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  • Author: Joseph E. Aldy, William A. Pizer
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The comparability of domestic actions to mitigate global climate change has important implications for the stability, equity, and efficiency of international climate agreements. We examine a variety of metrics that could be used to evaluate countries' climate change mitigation effort and illustrate their potential application for large developed and developing countries. We also explain how transparent measures of the comparability of effort can contribute to the design of international and domestic climate change policy along several dimensions. For example, such measures can facilitate participation and compliance in an agreement if they can illustrate that all parties are doing their "fair share." Second, these measures can inform the bilateral linking of domestic cap-and-trade programs in a manner akin to how nations negotiate the lowering of trade barriers more generally in trade policy. Third, assessments of the comparability of effort can affect whether to implement and, if necessary, the stringency of unilateral border measures (e.g., a border tax). Finally, such assessments demonstrate the need for a well-functioning policy surveillance regime.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Martin L. Weitzman
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: It is difficult to resolve the global warming free-rider externality problem by negotiating quantity targets. By contrast, negotiating a single binding minimum carbon price (the proceeds from which are domestically retained) counters self interest by incentivizing agents to internalize the externality. The model of this paper indicates an exact sense in which each agent's extra cost from a higher emissions price is counterbalanced by that agent's extra benefit from inducing all other agents to simultaneously lower their emissions. Some implications are discussed.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Industrial Policy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Henry Lee, Scott Moore, Sabrina Howell, Alice Xia
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In recent decades there has been a gradual transformation in environmental policy away from command-and-control policies and toward the use of more flexible, market-based mechanisms. This transformation is evident in the environmental policy of the United States, and the European Union where many scholars and policymakers have accepted the argument that, in comparison with more traditional regulatory approaches, market-centered solutions offer a cheaper and more efficient way to achieve many environmental policy objectives. While market mechanisms may work in certain economies and certain countries, whether they are appropriate for addressing the problem of climate change for countries without an institutionalized domestic market economy, such as china, is still an open question. This report summarizes the discussions, conclusions, and questions posed during The Harvard- Tsinghua Workshop on Market Mechanisms to Achieve a Low-Carbon Future for China. As the report makes clear, most participants believe that market mechanisms have a powerful role to play in achieving a low-carbon future for China. However, considerable differences emerged among the participants regarding the proper design and implementation of market mechanisms, and sig-nificant questions remain concerning the proper role of market mechanisms in addressing climate change. This report, and the workshop it summarizes, does not attempt to resolve these differences, but aims to contribute to an ongoing discussion on the future of climate policy in China. The re¬mainder of this Introduction describes the context for the workshop, its three thematic sessions, and outlines three over-arching themes that emerged. These themes are explored in the summaries of the three thematic sessions, while the Conclusion raises issues for further research. The impetus for the workshop was laid out in three public keynote speeches that addressed, respec¬tively, China's desire to achieve a low-carbon future, reasons to prefer market mechanisms over other potential solutions, and the importance of sustaining innovation in achieving climate policy objectives. China has adopted pilot cap-and-trade programs in five Provinces and two cities – to¬gether accounting for seven percent of the country's total carbon dioxide emissions. These pilots support a vision of achieving a “third industrial revolution” where economic growth and value-creation is de-coupled from carbon dioxide emissions. Second, market mechanisms are generally preferred by economists to regulation and subsidies as a means to reduce emissions because they achieve reductions at a lower overall cost, tend to direct emissions to their highest-value uses, and demand less institutional capacity since emitters rather than governments decide how to reduce emissions. Third, emissions reductions need to be linked to continual technological and policy in¬novation, as well as the need for proper design and implementation of market mechanisms. This point was emphasized with reference to the European Union Emissions Trading System (EUETS), where initial carbon permit prices were too low to incentivize low-carbon research and develop¬ment. The low initial price of the EUETS made it more palatable to industry, but too low to send a significant market signal due to institutional weaknesses and the economic downturn. The keynote addresses framed the discussion for the remainder of the workshop, which consisted of three off-the-record thematic sessions. Each thematic session focused on a different set of mar¬ket mechanisms to address different facets of the climate policy challenge. The first session exam¬ined instruments designed to limit and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, either by imposition of a tax designed to internalize the external cost of climate disruption or through establishment of a cap-and-trade system whereby permits to emit carbon dioxide are issued under an overall cap set by government, and which can then be traded as some emitters make efficiency improvements. The second session examined the use of subsidies and other incentives to encourage clean technol¬ogy innovation, and the third session examined the potential for a water-rights trading system to allocate water resources under conditions of increasing scarcity triggered by disruption in precipi¬tation and increased evaporation rates. The workshop concluded with a session devoted to developing a framework for further research and debate on the use of market mechanisms to refine and advance China's climate policy. The framework centered on three over-arching issues concerning market mechanisms: policy mix, innovation systems, and governance. The first of these issues concerns the inclusion of market mechanisms in a broader mix of policy responses, including command-and-control, which may be combined to achieve specific policy objectives. The second concerns the use of market mecha¬nisms to develop, sustain, and enhance innovation systems that continually create new solutions and technologies to achieve a low-carbon future. The third concerns the importance of institutional design and governance systems to ensure the proper functioning of market mechanisms.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Kathleen M. Vogel
