August 7, 2015
Op-Ed, Project Syndicate
By Jeffrey Frankel, James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Growth
World oil prices have been highly volatile during the last decade. Over the past year they have fallen more than 50%. Should we root for prices to go up, down, or stay the same? The economic effects of falling oil prices are negative overall for oil-exporting countries, of course, and positive for oil-importing countries. The US is now surprisingly close to energy self-sufficiency, so that the macroeconomic effects roughly net out to zero. But what about effects that are not directly economic? If we care about environmental and other externalities, should we want oil prices to go up or down? Up, because that will discourage oil consumption? Or down because that will discourage oil production?
Journal Article, Science and Engineering Ethics
The introduction of new energy technologies may lead to public resistance and contestation. It is often argued that this phenomenon is caused by an inadequate inclusion of relevant public values in the design of technology. In this paper, the authors examine the applicability of the value sensitive design (VSD) approach.
The authors examine the effect of real energy prices and a simulated carbon price on production and net imports. They find modest adverse competitiveness effects for energy-intensive industries.
August 4, 2015
By Robert C. Stowe, Executive Director, Harvard Environmental Economics Program; Manager, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
On August 3, 2015, President Barack Obama and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy released the final version of the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The CPP's goal is to reduce emissions of CO2 in the United States by 32 percent in 2030, relative to 2005 emissions. See earlier analysis of the CPP by Harvard faculty members and other Harvard-Project affiliates here and here and reaction to the final version by faculty affiliated with the Harvard Law School Environmental Law Program.
July 23, 2015
Journal Article, Global Policy
By Morena Skalamera, Associate, Geopolitics of Energy Project
Ever since the 1973 oil embargo, and especially since the Russian-Ukrainian gas crisis of 2006, Western policy makers have paid a great deal of attention to energy security. Yet there is no consensus as to what energy security is, what methodologies are most useful for conceptualizing and operationalizing the term, or even whether it is possible to generalize about anything as complex and contextually dependent as energy security. This enormous diversity of theoretical, methodological, and epistemological perspectives on the study of energy security complicates any assessment of the state of the field. It is, however, precisely because ‘energy security’ is such an elusive concept that academics, statesmen, and analysts of energy politics should not strive to coalesce around one precise definition.
July 21 2015
Op-Ed, The National Interest
Much of the immediate commentary on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed between the P5+1 and Iran on July 14 focused on the deal’s details as well as its many shortcomings. Most of these reactions, both favoring and opposing the agreement, focused on elements of the nuclear package itself.
July 20, 2015
By Bryan Galcik
Professor Stavins explained how the global commons dilemma provides a disincentive for action on climate change by individual countries since the climate benefits they gain individually would be less than the cost of action, while on a global basis the benefits could be much greater. Stavins argued that carbon taxes or cap-and-trade systems are the most effective solutions to reduce emissions.
July 15, 2015
Magazine or Newspaper Article, Climate Change National Forum
"People do often say this is symbolic. Now this is essentially a rhetorical argument dressed up like a substantive one. We know from every day, from politics, and from history, that symbols do have a huge impact on politics, have a huge impact on how people think about problems. And politics has a huge impact on economics.'
July 14, 2015
By Meghan L. O'Sullivan, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School
On June 23 and 24, twenty five experts met at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government under the auspices of the Geopolitics of Energy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. The group, which included experts from academia, the financial sector, government, and the energy industry, spent an evening and the following full day discussing and debating the possible energy implications of a nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran.
Journal Article, Sustainable Production and Consumption
By Arani Kajenthira, Former Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, April–June 2013; Former Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, September 2010–March 2013, Afreen Siddiqi, Visiting Scholar, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program and Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Water, energy, and food security are of critical concern as rising population growth and rapid urbanization place greater pressure on our natural resources. This study evaluates the growing internationalization of food production in water-scarce countries using the case of Saudi Arabia as a microcosm to illustrate the tradeoffs in resource consumption associated with crop selection and farming practices.