Monday, April 23, 2007

Literary Warrant [7]

  • Frank Barnaby & James Kemp, eds., Oxford Research Group, Secure Energy? Civil Nuclear Power, Security and Global Warming (March 2007)

    "All over the world the fortunes of civil nuclear power are rising—why? Many in government hope that nuclear power would increase energy security during a time of unstable competition and surging demand. Some claim nuclear power is key to reducing global CO2 emissions. For others, it is because nuclear power opens the door to nuclear weapons.

    "This report asks two questions: how dangerous is nuclear power? And can it help reduce CO2 emissions? The short answer to the first questions is ‘very’: nuclear power is uniquely dangerous when compared to other energy sources. For the second question the answer is ‘not enough and not in time’."

  • Karlyn Bowman, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Polls on the Environment and Global Warming (AEI Studies in Public Opinion) (April 20, 2007)

    "This study is a compilation of public opinion data on the quality of the environment, which political party is better on the issue, the handling of the environment by the Clinton and Bush administrations, Bush versus Kerry on the issue, the political importance of the environment, environmental activism, and the impact of gas prices. The study includes all of the latest polling data as well as important historical trends for comparative purposes."

  • Ceres, U.S. Mutual Funds Critical Missing Link in Supporting Climate Change Shareholder Resolutions (April 23, 2007)

    "None of the nation's 100 largest mutual funds voted in 2006 to support shareholder resolutions calling for more corporate disclosure on the financial impacts from global climate change, according to proxy voting data compiled by Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) for Ceres and posted today on"—Press release.

  • Debra K. Decker & Erwann O. Michel-Kerjan, Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, A New Energy Paradigm Ensuring Nuclear Fuel Supply and Nonproliferation through International Collaboration with Insurance and Financial Markets (Wharton Risk Center Working Paper #07-06) (March 2007)

    "Building on the experience of the nuclear safety/security and catastrophic risk financing fields, we discuss ways the international community could facilitate the development of an insurance market to provide added security. Specifically, we recommend the financial indemnification for economic losses suffered by nuclear utilities (public and private) due to a disruption of supply over the full fuel cycle (enrichment, fabrication, and transportation). One way to achieve that is to establish an international insurance mechanism (e.g., a mutual company) that would both limit the fuel risk of the nuclear facilities and benefit from coverage from a consortium of private insurers and reinsurers. The mechanism could benefit from an additional layer of protection by being backstopped by IAEA member countries.

    "The eligibility for such insurance coverage and the terms and condition of the indemnification would be analyzed and prespecified. Because this approach would rely on international insurance markets, it could be seen not only as complementary to other proposed solutions but also more neutral.

    "The mutual company could also use supply options to facilitate fuel deliveries in the event of market interruptions. Support for the commoditization of the uranium market should also be considered."—Abstract.

  • Mary L. Dudziak, Bancroft Prizes for 2007 announced by Columbia University (Legal History Blog) (April 23, 2007)

    There's less of a legal angle to this entry than even the least legal offerings of some Literary Warrant posts, but this one emphatically features the literary aspect. Among the winners identified by Prof. Dudziak is Jack Temple Kirby, whose Mockingbird Song: Ecological Landscapes of the South (University of North Carolina), according to the Bancroft jurors, 'is an ecological history of the American South, told through a series of chapters about different types of landscapes and the way human beings have lived and worked in them.... Kirby reflects profoundly on the relationships of Americans—and of humankind—to the natural original in the growing field of environmental history, elegantly conceived and beautifully written."

  • Patty Glick, Senior Global Warming Specialist, National Wildlife Federation, The Gardener's Guide to Global Warming: Challenges and Solutions (April 2007)

    "Trade-in the SUV, use florescent light bulbs, turn down your thermostat. These are just some of the things we’re being told we can do to reduce our impact on global warming. But according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation, A Gardeners Guide to Global Warmin, there are also many things you can do in the garden that will help combat this serious and potentially devastating environmental problem caused by our voracious appetite for fossil fuels. And the spring gardening season is the perfect time to get started."—Press release (April 18, 2007)

  • National Commission on Energy Policy, Energy Commission Proposes Plan to Cut Total U.S. Climate Emissions in First Year of Program (April 19, 2007)

    "The National Commission on Energy Policy, a bipartisan group of top energy experts from industry, government, labor, academia, and environmental and consumer groups, today released a series of new, sweeping recommendations to address the nation's leading energy challenges. In its new report, Energy Policy Recommendations to the President and the 110th Congress, the Commission proposed revised policies regarding a cap and trade proposal for addressing global climate change, increases in fuel economy standards, approaches for the storage of nuclear waste, development and deployment of advanced coal technologies, adoption of a national renewable energy standard, and other major energy policy issues."—Press release.

  • Property Casualty Insurance Association of America et al., Sharp Decline in Catastrophe Losses Drive Improvement in P/C Insurers’ Full-Year 2006 Results (Press release) (April 18, 2007)

    "Driven by a sharp decline in catastrophe losses from hurricanes and other natural disasters in 2006, the U.S. property/casualty industry posted a $31.2 billion net gain on underwriting for the year. The net gain on underwriting in 2006 stands in stark contrast to the $5.6 billion net loss on underwriting in 2005."

