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CFR Presents

Energy, Security, and Climate

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

The Power Surge Got Wrong">What My Book The Power Surge Got Wrong

by Michael Levi Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It’s been two years since I turned in the manuscript for The Power Surge, my book about the changes sweeping American energy and their consequences for the world that was published last May. The book is out in paperback today, which strikes me as a great opportunity to take stock of what’s changed, both in the world and in my thinking about it. Here are five things I’d tackle differently if I could write the book again. Read more »

Climate Change: What Is China Doing and Not Doing?

by Michael Levi Thursday, September 25, 2014
zhang gaoli UN climate summit New York Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli speaks during the Climate Summit at the U.N. headquarters in New York on September 23, 2014. (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters)

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli made news on Tuesday with his speech on climate change at the United Nations. My colleague and co-author Elizabeth Economy has an enlightening post on her blog, Asia Unbound, drilling down on the headlines. I’ve reposted it here. Read more »

A Dispatch from the People’s Climate March

by Michael Levi Tuesday, September 23, 2014
People's climate march New York city Climate Change summit My kind of protest sign.

The People’s Climate March, which drew a reported three hundred thousand people to the New York streets on Sunday, deserves much of the applause and attention it’s attracted. No one who attended the march can deny the enthusiasm of the crowd, or the fact that the gathering has helped keep climate change on the front page for a week.  And yet, throughout the day, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d stumbled into an anti-fracking march that also happened to be about climate change.  And I couldn’t escape the conclusion that this focus could end up undermining the very climate change goals that the march was ostensibly about achieving. Read more »

Is Solar Power Making Climate Policy Cheap?

by Michael Levi Friday, September 19, 2014
Solar power plant clean energy REUTERS/Fabian Andres Cambero

For the second time this year, Paul Krugman has written a column explaining that serious studies consistently conclude that slashing global carbon dioxide emissions doesn’t need to be expensive. Also for the second time, he gives much of the credit to falling costs for renewable energy, particularly solar power. He’s absolutely correct on the broader point – but dead wrong in explaining why the studies come to that conclusion. Read more »

Will the U.S. Oil Boom Make Energy Sanctions Easier?

by Michael Levi Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Pump jacks drill for oil in US energy boom REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Ask someone to identify a big geopolitical consequence of the ongoing U.S. oil production boom and odds are high that they’ll invoke Iran. (Every one of the links in that last sentence is an example.) Without surging U.S. oil production, they’ll argue, sanctions on Iranian oil exports would have led to a massive oil price spike. Here is a concrete case of the oil boom yielding greater U.S. freedom of action in the world, and a harbinger, it would seem, of things to come. Read more »

The Other Big Energy Export News

by Michael Levi Friday, June 27, 2014

The energy world has been abuzz this week with news that the Department of Commerce will allow exports of minimally processed condensate. This has been heralded as a “step towards a rational oil policy” and a shift that “could change the world’s energy balance”. In particular, many are speculating that this is a step toward complete elimination of the ban on crude oil exports. Read more »