Environment & Climate Change

885 Items

Mirrors (heliostats) circle a solar tower in the Negev desert, souther Israel

AP Photo/Oded Balilty

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Envisioning a New Economic Middle East: Reshaping the Gulf with Israel

| Jan. 31, 2019

The hope is that the greater economic cooperation incubating between the Gulf States and Israel will create a culture of entrepreneurship within Gulf economies. In that way, the Gulf States will begin to each adopt a “startup nation” mentality that has been championed in Israel over the past successful several decades.

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.

iceberg in North Star Bay

NASA/Jeremy Harbeck

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

International Collaboration in Arctic Science: Progress and Prospects

| Dec. 13, 2018

Professor John P. Holdren gave this presentation at the Session on 60 Years of Arctic & Antarctic Science at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in Washington, D.C., on December 13, 2018.

Surface coal mine in Gillette, Campbell County, Wyoming

Wikimedia CC/Greg Goebel

Analysis & Opinions - Union of Concerned Scientists

The Global Warming Emissions Report Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Didn't Want You to See

| Dec. 07, 2018

Joel Clement discusses Federal Lands Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sequestration in the United States: Estimates for 2005–2014, a recently released report by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

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.

Sunset on the Indian Ocean

NASA

Journal Article - Environmental Research Letters

Stratospheric Aerosol Injection Tactics and Costs in the First 15 Years of Deployment

| 2018

We review the capabilities and costs of various lofting methods intended to deliver sulfates into the lower stratosphere. We lay out a future solar geoengineering deployment scenario of halving the increase in anthropogenic radiative forcing beginning 15 years hence, by deploying material to altitudes as high as ~20 km. After surveying an exhaustive list of potential deployment techniques, we settle upon an aircraft-based delivery system. Unlike the one prior comprehensive study on the topic (McClellan et al 2012 Environ. Res. Lett. 7 034019), we conclude that no existing aircraft design—even with extensive modifications—can reasonably fulfill this mission. However, we also conclude that developing a new, purpose-built high-altitude tanker with substantial payload capabilities would neither be technologically difficult nor prohibitively expensive. We calculate early-year costs of ~$1500 ton−1 of material deployed, resulting in average costs of ~$2.25 billion yr−1 over the first 15 years of deployment. We further calculate the number of flights at ~4000 in year one, linearly increasing by ~4000 yr−1. We conclude by arguing that, while cheap, such an aircraft-based program would unlikely be a secret, given the need for thousands of flights annually by airliner-sized aircraft operating from an international array of bases.

Inspiration Point, Canada

Wikimedia CC/Allysa Felix

Journal Article - Economic Letters

Potentially Large Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity Tail Uncertainty

| July 2018

The authors reply to Cox et al. (2018), Nature 553 (7688), 319–322. Equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), the link between concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and eventual global average temperatures, has been persistently and perhaps deeply uncertain. Its "likely" range has been approximately between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Centigrade for almost 40 years (Wagner and Weitzman, 2015). Moreover, Roe and Baker (2007), Weitzman (2009), and others have argued that its right-hand tail may be long, "fat" even. Enter Cox et al. (2018), who use an "emergent constraint" approach to characterize the probability distribution of ECS as having a central or best estimate of 2.8℃ with a 66 percent confidence interval of 2.2–3.4℃.

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.