Book - MIT Press

Double Jeopardy: Combating Nuclear Terror and Climate Change

| May 2019

Cover image for Double Jeopardy: Combatting Nuclear Terror and Climate Change.


In his new book, Double Jeopardy: Combating Nuclear Terror and Climate Change, Daniel Poneman makes the case that we can use nuclear power to combat climate change even as we reduce the risks of nuclear terror.

Humanity faces two existential threats: nuclear annihilation and catastrophic climate change. Both have human origins, and both are linked to the use of nuclear energy. Inherent in the use of atomic fission is the risk that the technology and materials can be diverted to terrorists or hostile nations and used to make nuclear weapons. The key question is whether we can use nuclear energy to reduce the threat of climate change without increasing the risk that nuclear weapons will be used.

In Double Jeopardy, Daniel Poneman argues that the world needs an “all-of-the-above” energy policy, one that advances the goal of decarbonizing the environment through all available means—including nuclear power. Poneman makes a compelling case that we can enhance the ability of nuclear power to combat climate change even as we reduce the risks of nuclear terror. Doing so will require well-crafted laws and policies, implemented with an ethos of constant vigilance and embedded in a culture that weaves safety and security goals into the fabric of our nuclear programs. This will enable government and industry to work together to maximize energy and climate benefits while minimizing safety and security risks.


Selected Reviews

"Nuclear weapons and climate change present very different but very significant global risks. Dan Poneman is one of the few who has worked at and contributed to mitigation of both risks and now has shared this experience through insightful analysis and commonsense recommendations. Double Jeopardy should be required reading for policymakers." —Ernest J. Moniz, former U.S. Secretary of Energy and CEO, Nuclear Threat Initiative

"Double Jeopardy is a must-read for anyone who cares about the world our grandchildren will inherit. Dan Poneman shows us how we can address the two greatest threats to our long-term future—at the same time. Brilliant!" —Susan Eisenhower, member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future

"Dan Poneman has done what very few have even tried, and what no one has actually succeeded in doing—to persuade almost everyone along the long ideological spectrum that the issues of climate change and nuclear power are inextricably connected. There will be no addressing the former without the latter. Read this book. If it will not change your mind, then at least it will change your approach. Very few authors can do that. Poneman has." —Hugh Hewitt, host, The Hugh Hewitt Show, and Professor, Chapman University School of Law

"In this insightful and useful book, Dan Poneman explores the two great existential threats that we face: nuclear annihilation and climate change. He provides not just convincing analysis but also some clear and crisp proposed solutions. In a time of muddled thinking, this book is urgently needed." —Walter Isaacson, Professor of History, Tulane University, and former president and CEO, Aspen Institute

"Presidents of both parties have relied upon Dan Poneman's wise counsel on matters of global nuclear and energy security. In this important book, Dan outlines a rationale and a roadmap for reinvigorating America's nuclear leadership, which is indispensable to protecting our planet and all who live here." —Sam Nunn, former U.S. Senator and Co-Chair, Nuclear Threat Initiative

About This Book

Cover page of "Double Jeopardy: Combating Nuclear Terror and Climate Change".

Double Jeopardy: Combating Nuclear Terror and Climate Change
For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Poneman, Daniel. Double Jeopardy: Combating Nuclear Terror and Climate Change. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, May 2019.

The Author