East Asia Science & Security Network Report, June 6, 2007
1. U.S. Response to a Nuclear Attack
William Perry, Michael May, and Ashton Carter released a report on a workshop held by the Preventive Defense Project to look at possible responses in the event of a nuclear attack on a U.S. city. The report explores actions to recover from the first detonation and actions to prevent a second detonation. It includes seven findings and recommendations for policymakers.
2. Global Effects of Increased Snow Melt due to Climate Change
A new report by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) finds that the futures of hundreds of millions of people worldwide will be affected by changes in snow cover, sea ice, glaciers and permafrost resulting from global warming. An estimated 40 percent of the world’s population could be affected by the loss of snow and glaciers on the mountains of Asia.
3. Chinese Nuclear Power Expansion
Yomiuri Shimbun (Akihito Teramura, “China eyes up to 20-fold N-power boost by end of ’30,” 5/27/07) reported that the Chinese government plans to increase its nuclear power generating capacity by between 15 and 20 times by 2030, raising it to between 120 million and 160 million kilowatts. China currently has 10 nuclear reactors with a combined generating capacity of 8 million kilowatts.
4. Japanese Climate Change Proposal
The Asahi Shimbun (“Abe comes to Earth’s rescue with 2050 strategy,” 05/26/07) reported that Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo announced a new initiative to cut global greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050. However Reuters (Elaine Lies, “Japan PM’s Climate Change Plan Seen Lacking Teeth,” 5/28/07) reported that the plan has come under criticism for lacking concrete steps or binding targets, and was denounced by some critics as an attempt to curry favor with the public before upcoming elections.
5. Cutting Emissions Through Agriculture, Forestry Reform
Scientific American (“Combating Climate Change: Farming out global warming solutions,” 5/27/07) reports that a recent study published in Science magazine found that changes to agricultural practices and forestry management could contribute significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, buying time to develop alternative technologies.
6. New Coal Gasification Plant to Open
The Dallas Morning News (“Japanese testing cleaner coal-fired power plant,” 5/27/07) reported that Mitsubishi in September will open a demonstration plant that uses integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) technology to convert coal into a gas from which the much of the carbon fraction of the input fuel can be captured. While the technology costs 20 percent more than the cost of a conventional coal-fired power plant of similar size and there is of yet no proven way of disposing of the captured carbon, NRG Energy hopes to build a number of the plants in the US in anticipation of future carbon taxes.
The East Asia Science and Security Network (EASSNet) delivers timely news and innovative research across a range of issues relating to science and security, including energy security, bio-security, nano-technology, nuclear fuel cycle, missile technology, and information technology, especially within the East Asia region. The network draws on research from Nautilus Institute and its partners in China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Australia, and North Korea, as well as grantees of the MacArthur Foundation, of MacArthur Foundation, Ploughshares Fund, New Land Foundation, Korea Foundation, Ford Foundation, and US Department of Energy. The service provides researchers, journalists, and policymakers access to and understanding of developments beyond their own disciplinary, academic, or industrial communities.
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