Varun Sivaram

Energy, Security, and Climate

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

John Roberts, Environmental Economist

by Michael Levi Friday, June 29, 2012

Commentary in the aftermath of Thursday’s Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act has focused on its immediate political and policy consequences and on the limits it articulates to the authority of Congress to regulate commerce. But there’s something else worth paying attention to: in upholding the ACA on the grounds that it is an exercise of congressional taxing authority, it appears to affirm the broader legal foundation for taxing private behavior that has damaging social consequences. That, of course, is a fundamental piece of environmental economics. Read more »

Is U.S. Energy Independence Possible?

by Blake Clayton Thursday, June 21, 2012

It depends on how you define it.

Take oil, for example. The recent, sustained downturn in U.S. oil imports is already the talk of the town, but to recap: The United States is importing far less foreign oil to satisfy its domestic needs than it was even a few years ago. This trend is very likely to continue in the coming years. Read more »

The Odd Politics of Drilling on Public Lands

by Michael Levi Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I’m in Ohio this week talking to people about the Utica shale boom. I’ll have more to say later, but right now, I want to share an interesting bit of one conversation I had yesterday.

I was talking to a dairy farmer who is adamant that his community should not be allowed to stop him from leasing his land to gas drillers. He treated me to an impassioned defense of private property rights, and warned against infringing on peoples’ freedom to contract. Read more »

Think Again: The American Energy Boom

by Michael Levi Monday, June 18, 2012

I have a new essay in the July/August issue of Foreign Policy, out today, that takes aim at some of the emerging conventional wisdom surrounding the American oil and gas boom. Some of the themes will be familiar to readers of this blog. Others will be new. Collectively, I hope, they’ll spur some new thinking about what’s happening in the United States. Read more »

Could Expensive Oil Rescue Carbon Capture?

by Michael Levi Thursday, June 14, 2012

What a difference a few years makes. Not long ago, power plants with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) seemed to be the key to a low carbon future. Today, with no large-scale pilot plants operating, no appetite for big government subsidies, and no price on carbon in the offing, CCS barely registers in most low-carbon energy conversations. Read more »

New Study on U.S. Natural Gas Exports

by Michael Levi Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Booming U.S. shale gas production has prompted a series of firms to apply for permission to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States. This prospect has become controversial: some see an opportunity to gain from trade and to shake up global gas markets; others fear environmental damage, higher consumer costs, and lost manufacturing competitiveness. Read more »