Reports & Papers

15 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.

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Three Prongs for Prudent Climate Policy

| April 2020

After reviewing emission mitigation’s poor performance and low-probability of delivering on long-term climate goals, the authors evaluate a three-pronged strategy for mitigating climate change risks: adding adaptation and amelioration — through solar radiation management (SRM) — to the emission mitigation approach.  They conclude by assessing the value of an iterative act-learn-act policy framework that engages all three prongs for limiting climate-change damages.

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.

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Transitioning to Long-Run Effective and Efficient Climate Policies

| April 2019

This paper evaluates factors affecting the potential to transition over time to more efficient longrun climate policies, including the sequence of policies to be adopted. By considering these factors, policymakers can increase the likelihood that more efficient policies emerge from the current suite of less-efficient measures being pursued by some national and sub-national governments. The authors focus on the state of Oregon, which is currently contemplating the adoption of a greenhouse-gas cap-and-trade system.

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Better Predictions, Better Allocations: Scientific Advances and Adaptation to Climate Change

  • Mark C. Freeman
  • Ben Groom
  • Richard Zeckhauser
| September 2015

The authors argue that reducing uncertainty about the impacts of climate change will facilitate effective adaptation, even in the absence of effective international climate agreements.

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

A Good Opening: The Key to Make the Most of Unilateral Climate Action

  • Valentina Bosetti
  • Enrica De Cian
| March 2012

In a new Harvard Project Discussion Paper, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei's Valentina Bosetti and Enrica De Cian model the behavior of countries not participating in a cooperative climate regime. The regime imposes counterbalancing influences upon these countries, but under some conditions they may act to both reduce emissions and increase clean-energy R&D

May 24, 2006: Brooktrout Lake near Speculator, N.Y. in the Adirondacks. Brooktrout Lake was once a "dead" lake devastated by acid rain and is now a symbol of nature's ability to heal itself once pollutants are curbed.

AP Photo

Report - Harvard Environmental Economics Program

The SO2 Allowance Trading System and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990: Reflections on Twenty Years of Policy Innovation

| January 2012

The introduction of the U.S. SO2 allowance-trading program to address the threat of acid rain as part of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 is a landmark event in the history of environmental regulation. The program was a great success by almost all measures. Ironically, cap and trade seems especially well suited to addressing the problem of climate change, in that emitted greenhouse gases are evenly distributed throughout the world's atmosphere. Recent hostility toward cap and trade in debates about U.S. climate legislation may reflect the broader political environment of the climate debate more than the substantive merits of market-based regulation.

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Governing Climate Engineering: Scenarios for Analysis

  • Daniel Bodansky
| November 2011


Geoengineering grows in salience, the more time that passes without an effective international regime for mitigating climate change. It will be in the background of negotiations at COP 17 in Durban—and, perhaps, in the foreground of some important discussions. This discussion paper by Daniel Bodansky explores the opportunities and risks presented by geoengineering, as well as the particular challenges to crafting an effective system of governance for this set of approaches to addressing climate change


Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Belfer Center

Climate Policy and Innovation in the Absence of Commitment

  • Ashokankur Datta
  • E. Somanathan
| January 2011

In order to induce investment in research and development, incentive-based instruments such as emissions taxes and carbon cap and trade have to be expected to be in place after the new technology comes to market. This can be several years after the decision to invest in R & D is made. Policies announced or put in place today can be changed. To put it simply, there is a commitment problem. This commitment problem does not apply to policies put in place today that lower the cost of R & D, such as subsidies or complementary investments by public-sector entities. We compare the effects of an emissions tax, an emissions quota with tradeable permits, and R & D subsidies on a firm’s incentive to conduct R & D in the absence of commitment by the government.