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  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: The extraordinary criticism that Saudi Arabia is under holds the potential for the US Congress enacting legislation against OPEC. Anti-trust legislation would have turbulent impact on the global energy market in that such pressure could lead members withdrawing from OPEC.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sylvie Cornot-Gandolphe
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The major transformations that are occurring on the Chinese gas market have profound repercussions on the global gas and LNG markets, especially on trade, investment and prices. In just two years, China has become the world’s first gas importer and is on track to become the largest importer of Liquefied natural gas (LNG). China alone explained 63% of the net global LNG demand growth in 2018 and now accounts for 17% of global LNG imports. The pace and scale of China’s LNG imports have reshaped the global LNG market. Over the past two years, fears of an LNG supply glut have largely been replaced by warnings that the lack of investments in new LNG capacity would lead to a supply shortage in the mid-2020s unless more LNG production project commitments are made soon. There is now a bullish outlook for future global LNG demand which has encouraged companies to sanction additional LNG projects, based on the anticipated supply shortage. China’s gas imports can be expected to continue to grow strongly, from 120 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2018 to up to 300 bcm by 2030.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Gas
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Sylvie Cornot-Gandolphe
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Coal in the power sector is the principal focus of climate-related policies due to its high carbon intensity, making CO2 emissions from coal a leading contributor to climate change. While 38% of global power generation come from coal (in 2017), coal-related CO2 emissions represent more than 70% of power sector emissions. Coal-fired power plants are also the leading source of all primary air pollutants within the power sector, causing respiratory diseases and premature deaths. Structural changes are fast sweeping through global electricity markets. A key driver is the fast deployment of renewable energy sources and their falling costs, making renewables increasingly competitive with coal. Coal is also becoming less competitive than other sources of electricity in several regions, due to the fall in gas prices, the rising cost of the carbon price and higher coal import prices. Pressures against investment in coal activities increasingly create challenges for financing coal projects. Global coal power investment has passed an all-time peak and has contracted over the past two years. Investment in greenfield coal mines is also at a standstill in all major coal exporting countries. Nevertheless, while the future of coal is dark, 2017 has been a good year for the sector. World coal production increased after three consecutive years of decline. Global coal demand and international trade rose again, and high coal prices (above $80/tonne since summer 2016) boosted the financial results of coal-mining companies. As a result of growing fossil fuel demand, global energy-related CO2 emissions rose again in 2017. These short-term results do not call into question global decarbonization trends but demonstrate that current efforts are insufficient to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. The world is still divided about the future role of coal. A major change came in 2015 with the Paris Agreement, which prompted many nations across the world to accelerate their efforts to reduce coal consumption. Since then, several governments and power utilities have decided to phase out coal from their electricity mixes and joined the “Powering Past Coal Alliance”. Coal reduction or phase-out policies are being adopted or considered by more and more countries, and the reduction in the share of coal power generation goes faster than expected in several coal-consuming countries. But South and Southeast Asia remains a region for short to medium term growth in coal demand and Africa is a potential area for new growth. In this, new coal markets can also develop thanks to the support of countries eager to export their coal combustion technologies, led by China and Japan, and by the desire of coal exporters to find new outlets. Despite this growth, the sustainability of the relative good performance of the coal sector in 2017 is far from being ensured.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Electricity, Renewable Energy, Coal
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Noah Kaufman
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: In July 2018 Representative Carlos Curbelo proposed legislation that would put a price on US carbon dioxide emissions (“Curbelo proposal”). A carbon price is widely viewed as a necessary part of a cost-effective national strategy to address the risks of climate change. This proposal is especially notable because Republicans, who currently control the US Senate, House of Representatives, and presidency, have not proposed national carbon pricing legislation in nearly a decade.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David B. Sandalow
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: In 2017, China was the world’s leading emitter of heat-trapping gases by a wide margin. Its policies for limiting emissions will have a significant impact on the global climate for decades to come. From a historical perspective, China’s status as the world’s leading emitter is relatively recent. During most of the 19th and 20th centuries, Chinese emissions were modest. Then, in the early part of this century, as the Chinese economy boomed, Chinese emissions began to skyrocket, overtaking those from the United States around 2006. China’s cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution are less than half those from the United States or Europe. (Carbon dioxide, the leading heat-trapping gas, stays in the atmosphere for many years once emitted.)
