Reports & Papers

36 Items

Donald Trump and Anthony Fauci

AP/Alex Brandon

Paper - Centre for International Governance Innovation

US Intelligence, the Coronavirus and the Age of Globalized Challenges

| Aug. 24, 2020

This essay makes three arguments. First, the US government will need to establish a coronavirus commission, similar to the 9/11 commission, to determine why, since April 2020, the United States has suffered more coronavirus fatalities than any other country in the world. Second, the COVID-19 pandemic represents a watershed for what will be a major national security theme this century: biological threats, both from naturally occurring pathogens and from synthesized biology. Third, intelligence about globalized challenges, such as pandemics, needs to be dramatically reconceptualized, stripping away outmoded levels of secrecy.

Advocacy groups display a thousand signs that read #GetUsPPE, along images of health care workers, in a call for personal protective equipment for frontline health workers during the coronavirus outbreak, on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, Friday, April 17, 2020, in Washington.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik


Coronavirus as a Strategic Challenge: Has Washington Misdiagnosed the Problem?

| April 2020

With reservations about venturing into territory outside our normal wheelhouse, and in full certainty that some of what we write here will in retrospect turn out to have been wrong, a team of researchers at the Belfer Center and I have been collecting all the data we have been able to find about coronavirus, analyzing it to the best of our ability, and debating competing answers to the fundamental questions about the challenge this novel virus poses to our nation.

What follows is our current first-approximation of a work in progress. We are posting at this point in the hope of stimulating a wider debate that will include a much larger number of analysts beyond public health professionals and epidemiologists—including in particular intelligence officers, financial wizards, historians, and others.

Paper - Harvard Kennedy School

Making Technological Innovation Work for Sustainable Development

| December 2015

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.

Report - Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, Belfer Center

Inventing the Future to Address Societal Challenges: Venky Narayanamurti's 75th Birthday

| September 19-20, 2014

Some of America's most distinguished leaders in academia, science, and technology gathered at Harvard on September 19 and 20, 2014, to celebrate the 75th birthday of renowned Harvard scientist Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti — and to discuss the future of innovation in America.

Discussion Paper - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

Energy Technology Expert Elicitations for Policy: Workshops, Modeling, and Meta-analysis

| October 2014

Characterizing the future performance of energy technologies can improve the development of energy policies that have net benefits under a broad set of future conditions. In particular, decisions about public investments in research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) that promote technological change can benefit from (1) an explicit consideration of the uncertainty inherent in the innovation process and (2) a systematic evaluation of the tradeoffs in investment allocations across different technologies. To shed light on these questions, over the past five years several groups in the United States and Europe have conducted expert elicitations and modeled the resulting societal benefits. In this paper, the authors discuss the lessons learned from the design and implementation of these initiatives.

Discussion Paper - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

The Next Frontier in United States Unconventional Shale Gas and Tight Oil Extraction: Strategic Reduction of Environmental Impact

  • Vanessa R. Palmer
  • Yiqiao Tang
  • A. Patrick Behrer
| March 2013

The unconventional fossil fuel extraction industry—in the U.S., primarily shale gas and tight oil—is expected to continue expanding dramatically in coming decades as conventionally recoverable reserves wane. At the global scale, a long-term domestic supply of natural gas is expected to yield environmental benefits over alternative sources of fossil energy. At the local level, however, the environmental impacts of shale gas and tight oil development may be significant. The development of technology, management practices, and regulatory policies that mitigate the associated environmental impacts of shale gas development is quickly becoming the next frontier in U.S. unconventional fossil resource extraction.

Report - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

Transforming U.S. Energy Innovation

The United States and the world need a revolution in energy technology—a revolution that would improve the performance of our energy systems to face the challenges ahead. In an intensely competitive and interdependent global landscape, and in the face of large climate risks from ongoing U.S. reliance on a fossil-fuel based energy system, it is important to maintain and expand long-term investments in the energy future of the U.S. even at a time of budget stringency. It is equally necessary to think about how to improve the efficiency of those investments, through strengthening U.S. energy innovation institutions, providing expanded incentives for private-sector innovation, and seizing opportunities where international cooperation can accelerate innovation. The private sector role is key: in the United States the vast majority of the energy system is owned by private enterprises, whose innovation and technology deployment decisions drive much of the country's overall energy systems.

Discussion Paper

Putting It All Together: The Real World of Fully Integrated CCS Projects

  • Craig A. Hart
| July 2011

This study examines the legal, regulatory and financial issues encountered in nine planned commercial-scale carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects under Phase III of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RCSP) Program. In Phase III of the RCSP, financial issues dominated the outcomes in these projects, directly causing termination of three of the projects and contributing to termination in two others. Long-term liability and lack of coordination among regulatory authorities also posed significant barriers.


Proposed Liability Framework for Geological Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide

  • Wendy B. Jacobs
| October 2010

This paper proposes a framework for a liability regime for geological sites for sequestration of carbon dioxide. It incorporates issues that were discussed at the the June 21, 2010 Expert Workshop Addressing CCS Liability, Oversight, and Trust Fund Issues.

Harvard Law School’s Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic* supports immediate large-scale carbon capture and sequestration (“CCS”) demonstration projects as part of a larger national and global effort to address climate change. Large-scale CCS projects (those that sequester at least 1.5 million tons of captured carbon dioxide (“CO2”) annually) must be demonstrated soon to confirm CCS as a viable strategy to combat climate change and to show the commitment of the United States to achieving meaningful reductions in domestic CO2 emissions.


Summary Report of Expert Workshop Addressing CCS Liability, Oversight, and Trust Fund Issues

  • Wendy B. Jacobs
| October 29, 2010

This paper summarizes the discussions from a workshop convened by the Harvard Law School's Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic in Washington, DC on June 21, 2010.

There is broad consensus in scientific, business, and political circles that carbon capture and sequestration ("CCS") must be demonstrated quickly on a large scale because it is likely to be an important technology for reducing carbon dioxide ("CO2") emissions throughout the world. Indeed, a number of commentators predict that it may be impossible to achieve significant emissions reduction in the United States and abroad without the use of CCS.