Ellen Scholl

  • Bonn as the Waystation Between Ambition and Implementation

    The climate conference in Bonn has served as an important bellwether of the international communities’ continuing commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions and of the impact of US President Donald J. Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement. 

    As the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP) comes to a close, it is worth noting why this conference was important, what it accomplished, and why Bonn, and the meetings to come, matters.

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  • Bonn and Berlin: COP23 and Coalition Negotiations Face Climate Challenges

    Both the international climate talks this week in the former West German capital of Bonn, and the negotiations over the future composition of the German government continuing this week in Berlin, will focus on the country’s approach to climate policy. While all eyes may be on Bonn, the discussions in Berlin provide a preview, and perhaps a microcosm, of the challenges ahead for global climate efforts.

    The path forward for climate action, the main focus of the twenty-third Conference of the Parties (COP23), is also proving to be a key sticking point in the ongoing negotiations to form a new German governing coalition following elections in September. The discussions in both cities raise questions as to Germany’s role as a global leader in climate policy when strong leadership is needed most.

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  • Scholl in DGAP Journal: Energy Policy in the Trump Era

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  • A High-Ambition Coalition? What Germany’s Elections Could Mean for Climate

    In the German elections on September 24, Germany’s Christian Democrat Union (CDU) emerged once again as the most popular party, securing a fourth term for Chancellor Angela Merkel. While the question of who will lead Germany was answered, the question of which parties will govern the country—and in what coalition—is far from settled. As coalition negotiations between the parties unfold against the backdrop of competing foreign and domestic agendas, the future of German energy and climate policy hangs in the balance.

    Germany’s approach to clean energy on the world stage, namely its support for the Paris Climate Agreement and promotion of the clean energy transition as a foreign policy priority, is unlikely to change in any meaningful way. With strong domestic support for clean energy policy, there is also little doubt that the German energy transition, or...

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  • US Withdraws from Paris as Climate Impacts are Underscored

    On August 4, the administration of US President Donald J. Trump formally notified the United Nations (UN) of its intent to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, while a forthcoming report points to the increasing effects of climate change.

    In providing formal notification, Trump confirmed his June announcement that he would pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord. However, in line with Trump’s desire for a better deal, Washington stipulated that the United States would be willing to re-engage with the terms of the Accord on “terms more favorable to it.”

    This move by the Trump administration raises more questions than it answers. Will the United States play a constructive role at COP23, the UN climate change conference in Bonn this fall, or will it be relegated to the sidelines? How will the rest of the world respond to US participation at COP23 and the 2018 Facilitative...

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  • The Politics of Russia Sanctions

    The Russia sanctions bill passed overwhelmingly by the US House of Representatives on July 25 is a “strong” piece of legislation that makes it clear that the United States must work jointly with its European allies to impose those sanctions, according to Daniel Fried, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    “[The House bill] locks in the sanctions against Russia because of Ukraine; locks them in because of congressional concerns that the Trump administration is going to unilaterally lift them,” said Fried, who served as the State Department’s coordinator for sanctions policy in the Obama administration.

    Fried spoke in a Facebook Live discussion with Ellen Scholl, an associate director in the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, on July 24. The following day, the House approved the sanctions legislation, which targets Russia, Iran, and North Korea, by a 419-3 vote.

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  • Russia Sanctions Legislation and Energy

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  • CEO Series with Meg Gentle

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  • Cyprus and Energy

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  • Trump’s Climate Deal Decision Puts Cloud Over US Credibility

    “America First” went from slogan to reality this week. On June 1, US President Donald J. Trump moved to fulfill a campaign promise to extricate the United States from the Paris climate agreement, a landmark accord designed to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change.

    The decision came just days after European allies, members of the G7, and even the Pope urged Trump to stay in the agreement. They were not alone in their efforts—US companies from GE to Exxon Mobil to Microsoft to Google called on the president to stay in the Paris deal, to no avail.

    This is not the first time that the United States has walked away from a previously-made climate commitment. However, in the years since former President George W....

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