Science & Technology

366 Items

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.

Ambassador Nicholas Burns speaks at Halifax International Security Forum 2018

Halifax International Security Forum

Analysis & Opinions

Western Allies Focus on Crisis of Leadership at Halifax Security Forum

| Nov. 19, 2018

For a decade now the Halifax International Security Forum has been a place to discuss the major external threats facing Western democracies and how to counter them.  One of the main themes coming out of this year's gathering of military, political and academic leaders is the biggest threat to democracy is coming from within.

"In the democratic world, many of our strongest and largest democracies are in some type of crisis," says former U.S. ambassador Nicholas Burns, who now teaches at the Kennedy School at Harvard University.

President Donald Trump addressing the United Nations

Getty Images

Analysis & Opinions - Deep State Radio

Enough About My Solipsism, What Do You Think of My Solipsism?

| Sep. 25, 2018

We have the most solipsistic president in American history offering up the most solipsistic foreign policy ever at a time when the me-me-me generation are busy taking selfies and other pols the planet over are trying to play that self-centeredness to their advantage. Have we reached Peak Solipsism? And what does that mean for the international system. We discuss in honor of and in the context of this week’s meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York City with David Rothkopf in New York, Ambassador Nicholas Burns in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Rosa Brooks in Washington, DC and Kori Schake in London, England.

Congressman Joaquin Castro in conversation with Ambassador Nicholas Burns

Harvard Kennedy School

Speech

A Conversation with Joaquin Castro and Nicholas Burns: Congress’ Role in Trump Era Foreign Policy

| Sep. 20, 2018

Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro joined Harvard Kennedy School Professor Nicholas Burns in a discussion concerning the role Congress should play in foreign policy in the era of President Trump. Castro discussed his upbringing and the civic conscious he gained at a young age alongside his twin brother Julian Castro, which encouraged him to eventually pursue a career in public service. The conversation covered a wide range of foreign affairs topics including immigration, trade, and terrorism. Castro took questions from the audience and voiced his concerns about a variety of global developments and threats and his believe that Congress should take a more active role in these issues.  

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.