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Energy, Security, and Climate

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The IEA on Sudan and South Sudan

by Blake Clayton

In today’s monthly Oil Market Report (OMR), the International Energy Agency (IEA) weighed in on how it sees the recent hostilities and pipeline tariff deal between Sudan and South Sudan affecting oil production there through 2013. This is hardly an academic question. The loss of South Sudan’s oil has been one force putting upward pressure on global prices this year, and oil is critical to the economy and stability of both countries.  The IEA’s bottom line? Don’t hold your breath for things to get much better, at least in terms of oil production, despite last weekend’s encouraging developments. And plenty can still go wrong. Read more »

Peering Into the Energy Market’s Crystal Ball

by Blake Clayton

The U.S. Energy Information Adminstration (EIA) published its Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) on Tuesday. This report is one of three official monthly sources of data and forecasts that energy analysts often look to in order to understand market conditions. (The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) release similar reports with their own numbers.) Read more »

The New, Old World of U.S. Oil Policy

by Blake Clayton

Yesterday, the New America Foundation hosted a televised summit to discuss the enormous changes taking place in U.S. oil production and what it might mean for national politics and the presidential election, the economy, and energy security. Steve LeVine and his colleagues deserve a lot of credit for putting together a top-notch panel and thought-provoking discussion. For anyone looking to get a handle on the big issues raised by the American oil and natural gas boom, I can’t think of a better place to start than watching the discussion here. Read more »

The State Dept.’s Pascual on Iran Sanctions

by Blake Clayton

Energy Compass, an industry news source, published a wide-ranging interview today with Carlos Pascual, the State Department’s Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, that’s worth a read. Pascual shares his thoughts of the state of the oil market as well as his work as head of the department’s new Bureau of Energy Resources. Read more »

Holiday Reading

by Michael Levi

I’m off on vacation for a couple weeks. In the meantime, here are a few books I’ve read over the past year that I’d recommend:

  1. The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World. Dan Yergin’s new history and prognosis for energy is not without its flaws, but on the whole, it’s a great overview of where we’ve been and where we might be going. Besides, it’s a great read, which is something one can’t often say about an energy book.
  2. Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power. Robert Kaplan’s book, published late last year, is a fascinating cross between travelogue and analysis of international politics. It’s also not entirely unrelated to where I’ll be over the next couple weeks.
  3. The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s On-line Pioneers. In a year where social media became a major topic of discussion among people who care about international relations, it’s worth going back to this neat book to understand that we’ve been through something like this before. Like the first two books, this one’s not just good analysis – it’s a great story.
  4. Bounding Power: Republican Security Theory from the Polis to the Global Village. Dan Deudney’s 2006 book isn’t nearly as easy reading as the others I’ve listed here – there’s a lot of jargon and dense political theory. It’s worth the effort, though, to work through this reinterpretation of two thousand years of international relations history and theory that tries to explain the every-expanding scope of international cooperation. I don’t quite buy his predictions for the future, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is probably the most interesting book I read this year.

Has Government Spending on Energy Research Been a Waste?

by Michael Levi

Steve Mufson had a piece in the Washington Post Outlook section this past weekend suggesting that the $172 billion that the U.S. government has spent on early stage energy research since 1961 has largely been a waste. (I say “suggesting” rather than “arguing” because Steve doesn’t quite make the point explicitly; that said, it’s hard to read his essay without being nudged toward that conclusion.) There’s a lot of smart stuff in the piece, but in the end, it’s unconvincing. Read more »

Do Gasoline Based Cars Really Use More Electricity than Electric Vehicles Do?

by Michael Levi

Business Insider published an interview today with Tesla founder Elon Musk in which Musk makes a striking claim: “You have enough electricity to power all the cars in the country if you stop refining gasoline,” he asserts. “You take an average of 5 kilowatt hours to refine [one gallon of] gasoline, something like the [Tesla] Model S can go 20 miles on 5 kilowatt hours.” Read more »