This week, we discuss the geopolitical risks of tinkering with the climate; how NATO could help ease the Ukraine-Russia impasse; debating workers' compensation in the COVID-19 era; potentially huge cost savings from biosimilar drugs; what the evidence says about education benefits for veterans; and a Q&A with RAND researcher Jacqueline Burns.
Sticks of silver iodide fired into the atmosphere to produce precipitation. Tiny particles suspended in the stratosphere to block the sun's rays. Massive filters and underground pumps that can siphon carbon from the air.
Geoengineering, the intentional manipulation of the climate, is quickly emerging as a tool to address global warming. Even though these technologies could have world-altering consequences, there is no international agreement or enforcement mechanism that directly addresses geoengineering.
Without regulation, it would only take one country—watching its crops shrivel or its water run dry—taking a chance to set a global climate experiment in motion, potentially leading to conflict.
RAND researchers recently examined how to address this issue. The time to establish international agreements on geoengineering is now, they say, while the risks are still theoretical.
This week's talks in Geneva revealed an issue at the heart of the Russia-Ukraine crisis: Ukraine's NATO membership. According to RAND's Samuel Charap, NATO may be able to clarify this issue and possibly avert a conflict. In exchange for a tangible drawdown of Russian forces, NATO could acknowledge that it has no plan to offer membership to Ukraine. “It concedes nothing to declare that NATO is not planning to do something it has no intention of doing anyway,” Charap says.
Working outside of the home during the pandemic significantly increases the risk of exposure to COVID-19. This not only threatens workers' personal and family health, but it may also result in high medical expenses and lost wages. Currently, states vary on whether or how they allow individuals to seek workers' compensation for a COVID-19 diagnosis. A new RAND paper outlines the important considerations for policymakers.
Biologics are complex drugs used to treat a wide range of conditions, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. Biosimilars are comparable to already-approved biologics in terms of potency, safety, and efficacy, but they are manufactured by different companies. A new RAND study finds that using biosimilar drugs could save an estimated $38.4 billion from 2021 to 2025.
Millions of U.S. veterans rely on government funding for post-service education as they move into civilian life. The authors of a new RAND paper find that such benefits likely ease military-civilian transitions. But many questions remain, they say. That's why systematic data collection is needed to learn more about veterans who use these benefits, their experiences, and the long-term outcomes.
Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Burns; images by oxygen and JeanUrsula/Getty Images; design by Chara Williams/RAND Corporation
Before she was a RAND researcher, Jacqueline Burns worked in the office of the U.S. special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan—starting just before South Sudan slid into civil war. In a new Q&A, Burns discusses her experience there, what led her to RAND, and how it informs the work she does now. “I wanted to become a part of finding better solutions to these really complex questions of peace and security,” she said.
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