  • Nicholas Schneider, Policy Analyst, Fraser Institute, Centre for Risk, Regulation, and Environment, Welcome Back, Kyoto (Fraser Forum) (April 2007)

    "Reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions to meet Kyoto Protocol targets by 2012 could cost each Canadian upwards of $3,500 a year for the next several years, according to research done by The Fraser Institute, an independent research organization with offices across Canada.

    "The alternative is to purchase foreign emission credits, a move that would transfer $30 billion from Canada to other countries."—Press release (April 20, 2007)

  • Brian T. Turner, Richard J. Plevin, Michael O'Hare & Alexander E. Farrell, Creating Markets for Green Biofuels: Measuring and Improving Environmental Performance (University of California, Berkeley, Transportation Sustainability Research Center Research Report, UCB-ITS-TSRC-RR-2007-1) (April 2007)

    "While 'green' and 'environmentally friendly' may seem synonymous with 'biofuels,' this is not necessarily true in practice; all biofuels entail tradeoffs among positive and negative environmental effects. Because the environmental performance of biofuels is not measured today, consumers have no information about how to buy greener biofuels and producers have no incentive to manufacture and market them. The right set of market signals and regulatory requirements can change this situation, so that American consumers could buy biofuels certified as environmentally friendly, and so that the American agriculture and energy industries would have incentives to improve. Markets for green biofuels would stimulate a new wave of innovation, creating high-value and truly green biofuels, and enhancing energy security by diversifying our energy sources. However, without appropriate information, incentives, and rules, the biofuels industry is likely to expand production in environmentally harmful ways."—Executive Summary.

  • UN Pulse, UN Security Council Discusses Impact of Climate Change on Security (April 17, 2007)

    Reports on a debate "exploring the relationship between energy, security and climate, the first time this issue has been taken up at an international forum. A concept paper prepared by the United Kingdom (S/2007/186) noted that the focus of the debate will be on the security implications of a changing climate, including through its impact on potential drivers of conflict such as access to energy, water, food and other scarce resources, population movements and border disputes."

  • United States Department of the Interior, Office of Inspector General, Private Use of Public Lands: National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management (Audit Report, Report No. W-IN-MOA-0008-2005) (April 2007)

    "We found that NPS has allowed private individuals or exclusive clubs to monopolize desirable locations near major metropolitan areas for decades to the exclusion of the general public, although we could not identify the extent of this permitting. Some of the clubs charge high membership fees or limit the number of people who can become members. NPS continues to renew the permits for these exclusive clubs and has kept the $2.6 million in permit fees received over the 4-year period of our review instead of remitting the funds to the U.S. Treasury. Moreover, both NPS and BLM have allowed permits to be renewed without ensuring their compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We made four recommendations related to NPS to identify the extent of exclusive use, ensure full public access, and remit permit fees to the U.S. Treasury, and one recommendation to both NPS and BLM to comply with NEPA."—Memorandum (April 10, 2007)

  • United States Geological Survey (USGS), Ground-Water Climate Response Network (USGS Fact Sheet 2007-3003) (April 2007)

    "The primary purpose of the Climate Response Network is to portray the effect of climate on ground-water levels in unconfined aquifers or near-surface confined aquifers that are minimally affected by pumping or other anthropogenic stresses. The Climate Response Network Web site ( is the official USGS Web site for illustrating current ground-water conditions in the United States and Puerto Rico."

  • United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Climate Change: Financial Risks to Federal and Private Insurers in Coming Decades are Potentially Significant (Report to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate, GAO-07-285) (March 2007)

    "Major private and federal insurers are both exposed to the effects of climate change over coming decades, but are responding differently. Many large private insurers are incorporating climate change into their annual risk management practices, and some are addressing it strategically by assessing its potential long-term industry-wide impacts. The two major federal insurance programs, however, have done little to develop comparable information. GAO acknowledges that the federal insurance programs are not profit-oriented, like private insurers. Nonetheless, a strategic analysis of the potential implications of climate change for the major federal insurance programs would help the Congress manage an emerging high-risk area with significant implications for the nation’s growing fiscal imbalance."—What GAO Found. See also the related statement by John B. Stephenson, Director, Natural Resources and Environment, GAO, Testimony Before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate (GAO-07-760T) (April 19, 2007).

  • Fred Wellington et al., World Resources Institute (WRI), Scaling Up: Global Technology Deployment to Stabilize Emissions (2007)

    "Climate change is a defining challenge for economic development in the 21st century, and understanding this issue will make the difference between success and failure for investors in the world’s vast energy markets, according to a report released today by the World Resources Institute (WRI)...."—Press release (April 17, 2007)

  • World Economic Forum, Latin America@Risk: A Global Risk Network Briefing (2007)

    "The World Economic Forum today released its Latin America@Risk report. Produced by the Forum's Global Risk Network, the report emphasizes the uncertainty surrounding external economic shocks, global climate change, political instability and social inequality, and its effect on regional growth and welfare.

    "The report notes the increasing strength and robustness of Latin America's economies, while exploring the key economic, environmental, geopolitical and societal issues that put that progress at risk. While all four of these issues emerge from the broader global risk environment, the regional manifestations present particular challenges for governments, industry and civil society throughout Latin America."—Press release (April 18, 2007)

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