrant’s individual freedom of movement and the free functioning of the labour market; nationalisation policies that continue to extend the list of occupations reserved for nationals; and nationality laws that bar citizenship to all but a very few first- and second-generation migrants."
October 28, 2015
By Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy; Professor of Physics, Harvard; Co-Principal Investigator, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Gabe Chan, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2012–2015 and Amitai Bin-Nun, Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program
The Federal Government has many tools at its disposal to advance energy technology innovation. It can signal markets, for example, through energy tax and regulatory policy ("market pull"), and it can advance research, development, and deployment of energy technologies ("technology push"). Both of these kinds of tools can be effective, but the most effective policy portfolio balances a combination of these policies.
October 21, 2015
By Derek S. Reveron, Faculty Affililate, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Dr. Derek Reveron, professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Navy War College, testified before the Armed Services Committee on October 21, 2015.