Harvard project on climate agreements

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Established in 2007, 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 international and domestic climate policy.  Read >

Brazil World Cup fails to score environmental goals

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By Autumn Spanne and The Daily Climate

RIO DE JANEIRO – It was supposed to be the "Copa Verde," a celebration of the greenest World Cup ever, in the country that's home to the Amazon, ranked first in biodiversity, vital to how the world responds to climate change.

Instead, the "Green Cup" has become a flash point for social injustice. And while it's proving environmentally unsustainable on several levels, the lasting legacy of the 2014 World Cup may ultimately be a shift in how future global sporting events are marketed and built.  Read >

With Patent Giveaway, Tesla Shows Silicon Valley What Ingenuity Means

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By Klint Finley / wired.com

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says that by openly sharing its patent portfolio with the rest of the world, his company will help expand the market for electric cars.

His stance underscores the sentiment–widely held in Silicon Valley–that today’s technology moves too fast for the U.S. patent system. But the attention Tesla’s move is getting turns it into something bigger: a boost to the larger patent reform movement, which aims to reduce patent litigation across the tech world.  Read >

Breathing easier over electricity

By Alvin Powell, Harvard Staff Writer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued its long-awaited draft regulations on carbon emissions from U.S. power plants, which would require a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2030. Just days before Monday’s announcement, scientists from Harvard and Syracuse universities released a study highlighting the potential health benefits of such changes.  Read >

Growing the nutritional revolution

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The world is waking up to the urgent need to ensure that agriculture — through crop diversification — can help to address the world's nutritional needs. The challenge is not the absence of scientific, technological, and engineering knowledge. It is the absence of institutions that can transform the widely available knowledge into practical programs that can bring agriculture, nutrition, and health together to help improve the human condition.

Published in May 2014, this report chapter for the Nestle Foundation Report 2013 was authored by Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development; Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project; and Principal Investigator, Agricultural Innovation in Africa, and made available by the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.  Read >

Climate Change: A Time For Humor, A Time For Action

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by Tania Lomborzo / NPR.org 

May has been a demoralizing month for news about global warming. The third National Climate Assessment was released on May 6, with its bleak message that time is short if we hope to prevent catastrophic climate change. Soon after we learned that polar ice is irreversibly melting. And then there were fires and devastating floods to remind us that, yes, we are all at the mercy of the elements.

So, perhaps it's a surprise that May has also been one of the funniest months for climate change.  Read >

Confronting climate change

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Worldwide scientific consensus has clearly established that climate change poses a serious threat to our future—and increasingly to our present. Universities like ours have produced much of the research supporting that consensus, as well as many of the emerging ideas helping us to begin confronting that challenge. Yet we have far more work ahead to chart the path from societies and economies fundamentally dependent on fossil fuels to a system of sustainable and renewable energy. We must devote ourselves to enabling and accelerating that transition—by developing the technologies, policies and practices that would make it possible—if we are to mitigate the damage that rising greenhouse gas levels are inflicting on the planet.

In an open letter to the Harvard community, President Drew Faust challenges faculty, students, alumni, and friends to identify how their efforts can propel societies and individuals along this path, and assist in raising significant funds that will seed and spur innovative approaches to confronting climate change, as an element of our broader campaign efforts in energy and environment.  More >

Mining Coal, Mounting Costs: The life cycle consequences of coal

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Energy is essential to our daily lives, and for the past century and a half we have depended on fossil fuels to produce it. But, from extraction to combustion, coal, oil and natural gas have multiple health, environmental, and economic impacts that are proving costly for society. It is estimated that the life cycle impacts of coal, and the waste stream generated, are costing the U.S. public a third to over one-half a trillion dollars annually.

View The Harvard School of Public Health Center for Health and the Global Environment executive summary on the issue, and learn what you can do to help address this important issue.  More >

James Hansen on Climate Change and Judiciary Responsibility

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In this special Harvard School of Public Health Earth Focus report, climate scientist James Hansen describes what is needed to solve the growing climate problem. Dr. Hansen explains the dangerous inertia behind the climate system and why we're currently seeing only part of the changes that will occur.

Hansen says that science shows we cannot burn all of the available fossil fuels, we must leave a portion in the ground, and that's why alternative energy is necessary. But because the fossil fuel industry has such a hold on politicians and the executive branch, it's the courts who should step in. This country was founded the idea that all people deserve equal protection of the laws, Hansen states, and inaction on climate change is discrimination against young people who will pay the bill for the fossil fuels burned by today's generations.  More >