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Shashank Mohan, Peter Marsters, Whitney Herndon, John Larsen
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: A price on carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has long been a preferred instrument among economists and other academics for addressing the threat of climate change.[1] The idea is simple: putting a price on carbon internalizes the societal costs caused by consumption of fossil fuels and other activities that emit GHGs. The concept sits firmly in the tradition of Pigouvian taxation, which has been applied to address other “externalities”—from the health system costs of tobacco and alcohol use to the environmental cost of substances that deplete Earth’s ozone layer. The concept of pricing carbon by way of a tax has been gaining traction among economists as an efficient, market-based strategy for reducing GHG emissions in the United States. More recently, the idea has garnered the attention of prominent Republicans and Democrats within and outside of Congress as well as advocates on the left and right poles of the national political spectrum.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Joseph Rosenberg, Eric Toder, Chenxi Lu
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: A federal carbon tax in the United States would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and generate significant new revenue for the federal government. In this study, part of the Carbon Tax Research Initiative led by Columbia University’s SIPA Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (TPC) estimates the effects of various potential carbon taxes on the tax burdens of US households across the income distribution.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jason Bordoff, Antoine Halff, Akos Losz
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: The last few years have offered a reminder, if any was needed, that oil markets are no stranger to volatility. From OPEC’s reported demise to OPEC’s resurgence, the rapid fall and rise again of US shale, and the ebb and flow of geopolitical risk, oil has been on a rocky ride. After industry leaders and experts declared that the days of cheap oil were over—“$100 per barrel is becoming the new $20,” explained one top oil CEO in 2014[1]—consensus shifted to a view that oil prices would remain “lower for longer”[2] before sharply rising again in the last few months. Each day brings yet another reminder of risks to oil prices, with oil markets tight, OPEC nations signaling they intend to continue supporting prices beyond $80 per barrel, President Trump canceling the Iran nuclear deal, Venezuelan production in freefall, and geopolitical risks rife from Syria to Libya and beyond.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jason Bordoff, Akos Losz, Aaron Linn
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: On April 2, 2018, the EPA announced that planned fuel economy increases for cars and light trucks in model years 2022–2025 are too stringent and should be revised.[2] The EPA thus initiated a process to set new standards for 2022–2025, in partnership with the NHTSA. The standards were a central part of the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions. The move to weaken the standards has been sharply criticized by many environmental groups, policymakers, and others. Supporters of the current standards argue that the standards would substantially reduce emissions at a modest cost. But the standards have been highly controversial, and the move has also received a great deal of praise from other groups. Supporters of weakening the standards—including those in the Trump administration—argue that the current standards would be excessively costly to consumers and automakers, while providing little or no benefit to the public. Many analyses have proclaimed that this announcement would have profound effects on consumers, oil consumption, oil imports, and greenhouse gas emissions. One think tank, for example, told the Financial Times that US oil consumption, which was nearly 20 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2017, would be 1.5 million bpd higher in 2025 if the 2022–2025 fuel economy standards were rolled back
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tim Boersma, Casey Johnson
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: Over the preceding decade until November 2016, energy came to occupy a more central position in the United States’ foreign policy apparatus, and the term “energy diplomacy” became frequently used in policy circles and the media. The reasons for this are numerous, but a 2014 headline from the New York Times captures the essence: “Oil’s Comeback Gives U.S. Global Leverage.”[1] Indeed, the unleashing of massive amounts of US unconventional oil and gas transformed the country from a political and economic superpower that was relatively energy poor in relation to its consumption habits into an energy superpower in its own right. The US energy narrative shifted quickly from talk of scarcity and ever-increasing import dependence to one of abundance, in which the nation became a major global exporter. For US diplomats, this occasioned the rethinking of what role energy could play in advancing strategic interests abroad. In October 2012, then secretary of state Hillary Clinton gave a major address at Georgetown University on energy diplomacy in the 21st century, proposing that energy could be used to help solve territorial and maritime disputes, promote competition in Europe, get the Republic of Iraq back on its feet, bring peace in the South Sudan and Sudan conflict, and tackle energy poverty and climate change.[2] Secretary Clinton’s State Department stood up a Bureau of Energy Resources with dozens of diplomats devoted to these topics. At meetings abroad and in Washington, energy was literally on the agenda, assuming a more prominent role than at any time since the Carter administration.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Energy Policy, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus