Environment & Climate Change

183 Items

Book Chapter - Routledge

Nuclear Disarmament, Nuclear Energy, and Climate Change

| March 2019

Preventing nuclear war and avoiding catastrophic climate change are two of the most basic challenges facing human civilization in the twenty-first century. While these are separate issues, these challenges are linked in several ways, and both may be affected by the future of nuclear energy. For nuclear energy to provide any substantial part of the low-carbon energy needed in the second half of the twenty-first century would require dramatic growth. This chapter provides an overview of the constraints and risks of nuclear energy growth on that scale, and the necessary steps to address them. In particular, use of nuclear energy at that scale would place unprecedented demands on global systems for verification, control, and security for weapons-usable nuclear materials. Deep reductions in nuclear arms and their eventual prohibition will also require new approaches to managing the vast global stocks of weapons-usable nuclear materials. Politically, nuclear energy may not be able to grow on the scale required unless governments and publics are confident that it will not contribute to the spread of nuclear weapons, creating another link between climate mitigation and nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament.

Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun

AP/J. David Ake

Magazine Article - Fair Observer

Sacrificing Nature Is Not an Option

    Author:
  • Kourosh Ziabari
| Feb. 27, 2019

In this edition of "The Interview," Fair Observer talks to Professor John Holdren, former science adviser to President Barack Obama and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 2009 to 2017 about the impacts of global warming on the United States and the government's strategies to combat climate change.

Earthrise over the Moon

NASA/Bill Anders

Journal Article - Nature Sustainability

Policy Design for the Anthropocene

    Authors:
  • Thomas Sterner
  • Edward B. Barbier
  • Ian Bateman
  • Inge van den Bijgaart
  • Anne-Sophie Crépin
  • Ottmar Edenhofer
  • Carolyn Fischer
  • Wolfgang Habla
  • John Hassler
  • Olof Johansson-Stenman
  • Andreas Lange
  • Stephen Polasky
  • Johan Rockström
  • Henrik G. Smith
  • Will Steffen
  • James E. Wilen
  • Francisco Alpízar
  • Christian Azar
  • Donna Carless
  • Carlos Chávez
  • Jessica Coria
  • Gustav Engström
  • Sverker C. Jagers
  • Gunnar Köhlin
  • Åsa Löfgren
  • Håkan Pleijel
  • Amanda Robinson
| 2019

The authors examine the complexities of designing policies that can keep Earth within the biophysical limits favorable to human life.

 Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Plant

United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Journal Article - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

US Nuclear Power: The Vanishing Low-carbon Wedge

    Authors:
  • M. Granger Morgan
  • Ahmed Abdulla
  • Michael Rath
| July 10, 2018

Nuclear power holds the potential to make a significant contribution to decarbonizing the US energy system. Whether it could do so in its current form is a critical question: Existing large light water reactors in the United States are under economic pressure from low natural gas prices, and some have already closed. Moreover, because of their great cost and complexity, it appears most unlikely that any new large plants will be built over the next several decades. While advanced reactor designs are sometimes held up as a potential solution to nuclear power's challenges, the authors' assessment of the advanced fission enterprise suggests that no US design will be commercialized before midcentury. That leaves factory-manufactured, light water small modular reactors (SMRs) as the only option that might be deployed at significant scale in the climate-critical period of the next several decades.

A History of the Energy We Have Consumed

Rahm Emanuael/Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - The New York Times

A History of the Energy We Have Consumed

| June 18, 2018

Early in Richard Rhodes’s new book, “Energy: A Human History,” we hear of a prominent citizen using colorful language to lament the state of his polluted city and urge his government to shut down industry or move it elsewhere: “If there be a resemblance of hell upon earth, it is in this volcano [on] a foggy day.” Though this could easily apply to modern-day Beijing, the speaker here is John Evelyn, a wealthy horticulturalist and one of the founders of the scientific Royal Society of London — and he’s complaining about London in 1659.

Solar panel field and wind turbines

PIXNIO / hpgruesen

Book - Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc.

Handbook of the International Political Economy of Energy and Natural Resources

| 2018

This Handbook offers a comprehensive overview of the latest research from leading scholars on the international political economy of energy and resources. Highlighting the important conceptual and empirical themes, the chapters study all levels of governance, from global to local, and explore the wide range of issues emerging in a changing political and economic environment.

Tokyo at night

Flickr / Agustin Rafael Reyes

Paper - London School of Economics

Global Review of Finance For Sustainable Urban Infrastructure

    Authors:
  • Graham Floater
  • Dan Dowling
  • Denise Chan
  • Matthew Ulterino
  • Tim McMinn
  • Ehtisham Ahmad
| December 2017

This paper is a background review representing part of the initial phase of the Financing the Urban Transition work program. The review builds on a growing body of research that highlights both the importance of national sustainable infrastructure and the need to develop more effective and efficient financing mechanisms for delivering compact, connected cities that meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. While progress has been made in both these areas over the last five years, there remains a policy gap between the international/national level and the municipal level.

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Analysis & Opinions - The Diplomat

With Growth of Coal Power Plants, Vietnam's Future Is Grim

| January 12, 2017

On January 12, 2017, the academic journal Environmental Science & Technology published a study by researchers from Harvard University, Greenpeace, and the University of Colorado Boulder titled “Burden of Disease from Rising Coal-Fired Power Plant Emissions in Southeast Asia.” Based on official data on the future installation of coal-fired power plants in Southeast Asia and atmospheric transport modelling, the research group presented a grim picture of regional air pollution due to emissions from these plants.

Earth at night, 2012. People around the world depend upon electric lighting. Generating electricity using increased amounts of non-fossil fuels is critical to slowing climate change.

USA.gov

Journal Article - Ecological Economics

Using Inclusive Wealth for Policy Evaluation: Application to Electricity Infrastructure Planning in Oil-Exporting Countries

| 2017

Decision-makers often seek to design policies that support sustainable development. Prospective evaluations of how effectively such policies are likely to meet sustainability goals have nonetheless remained relatively challenging. Evaluating policies against sustainability goals can be facilitated through the inclusive wealth framework, which characterizes development in terms of the value to society of its underlying capital assets, and defines development to be potentially sustainable if that value does not decline over time.

Wheat Plantation in northern Sudan, 26 November 2014.

Creative Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Breakthrough

Revolution in Africa

| December 16, 2016

"Sustaining African agricultural transformation will require national policy approaches which emphasize the need to transition toward sustainable agriculture. More specifically, they will need to pursue strategies that allow for the integration of precision agriculture in existing farming methods. Such policies could focus on six key elements: biological diversity; ecology and emerging technologies; infrastructure; research and training; entrepreneurship and regional trade; and improved governance of agricultural innovation."