CFR Presents

Energy, Security, and Climate

CFR experts examine the science and foreign policy surrounding climate change, energy, and nuclear security.

Will the U.S. Oil Boom Make Energy Sanctions Easier?

by Michael Levi Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Pump jacks drill for oil in US energy boom REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Ask someone to identify a big geopolitical consequence of the ongoing U.S. oil production boom and odds are high that they’ll invoke Iran. (Every one of the links in that last sentence is an example.) Without surging U.S. oil production, they’ll argue, sanctions on Iranian oil exports would have led to a massive oil price spike. Here is a concrete case of the oil boom yielding greater U.S. freedom of action in the world, and a harbinger, it would seem, of things to come. Read more »

The Other Big Energy Export News

by Michael Levi Friday, June 27, 2014

The energy world has been abuzz this week with news that the Department of Commerce will allow exports of minimally processed condensate. This has been heralded as a “step towards a rational oil policy” and a shift that “could change the world’s energy balance”. In particular, many are speculating that this is a step toward complete elimination of the ban on crude oil exports. Read more »

How Will China Clean its Air?

by Michael Levi Friday, May 30, 2014
Chinese woman struggles with air pollution A woman wearing a mask rides her bicycle along a street on a hazy morning in Beijing, February 28, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily

“I’ve been working my whole life on climate change. And now, because of policies to fight local air pollution, Chinese carbon emissions will peak and begin to decline in less than ten years, and our efforts on climate change will have nothing to do with it.” Read more »

Is China Really More Economically Powerful than the United States?

by Michael Levi Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A couple weeks ago the World Bank reported that the Chinese economy would pass the U.S. one by the end of this year. This led to rather breathless headlines from normally more sober observers (FT: China poised to pass US as world’s leading economic power this year). In an op-ed yesterday in the international New York Times, I argue that GDP is an awful measure of economic power, and explain why Chinese economic power is often less (though sometimes more) than meets the eye. Read more »

FiveThirtyEight’s Data Problem

by Michael Levi Monday, March 24, 2014
Current_Account_Balances

Nate Silver’s new FiveThirtyEight has been catching a lot of flak since it launched last week. Perhaps the harshest has been directed at the site’s retention of the often-contrarian climate analyst Roger Pielke Jr., with everyone from Paul Krugman to the Center for American Progresspiling on. The onslaught is disturbing. I’ve disagreed with Roger often, but he is genuinely well intentioned. People who care about getting good policy should want more thoughtful voices, not fewer, proposing options – and organized campaigns to run heterodox thinkers out of town are awfully ugly. Read more »