April 3, 2013
By David Nusbaum, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom
This seminar reviewed the alternatives to nuclear research reactors and the benefits of adopting the technology of accelerators in order to reduce dependence on enriched uranium.
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.
By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Benjamin Bonin, Edward Ifft, Roberta Mulas, Hartwig Spitzer, Khaled Abdel Hamid, Nisreen Al Hmoud, Ephraim Asculai, Christian Charlier, David Friedman, Dorte Hühnert, Tariq Rauf, Ibrahim Said and Jean-Pascal Zanders
This Policy Brief outlines key arms control verification concepts, their practical application under existing treaties, and the associated verification challenges likely to be encountered in the context of a WMD/DVs Free Zone in the Middle East. While the challenges may appear daunting, we share the opinion that the subject of verification may actually offer unique opportunities for regional dialogue, exchange, and even confidence building.
The United States' extended system of security commitments creates a set of institutional relationships that foster political communication. Alliance institutions are first about security protection, but they also bind states together and create institutional channels of communication. For example, NATO has facilitated ties and associated institutions that increase the ability of the United States and Europe to talk to each other and to do business. Likewise, the bilateral alliances in East Asia also play a communication role beyond narrow security issues. Consultations and exchanges spill over into other policy areas. This gives the United States the capacity to work across issue areas, using assets and bargaining chips in one area to make progress in another.
Critics of the linkage argument argue that the United States and Russia have cut their nuclear arsenals substantially without any noticeable subsequent increase in support for nonproliferation. Nonnuclear weapon states, however, tend not to view nuclear arms reductions as the best indicator of compliance with Article 6; they attach greater weight to policies that convey an intent among weapon states to keep nuclear weapons indefinitely.
March 13, 2013
By Trevor Findlay, Senior Research Fellow, Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program
This seminar considered how the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reacted to nuclear crises. The IAEA often appears not just to have weathered such crises, but to have successfully leaped through windows of opportunity presented by them. This has resulted in periodic expansions of its mandate, capabilities, and resources. The 2011 Fukushima disaster appears to be a puzzling exception, raising the question of what concatenation of factors needs to be present for the IAEA to take advantage of nuclear crises.
The United States has considerable tax administration and cap-and-trade expertise that could highlight potentially successful carbon pricing approaches. Although this experience is not climate-related, the United States deploys an efficient and highly compliant excise tax system, and it could assist developing country efforts to build their own capacity to tax carbon. The United States also has long experience with cap-and-trade systems for criteria air pollutants, much of which is transferable to greenhouse-gas emissions trading.
By Bard Harstad
Climate policy is complicated. For a treaty to be beneficial, one must think through carefully how it will work, once it is implemented. Crucial questions include the following: How should an international treaty be designed? Should one negotiate commitments for a five-year period, or for much longer? Assuming that the treaty specifies aggregate or country-specific emission caps, what should these caps be and how should they change over time? How should the agreement be updated once policymakers, scholars, and the public learn more about the severity of the climate-change problem, or about the effects of the policy? Can the treaty be designed to encourage investments in "green" abatement technology or renewable energy sources? Finally, how can one motivate countries to participate and comply with such an agreement?
By John S. Park, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom
John S. Park, Stanton Nuclear Security Junior Faculty Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Project on Managing the Atom Associate, argues that cooperation between North Korea and Iran has been a critical—yet underexamined—enabler of North Korea's recent success. He concludes that the time has come for the United States to view the two previously independent missile programs as two sides of the same coin and recommends strategies for disrupting the procurement channels between Iran and North Korea.
December 6, 2012
By Anand Toprani, Former Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy, International Security Program, August–December 2012
This seminar considered how oil shaped grand strategy in Great Britain and Germany between 1918 and 1941. The history of oil in the twentieth century is a chapter in the story of European decline, for the emergence of oil accelerated the decline of Britain and Germany as great powers capable of independently exerting their economic and military power.