Energy Policy

Kazakhstan’s Parliamentary Elections Affect Energy Flows From Eurasia

March 23, 2023

On March 19th, 2023, Kazakhstan held competitive elections for its lower house – the Mazhilis – to decide the political direction of the young democracy established after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite some reported problems, the parliamentary elections were the freest in the country’s history and a vital step forward for Kazakhstan’s democratization and political pluralism.

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Protecting America’s Power Grids From EMP Attacks

March 20, 2023

The possibility of such an attack is growing as EMP technology is evolving. The Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from EMP Attacks, alongside military officials, warned years ago of the possibility of balloon-based EMP attacks. Given that our grid infrastructure is weak, aging, and lacks resilience, EMP attacks could become the choice weapons of America’s enemies, and not just China.

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Bipartisan Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism - A Political Unicorn?

March 15, 2023

A Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) allows a country to impose a price on carbon emitted during the production of goods in the country of origin as import fees, thus incentivizing greener manufacturing. This has been a perennial aspiration of environmentalists for decades that once languished in obscurity but is now rapidly becoming policy. Now, this step forward in climate policy may be legislated with bipartisan support in the US Congress, with far-reaching implications not just for the environment but the international economy.

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Energy Diplomacy Isn’t Helping Russia In Africa

March 13, 2023

Concerns over food security and dependency on Russian foodstuffs force African states to remain distant from the conflict. Now in addition to this food dependency, Russia has begun augmenting its diplomatic playbook in Africa with changes in its energy diplomacy and military power projection.

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Asia’s Hunger For Energy Will Not Save Russia’s Economy

February 27, 2023

Over the last year, the West imposed sanctions on Moscow, cut back its purchases of Russian hydrocarbons, and sent military support to Ukraine. But the world’s largest democracy, and one of the United States' biggest allies in Asia, India, hasn’t done any of that. Rather, India has seized the opportunity to purchase cheap Russian energy to bolster its ailing economy. Surprisingly, US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen has pointed out that “India is welcome to purchase as much oil as it wants”, as it gets Russia oil at a large discount, up to 30 percent and more.

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The Coming Hurricane: Russian Energy-Giant Gazprom Is Creating An Army

February 22, 2023

Ukrainian intelligence has reported that Russian energy giant Gazprom is establishing its own private military company (PMC). The rationale for an energy company establishing a security force is at least vaguely plausible given the need to defend fixed assets in trouble spots. Western energy companies like Exxon and BP do the same. However, Gazprom is not establishing a private army to guard a few remote wells or pipelines, or even to be sent to Ukraine. Gazprom’s move is likely about control over valuable energy resources inside of Russia, but more generally, a scramble for power.

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US Grid Is A Magnet For Terrorists: How Can We Solve This?

February 17, 2023

Many people take the security of our national grid for granted. They should not.

Since the days of the Soviet threat during the Cold War, the US grid was in the scope of foreign militaries. In addition to China and Russia, Iran and North Korea drew contingency plans to destroy our sources of electricity. Yet, it is not only foreign governments that target our electric lifelines.

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The Biden Administration Should Learn Japan’s Painful Lessons On Hydrogen

February 13, 2023

Clean hydrogen has long been a promising but unrealized green energy source. A bipartisan infrastructure bill introduced last year suggests allocating 7 billion dollars to create clean hydrogen hubs.

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Tesla’s Crash And Musk’s Acquittal Is Good News For Electric Vehicles

February 6, 2023

Elon Musk was acquitted by a US district court over a tweet that forced him to resign as Tesla’s executive chairman in 2018. Now, fresh off his victory in acquiring the very same Twitter for an inflated price, Elon Musk and Tesla were slammed by a historically low 2022 earnings report which prompted a 70% decline in stock in 2022. This earned Elon Musk the dubious distinction of having the largest net worth decline in history — $200 billion — and prompted critical evaluation of his abilities to simultaneously run Tesla and Twitter. In January 2023, Tesla’s stock subsequently climbed 38% in a single month. Tesla’s stock roller coaster has prompted premature panic concerning the long-term viability of the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry and misplaced attacks on EV technology.

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Cyprus presidential elections crucial for regional oil, gas development - opinion

February 3, 2023

Historically, nations to Europe’s East and South (and the Middle East) supplied the necessary energy to the West. Over the last two decades, the European dependence on imported natural gas went up by almost 20%, from 65.7% to 83.6%. Before the war in Ukraine started, Germany imported 60% of its gas from Russia.

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McCarthy’s Concessions May Endanger Biden’s Energy Policy

January 31, 2023

Kevin McCarthy's quest to become Speaker of the House ended after 15 votes with many concessions granted to the hardline, America first, Freedom Caucus within the GOP House delegation that prevented his unchallenged ascent. The extent of these concessions took weeks to emerge and drew controversy. Notably, Marjorie “Jewish space lasers” Taylor Greene received seats on the powerful Homeland Security and Oversight committees.

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The Future Battlefields: Rare Earth Elements

January 26, 2023

Sweden’s state-owned mining enterprise LKAB may have given the West hope in its quest for energy independence and containing China. Two weeks ago, LKAB announced it had discovered nearly one million metric tons of rare earth elements (REE).

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African Energy May Save Europe

January 23, 2023

After 2022-2023’s unusually warm winter, Europe may be winning its energy struggle with Russia, but a lasting solution for energy-hungry Europe has not arrived yet. While Europe’s ad-hoc responses to Russian embargos have succeeded in changing one of the cornerstones of its economy, they are neither systematic nor sustainable.

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Congress Pushes US Energy Transition Through Tax Credits — But Will It Work?

January 20, 2023

If left to market forces, commodities and industries tend to be more efficient and grow faster. This Economics 101 maxim now enjoys solid bipartisan support rejuvenating the supply chain, manufacturing, and utilization of solar panels in renewable power plants to fuel the energy transition of the 21st century.

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Europe Is Winning The Energy War Against Russia

January 19, 2023

The invasion in Ukraine was supposed to be long over by now – by Kremlin’s count. After the first three days, Russia’s “short victorious war” would end with a Quisling government in and a parade through Kyiv which would have cemented Russian President Vladimir Putin’s legacy and the Russian empire redux of Eastern Orthodox Slavs: Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, or as the czarist lingo went, “the Great, Little and White Russia”.

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Presidential Elections: A Boost For Kazakhstan’s Investment Climate

December 27, 2022

2022’s energy price convulsions did not start with Ukraine and Western sanctions against Russia. Another Russian neighbor, Kazakhstan, ushered in the year with protests triggered by higher fuel prices. These protests escalated into violence and rioting and sparked a brief Commonwealth Security Treaty Organization intervention, led by Russia.

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Geo-Engineer Most Of The Earth’s Surface? May Not Be A Great Idea!

December 19, 2022

As climate change shifts from a “far-off problem” to “eminent threat” in public perception, governments and billionaire philanthropists scramble to mitigate the impacts of global warming. Geoengineering, the radical transformation of the environment and ecosystem, has been an object of considerable interest. There are two main approaches to man-made climate intervention: Aerosol geoengineering, the spraying of particulates into the atmosphere to partially block the sun, has dominated discussions, while aquatic geoengineering remains comparatively unknown.

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Ukraine Crisis Highlights Security Needs Of Civilian Nuclear Power

December 16, 2022

On November 27-28 a conference in Paris addressed a broad spectrum of challenges humanity is facing. Renowned thinkers, including Nuriel Roubini and Jacob Frenkel, the former Chairman of JP Morgan International, and three central bankers from Iceland, Tunisia, and Armenia, warned about inflation and the growing mountain of debt threatening the global economy. The panel at which this author addressed civilian nuclear security was organized by Dialogue of the Continents, a project of the Astana Club, the brainchild of the Nazarbayev Foundation. The panel was chaired by the veteran nuclear policy expert Ambassador Kairat Abusseitov, the former First Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan.

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China’s Saudi Trip More Than Niceties

December 13, 2022

China has again taken center stage with a string of groundbreaking events that will define its policy course for years to come – both domestically and internationally. The CCP’s 20th Party Congress bequeathed Xi Jinping a historic third term as President, but extreme economic turmoil and COVID protest have resulted in a chink in his political armor.

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Europe’s Energy Outlook Imperiled By Policy Myopia

December 8, 2022

Europe’s winter – likely to be warmer than average – is a welcome relief for a continent that was facing existential energy supply problems a few months ago. Those problems still exist, and many Europeans are suffering due to the avoidable problems associated with overreliance on Russian gas. Thankfully, the window in which Russia could have leveraged its energy control for a favorable political resolution in Ukraine may be getting smaller. Winter is here, and Europe endures, although not without hiccups.

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Peak Oil: The Perennial Prophecy That Went Wrong

November 30, 2022

Peak oil, a hypothetical point when global oil production maximizes and enters an irreversible decline, has been the holy grail of resource economics for decades: prized and just as elusive. Recently, technological development including increased digitization has altered conventional understandings associated with “peak oil”. Like other consumable resources, peak oil is grounded in reality: Oil is a finite natural resource produced over a geological timespan whereas demand continues to climb. However, peak oil could also become a self-fulfilling prophecy, inadvertently misinforming the public.

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Windfall Tax Will Worsen Energy Crisis

November 25, 2022

The midterm elections’ “red trickle" has not curbed some Democrats’ enthusiasm to begin proposing controversial legislation. One of the most divisive and consequential is the proposed windfall tax on energy companies. Proposals from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) have gained the tacit support of President Joe Biden but are unlikely to pass congress. Washington does what it does best: political theater and posturing. However, just because a bad idea isn’t translating into policy, doesn’t mean it’s not worth refuting.

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Carbon Offsetting In The Global South Provides A Moral Hazard – And No Escape

November 18, 2022

The COP27 conference which wraps up in the Egyptian resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh featured dire environmental predictions. Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres warned world leaders we are “on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator”. This has prompted an array of responses of varying efficacy, including carbon offsetting on a global scale. Carbon offsetting is the process of mitigating carbon emissions by creating carbon sinks elsewhere to compensate for emissions that cannot be cut (For example, planting X trees per Y amount of CO2). Locally, carbon offsetting is a vital element of sound environmental policy. Internationally, carbon offsetting takes on dangerous unintended characteristics of a taxpayer-funded boondoggle.

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The Future Of American LNG: Climate Booster And Foreign Policy Tool

November 10, 2022

Liquefied-natural gas (LNG) is a bridge fuel that will help the world reach decarbonization as an energy source that is vastly cleaner than its hydrocarbon competitors, such as diesel and coal. When it comes to power generation, it is still able to employ much of the infrastructure used by other fossil fuels. Lately, it has assumed another role: in Europe, LNG is protecting the continent from a total blackout as Vladimir Putin is contemplating turning off the spigot, while in the United States, it is a gold mine that can potentially turn the country into a future energy superpower.

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Democrats’ And GOP Energy Policies Clash At Midterms

November 7, 2022

President Joe Biden’s recent statements denouncing coal drew fire from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and several western Democrats, upsetting the calculus for many elections out west. In midterms, Biden may have forgotten, all voters have a say, not just the activist base. To make things worse, Biden also “promised” to stop all oil drilling in a Q&A with a voter, which did not get enough media attention despite an available video.

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