Globally, People Point to ISIS and Climate Change as Leading Security Threats: Concern About Cyberattacks, World Economy Also Widespread. Pew Research Center. Jacob Poushter and Dorothy Manevich. August 1, 2017.
People around the globe identify ISIS and climate change as the leading threats to national security, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The survey asked about eight possible threats. While the level and focus of concern varies by region and country, ISIS and climate change clearly emerge as the most frequently cited security risks across the 38 countries polled. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 32 pages, 1.29 MB].
Multinational Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel and Other High-Level Nuclear Waste: A Roadmap for Moving Forward. American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Robert D. Sloan. July 2017.
The Academy’s work in its Global Nuclear Future project on the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle has focused on identifying and developing nuclear waste solutions that are feasible and adoptable by legacy countries as well as by nuclear newcomers. The project acknowledges the fact that nuclear waste is a national responsibility for all countries that have, or are in the process of building, nuclear power plants. However, for many of these countries, domestic nuclear waste solutions (such as interim storage facilities and final repositories) might be difficult to establish—obstacles can include challenging economics for nations with small nuclear fleets (nuclear power, like most other energy technologies, profits from scale), unsuitable geophysical conditions, and public opposition.
Furthermore, there is a lack of international consensus on the importance of spent nuclear fuel. Those who value spent nuclear fuel see it as a potential feedstock, as part of a closed nuclear fuel cycle; others view it as an unattractive nuisance or worse because it contains fissile plutonium, a potential source of material for weapons, and therefore they wish to dispose of it in a permanent, nonretrievable repository. As a result, attempts to fashion a multilateral nuclear waste repository that can respond to these needs have not been successful. The partners or customers of such a permanent facility would have to agree to the nature of this storage: would it allow for retrievable spent fuel or not, and would all agree to the conditions under which such fuel would be permanently stored? [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 60 pages, 1.03 MB].
Impacts of Onshore Oil and Gas Development: Managing Societal and Environmental Risks. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Frank A. Verrastro et al. June 27, 2017
This note provides highlights from a one-day CSIS workshop held April 26, 2017, with government, state regulators, industry, and policy experts exploring ongoing efforts to minimize and manage upstream environmental, health, safety, and societal risks associated with U.S. onshore oil and gas production. The workshop was the second in a three-part workshop series, with the first part covering key issues concerning the role of U.S. tight oil production in global markets and the final installment to target global natural gas markets. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 15 pages, 395.88 KB].
Water Quality Targeting Success Stories: How to Achieve Measurably Cleaner Water Through U.S. Farm Conservation Watershed Projects. World Resources Institute. Michelle Perez. May 2017
This joint report from WRI and the American Farmland Trust features lessons learned from six water quality targeting project success stories and highlights key factors that allowed these programs to achieve desirable environmental outcomes. It concludes with recommendations for both public and private sectors to help other projects achieve and measure landscape-scale environmental outcomes.
The report and its recommendations were developed based on literature reviews and interviews with USDA staff, farm conservation and water quality experts, and leaders of the six projects. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 162 pages, 10.26 MB].
U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Trends and Projections: Role of the Clean Power Plan and Other Factors. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Jonathan L. Ramseur. May 31, 2017
Recent international negotiations and domestic policy developments have generated interest in current and projected U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emission levels. GHG emissions are generated throughout the United States from millions of discrete sources. Of the GHG source categories, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel combustion account for the largest percentage (77%) of total U.S. GHG emissions. The electric power sector contributes the second largest percentage (35%) of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion (one percentage point behind the transportation sector).
[PDF format, 18 pages, 861.04 KB].
Fact Sheet: Clean Energy Job Growth in the United States. World Resources Institute. Helen Mountford, Joel Jaeger. March 2017
The clean energy economy in the United States—including wind, solar, and efficiency industries—is putting more and more Americans to work. This fact sheet outlines the latest data on how many Americans are working in clean energy and where the jobs are located. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 2 pages, 223.21 KB].
Twelve Economic Facts on Energy and Climate Change: A Joint Report from the Hamilton Project and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. Brookings Institution. March 27, 2017
The United States is in the midst of an energy revolution. The North American shale boom has unlocked vast quantities of natural gas, upending domestic electricity markets and enabling rapidly growing export volumes. American shale oil has sent global oil prices to their lowest sustained level in a decade and slashed U.S. imports in half. Meanwhile, the cost of renewable fuels like wind and solar electricity has plummeted, and they now account for the majority of new electric generating capacity.
Given this technological and economic context, the United States has perhaps never been better positioned to tackle the urgent threat of climate change. Though it is often discussed as a future problem, climate change caused by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is happening now. The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has increased from 317 parts per million in 1960 to more than 400 parts per million in 2016 (NOAA 2016), while the global average temperature has risen 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9° Celsius) above its 1960 level.
These changes are already impacting our everyday lives. Record-breaking temperatures, melting ice caps and more frequent coastal flooding, prolonged droughts, and damaging storms are just some of the intensifying risks we face as our planet continues to warm (IPCC 2007a). Despite these risks, the prices U.S. consumers pay for fossil fuels rarely reflect their costs, skewing consumption and investment choices away from cleaner fuels and discouraging the kinds of technological advancements that would allow the nation to make more efficient use of its energy resources. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 24 pages, 2.19 MB].