News

A Cold War lesson for the climate change era: Why we need a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

UN climate negotiations alone are unlikely to result in the rapid decarbonization that is needed. Now is the time for a new international treaty to get to the root of the problem, by addressing fossil fuel supply—with wealthy nations moving first and fastest. Drawing on the model of the nuclear treaty, a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, like the nuclear treaty before it, would be constructed around three main pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament, and peaceful use. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Demis Hassabis, co-founder and CEO, DeepMind, on AI’s potential

The promise of AI is that it could serve as an extension of our minds and become a meta-solution. In the same way that the telescope revealed the planetary dynamics that inspired new physics, insights from AI could help scientists solve some of the complex challenges facing society today—from superbugs to climate change to inequality. My hope is to build smarter tools that expand humans’ capacity to identify the root causes and potential solutions to core scientific problems. The Economist

Accelerating the Low Carbon Transition – The case for stronger, more targeted and coordinated international action

Stopping emissions requires fundamental innova-tion, rapid diffusion of new technologies, and the reshaping of markets and socioeconomic systems. This requires actions far beyond simply putting a price on carbon or adopting bold emissions goals. A more targeted, hands-on and strategic approach to policymaking is required to reconfigure the tech-nologies, business models, infrastructure and mar-kets in each of the greenhouse gas-emitting eco-nomic sectors. The Energy Transitions Commission

The Superpowers of Super-Thin Materials: In materials science, 2-D is the new 3-D

Researchers are taking super-thin layers of materials and stacking them into three-dimensional blocks that have properties distinct from both 2-D and conventional 3-D materials. The craze for 2-D chemistry began in 2004, when two researchers at the University of Manchester used cellophane tape to peel one-atom-thick layers of carbon from chunks of graphite, forming graphene. Graphene is identical to graphite and diamond in composition, but the thinness gives it very different properties: It is flexible, transparent, extremely strong and an exceptional electrical and thermal conductor. New York Times

A Decade of Urban Transformation, Seen From Above

To grasp the scale of transformation to many communities, The Upshot worked with Tim Wallace and Krishna Karra from Descartes Labs, a geospatial analytics company, using a tool that has itself evolved significantly over this time: satellite imagery. With its growing power and precision, we can see both intimate details — a single home, bulldozed; a tennis court, reinvented — and big patterns that recur across the country. New York Times

Joseph E. Stiglitz: Rewriting the Rules of the European Economy

European Union’s political leadership cannot continue with a business-as-usual approach. Europe cannot continue to be a continent of peace and broadly shared prosperity without a renewal of the vision the EU’s founders had over 60 years ago. Europe needs new institutions and new rules, govern-ing both economy and polity, based on new ideas. Foundation for European Progressive Studies