At the Seventh Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Review Conference in Geneva last December, the treaty's 165 member states agreed to a new intersessional process of work to be done in preparation for the next such conference, in 2016. This new process retained the limited aim ("to discuss, and promote common understanding and effective action") of the previous two intersessional processes, but it did restructure the convention's annual meeting of experts and state parties within the process.
Month: September 2012
Last week, Israel’s influential paper, Haaretz, led its front page with a rather decisive headline: “Israel rejects US-backed Arab plan for conference on nuclear-free Mideast.” The problem, however, is that the country announced no such decision.
The popular press is finally recognizing the important connections among human, animal, and environmental health. Environmental destruction, global trade and travel, intensive agriculture, and other human activities all lead to the emergence of previously unknown microbes that can infect across species, causing zoonotic disease outbreaks like West Nile virus, avian influenza, hantavirus, HIV/AIDS, and others. No wonder the media is paying attention.
With time running out before the expiration of the US-South Korea nuclear cooperation agreement that has governed the two countries' nuclear trade since 1972, negotiators remain far apart on the terms of a new pact. Failure to reach a deal would threaten billions of dollars in nuclear commerce between the two countries.
— White Salmon, Washington
“I smell smoke,” I told my husband.
We ran outside and saw gray clouds billowing over the ridge to our west. Smoke was already visible in the air around us. We knew in an instant that it was a wildfire, and the wind was blowing it straight toward us.
In the August issue of Rolling Stone (“Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math”), Bill McKibben provides clarity about the amount of carbon dioxide in the coal, oil, and gas reserves currently owned by companies and countries worldwide. The key number is the 2,795 gigatons of carbon dioxide that will be emitted by burning these existing reserves over the next decades.
Just a few weeks ago, on September 11, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report titled "Making Sense of Ballistic Missile Defense: an Assessment of Concepts and Systems for US Boost Phase Missile Defense in Comparison to Other Alternatives." It is an astonishing document, given that it purports to be the product of a respectable scientific institution. It contains numerous flawed assumptions, analytical oversights, and internal inconsistencies.
A recent National Academy report reaches flawed conclusions based on incorrect assumptions, analytical oversights, and internal inconsistency. It should undergo a comprehensive technical review before it is used in missile defense policy making.
The focus of the 4th Doomsday Clock Symposium is: managing risks of dangerous technologies. Our purpose is to explore the idea of risk, its meanings, and how individuals, the public, and policy leaders think about the risk of catastrophe from low probability events such as nuclear war, terrorist attacks, the release of lethal pathogens, and the weather-related consequences of climate change.
Few national security issues are as important to President Barack Obama as reducing the threat posed by nuclear weapons. Obama devoted his first major foreign policy speech as president to the subject in April 2009 in Prague, where he pledged America’s commitment to work toward a world free of nuclear weapons. In particular, the president laid out a series of interim steps that the United States must take to reduce the risk of a nuclear catastrophe.
Food production requires adequate soils, climate, and water. Roughly 70 percent of the freshwater appropriated by humans worldwide is used for food production. In the absence of trade, people rely on local freshwater resources to grow food. However, when water limitations constrain food production to the point that there is not enough food for everyone, the trade of food commodities provides a mechanism by which regions can compensate for inadequate local water resources.
On July 5, an independent investigative commission established by the Japanese Diet issued its final report on the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Hailed as the definitive word on the subject thus far, the report points to what it calls the “fundamental causes” of the disaster, all of them cultural.