8,099 research outputs found

    Book review: nuclear energy: what everyone needs to know.

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    Reviewing nuclear energy and disentangling myth from reality is essential to informing public opinion and policy making, and this accessible text provides a useful basis for assessing the risks, costs and benefits, finds Murray Collins.

    MaSiF: Machine learning guided auto-tuning of parallel skeletons

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    A context-free and a 1-counter geodesic language for a Baumslag-Solitar group

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    We give a language of unique geodesic normal forms for the Baumslag-Solitar group BS(1,2) that is context-free and 1-counter. We discuss the classes of context-free, 1-counter and counter languages, and explain how they are inter-related

    When homes earn more than jobs: the rentierization of the Australian housing market

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    This article develops the concept of housing market ‘rentierization’ to describe the shift in the treatment of housing away from its use as a consumption good to an asset from which economic rent can be extracted. Rentierization encompasses, but goes beyond, the ‘financialisation of housing’ that has been the focus of attention in the recent political economy of housing literature as it involves changes across land and housing market policy, fiscal-policy as well as financial policy spheres. We examine Australia as a canonical example of rentierization, conducting a historical case study that examines the returns to land and housing over the 20th century and trace its roots to developments that preceded the financial liberalization of the 1980s, including the privatization of public housing in the 1960s and 70s

    Integrated radar and lidar analysis reveals extensive loss of remaining intact forest on Sumatra 2007–2010

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    Forests with high above-ground biomass (AGB), including those growing on peat swamps, have historically not been thought suitable for biomass mapping and changedetection using synthetic aperture radar (SAR). However, by integrating L-band (λ = 0.23 m) SAR from the ALOS and lidar from the ICESat Earth-Observing satellites with 56 field plots, we were able to create a forest biomass and change map for a 10.7 Mha section of eastern Sumatra that still contains high AGB peat swamp forest. Using a time series of SAR data we estimated changes in both forest area and AGB. We estimate that there was 274 ± 68 Tg AGB remaining in natural forest (≥ 20 m height) in the study area in 2007, with this stock reducing by approximately 11.4 % over the subsequent 3 years. A total of 137.4 kha of the study area was deforested between 2007 and 2010, an average rate of 3.8 % yr−1. The ability to attribute forest loss to different initial biomass values allows for far more effective monitoring and baseline modelling for avoided deforestation projects than traditional, optical-based remote sensing. Furthermore, given SAR’s ability to penetrate the smoke and cloud which normally obscure land cover change in this region, SARbased forest monitoring can be relied on to provide frequent imagery. This study demonstrates that, even at Lband, which typically saturates at medium biomass levels (ca. 150 Mg ha−1), in conjunction with lidar data, it is possible to make reliable estimates of not just the area but also the carbon emissions resulting from land use change

    Do international factors influence the passage of climate change legislation?

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    The number of climate change laws in major economies has grown from less than 40 in 1997 to almost 500 at the end of 2013. The passage of these laws is influenced by both domestic and international factors. This paper reviews the main international factors, drawing on a powerful new dataset of climate legislation in 66 national jurisdictions. We find that the propensity to legislate on climate change is heavily influenced by the passage of similar laws elsewhere, suggesting a strong and so far under-appreciated role for international policy diffusion. International treaties like the Kyoto Protocol work in two ways. The impact of the Kyoto Protocol itself is limited to countries with formal obligations under the treaty. In addition, the prestige of hosting an international climate summit is associated with a subsequent boost in legislation. Legislators seem to respond to the expectations of climate leadership that these events bestow on their host. Policy relevance: A global solution to climate change will ultimately have to be anchored in domestic legislation, which creates the legal basis for countries to take action. Countries are passing climate legislation in a growing number. This paper asks to what extent they are motivated to do so by international factors, such as existing treaty obligations. We find that the Kyoto Protocol has been a less important factor in explaining climate legislation outside Annex 1 than the passage of similar laws elsewhere. This suggests that international policy diffusion plays an important and so far under-appreciated role in global climate policy, complementing formal treaty obligations

    The political economy of passing climate change legislation: evidence from a survey

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    Climate change is now a major aspect of public policy. There are almost 500 identified climate change laws in the world’s leading economies. This paper reviews the main domestic factors that drive this legislation. The analysis is based on a unique dataset of climate legislation in 66 national jurisdictions for the period 1990–2013. We find that the passage of new climate laws is influenced by several factors. One important factor is the quantity and quality of previous legislation: the propensity to pass more laws decreases non-linearly with the stock of existing legislation, but increases in the presence of a strategic “flagship law” that sets an overall framework for climate policy. Contrary to widespread belief, political orientation is not a decisive factor. We find no significant difference in the number of laws passed by left-wing and right-wing governments, except perhaps in Anglo-Saxon countries. However, left-leaning governments are more inclined to pass laws in difficult economic times. Despite these elements of bipartisanship, political economy factors still matter: In democracies climate laws are less likely to be passed immediately before an election and legislation is aided by a strong executive that can take on vested interests
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