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Laxminarayan R.,Center for Disease Dynamics | Laxminarayan R.,Princeton Environmental Institute
Science | Year: 2014

Antibiotic effectiveness is a natural societal resource that is diminished by antibiotic use. As with other such assets, keeping it available requires both conservation and innovation. Conservation encompasses making the best use of current antibiotic effectiveness by reducing demand through vaccination, infection control, diagnostics, public education, incentives for clinicians to prescribe fewer antibiotics, and restrictions on access to newer, last-resort antibiotics. Innovation includes improving the efficacy of current drugs and replenishing effectiveness by developing new drugs. In this paper, I assess the relative benefits and costs of these two approaches to maintaining our ability to treat infections.Copyright © 2014 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; all rights reserved.

Siebert A.,Princeton Environmental Institute
Climatic Change | Year: 2016

Weather based index insurance is considered to be a potentially promising means of financial adaption to the challenges of climate change and variability; particularly for the agricultural sector in the developing world. However, comparatively little attention has been devoted to the analysis of the long-term viability of this adaptation mechanism in light of the interaction between changes in climate and the frequency of extreme events. Such changes in the frequency of extreme events are expected to have significant implications for the viability and pricing of index insurance over time. This question is analyzed in the context of hypothetical drought and flood index insurance contracts proposed for the West African Sahel using data from five Global Climate Models (GCMs) that were part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 5th Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project (CMIP5). GCM derived trends in the mean and variance of the regional precipitation are integrated into a Monte Carlo simulation of the frequency of extreme seasonal drought and rainfall. Expected payout risk and the probability of 10 or more payouts in a 30-year window are modeled. The model results presented show significant pricing sensitivity to climate model parameters; particularly changes in the mean precipitation and strong multi-decadal variability. Further, within the Sahel region, there is a significant spatial heterogeneity between sub-regions. These findings imply that the utility and affordability of such index insurance contracts over time will be complex and heterogeneous over time and space. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Searchinger T.D.,Princeton Environmental Institute
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2010

Use of biofuels does not reduce emissions from energy combustion but may offset emissions by increasing plant growth or by reducing plant residue or other non-energy emissions. To do so, biofuel production must generate and use 'additional carbon', which means carbon that plants would not otherwise absorb or that would be emitted to the atmosphere anyway. When biofuels cause no direct land use change, they use crops that would grow regardless of biofuels so they do not directly absorb additional carbon. All potential greenhouse gas reductions from such biofuels, as well as many potential emission increases, result from indirect effects, including reduced crop consumption, price-induced yield gains and land conversion. If lifecycle analyses ignore indirect effects of biofuels, they therefore cannot properly find greenhouse gas reductions. Uncertainties in estimating indirect emission reductions and increases are largely symmetrical. The failure to distinguish 'additional' carbon from carbon already absorbed or withheld from the atmosphere also leads to large overestimates of global bioenergy potential. Reasonable confidence in greenhouse gas reductions requires a precautionary approach to estimating indirect effects that does not rely on any single model. Reductions can be more directly assured, and other adverse indirect effects avoided, by focusing on biofuels from directly additional carbon. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Stern R.J.,Princeton Environmental Institute
Energy Policy | Year: 2010

This paper presents the first estimate of United States military cost for Persian Gulf force (CPGfp) derived entirely by a quantitative method. An activity-based cost (ABC) model uses geographic distribution of aircraft carriers as a proxy allocator of Department of Defense (DoD) baseline cost to regional operations. Allocation follows simply from DoD data that since 1990 no less than one aircraft carrier has been continuously on-station in the Persian Gulf; that eight are required to keep one on-station there; that the Navy has had eleven-fifteen carriers since 1990; and that Army and Air Force units are virtually never deployed to combat operations without Navy units. For 1976-2007 CPGfp is estimated to be $6.8×1012 and for 2007 $0.5×1012 (2008$). This substantial military investment is not a remedy for the market failure at the heart of regional security problem, which is oil market power. When CPGfp is added to economic losses attributed to market power in another recent study (Greene, 2010), the severity of this market failure becomes more apparent. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Anderegg W.R.L.,Princeton Environmental Institute | Goldsmith G.R.,University of Oxford
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2014

Despite overwhelming scientific consensus concerning anthropogenic climate change, many in the non-expert public perceive climate change as debated and contentious. There is concern that two recent high-profile media events - the hacking of the University of East Anglia emails and the Himalayan glacier melt rate presented in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - may have altered public opinion of climate change. While survey data is valuable for tracking public perception and opinion over time, including in response to climate-related media events, emerging methods that facilitate rapid assessment of spatial and temporal patterns in public interest and opinion could be exceptionally valuable for understanding and responding to these events' effects. We use a novel, freely-available dataset of worldwide web search term volumes to assess temporal patterns of interest in climate change over the past ten years, with a particular focus on looking at indicators of climate change skepticism around the high-profile media events. We find that both around the world and in the US, the public searches for the issue as 'global warming,' rather than 'climate change,' and that search volumes have been declining since a 2007 peak. We observe high, but transient spikes of search terms indicating skepticism around the two media events, but find no evidence of effects lasting more than a few months. Our results indicate that while such media events are visible in the short-term, they have little effect on salience of skeptical climate search terms on longer time-scales. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.

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