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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 "politics"

Keystone, Science, and Politics

by Michael Levi

Jeff Tollefson has an excellent new piece in Nature exploring the debate within the scientific community over Keystone XL. It makes two things pretty clear. As a matter of substance, there’s pretty much no one beyond Jim Hansen willing to come close to endorsing the “game over” claim. Yet there’s still a ton division among scientists – it’s over political tactics instead. Ken Caldeira captures the situation well: “I don’t believe that whether the pipeline is built or not will have any detectable climate effect,” he tells Nature. Nonetheless, here’s his bottom line: “The Obama administration needs to signal whether we are going to move toward zero-emission energy systems or whether we are going to move forward with last century’s energy system”. That sort of sentiment is political– and there’s nothing wrong with it – but, as the Nature article nicely shows, it’s distinct from any scientific debate. Read more »

How David Stockman Explains Irrational Hatred of Clean Energy Spending

by Michael Levi

Skeptics of government spending on clean energy have reasonable grounds to question whether Washington is capable of effectively investing in efforts to commercialize new technologies. The last few weeks, though, have reinforced a far deeper and more problematic hostility toward government spending on clean energy innovation that makes pragmatic compromise all but impossible. Read more »

State of the Union Hints at Ways to Bridge the Gap Between Old and New Energy

by Michael Levi

The State of the Union address last night was notable for the prominent placement of energy and climate and for its recommencement to what President Obama has called an all of the above strategy. I was particularly struck by the inclusion of two new efforts that would aim to concretely bridge the gap between fossil fuel backers and clean energy enthusiasts: the Energy Security Trust Fund and a new prize for development of natural gas with carbon capture and storage. Read more »

Chavez’s Troubled Legacy for Venezuela’s Oil Industry

by Blake Clayton

The failure of ailing Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez to return from Cuba, where he is recovering from another round of surgery, to Caracas for his inauguration underscores the uncertainty of the South American country’s future as a critical oil supplier. Chavez, first elected in 1998 and inaugurated in 1999, rode ultra-low oil prices to power, promising a tougher stance against the majors and a more hawkish voice within OPEC. So how’s the country’s oil industry faring today versus when he entered office? Read more »

Two Paths Forward on Climate Change

by Michael Levi

The past week has been huge for people who want to see the United States go big on climate change. First Hurricane Sandy vaulted climate change back into the public debate. Now the reelection of Barack Obama means that there will be someone in the White House who cares strongly about the issue. The combination creates an opportunity to press for climate action. Read more »

Five Reasons to Talk Energy and Climate at the Foreign Policy Debate

by Michael Levi

The moderator of tonight’s foreign policy debate has released a list of the topics he will focus on, and neither energy nor climate are there. This has, not surprisingly, not gone unnoticed. Indeed one need look no further than Hilary Clinton’s sweeping speech last Thursday on “Energy Diplomacy in the 21st Century” to confirm that energy and foreign policy are deeply intertwined. Here are five reasons that energy and climate should be part of tonight’s debate: Read more »

The Real Reason Energy Traders Are Losing Sleep

by Blake Clayton

What’s roiling the oil market right now? The old familiar source of instability—unrest in the Middle East—is far from the whole story, though it still tends to be the first place Western pundits look when the world’s most important commodity is in turmoil. But this paradigmatic hangover from the 1970s has become less and less adequate. Read more »

Romney Channels Reagan on Energy

by Michael Levi

There was a lot of talk about energy in last night’s presidential debate. Mitt Romney in particular frequently injected energy issues into the proceedings. It’s tough to see, though, how most viewers could have understood much of what the candidates were talking about. As they did in many other parts of the debate, both candidates frequently went deep into the weeds, throwing around numbers and programs that most viewers probably couldn’t follow. Read more »

Assessing the Romney Energy Plan

by Michael Levi

Mitt Romney released his energy plan yesterday. I critique it in a new piece in Foreign Policy. Here’s the kicker:

“There are many good reasons to embrace rising U.S. oil and gas production and to reform the way government regulates their development. The Romney strategy for fossil-fuel development has some reasonable proposals on both fronts. But when it comes to comprehensively exploiting energy opportunities and confronting energy-related risks, the strategy falls woefully short.” Read more »