CFR Presents

Energy, Security, and Climate

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

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

by Blake Clayton Wednesday, June 26, 2013

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 »

Reading Between the Lines of Obama’s Climate Change Plan

by Michael Levi Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Anyone who reads a newspaper has probably heard about President Obama’s climate change speech today and seen more than enough commentary on its highlights. Instead of piling on, I thought it would be enlightening to reflect on five things that are buried in the plan released alongside the speech but could have important consequences. Read more »

How to Improve the LNG Export Approval Process

by Michael Levi Friday, June 14, 2013

One of the odder aspects of how applications to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) are being handled is the “first come, first served” approach. The Department of Energy (DOE) has said that it will consider applications to export LNG to countries with which the United States does not have applicable free trade agreements (non-FTA countries) in the order that they are filed with the DOE, regardless of any other merits or weaknesses of the individual applications. This is led to a stampede of questionable applications driven by a desire to be first in line. Read more »

Is China the Real Winner from Iraq’s Oil Boom?

by Michael Levi Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Iraqi oil production has boomed in recent years, and Chinese companies have been deeply involved in producing and buying the oil. That prompted headline writers to go with this for a New York Times story on Sunday: “China Is Reaping Biggest Benefits of Iraq Oil Boom”. There’s a lot of good stuff in the article, but the headline rests on a wrongheaded view of how oil trade is intertwined with countries’ economic fortunes. Indeed one could easily argue that the United States, not China, has been the biggest winner (aside from Iraq) from the surge in Iraqi supplies. Read more »

Is OPEC a Paper Tiger? A New Study Says Yes

by Michael Levi Thursday, May 23, 2013

We all know that OPEC colludes to keep oil off the market and prices high. Or do we? There is actually remarkably little agreement on whether OPEC is any good at what it aspires to do. Does membership in OPEC really make countries more likely to constrain their oil output? It’s a question with wide-ranging consequences for everything from the economy to security to climate change. Read more »

Freeport LNG Export Terminal Approved; What Does it Mean?

by Michael Levi Friday, May 17, 2013

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced this afternoon that it had conditionally approved the application of Freeport LNG Expansion LP and FLNG Liquefaction LLC to export up to 1.4 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries with which the United States does not have special free trade agreements. I’ve written at some length before about the potential consequences of LNG exports in general. But what might the exports from this particular facility mean? Read more »

Another Way to Think About Short-Lived Greenhouse Gases

by Michael Levi Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Climate discussions of late have focused a lot of so-called short-lived forcers. These are substances such as methane and black carbon that don’t stay in the atmosphere for all that long but trap a lot of heat while they’re there. Analysts use global warming potentials (GWPs) as shorthand to compare these gases with carbon dioxide. For example, over a 20-year period, methane traps 72 times as much heat as carbon dioxide, giving methane a 20-year GWP of 72. Read more »

Cap-and-Trade is Faltering in Europe, But the Problem Isn’t What You Think It Is

by Michael Levi Monday, May 6, 2013

The last couple weeks have seen a steady stream of news articles heralding the near-death of Europe’s cap-and-trade system. The basic story is straightforward. After the European Parliament declined to effectively tighten the emissions cap in the continent’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), prices for emissions permits plunged. Since high permit prices are required to drive serious energy-system transformation, many people have concluded that the ETS – and by association cap-and-trade more broadly – is bust. Read more »