Reports & Papers

92 Items

man takes a rapid COVID-19 test

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File

Social Distancing in Trader Joe's parking lot

Wikimedia CC/Strmsrg

Report - opcast.org

Epidemiological Modeling Needs New, Coherent, Federal Support for the Post-COVID-19 Era

    Authors:
  • Christine Cassel
  • Christopher Chyba
  • Susan Graham
  • Richard C. Levin
  • Ed Penhoet
  • William Press
  • Maxine Savitz
  • Harold Varmus
| Sep. 28, 2020

Epidemiological modeling is an important but under-supported field of science that lacks a clear home among the federal science-funding agencies. Additional basic research and translational work in the field is needed between pandemics, and greater operational capabilities are needed during epidemics. The authors of this report have identified here a series of actions that can strengthen modeling efforts and their operationalization, to make the country better prepared for the next pandemic.

COVID-19 Testing Site

Wikimedia CC/Prim8acs

Report - opcast.org

Testing for the Pathogen During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Future Ones

    Authors:
  • Christine Cassel
  • Christopher Chyba
  • Susan Graham
  • Richard C. Levin
  • Ed Penhoet
  • William Press
  • Maxine Savitz
  • Harold Varmus
| Aug. 18, 2020

The United States has failed to deploy adequate testing for the presence of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 during the Covid-19 pandemic and has been unable to avoid continued spread of the virus. In this report, the authors explain why such testing is an essential factor in efforts to control the pandemic, why adequate testing has been difficult to achieve, and why the United States has not met the challenge. They conclude by recommending ways to provide more extensive testing in this and future epidemics.

Tractors on Westminster bridge

AP/Matt Dunham

Paper - Institut für Sicherheitspolitik

The Global Order After COVID-19

| 2020

Despite the far-reaching effects of the current pandemic,  the essential nature of world politics will not be transformed. The territorial state will remain the basic building-block of international affairs, nationalism will remain a powerful political force, and the major powers will continue to compete for influence in myriad ways. Global institutions, transnational networks, and assorted non-state actors will still play important roles, of course, but the present crisis will not produce a dramatic and enduring increase in global governance or significantly higher levels of international cooperation. In short, the post-COVID-19 world will be less open, less free, less prosperous, and more competitive than the world many people expected to emerge only a few years ago.

In this April 22, 2020 photo, Gerard Bakulikira, right, and captain Tim Daghelet, left, both wear a Romware COVID Radius digital bracelet, which flashes red when people are too close to each other and creates a log of contacts. 

AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

Paper

Considerations for Digital Contact Tracing Tools for COVID-19 Mitigation: Recommendations for Stakeholders and Policymakers

Many are looking to digital contact tracing to assist reopening efforts, especially in light of reports that the U.S. could expect as many as 100,000 more deaths due to the virus by this Fall. This report focuses on how the U.S. might consider various proposed solutions.

We believe there are real benefits, challenges, and even potential harms in using digital solutions in the fight against COVID-19, but we must also acknowledge that the promise of any technology and associated systems to assist manual contact tracing efforts is largely hypothetical in the United States. There is not one catch-all answer; the truth is that technology is not a panacea, but it may be able to assist official efforts at an unprecedented time. However, no technological solution can succeed without two specific factors: public trust and buy-in, and rapid, widespread testing for everyone living in the U.S. To achieve the first, a number of factors must be addressed by officials in the states looking to implement digital solutions, and by technology developers.
 

A prototype Tesla Semi truck at Tesla HQ in California, April 22, 2019.

Flickr/Steve Jurveston

Paper - Environment and Natural Resources Program, Belfer Center

Environmental Implications and Policy Challenges for Bringing Long-Haul Electric Trucks into China: The Case of the Tesla Semi

    Author:
  • Jonathan M. Moch
| July 2019

The Tesla Semi is a battery powered electric long haul truck currently in the prototype phase. Since cost and technological barriers have prevented electric vehicles from making significant inroads into the market for long haul trucks, the announcement of the Tesla Semi marks one of the first major attempts to bring electrification to on-road long haul freight transport. China, as the world’s largest carbon emitter, is an important market for truck electrification. China has a bourgeoning passenger electric vehicle market but, like the rest of the world, is reliant on heavily polluting diesel trucks for on-road freight transport. 

This paper addresses two main questions:

  1. What are the potential impacts on carbon emissions of electric long haul trucks in China? 
  2. What are the barriers to the adoption of electric long haul trucks in China? 

View of the crescent moon through the top of the earth's atmosphere. Photographed above 21.5°N, 113.3°E by International Space Station crew Expedition 13 over the South China Sea, just south of Macau (NASA image ID: ISS013-E-54329).

NASA

Discussion Paper

Governance of Highly Decentralized Nonstate Actors: the Case of Solar Geoengineering

| November 2018

We here introduce the idea of highly decentralized solar geoengineering, plausibly done in form of small high-altitude balloons. While solar geoengineering has the potential to greatly reduce climate change, it has generally been conceived as centralized and state deployed. Potential highly decentralized deployment moves the activity from the already contested arena of state action to that of environmentally motivated nongovernmental organizations and individuals, which could disrupt international relations and pose novel challenges for technology and environmental policy. We explore its feasibility, political implications, and governance.

overhead image of Brookhaven National Laboratory

©2016 Landsat / Copernicus, used with permission

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The Department of Energy National Laboratories

| November 2017

This report recommends policies and actions to improve the return on investment the U.S. government makes in sponsoring research and development (R&D) at the Department of Energy's (DOE) seventeen National Laboratories ("Labs"). While the Labs make a unique and significant contribution to all of the Department of Energy's missions, the authors develop the idea that for the Labs to fully support DOE's energy transformation goals, their R&D management practices need to be updated to better reflect current research into innovation systems and management. They also highlight the necessity of Lab interactions with industry in order to impact the nation's energy infrastructure investment, which is, for the most part, privately held.

Panel: What does Brexit mean for Europe's security architecture?

Thomas Lobenwein

Report

Brave new world? What Trump and Brexit mean for European foreign policy

| Dec. 08, 2016

On 24 and 25 November 2016 experts from politics and academia, including FDP Executive director Cathryn Clüver, discussed the impact of Brexit on several policy areas in a series of workshops at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. All events took place under Chatham House rules.

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

American Nuclear Diplomacy

| August 4, 2016

In this report, American Nuclear Diplomacy: Forging a New Consensus to Fight Climate Change and Weapons Proliferation, Former Deputy Secretary of Energy and Belfer Center Senior Fellow Daniel Poneman writes that we face two existential threats: nuclear annihilation and catastrophic climate change. Each, he says, stems from human origins. Both must be fought aggressively.

"Multiple studies confirm the grim truth that, even if all nations fulfill their Paris Climate Agreement emissions pledges, the world will still far overshoot the 2°C warming limit scientists say we must not exceed to prevent devastating climate impacts. Carbon-free nuclear energy can help close the gap. But can we expand its environmental benefits without increasing the risks of nuclear terror?"

Poneman outlines a diplomatic strategy and tough-minded, bipartisan policies to get us there.