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Energy, Security, and Climate

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

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Showing posts for "Clean Energy"

Another Way to Think About Alternative Fuels

by Michael Levi

Some people assess the relative attractiveness of alternative transportation fuels by comparing their greenhouse gas emissions to those associated with oil. Others compare different fuels based mainly on price: cheaper fuels, in this view, are invariably the most desireable ones. A third crowd, meanwhile, focuses first on whether any particular fuel can be produced at home rather than abroad. Each of these lenses leads to different conclusions: corn ethanol, for example, scores poorly on the first measure, moderately on the second, and well on the third. Read more »

Truth and Nonsense on Chinese Clean Energy

by Michael Levi

There is a serious fact-based case to be made for why China is not crushing the United States in a clean energy race. Unfortunately, Bjorn Lomborg’s op-ed in today’s Washington Post makes the argument using a mix of truth and nonsense. This won’t do much but perpetuate an ongoing battle of misleading statistics and dubious interpretations. Read more »

Is It Possible to “Win” The Clean Energy Future?

by Michael Levi

I am not a huge fan of the Sputnik Moment / Win the Future / Sky Is Falling rhetoric that President Obama invoked in his State of the Union and that his team have been using to sell their clean energy strategy. But I’m also growing weary of reading contrary economic analyses that seem to believe that economic policy is all about win-wins and kumbaya. Read more »

An Important Report on Energy RD&D

by Michael Levi

Now that Cancun is done, it’s time to start thinking hard again about the nitty-gritty of low-carbon development. Harvard’s Energy Technology Innovation Program (ETIP) has a big new report (along with a shorter policy brief) on government investment in energy RD&D in what they call “the BRIMCS”: Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, China, and South Africa. The report’s headline is that government investment is greater in the BRIMCS than in the OECD. My preliminary read of the report is that the most interesting stuff is elsewhere. Read more »

Misunderstanding High-Tech Trade

by Michael Levi

While the climate talks continue in Cancun, the most important developments in climate policy are still happening at the national level.

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu gave a speech on Monday arguing that the United States is at risk of losing to China in a clean energy race. The most striking graph — and Chu emphasized it in his presentation — came near the start of his talk: Read more »

Two Roads for Energy Innovation

by Michael Levi

Shifting the focus of climate policy to investment in energy innovation has long been touted as a way to cut through international bickering over who should shoulder the cost of cutting emissions. Recent squabbling between the United States and China over whether Chinese government support for clean energy technology violates trade rules, though, should wake us up to the fact that life is not so simple. Read more »

Digging into the “Post-Partisan Power” Study

by Michael Levi

The new Brookings/AEI/Breakthrough “Post-Partisan Power” study, which calls on policymakers to focus on energy innovation rather than carbon pricing, has been generating a lot of debate over the last day. I symphathize with those who have criticized the study for pretending to be more “bipartisan” than it actually is, and for overselling the potential of energy innovation absent government incentives that increase demand. But set that aside: what’s being missed in this debate is that most of the paper is actually a smart and thoughtful discussion of how to do energy innovation policy right. Read more »