In a 2005 essay entitled “Biomedical Research and Biosecurity,” Robert Steinbrook, the national correspondent of the New England Journal of Medicine, concluded, “Establishing biosecurity policies for biomedical research without obstructing scientific progress or disrupting the usual procedures for scientific communication is a complex matter.” Indeed it is–and has been.
Month: December 2009
Today, at the other end of the long trek down the glacier of the Cold War, the nuclear threat has seemingly calved off and fallen into the sea. In 2007, the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project found that 12 countries rated the growing gap between rich and poor as the greatest danger to the world. HIV/AIDS led the list (or tied) in 16 countries, religious and ethnic hatred in another 12. Pollution was identified as the greatest menace in 19 countries, while substantial majorities in 25 countries thought global warming was a “very serious” problem.
Much has been written in anticipation of the current meeting of diplomats and international climate change experts in Copenhagen. Indeed, these men and women deserve our gratitude because forging and implementing an international agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions is one of the most intractable problems that humanity has ever faced.
The belief that the United States is the only declared nuclear power that isn’t modernizing its nuclear arsenal is fast becoming an article of faith in nuclear weapon policy circles. As Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl put it last summer, “Every nuclear weapons power–with the exception of the United States–is currently modernizing its nuclear weapons and weapons delivery systems.”
Each year, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC), the world’s foremost forum to abolish biological weapons, focuses on one or two areas that have been identified by States Parties as warranting more collective work.
As U.S. and Russian negotiators hammer out a replacement to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expires tomorrow, some Republican senators have already criticized negotiators for not including nonstrategic nuclear weapons–a category of nuclear arms not subject to legally binding limits or verification and one in which there is a great disparity between U.S. and Russian holdings. The U.S.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, climate change may already be causing more than 150,000 deaths per year, a number that is expected to grow in the future.
It is ironic that as the nation continues to suffer from the misallocation of risk by companies in the financial sector, some of the strongest supporters of free markets and critics of government action are urging a massive federal subsidy for nuclear power.
At the beginning of 2008, the nuclear power industry’s euphoria over the much-hyped “nuclear renaissance” was in full swing. But as that year drew to a close, the hopes for a revival seemed delayed, if not derailed, due to faltering world economies. Little has changed this year to alter that prospect. As the global financial crisis has continued, demand for energy has plummeted along with the world’s stock markets. Such news may help calm international security experts, who fear that a proliferation of nuclear energy know-how could lead to nuclear weapons proliferation.
“Today they are ringing the bells; tomorrow they will be wringing their hands,” Sir Robert Walpole.
We don’t know the intimate details of the discussions in President Barack Obama’s recent war councils, so it’s impossible to know what the chess-player-in-chief is thinking as he sends 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. We only know what he is telling us.