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  • Author: Michael B Greenwald
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Many view the Belt and Road Initiative as the most geoeconomically significant infrastructure project since the Marshall Plan. Promising alternative trade routes, abundant capital flows, and advanced infrastructure to the developing world, the program has scaled significantly since its inception in 2013.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael B Greenwald
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Saudi Vision 2030 — Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s bid to diversify his nation’s oil-dependent economy — is one of the most consequential development plans in modern history. So it was no surprise to see MbS, as he is known, grinning with Chinese leaders during his Asian investment trip last month. As Chinese officials raved about the “enormous potential” of the Saudi economy, Saudi officials praised the compatibility of Chinese and Saudi cultures, and MbS even defended China’s maltreatment of Muslim Uighurs
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Martin S. Feldstein
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Earlier this month, the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee voted unanimously to increase the short-term interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point, taking it from 2.25% to 2.5%. This was the fourth increase in 12 months, a sequence that had been projected a year ago, and the FOMC members also indicated that there would be two more quarter-point increases in 2019. The announcement soon met with widespread disapproval.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gabriel Cederberg, Jordan D'Amato
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: American democracy is under attack. From the daily news to our social media feeds, nation-state competitors target the United States and its citizens, seeking to fuel division and chaos at home while undermining our interests abroad and our will to defend them. It is critical that policymakers and citizens understand these threats and how to counter them. This playbook seeks to ensure that U.S. citizens, not foreign actors, determine the future of U.S. democracy.
  • Topic: Global Focus
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: James M. Acton
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This policy brief is based on “Escalation through Entanglement: How the Vulnerability of Command-and- Control Systems Raises the Risks of Inadvertent Nuclear War,” which appears in the summer 2018 issue of International Security.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Patrick Porter
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Political scientists and historians continue to debate the sources of U.S. grand strategy. Some emphasize the importance of the United States’ material capabilities and large share of relative power; others point to the significance of ideas in shaping policymakers’ choices. Both accounts are incomplete. Two case studies—the first eighteen months of the presidency of Donald Trump and the presidency of Bill Clinton—demonstrate that the United States persists with a strategy of primacy because it has become a habit—an axiomatic, sacrosanct belief system that the American foreign policy establishment perpetuates.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael B Greenwald
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In the post-9/11 era, Washington has waged innovative campaigns against terrorism finance, sanctions evasion, and money laundering. Leveraging America’s heavyweight status in the international financial system, the United States Treasury has isolated and bankrupted rogue regimes, global terrorists, and their enablers. As financial technology transforms global business, the traditional financial system faces new competition across a suite of offerings, ranging from brokerage services to peer to peer lending. In no area is this clearer than in mobile payments, where a global hegemon lies ready to exercise its weight, and it is not the United States
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs, Financial Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Martin S. Feldstein
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The cost to US consumers and firms imposed by tariffs on Chinese imports is not large relative to the gain that would be achieved if the US succeeds in persuading China to stop illegally taking US firms’ technology. But the Trump administration should state that this is the goal, and that the tariffs will be removed when it is met.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Richard Schmalensee, Robert Stavins
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The U.S. Clean Air Act, passed in 1970 with strong bipartisan support, was the first environmental law to give the Federal government a serious regulatory role, established the architecture of the U.S. air pollution control system, and became a model for subsequent environmental laws in the United States and globally. We outline the Act’s key provisions, as well as the main changes Congress has made to it over time. We assess the evolution of air pollution control policy under the Clean Air Act, with particular attention to the types of policy instruments used. We provide a generic assessment of the major types of policy instruments, and we trace and assess the historical evolution of EPA’s policy instrument use, with particular focus on the increased use of market-based policy instruments, beginning in the 1970s and culminating in the 1990s. Over the past fifty years, air pollution regulation has gradually become much more complex, and over the past twenty years, policy debates have become increasingly partisan and polarized, to the point that it has become impossible to amend the Act or pass other legislation to address the new threat of climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Todd Schatzki, Robert Stavins
