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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 Study: Lessons Learned from the 2011 Strategic Petroleum Reserve Release

by Blake Clayton

As anyone who follows the oil market knows, speculation is rife that the White House may soon decide to tap the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Whether they will remains to be seen. But before officials in the United States and other International Energy Agency (IEA) member countries take any action, it’s crucial they weigh the lessons of last summer’s release of national oil stockpiles. Read more »

You’re Invited: DNC Energy Events

by Michael Levi

I’ll be in Charlotte for part of next week to speak at a couple events at the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Both are open to the public – come by if you’re in town.

On September 4, I’ll be part of a Washington Post / Bipartsan Policy Center panel on “The Next Energy Market”. We’ll be talking about the roles of different energy sources and the right way for government to shape the future of energy. The full event runs from 8-10am; my panel will be from 8:30-9:10.  Other speakers included Ed Markey, Brian Schweitzer, Mary Landrieu, and Mark Begich. Register here. Read more »

Why Allowing Natural Gas Exports Is Probably Good for Climate Change

by Michael Levi

I argued in a New York Times op-ed yesterday that the United States should allow LNG exports while guarding against downside risks to the local environment and low-income consumers. Joe Romm at the Center for American Progress has now published a 1,100-word attack on the piece. I’d normally not respond at length, but his critique hits on multiple fronts, and our two blogs have many readers in common. This post will go line-by-line through his critique and explain why it’s wrong. Read more »

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.