Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter
Anna Goldstein is, at the moment, a scientist standing at a crossroad. Since her PhD from University of California, Berkeley is in chemistry, one might imagine Goldstein working in the lab. Instead, she’s at the Belfer Center researching the policy side of technology.
Faced with the twin pressures of a still-quickly growing economy and unprecedented smog from coal-fired plants, China is racing to expand its fleet of nuclear power plants. As it does so, Beijing is considering making large capital investments in facilities to reprocess spent nuclear fuel and recycle the resulting plutonium in fast neutron reactors that breed more plutonium. This report outlines the enormous costs China would likely face if it decides to build large-scale plants for reprocessing plutonium from spent nuclear fuel and recycling the plutonium in fast neutron reactors.
Climate change is a global problem that will require global solutions. Harvard Kennedy School expects to be a part of the solution through the development of academically rigorous research and ideas, and by engaging policymakers, non-governmental actors, practitioners, scholars, and others from around the world.
By 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, 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
Sustainable development requires harnessing technological innovation to improve human well-being in current and future generations. However, poor, marginalized, and unborn populations too often lack the economic or political power to shape innovation processes to meet their needs. Issues arise at all stages of innovation, from invention of a technology through its selection, production, adaptation, adoption, and retirement.
December 30, 2015
Op-Ed, Agence Global
By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative
"Keep your eyes on the oil-fueled Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Arab states in the year ahead, because they are just starting to experience a genuinely novel, almost existential, challenge that will test the quality of their statehood and national integrity as these have never been tested before. The issue that sparks this historic reckoning of statehood and citizenship in the GCC is not Iran’s nuclear future, the fate of “Islamic State,” nor the wasteful war in Yemen. It is the sudden array of sharp fiscal adjustment measures that most GCC states have announced in the past three weeks..."
By Andreas Goldthau, Associate, The Geopolitics of Energy Project
The chapter discusses the EU as an actor in global energy, and shows that the EU – short of a strong set of policy tools – relies more than other players on exporting its own rules. It explores the areas in which the Commission is capable of exerting (regulatory) external power in the energy sector and assesses the Commission's actions with regards to the challenges facing the EU along the energy value chain: upstream, midstream and downstream.
December 22, 2015
Op-Ed, Open Democracy
By Morena Skalamera, Associate, Geopolitics of Energy Project
In the year since Russia and China signed a landmark $400bn natural gas pact in May 2014, rapid developments in the energy sector and the geopolitical situation offer a chance to re-examine the deal. Indeed, the aftermath of the pact saw a return to a world of cheaper oil—a situation driven by a number of factors outside of Russia’s control. The buffeting winds of broadbrush western sanctions have deepened the uncertain fiscal outlook for Russia’s hydrocarbon-driven economy, calling its financial resilience into question.
December 17, 2015
Op-Ed, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
By Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom
"Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed at the global climate change conference in Paris that China pledged to achieve peak carbon dioxide emissions by around 2030, and to get around 20 percent of its primary energy from non-fossil sources by 2030. In 2014, China’s non-fossil energy consumption accounted for 11.2 percent of total energy use—hydro power was 8 percent, nuclear power was about 1 percent, and non-hydro renewable energy was around 2 percent—which is very close to the target of 11.4 percent set for 2015. Still, coal supplied the majority (66 percent) of China's total energy consumption in 2014, and oil accounted for about 18 percent of the energy mix. Natural gas, at 5 percent, still accounted for a relatively small share. To double the share of non-fossil sources by 2030, what role can nuclear power play?"
December 15, 2015
By Josh Anderson, Coordinator, Project on Managing the Atom
The Project on Managing the Atom offers fellowships for pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and mid-career researchers for one year, with a possibility for renewal, in the stimulating environment of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. The online application for 2016-2017 fellowships opened December 15, 2015, and the application deadline is January 15, 2016. Recommendation letters are due by February 1, 2016.
December 10, 2015
By Ambuj D. Sagar, Visiting Scholar, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program
"What's missing from the technology discussions in the climate arena is a focus on a much more important and urgent issue: how to ensure that cleaner energy technologies available today are deployed quickly and at scale in developing countries. Moving their energy systems on a lower-carbon trajectory in the short term is critical because these countries need more energy to fuel their economies and are rapidly growing their energy infrastructure."