Varun Sivaram

Energy, Security, and Climate

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

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Some Thoughts on the Doha Climate Talks

by Michael Levi
November 28, 2012


The annual United Nations climate talks got underway in Doha, Qatar on Monday.

In a piece for the CFR website, I walk through the issues on the table, and offer some thoughts on U.S. strategy. The title of the piece – “A Transitional Climate Summit in Doha” – is a pretty good summary.  After three years of high tension and high stakes summits, Doha will almost certainly be more mellow, though no climate conference would be complete without a few fireworks toward the end. Read the whole piece for more.

In an op-ed in the Financial Times, I observe that Qarar is an unusual place to host a climate summit, but a great setting to debate an increasingly prominent part of the climate conversation: what role should natural gas play in global climate strategy? The strangely fitting setting for the talks dawned on me when I visited the tiny Gulf state a couple weeks ago. I argue in the piece that natural gas has an important role to play, but that strategists should not lose sight of the medium and longer terms, where a strong shift to zero-carbon energy will become essential. I also say a bit about policy (though I appreciate that connecting the policy decisions I discuss to the UN talks is a stretch). Read the whole thing for more, at the FT website or on

Now is also probably as good a time as any to link back to a post I wrote a year ago that tells the story of what I often think is the biggest Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) boondoggle ever. If you guessed that it’s in Qatar, you’re right.

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