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Like many other states, Oregon has begun to pursue climate policies to attempt to fill the gap created by the lack of effective climate policy at the Federal level. After adopting a variety of policies to address climate change and other environmental impacts from energy use, Oregon is now contemplating the adoption of a greenhouse gas (GHG) cap-and-trade system. However, interactions between policies can have important consequences for environmental and economic outcomes. Thus, as Oregon considers taking this step, reconsidering the efficacy of its other current climate policies may better position the state to achieve long-run emission reductions at sustainable economic costs.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Edward Lemon, Vera Mironova, William H. Tobey
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In the fall of 2016 Fletcher School professor Monica Duffy Toft and I were completing work on an issue brief in which we argued that the Islamic State should be further rolled back and dismantled rather than allowed to remain in the hopes that it would somehow become a normal state. IS was already in retreat at the time, having lost much of the territories it had once controlled in Syria and Iraq.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ash Carter
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: As Secretary of Defense, I devoted a large amount of my time to visiting our troops at bases around the world. These were my favorite trips because they gave me the opportunity to spend time with the most important, dynamic, and inspiring part of the United States Armed Forces: our people In June 2016, I visited Fort Knox on one of these trips, where I met with Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets and observed their training. These were college students training to be commissioned officers. Meeting with them, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride. Any American who had the chance to look these young women and men in the eye would be proud to observe how dedicated, disciplined, talented, and principled they are. And to know what they are doing for all Americans—to protect us and make a better world for our children—makes you even prouder.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jesse Reynolds, Gernot Wagner
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: New technologies, such as social media and do-it-yourself biotechnology, alter the capacities and incentives of both state and nonstate actors. This can include enabling direct decentralized interventions, in turn altering actors’ power relations. The provision of global public goods, widely regarded as states’ domain, so far has eluded such powerful technological disruptions. 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.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael A Mehling
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Parties to the Paris Agreement can engage in voluntary cooperation and use internationally transferred mitigation outcomes towards their national climate pledges. Doing so promises to lower the cost of achieving agreed climate objectives, which can, in turn, allow Parties to increase their mitigation efforts with given resources. Lower costs do not automatically translate into greater climate ambition, however. Transfers that involve questionable mitigation outcomes can effectively increase overall emissions, affirming the need for a sound regulatory framework. As Parties negotiate guidance on the implementation of cooperative approaches under Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement, they are therefore considering governance options to secure environmental integrity and address the question of overall climate ambition. Drawing on an analytical framework that incorporates economic theory and deliberative jurisprudence, practical case studies, and treaty interpretation, this Working Paper maps central positions of actors in the negotiations and evaluates relevant options included in the latest textual proposal.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Joseph E. Aldy
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the choice between—and design of—CO2 cap-and-trade and tax policies through a political-economy lens. It draws from insights in economics and political economy to highlight important public policy principles and policy options in carbon-pricing policy design. The paper illustrates each of these insights with examples from cap-and-trade and tax-policy experiences. Revealed political preferences about carbon-pricing-policy design can, in practice, inform our understanding of how decision-makers weigh various policy principles, as well as policy objectives. The balance of the paper examines the following design choices: establishing and phasing-in policy targets; setting the point of compliance and scope of coverage; addressing uncertainties in emission and cost outcomes under carbon pricing; updating carbon-pricing targets over time; using revenue and other forms of economic value created by carbon pricing; mitigating adverse competitiveness impacts of pricing carbon; accounting for the existing, complex policy landscape in designing carbon pricing; and linking of carbon-pricing programs. The final section concludes with a discussion of policy implications and next steps for policy-relevant scholarship.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Climate Finance, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: People join campaigns for different reasons: electing a leader they believe in, advancing an agenda, cleaning up government, or experiencing the rush and adrenaline of campaign life. These are some of the reasons we got involved in politics. We certainly didn’t sign up because we wanted to become cyber experts and we’re guessing you didn’t either
  • Topic: International Affairs, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Trey Herr, Bruce Schneier, Christopher Morris
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: How often do multiple, independent parties discover the same vulnerability? There are ample models of vulnerability discovery, but little academic work on this issue of rediscovery. The immature state of this research and subsequent debate is a problem for the policy community, where the government’s decision to disclose a given vulnerability hinges in part on that vulnerability’s likelihood of being rediscovered and used maliciously by another party. Research into the behavior of malicious software markets and the efficacy of bug bounty programs would similarly benefit from an accurate baseline estimate for how often vulnerabilities are discovered by multiple independent parties.
