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Selected Readings

A selection of recent noteworthy publications in science, technology, education and innovation policy, and related areas.

 

bridges vol. 32, December 2011 / Selected Readings
 



 

Climate Change & Global Warming
WRR_2010_11_cover_small.jpgWorld Resources Report 2010–2011: Decision Making in a Changing Climate
United National Development Program, United National Environment Program, World Bank World Resources Institute, 2011

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From the Executive Summary: World Resources 2010–2011 is a joint publication of the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Bank, and the World Resources Institute. It focuses on how national governments, particularly those of developing countries, can make effective decisions in a changing climate. The ways in which governments anticipate and respond to the short- and long-term risks posed by climate change can have lasting consequences for the future of their countries. Even though many adaptation activities are led and implemented by local governments and communities, national-level decisions play key roles in enabling local and private-sector adaptation efforts, especially by providing information and guidance.
Geoengineering for decision makers_small.jpgGeoengineering for Decision Makers
Robert L. Olson
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2011

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From the Executive Summary: Geoengineering involves intentional, large-scale interventions in the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, soils, or living systems to influence the planet’s climate. Geoengineering is not a new idea. Speculation about it dates back to at least 1908, when Swedish scientist Svente Arrhenius suggested that the carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels might help prevent the next ice age. Until recently, proposals for using geoengineering to counteract global warming have been viewed with extreme skepticism, but as projections concerning the impact of climate change have become more dire, a growing number of scientists have begun to argue that geoengineering deserves a second look.
Nano_small.jpgNanotechnology: A Policy Primer
John F. Sargent, Jr.
Congressional Research Service, 2011

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From the Summary: Nanoscale science, engineering, and technology – commonly referred to collectively as nanotechnology – are believed by many to offer extraordinary economic and societal benefits. Congress has demonstrated continuing support for nanotechnology and has directed its attention primarily to three topics that may affect the realization of this hoped-for potential: federal research and development (R&D) in nanotechnology; US competitiveness; and environmental, health, and safety (EHS) concerns. This report provides an overview of these topics – which are discussed in more detail in other CRS reports – and two others: nanomanufacturing and public understanding of and attitudes toward nanotechnology.  

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Energy
Renewable Fuel Standard_small.jpgRenewable Fuel Standard: Potential Economic and Environmental Effects of U.S. Biofuel Policy
Committee on Economic and Environmental Impacts of Increasing Biofuels Production; National Research Council National Academies Press, 2011

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From the DescriptionRenewable Fuel Standard evaluates the economic and environmental consequences of increasing biofuels production as a result of the Renewable Fuels Standard, as amended by EISA (RFS2). The report describes biofuels produced in 2010 and those projected to be produced and consumed by 2022, reviews model projections and other estimates of the relative impact on the prices of land, and discusses the potential environmental harm and benefits of biofuels production and the barriers to achieving the RFS2 consumption mandate.
Managing the Nuclear Fuel Cycle_small.jpgManaging the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Policy Implications of Expanding Global Access to Nuclear Power
Mary Beth Nikitin, Anthony Andrews, and Mark Holt
Congressional Research Service, 2011

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From the Summary: After several decades of widespread stagnation, nuclear power has attracted renewed interest in recent years. New license applications for 30 reactors have been announced in the United States, and another 541 reactors are under construction, planned, or proposed around the world. In the United States, interest appears to be driven, in part, by tax credits, loan guarantees, and other incentives in the 2005 Energy Policy Act, as well as by concerns about carbon emissions from competing fossil fuel technologies.
Energy Star_small.jpgEnergy Star: Providing Opportunities for Additional Review of EPA’s Decisions Could Strengthen the Program
US Government Accountability Office, 2011

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From the Summary: American consumers, businesses, utilities, and federal and state agencies rely on the Energy Star product labeling program to identify more efficient products that lower their energy costs. Even with the program's successes, several reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and others have identified weaknesses in the Energy Star program. The program, which began in 1992 and was reauthorized in 2005, has been jointly administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE). In 2009, the agencies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that outlined changes that would address these weaknesses. The changes included identifying EPA as the lead agency, clarifying the roles and responsibilities of each agency, and instituting third-party testing of products. GAO was asked to examine (1) the status of EPA's and DOE's implementation of changes to the Energy Star program under the MOU and (2) program partners' views of the Energy Star program and changes that are underway. To examine the status of the changes, the GAO reviewed guidance and eligibility criteria and interviewed various program partners to obtain their views. The results of these interviews are not generalizable, but provide insights into changes to the Energy Star program.

 

Innovation
AEIC Report_small.jpgCatalyzing American Ingenuity
Chad Holliday, Norman R. Augustine, Ursula Burns, John Doerr, Bill Gates, Jeff Immelt, and Tim Solso
American Energy and Innovation Council, 2011

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From the Publisher: The American Energy and Innovation Council's (AEIC) second report highlights the need for an active government role in energy innovation. The report recommends ways to improve the effectiveness of government innovation programs and highlights options to pay for energy innovation investments. This report is a follow-up to last year's report: "A Business Plan for America’s Energy Future."  
MGI_US_job_creation_executive_summary_small.jpgAn Economy That Works: Job Creation and America’s Future
McKinsey Global Institute, 2011

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From the Executive Summary: The United States faces an immediate challenge: finding employment for 7 million people still out of work from the 2008–2009 recession and reviving robust job creation in the decade to come. But simply employing a nation’s people is not enough. In a globalized, information-age economy, no economic priority is more important than building a strong workforce. To understand how America might meet these challenges, the McKinsey Global Institute launched a research project that combines extensive sector analysis, interviews with human resource executives, a proprietary survey of business leaders, and their own scenario analysis and modeling.

 

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