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Describing energy security as “tantamount to national security,” US Energy Secretary Rick Perry urged Europe to reduce its dependence on Russian gas and diversify its energy sources.

Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas “is truly a cause for concern,” Perry said in remarks at the closing session of the Three Seas Initiative’s Business Forum in Bucharest on September 18.

Perry also affirmed US President Donald J. Trump’s opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will deliver gas from Russia across the Baltic Sea to Germany and Western Europe. Supported by Berlin, Nord Stream 2 received an endorsement from Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen at the first day of the Three Seas summit on September 17. Central European countries and the United States oppose the project.
US President Donald J. Trump on September 12 issued a new executive order (EO) authorizing sanctions in response to interference in US elections, likely as an attempt to stave off two bipartisan bills circulating in the Senate that would mandate significant sanctions against Russia. The EO is a mixed bag; it directs cabinet officials to produce reports on interference following every US federal election—a good step toward showing seriousness—but the sanctions in the EO do not substantially change the status quo, especially from the perspective of providing an effective deterrent to Russian aggression. 
Very little is likely to actually happen immediately on May 8 if US President Donald J. Trump does not renew sanctions waivers for Iran.

Indeed, there is only one waiver scheduled for renewal by a May 12 deadline. That provision is Section 1245 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Washington has been replete with pre-planned symbolism, well-orchestrated photo ops, and abundant re-affirmations of the bonds between France and the United States. In terms of substance, however, Macron saved his best for last, calling on US President Donald J. Trump to step up to the plate and act on climate change.

In a long, rousing speech before a joint meeting of US Congress, Macron touched on a wide variety of issues, and consistently underscored the need for the United States to have an active role in creating a “new breed of multilateralism” fit for modern challenges.
An increase in gas prices in the United States may have pushed US President Donald J. Trump to criticize the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in a tweet on April 20.

“Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!” Trump tweeted as OPEC and non-OPEC members met in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to assess their agreement to curtail production.

The tweet comes as the US benchmark for oil prices, WTI, is close to $69 per barrel, while the international benchmark Brent exceeded $73 per barrel.
Germany may have gained a grand coalition this week, but it lost one of the champions of its clean energy transition—the Energiewende—with the resignation of former State Secretary for Energy Rainer Baake.

The Grand Coalition between Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Social Democratic Party  (SPD) was approved by the SPD voters by a margin of 64 to 34 percent on March 4. While this enabled the formation of a new government, after six months of waiting for a governing coalition to be formed, it also spelled the end of Baake’s four-year tenure because he is a member of the Green Party, not included in the coalition. The now-former state secretary—often referred to as Mr. Energiewende—submitted his letter of resignation, calling the new governing coalition’s energy and climate aims, or lack thereof, a “bitter disappointment.”

In his letter to the incoming Altmaier, Baake expressed disappointment with the absence of climate goals in the coalition agreement, based on the decision by CDU and SPD negotiators to essentially drop Germany’s 2020 emissions reduction goals, which the country is widely expected to miss.
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.
China’s new emissions trading scheme (ETS) may set the country on a path to achieving its goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, but concerns regarding effective emissions cuts have raised questions about the efficacy of the new policy.

In December of 2017, China launched its national greenhouse gas emissions trading market, creating the world's largest carbon market. While the highly anticipated policy announcement has been met with excitement, the Chinese government has yet to clarify fundamental questions regarding the market’s operation, the details of which will determine whether the policy is a real driver to curb emissions or merely a public relations maneuver.
Presidential elections in the Republic of Cyprus, the southern Greek side of the divided island, on January 28 could provide an opportunity to restart reunification talks that collapsed last year. The very real prospect of energy cooperation should serve as a catalyst for those talks.

The two sides have missed past opportunities to come to a political understanding based on mutual energy needs. They must not do so again.


    

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