EnergySource

The 2014 oil price collapse sent shockwaves across the oil industry and put economies from North Dakota to Nigeria on notice that $100 oil is not a sure thing. The economy of Texas, however, fared far better during the years of low prices than many experienced oil watchers predicted. Its relative resilience, explained in part by a recent paper from the Dallas Fed, provides a good lesson for countries, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, working on ambitious diversification plans to better weather the regular downturns in commodities markets and prepare for a future in which oil demand is uncertain. Unfortunately, the paper also suggests just how challenging real diversification for these countries will be.

By 2014, the US shale boom was in full force and Texas was one of its epicenters, accounting for sixty percent of new US reserves and nearly forty percent of total US production. Oil’s percentage of the state economy was only slightly smaller in 2014 as compared to 1986, when an oil price drop sent the Texas economy into a tailspin. As the price collapse of the second half 2014 started to sink in, some economists predicted the worst. In December 2014, JPMorgan Chief Economist Michael Feroli argued, "We think Texas will, at the least, have a rough 2015 ahead, and is at risk of slipping into a regional recession." 

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Members of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) have a big decision to make.

SPD party members have until March 2 to vote on whether their party should participate in a coalition government with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel. The vote puts SPD party members in a difficult position—endorse a coalition many of them oppose in the interest of stability or withhold support and face potential uncertainty—and this has caused disarray in the party, on the heels of its worst election results in the post-war period.

The choice will likely be the deciding factor in an almost six-month journey to form a new government following elections in September. The deal to form another so-called “Grand Coalition” between the CDU and SPD was reached after negotiations between the CDU, the Green Party, and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) to form a “Jamaica Coalition” collapsed in the fall, facing an impasse on several issues, including migration.

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The 2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment, released on February 13, includes climate change among the identified threats to global stability. While many have pointed to the gap between this assessment and the rhetoric of US President Donald J. Trump—and the noticeable absence of climate change from his administration’s 2017 National Security Strategy—the worldwide threat assessment underscores a continuity in the identification of climate change as a security challenge across broad swaths of the US government. However, the mention of climate change as a threat is less criticism directed at the White House than reiteration of a consistent theme found in past Worldwide Threat Assessments.   

Climate change has been included in the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s assessments, which began in 2006, for many years. Climate change was first included in the 2009 Worldwide Threat Assessment, and the language in the 2018 assessment about the impact on food, energy, and water resources, echoes similar themes. 

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US President Donald J. Trump delivered his first State of the Union in Washington on January 30, 2018.

Read the address here.

Trump touched on a diverse set of topics. We asked our analysts their thoughts on what the president had to say. Here is their take:

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This article is part of a series that reflects on the first year of the Trump administration. 

In the first year of his administration, US President Donald J. Trump pursued what he called an “America First” energy strategy, seeking to maximize domestic production of oil and gas resources by rolling back regulations, lifting restrictions, and opening additional land up for development.

What was US policy prior to Trump? In the closing days of his administration, former US President Barack Obama announced what was intended to be a permanent ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in the Arctic. Given the fragility of Arctic ecosystems and the operational risks of drilling in such a harsh environment, he withdrew the Chukchi Sea and most of the Beaufort Sea from oil and gas leasing, exploration, and development.

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This article is part of a series that reflects on the first year of the Trump administration.

Despite the fanfare surrounding US President Donald J. Trump’s June 1, 2017, announcement that he was pulling the United States out of the Paris Agreement there is a drawn-out legal process for withdrawing from the pact.

What was US policy prior to Trump? In 2015, heads of state from around the world gathered in Paris to finalize a non-binding, bottom-up climate change accord, the Paris Agreement. The agreement, which entered into force in 2016, now includes every country in the world, and is most notable for being the first climate pact to require all countries—including major emerging economies such as China and India—to monitor and report their greenhouse gas emissions levels, and to put forth plans for reducing these emissions. Targets and reporting are mandated, but compliance with these targets—as well as the policies put in place to achieve them—is not legally binding.

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