ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE
The Harvard Project releases a collection of expert briefs on the elaboration of the Paris Agreement.
September 27, 2016
By Rt. Hon. Douglas Alexander, Senior Fellow, The Future of Diplomacy Project
The Right Honourable Douglas Alexander offered his views on European security in a discussion moderated by FDP Executive Director Cathryn Cluver.
The authors examine the pledge and review system of the Paris Agreement, which gives states much more freedom in setting goals for reducing emissions. This is quite different than the Kyoto Protocol, which set specific targets and timetables.
"Early Summer Response of the East Asian Summer Monsoon to Atmospheric CO2 Forcing and Subsequent Sea Surface Warming"
Journal Article, Journal of Climate, issue 15, volume 29
In this article, the authors investigate the response of the EASM to CO2 forcing at different time scales, and untangle various dynamic and thermodynamic processes that can mediate the precipitation response to changes in boundary forcing (such as land–sea contrast, topography, and SSTs) through radiation–circulation interactions.
By Pinar Akcayoz De Neve, Project Manager, Environment and Natural Resources Program, Jinqiang (JC) Chen, Former Giorgio Ruffolo Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Sustainability Science, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2015–2016, Gianfranco Gianfrate, Giorgio Ruffolo Research Fellow in Sustainability Science , Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Karoline Steinbacher, Associate, Environment and Natural Resources Program and Henry Lee, Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program
Building on the momentum of the agreement reached at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UNFCCC and Italy's intent to put forward a national program flowing from such agreements, the Environment and Natural Resources Program at the Harvard Kennedy School, Aspen Institute Italia and the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea convened a workshop in Florence, Italy on July 1, 2016 to discuss the Post-COP21 climate strategies and efforts to realize sustainable economies in Europe. The objective of the workshop was to provide a safe environment where policy makers, academics and industry leaders could come together and discuss how Europe could achieve a lower carbon energy transition. The workshop consisted of three main sessions: (1) How to achieve the EU2030 and 2050 goals; (2) how energy technology innovation can be spurred to create more options; and finally (3) what financial advances are necessary to fund these efforts. This not-for-attribution post-workshop report summarizes the highlights of the discussions, without attributing any views or comments to specific individuals.
August 12, 2016
Journal Article, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
By Laura Diaz Anadon, Associate, Environment and Natural Resources Program, Gabe Chan, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2012–2015, Alicia Harley, Kira Matus, Suerie Moon, Sharmila L. Murthy and William C. Clark, Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy, and Human Development; Co-director, Sustainability Science Program; Faculty Chair, ENRP
This article sets forth the authors' perspective on how technological innovation can better advance the goals of sustainable development. The authors seek to help bridge the gap between scholarship and practice by drawing from conceptual research, empirical cases, and real-world experience to highlight practical guidelines for use by practicing scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and policy advocates.
Journal Article, Environmental Science & Policy
In this article — across two experimental studies — the authors find evidence that Sub-Saharan African politicians who commit to climate change policies may lose electoral support. Electorally important swing voters with weak party affiliations are least likely to support party statements about climate change. Interviews with standing elected officials from Malawi and South Africa corroborate the experimental findings. The combined results suggest voter preferences may hinder the successful implementation of climate change policy in Sub-Saharan African democracies.
August 4, 2016
By Daniel Poneman, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
In this report, American Nuclear Diplomacy: Forging a New Consensus to Fight Climate Change and Weapons Proliferation, Former Deputy Secretary of Energy and Belfer Center Senior Fellow Daniel Poneman writes that we face two existential threats: nuclear annihilation and catastrophic climate change. Each, he says, stems from human origins. Both must be fought aggressively.
"Multiple studies confirm the grim truth that, even if all nations fulfill their Paris Climate Agreement emissions pledges, the world will still far overshoot the 2°C warming limit scientists say we must not exceed to prevent devastating climate impacts. Carbon-free nuclear energy can help close the gap. But can we expand its environmental benefits without increasing the risks of nuclear terror?"
Poneman outlines a diplomatic strategy and tough-minded, bipartisan policies to get us there.
The authors explore, in particular, the implications for CO2 removal and solar geoengineering of the Paris Agreement's long-term temperature goals, provision for "removals by sinks," and market-based mitigation mechanisms.
July 25, 2016
Op-Ed, The Mark
By Henry Lee, Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program
In the last two years, China’s President Xi Jinping signed two major climate agreements with the United States committing China to peak its carbon emissions by 2030 and to increase the non-fossil-fuel share of all energy to a target of 20 percent. In addition, China submitted to the United Nations’ meaningful Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) outlining its carbon reduction targets. Chinese officials at all levels of government — central, provincial and local — are focused on developing low-carbon initiatives, with each one competing to have the most visible initiatives, ideally without having to expend much in the way of new resources.