Foreign Policy Blogs

Energy

Lithuania Working Towards Energy Independence

Lithuania Working Towards Energy Independence

  Two decades after achieving independence from the Soviet Union, Lithuania is still struggling to achieve energy independence. It appears to have taken some significant steps in that direction recently. First, it managed to get the foreign shareholders of Lietuvos Dujos, a Lithuanian natural gas company, to agree to divide the utility into three separate […]

read more

“The Future of Energy” Will Entail Higher Prices

“The Future of Energy” Will Entail Higher Prices

  Today the Foreign Policy Association hosted a conference on “The Future of Energy“. I had the pleasure of attending and, given that I am writing on energy, I also have some interesting insights to share. Especially interesting was the panel discussion “The Energy Picture, Redrawn.” The key insight is that energy is crucial for […]

read more

Nabucco in Limbo – “Götterdämmerung“ on the Horizon

Nabucco in Limbo – “Götterdämmerung“ on the Horizon

The European Nabucco pipeline project was first discussed in 2002 as a means of bringing the energy riches from the Caspian Sea Basin region and possibly the Middle East to the heart of Europe via a new southern corridor (via Turkey) that would bypass Russia. The opera this project was named after tells the biblical […]

read more

Japan Shuts Down Last Nuclear Reactor

Japan Shuts Down Last Nuclear Reactor

For the first time since 1970, not a single electron on the Japanese power grid comes from fission reactors. On Saturday, May 5, 2012, engineers began inserting control rods to bring the fission process to an end at the third and final Tomari reactor. Until last year’s earthquake, tsunami and reactor meltdown, Japan got 30% […]

read more

Germany on Target for 100% Renewable Electricity Supply by 2050

Germany on Target for 100% Renewable Electricity Supply by 2050

Jochen Flasbarth, President of Umwelt Bundes Amt (UBA – Germany’s central federal authority on environmental matters), was in New York last week, where he discussed, among other things, Germany’s efforts to create a national electric supply that relies completely on renewable energy. Germany’s goal is to reduce its overall greenhouse gas emissions by 80-90% by the […]

read more

U.S. Coal Exports and Carbon Dioxide Emissions

U.S. Coal Exports and Carbon Dioxide Emissions

U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) data – analyzed by AP – show that coal exports topped 107 million tons of fuel worth almost $16 billion in 2011 due to stronger overseas demand especially from Asia, Bloomberg reported recently. This is the highest level in 21 years and more than double the export volume from 2006. […]

read more

Outline for Japan’s new Post-Fukushima Power Generation Mix?

Outline for Japan’s new Post-Fukushima Power Generation Mix?

Nikkei.com and Dow Jones Newswires reported referring to a press conference on Thursday by Japan’s government spokesman Mr. Fujimura that four Cabinet ministers in charge of deciding whether to restart the country’s idled nuclear plants will meet to discuss putting reactors at the Oi plant in western Japan (Fukui prefecture) back online. These four ministers […]

read more

Lithuania, Russia Tense Over Natural Gas Law

Lithuania, Russia Tense Over Natural Gas Law

Two decades ago, the Baltic States became politically independent from Moscow. Their energy independence has yet to occur. In Lithuania, Russia’s Gazprom remains the sole supplier of natural gas to the nation of 3.2 million, Obviously, this gives Russia quite a bit of leverage in Lithuania post-independence – February in Vilnius is much more pleasant […]

read more

Buckle Up: Sky-High Gas Prices on the Horizon

Buckle Up: Sky-High Gas Prices on the Horizon

In his recent article Michael Klare points to an often overlooked cause of higher gas prices in the U.S. – “a fundamental shift in the structure of the oil industry”. In any public discussion the usual explanations for rising gas prices are geopolitical pressures in connection with current tensions in Iran, Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan […]

read more

Fukushima: One Year On

Fukushima: One Year On

A year ago today, a huge earthquake hit Japan, followed by a tsunami that destroyed thousands of lives. It also started a chain of events that caused three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant to meltdown. Here are a few facts that are important to remember as we reconsider nuclear power and how we do […]

read more

China’s New Defense Budget, Energy Security in Asia, and the Potential for Miscalculation

China’s New Defense Budget, Energy Security in Asia, and the Potential for Miscalculation

The Chinese government unveiled its defense budget for 2012 ahead of its annual full session of the National People’s Congress (China’s legislature), detailing an increase in military spending to 670.3 billion yuan (about $106 billion). This boost to military spending is the most recent in a “near-unbroken string of double-digit rises across two decades” and […]

read more

U.S. Humanitarian Intervention in Syria May be Next if…

U.S. Humanitarian Intervention in Syria May be Next if…

Traditionally the deployment of U.S. armed forces into a conflict zone is one of the most difficult and controversial in U.S. foreign policy. In general, it is often stated that vital national interests that are at stake and the potential political risks as well as costs of a deployment of U.S. armed forces are among […]

read more

Is Treating Iran as a “Rational” Actor Pushing Oil Prices Higher?

Is Treating Iran as a “Rational” Actor Pushing Oil Prices Higher?

Over the weekend, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin E. Dempsey commented that at this stage the U.S. did not believe Iran had decided to pursue the development of nuclear weapons per se and that it was a “rational” actor. Obviously, this assessment is based on Iran’s past behavior and I tend not […]

read more

EU Debt Crisis – Iran’s New Bargaining Chip?

EU Debt Crisis – Iran’s New Bargaining Chip?

Iran seems to have found a new and valuable angle to outmaneuver the world community’s – predominantly the West – latest attempt to ‘deal’ with Iran’s gradually progressing nuclear weapons program. The playbook is as follows: If your back is against the wall, it is time to get creative! So, how about targeting the weakest […]

read more

Gazprom Admits to Reducing NatGas Flow to Europe

Gazprom Admits to Reducing NatGas Flow to Europe

The cold snap that has frozen most of Europe solid has created some tensions over Russia’s role as supplier of natural gas to its neighbors. On Friday, a Gazprom official claimed that Ukraine was taking more than its share from the pipeline that runs through its territory. For those who remember the unpleasantness between Moscow […]

read more

americasdiplomats_socialmediaasset