CFR Presents

Energy, Security, and Climate

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

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 »

Energy and Climate Issues Awaiting Mike Froman at USTR

by Michael Levi Thursday, May 2, 2013

With Mike Froman nominated to become U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), change in how the White House handles international energy is sure to follow. But Froman won’t be able to leave energy or climate behind as he moves across the street. I see at least five areas in the offing where the USTR is going to be drawn into energy and climate. Read more »

Book Happenings

by Michael Levi Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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 »