CFR Presents

Energy, Security, and Climate

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Uncategorized"

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 Risks in 2014

by Michael Levi
pps

Where will the world’s flash points be in 2014? My colleague Paul Stares does an annual survey to provide insight. The Preventive Priorities Survey 2014, based on a questionnaire sent to more than 1,200 experts, is out today. It won’t surprise this blog’s readers that crises in many of the top hot spots could have reverberations throughout the energy world. Read more »

Cyber Threats to Oil and Gas Supplies: How Much of a Worry Are They?

by Blake Clayton

What harm could a cyber attack do to oil and gas production? Could it cause a catastrophic if temporary loss in supplies, sending prices soaring?  Does it pose a serious threat to oil companies’ operations? Or is talk of a new age of cyber insecurity in oil and gas—which has been in the air ever since a virus destroyed some 30,000 Saudi Aramco computers—overblown? Read more »

Book Happenings

by Michael Levi

My book The Power Surge: Energy, Opportunity, and the Battle for America’s Future will be published next Thursday. Below you’ll find a current listing of public events for the book. But first a request: I know that many readers of this blog have bought or received early copies of the book. If you liked it, and think others would too, I urge you to post a review on Amazon. It turns out that those matter a lot; I’ll be most grateful to anyone who takes a few minutes to do that. And now on to the events (all links below are to events pages with further information)… Read more »

Is This What Energy Independence Looks Like?

by Michael Levi

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is out with a partial release of its Annual Energy Outlook (AEO), a modeling exercise that looks at what the next twenty-five years or so might hold. One of the most interesting elements is a case where the United States achieves (by the mid-2030s) what some call “energy independence” – a state where its net import of liquid fuels drop to zero. To create this case, the EIA modelers pump up pretty much every assumption they can, trying to close the gap between U.S. supply and demand. Here’s what it takes: Read more »

Overselling Energy Innovation

by Michael Levi

Innovation will be critical to confronting the world’s energy problems, but the promise of energy innovation has too often been oversold. In an essay in the new issue of Issues in Science and Technology I explain why.

In the wake of the Copenhagen debacle and the collapse of cap-and-trade, Americans have been searching for new ways to tackle climate change. One of the most popular ideas to emerge has been a call to focus on energy innovation. Proponents of this approach argue that focusing on making clean energy cheaper rather than on making dirty energy more expensive would transform the domestic and international politics (and perhaps economics) of climate and energy policy. Read more »

New Website on the Speculation Debate

by Blake Clayton

One of the most misunderstood topics in energy markets is the role speculation plays in them, and specifically how buying and selling by financial market participants affects market behavior. Public attention to these questions tends to increase when commodity prices rise, which means that it’s been a relatively hot issue over much of the last decade.  A lot of what gets said about it, though, simply isn’t well informed. Read more »

Unexpected Energy Headlines for Obama’s Second Term

by Michael Levi

When you ask energy experts what headlines to watch for in President Obama’s second term, you’re likely to hear about issues that are hot right now: the possibility of new greenhouse gas regulations, growth of U.S. oil and gas, prospects for wind energy and distributed solar, LNG exports, and the like. All of these will almost certainly be in the news. But I’ll hazard another guess: odds are high that many of the biggest headlines and decisions will be about things that we aren’t even thinking about today. Read more »

Trading Volumes Underscore Brent’s Ascendance as World Oil Benchmark

by Blake Clayton

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent have been locked in a multi-year wrestling match for the exalted status of the definitive world benchmark price of oil. WTI’s glaring deficiencies as a barometer of supply-demand fundamentals in the global crude market, owing to an oversupply of oil at its land-locked pricing hub of Cushing, Oklahoma, have been plain for several years now. But a close look at recent futures trading volumes shows that Brent has steadily surpassed its rival as traders’ preferred way to gain exposure to oil, marking an important moment in the North Sea benchmark’s arrival as the “real” price of oil, at least for now. Read more »