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

by Michael Levi
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 Most Important Part of the Keystone XL Environmental Impact Statement

by Michael Levi

The State Department has released its long-awaited final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Keystone XL pipeline. The headline is straightforward: the pipeline is “unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands” and, as a result, world greenhouse gas emissions. This is essentially a status quo conclusion, reaffirming the essence of the draft EIS (released last year). It also allows President Obama to judge that the pipeline meets his requirement that the project “not significantly exacerbate the problem of climate pollution”. The report does, however, carve out one substantial exception. That’s worth drilling down into, because it’s what the President will likely lean on if he decides to say no. Read more »

Energy and Climate Issues Awaiting Mike Froman at USTR

by Michael Levi

With Mike Froman nominated to become U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), change in how the White House handles international energy is sure to follow. But Froman won’t be able to leave energy or climate behind as he moves across the street. I see at least five areas in the offing where the USTR is going to be drawn into energy and climate. Read more »