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In September 2011, scientists in the Netherlands announced new experimental findings that would not only threaten the conduct and publication of influenza research, but would have significant policy and intelligence implications. Ron Fouchier, an influenza virologist at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, declared at the Fourth European Scientific Working Group on Influenza in Malta that his research group had created a modified variant of the H5N1 avian influenza virus (hereafter the H5N1 virus) that was transmissible via aerosol between ferrets. Until that point, the H5N1 virus, which can be lethal to humans, was known to be transmissible only through direct, physical contact with infected animals.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Netherlands
  • Author: Burak Kadercan
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Why are some states more willing to adopt military innovations than others? Why, for example, were the great powers of Europe able to successfully reform their military practices to better adapt to and participate in the so-called military revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries while their most important extra- European competitor, the Ottoman Empire, failed to do so? The conventional wisdom suggests that cultural factors, including religious beliefs and a misplaced sense of superiority, blinded Ottoman rulers to the utility of innovations stemming from this military revolution, which involved radical changes in military strategy and tactics. The implication is that these rulers were almost suicidal, resisting military reforms until the early nineteenth century despite suffering continuous defeats for more than two hundred years. Such thinking follows not from a close reading of the historical and sociological literature on the Ottoman Empire, but from an Orientalist view of non-Western political organizations that plagues not only international relations theory but also military history.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Todd H. Hall, Jia Ian Chong
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: A century has passed since the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo set in motion a chain of events that would eventually convulse Europe in war. Possibly no conflict has been the focus of more scholarly attention. The questions of how and why European states came to abandon peaceful coexistence for four years of armed hostilities—ending tens of millions of lives and several imperial dynasties—have captivated historians and international relations scholars alike.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, East Asia
  • Author: Jack Snyder
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: One reason why Europe went to war in 1914 is that all of the continental great powers judged it a favorable moment for a fight, and all were pessimistic about postponing the fight until later. On its face, this explanation constitutes a paradox. Still, each power had a superficially plausible reason for thinking this was true.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, War
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Keren Yarhi-Milo
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: How do policymakers infer the long-term political intentions of their states' adversaries? This question has important theoretical, historical, and political significance. If British decisionmakers had understood the scope of Nazi Germany's intentions for Europe during the 1930s, the twentieth century might have looked very different. More recently, a Brookings report observes that “[t]he issue of mutual distrust of long-term intentions . . . has become a central concern in U.S.-China relations.” Statements by U.S. and Chinese officials confirm this suspicion. U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke noted “a concern, a question mark, by people all around the world and governments all around the world as to what China's intentions are.” Chinese officials, similarly, have indicated that Beijing regards recent U.S. policies as a “sophisticated ploy to frustrate China's growth.”
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: David A. Lake
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The United States has maintained extensive international hierarchies over states on the Caribbean littoral for more than a century and over Western Europe for nearly seven decades. More recently, it has extended similar hierarchies over states in the Middle East, especially the Persian Gulf. International hierarchy is based on authority relations between states; once they took the form of empires but today are restricted to informal political relationships such as spheres of influence and de facto protectorates. Authority, in turn, is a form of legitimate power that entails a right to command by the dominant state and an obligation or duty to comply by the subordinate. This raises a series of key questions. How does the United States build and sustain legitimacy for itself in subordinate countries? In this postcolonial age, the dominant state must rule indirectly through client regimes. How does the United States ensure legitimacy for such collaborationist regimes? Most important, how does the United States sustain this "double game" of legitimating both its rule and that of its clients, given norms of the sovereign equality of states and, increasingly, of popular sovereignty and democracy? How one answers these questions is relevant not only to theories of international relations but also to current policy debates, especially those on the role of the United States in the Middle East. If the United States cannot legitimate its role in the region, as I argue it cannot for reasons explained below, it should consider following its imperial forefather and withdraw "East of Suez."
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Central America
  • Author: Robert N. Stavins, Ottmar Edenhofer, Christian Flachsland
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The goal of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements is to help identify and advance scientifically sound, economically rational, and politically pragmatic public policy options for addressing global climate change. Drawing upon leading thinkers in Argentina, Australia, China, Europe, India, Japan, and the United States, the Project conducts research on policy architecture, key design elements, and institutional dimensions of domestic climate policy and a post-2015 international climate policy regime. The Project is directed by Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government, Harvard Kennedy School.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Industrial Policy, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe, India