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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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New Nobel Economics Winner Jean Tirole on Energy, Climate, and Environment

by Michael Levi
noble economics jean tirole energy environment climate REUTERS/Fred Lancelot

Jean Tirole was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences today “for his analysis of market power and regulation”. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that he’s written a lot about energy, climate change, and environmental issues. Here’s a quick selection of his relevant papers. Read more »

What My Book The Power Surge Got Wrong

by Michael Levi
The Power Surge by Michael Levi Paperback

It’s been two years since I turned in the manuscript for The Power Surge, my book about the changes sweeping American energy and their consequences for the world that was published last May. The book is out in paperback today, which strikes me as a great opportunity to take stock of what’s changed, both in the world and in my thinking about it. Here are five things I’d tackle differently if I could write the book again. 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 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 »