  • Topic: Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ash Carter
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: On December 11, 2016, just before my time as Secretary of Defense would end, I stepped off a C-130 transport plane onto a cold and dusty patch of northern Iraq that had been on my mind for more than a year: an Iraqi military airfield called Qayyarah West. Q-West, as it was known to the American military, was a talisman of progress on one of the defining issues of my time as secretary, the fight to defeat ISIS. A year before, General Joe Dunford and I had briefed the President on a plan to energize the counter-ISIS fight. We had laid out a series of military tasks, in Iraq and Syria, that would lead us to the liberation of ISIS’ strongholds in Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqa, Syria. Q-West was a fulcrum of that plan. Ejecting ISIS and turning the airstrip into a logistics hub was essential to seizing Mosul, just 40 miles to the north.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Robert Stavins, Robert Stowe
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The Harvard Project on Climate Agreements has released a volume of seventeen briefs summarizing research on options for elaborating the Paris Agreement's Article 6, the evolution of market-based systems, and how these two processes might best support each other. The briefs are designed to be readily accessible — and, it is hoped, useful — to negotiators, policy makers, and other stakeholders, as they consider how to elaborate the Paris Agreement in order to realize its potential to effectively address global climate change. Most authors were participants in a research workshop conducted by the Harvard Project on July 6, 2017, and the volume builds upon the discussions in that forum. Participants included twenty of the world's leading researchers focusing on market mechanisms and the Paris Agreement, coming from the disciplines of economics, political science, international relations, and law — and based in Europe, the Republic of Korea, and the United States.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michael A Mehling, Gilbert E. Metcalf, Robert Stavins
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The Paris Agreement has achieved one of two key necessary conditions for ultimate success—a broad base of participation among the countries of the world. But another key necessary condition has yet to be achieved—adequate collective ambition of the individual nationally determined contributions. How can climate negotiators provide a structure that will include incentives to increase ambition over time? An important part of the answer can be international linkage of regional, national, and sub-national policies—that is, formal recognition of emission reductions undertaken in another jurisdiction for the purpose of meeting a Party’s own mitigation objectives. A central challenge is how to facilitate such linkage in the context of the very great heterogeneity that characterizes climate policies along five dimensions: type of policy instrument; level of government jurisdiction; status of that jurisdiction under the Paris Agreement; nature of the policy instrument’s target; and the nature, along several dimensions, of each Party’s Nationally Determined Contribution. We consider such heterogeneity among policies, and identify which linkages of various combinations of characteristics are feasible; of these, which are most promising; and what accounting mechanisms would make the operation of respective linkages consistent with the Paris Agreement.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel Poneman
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Today, as a species, we face two existential threats: nuclear annihilation and catastrophic climate change. Both stem from human origins. We need to fight both threats aggressively. There are many things we can and should do to tackle the climate threat, beginning with putting a price on carbon emissions, promoting market mechanisms that reward efficiency, leveling the playing field for all lower-carbon energy sources, and leveraging the Paris Climate Agreement into more effective international action. But even adding up all existing national commitments to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, and assuming perfect execution, the world falls far short of the cuts needed to avoid catastrophic climate change. The expanded use of nuclear energy can make a major contribution to closing that gap and meeting our climate goals. But inherent in the use of atomic fission is the risk that the technology and materials can be diverted to terrorists or hostile nations.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Human Welfare, Markets, Nuclear Weapons, International Security, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel Poneman
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Today, as a species, we face two existential threats: nuclear annihilation and catastrophic climate change. Both stem from human origins. We need to fight both threats aggressively. There are many things we can and should do to tackle the climate threat, beginning with putting a price on carbon emissions, promoting market mechanisms that reward efficiency, leveling the playing field for all lower-carbon energy sources, and leveraging the Paris Climate Agreement into more effective international action. But even adding up all existing national commitments to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, and assuming perfect execution, the world falls far short of the cuts needed to avoid catastrophic climate change. The expanded use of nuclear energy can make a major contribution to closing that gap and meeting our climate goals. But inherent in the use of atomic fission is the risk that the technology and materials can be diverted to terrorists or hostile nations.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Human Welfare, Markets, Nuclear Weapons, International Security, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Daniel Poneman
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Today, as a species, we face two existential threats: nuclear annihilation and catastrophic climate change. Both stem from human origins. We need to fight both threats aggressively. There are many things we can and should do to tackle the climate threat, beginning with putting a price on carbon emissions, promoting market mechanisms that reward efficiency, leveling the playing field for all lower-carbon energy sources, and leveraging the Paris Climate Agreement into more effective international action. But even adding up all existing national commitments to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, and assuming perfect execution, the world falls far short of the cuts needed to avoid catastrophic climate change. The expanded use of nuclear energy can make a major contribution to closing that gap and meeting our climate goals. But inherent in the use of atomic fission is the risk that the technology and materials can be diverted to terrorists or hostile nations.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Human Welfare, Markets, Nuclear Weapons, International Security, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus