Foreign Policy Blogs

Energy & Environment

Beyond Local Content: Catalyzing Job Creation in Ghana’s Oil Sector

Beyond Local Content: Catalyzing Job Creation in Ghana’s Oil Sector

By Sarah Lawson and Marina Tolchinsky The discovery of oil off Ghana’s coast in 2007 sparked both excitement and concern. While the actual finds were modest in comparison with regional oil powerhouses such as Nigeria and Angola, it was estimated that oil exports could bring $1 billion in gross annual revenues.[1] As ...

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Oil is treasure as African piracy shifts west

Oil is treasure as African piracy shifts west

The Kerala cargo vessel loaded with 60,000 tons of diesel on January 18 was an easy target for pirates lurking in the waters off West Africa. After maritime security firms warned of a tugboat stalking the Kerala off the coast of Angola, the tanker’s communication systems were turned off and ...

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Earth Hour: Celebrating Darkness Sends the Wrong Message

Earth Hour: Celebrating Darkness Sends the Wrong Message

On the evening of Saturday, March 29, people around the world are being asked by campaigners to switch off the lights for an hour to celebrate “Earth Hour”. The question is whether this helps the climate and the challenges it faces around the world. “Global warming is a real problem, but ...

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Smog is enemy #1 in China’s ‘war on pollution’

Smog is enemy #1 in China’s ‘war on pollution’

After an overwhelming majority of China’s urban centers failed to meet environmental standards in 2013, Premier Li Keqiang declared a “war on pollution,” promising to improve the country’s blanketing smog endemic. In his report to parliament on Mar. 5, Premier Li Keqiang said he would fight to eliminate the air pollution ...

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Talking about a revolution. Is shale gas the answer?

Talking about a revolution. Is shale gas the answer?

Ever since Moscow decided to up the ante and invade the Crimean peninsula, shale gas reentered journalist lingo. Many have chipped in the debate, including Speaker of the House John Boehner who has argued that American gas is the sole remedy for Russia’s dominance of the European energy market. ...

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Conflict, Investment and the Burden of Energy: Protests in Venezuela and Ukraine

Conflict, Investment and the Burden of Energy: Protests in Venezuela and Ukraine

There is always a danger in economies that are heavily dependent on one commodity to become states where conflict and power vacuums arise due to the concentration of power in one industry, and that industry having control of a large part of a national economy. External pressures for countries that ...

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In Fukushima’s shadow, Japan sees a nuclear revival

In Fukushima’s shadow, Japan sees a nuclear revival

Following the release of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s new energy plan, nuclear reactors are set to restart across the island nation three years after the Fukushima disaster, leaving many fearing another radioactive plume. Citing economic and environmental concerns, Abe unveiled his government’s 20-year Basic Energy Plan on February 25, ...

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Can Mozambique be the Next LNG Hotbed?

Can Mozambique be the Next LNG Hotbed?

Like many other African countries, Mozambique has enormous potential, but there are many gaps to fill. Led by its natural resources, the economy has been booming with real GDP growth reaching 7.4 percent in 2012, seven percent in 2013 and is predicted to reach 8.5 percent between 2014–16, according to ...

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How Mexico’s reforms open new doors for reaching clean energy and climate goals

How Mexico’s reforms open new doors for reaching clean energy and climate goals

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s major policy reform proposals, on everything from new taxes on soda pop to amending the 70-year constitutional prohibition on foreign investment in Mexico’s petroleum sector, have swept through that nation’s congress with breathtaking speed.

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Oil companies push ahead with plans in Russia and Canada while sidelined in the U.S.

Oil companies push ahead with plans in Russia and Canada while sidelined in the U.S.

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that more crude oil is being sent by sea and inland waterways as a supplement to railways and pipelines. Since 2010, the amount of oil shipped on barges from the Midwest down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico has increased ...

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Climate Change: Fragile States Spillage

Climate Change:  Fragile States Spillage

  “The physical features of the Somali country are much the same wherever the traveler may land. Bereft of all vegetation but a few scattered thorn- bushes bristling like hedgehogs, it is destitute of wealth and forbidding in aspect. The fine sand is driven by rainless storms into innumerable drifts. All ...

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Gasoline prices and energy security at stake in U.S. oil export debate

Gasoline prices and energy security at stake in U.S. oil export debate

One of the year’s most urgent policy questions—whether or not the U.S. should export oil–is finally garnering attention in Washington as both sides of the U.S. oil export debate make their case. The United States began safeguarding domestically produced oil after the 1973 Arab oil embargo, which caused supply disruptions and ...

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Europe Debates its Future Climate Targets

Europe Debates its Future Climate Targets

The countries of the European Union tend to be viewed as the main advocates at the national level for developing a more comprehensive and binding global plan to tackle climate change. As the EU pushes forward, other nations have been stuck in neutral or have been retrenching. With the European ...

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To close its energy gap, Africa should think clean

To close its energy gap, Africa should think clean

For a continent determined to close its energy gap, Africa is poised to turn away from fossil fuel production and potentially bring clean energy to nearly 600 million people lacking electricity. Vaccines unable to be stored without refrigeration, students closing their books after dark, and smoke-filled homes thanks to wood or ...

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Untapped potential waits in Mexican oil fields

Untapped potential waits in Mexican oil fields

When Mexico passed legislation last month lifting a 75-year ban on foreign energy investors, oil companies from around the world awoke to the untapped potential of a new market now up for grabs. President Enrique Peña Nieto kicked off his six-year term just over a year ago, promising economic improvement ...

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