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Ogmius Newsletter

Recent Papers and Publications

The following represents a sample of the numerous publications authored by Center staff.  For a complete, searchable list, with online versions of most articles, visit our Publications page.

Marilyn Averill

Averill, M.  (Forthcoming spring 2009).  The Resilience and Environmental Law Reform Symposium Experiment. University of Nebraska Law Review.

Bobbie Klein

Kenney, D., Klein, R., Goemans, C., Alvord, C., and Shapiro, J., 2008. The Impact of Earlier Spring Snowmelt on Water Rights and Administration: A Preliminary Overview of Issues and Circumstances in the Western States, Final Project Report.

Abstract: The paper reviews the potential for administrative problems/disputes associated with western prior appropriation water rights in those sub-regions experiencing increasingly early spring snowmelt and the lengthening of growing seasons. In those areas, potential problems of two general types are envisioned. First, in those states that link water rights to specific calendar dates (that are becoming increasingly out-of-step with natural hydrographs), the yield and/or utility of those rights can theoretically become increasingly devalued. Second, in states that do not attempt to limit the exercise of rights to specific dates, water consumption under a given right may increase, thereby threatening the yield and reliability of other (particularly more junior) users. These problems can potentially occur at many scales, including interstate basins. To date, the study finds that problems of both types are exceptionally rare, and can be managed using existing administrative discretion and water system flexibility—a situation that is unlikely to persist given additional shifts in streamflows and water demands, and given increases in competition for limited water resources. The authors recommend that water managers explicitly design and operate water system models (to the extent possible) to account for interactions between shifts in streamflow timing and water rights, and that states plan for a growing strain on water administration personnel and systems.

Roger Pielke, Jr.

Pielke, Jr., R.A., 2009. An  Idealized Assessment of the Economics of Air Capture of Carbon Dioxide in Mitigation Policy, Environmental Science & Policy (Forthcoming May 2009).

Abstract: This paper discusses the technology of direct capture of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere called air capture. It develops a simple arithmetic description of the magnitude of the challenge of stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide as a cumulative allocation over the 21st century. This approach, consistent with and based on the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), sets the stage for an analysis of the average costs of air capture over the 21st century under the assumption that technologies available today are used to fully offset net human emissions of carbon dioxide. The simple assessment finds that even at a relatively high cost per ton of carbon, the costs of air capture are directly comparable to the costs of stabilization using other means as presented by recent reports of the IPCC and the Stern Review Report.

Pielke, Jr., R.A. and R. Klein, 2009. The Rise and Fall of the Science Advisor to the President of the United States, Minerva, February 24.

Abstract: The president’s science advisor was formally established in the days following the Soviet launch of Sputnik at the height of the Cold War, creating an impression of scientists at the center of presidential power. However, since that time the role of the science advisor has been far more prosaic, with a role that might be more aptly described as a coordinator of budgets and programs, and thus more closely related to the functions of the Office of Management and Budget than the development of presidential policy. This role dramatically enhances the position of the scientific community to argue for its share of federal expenditures. At the same time, scientific and technological expertise permeates every function of government policy and politics, and the science advisor is only rarely involved in wider White House decision making. The actual role of the science advisor as compared to its heady initial days, in the context of an overall rise of governmental expertise, provides ample reason to reconsider the role of the presidential science advisor, and to set our expectations for that role accordingly.