Publications

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In global discussions over climate change and the policy interventions needed to address it, the role of land use – including forests – is often overlooked. Given its unique role as both a potential source of emissions – as well as storage – for carbon, the land use sector may play a crucial role in the world’s success or failure in avoiding dangerous levels of climate change over this century. Nowhere is the pivotal role of land use more apparent than in tropical forests, which have gone from serving as sinks for global carbon emissions to being a source of them amid rampant deforestation. Southeast Asia has witnessed some of the world’s most significant tropical deforestation over the past several decades, and is currently a significant contributor to the roughly eight percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions that tropical deforestation represents.

In a new paper, “Does Money Grow on Trees?: Restoration Financing in Southeast Asia,” authors Prajwal Baral, Mikkel Larsen, and Matthew Archer provide a compelling analysis of the current state of tropical deforestation in Southeast Asia, including its drivers, extant efforts to mitigate it, barriers to effective reforestation finance, and possible new policy and market tools that could finally tip economic incentives towards reforestation rather than deforestation.
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There have been many interpretations regarding the exact nature of China’s obligations in reducing emissions under the 2015 Paris Agreement. The e is complicated by the inherent difficulties of implementing climate policies across a vast region where policy execution requires cooperation and coordination among offices of the Chinese central government, its diverse subnational governments, and many other stakeholders.

In his paper, “From Paris to Beijing: Implementing the Paris Agreement,” Craig A. Hart identifies the disparate national and local government offices that have varied roles in setting emissions targets in order to provide context for the challenges that China faces in fulfilling its climate commitments. Finally, Hart portrays the nongovernmental organizations—both entrepreneurs as well as local environmental activists—that are also advocating on climate policy issues. Hart’s analysis makes the case for greater transparency at all levels of government, the elimination of subsidies—with the exception of low-carbon energy and technology, the alignment of climate policy with China’s trade stance, and inclusion of the Chinese public on climate policy debates.
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Demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) has increased in recent years, as it has become increasingly available, affordable, and more environmentally sustainable than coal and crude oil. While Asian markets have become key importers of LNG, piping LNG to many countries in East Asia has presented great difficulties that have required, instead, transport by sea.

Jean-Francois Seznec’s paper, “Meeting Asian Energy Demand,” explores the many ways in which demand for LNG has had an impact on shipping routes as well as trade issues between the suppliers and importers of natural gas. Seznec presents the story of LNG transport against the backdrop of geopolitical tensions and diplomatic relations. Finally, Seznec evaluates countries that may soon come online as global suppliers of LNG, and assesses the political implications of countries in Africa, as well as Canada and Israel joining the ranks of exporters of natural gas.
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Most consumers in the United States are familiar with the advances in the electrification of cars and, perhaps to a lesser extent, with innovations in automotive biofuel. However, the importance of powering the aviation sector (both military and commercial) through sustainable fuels cannot be overstated. David Hitchcock’s paper, “Ready for Takeoff? Aviation Biofuels Past, Present, and Future,” provides a keen look at the history of biofuels, current uses of biofuel, and investments in research and development that will yield future dividends.

Hitchcock explains the context of US policy on biofuels, anchored in the revamped Renewable Fuel Standard as part of the 2007 Energy Policy Act, and also examines the interplay between federal and state legislation, using the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard as a case study. Finally, Hitchcock provides an overview of some of the most exciting research in the field, highlighting the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium and its innovations in producing biofuel through aquaculture.
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As oil has faced increasing competition from other energy sources—from natural gas to renewables, many observers are questioning the future of oil demand. Against this backdrop of uncertainty, a number of sovereign wealth funds—which had originally been created as holders of oil wealth, now have mandates that include economic diversification.

In her report, “Sovereign Investors: A Means for Economic Diversification?” Bina Hussein provides case studies of four sovereign wealth funds: the Kuwait Investment Authority, the UAE’s Mubadala Investment Company, the Qatar Investment Authority, and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. As an analytic counterpoint, Hussein also examines the case of Singapore’s Temasek. Throughout, Hussein argues for transparency metrics and measures in governance that will help sovereign investors build partnerships in a wide range of industries, bolstering countries’ efforts to move beyond reliance on oil.
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Over the last ten years, the United States has become the world’s leading producer of oil and gas, going from energy import dependence to energy dominance. This shift is due to the ability to produce from shale plays, a story which started in Texas and grew to have global ramifications. In a new report, The Future of Shale: The US Story and Its Implications, Global Energy Center Senior Fellow Ellen Scholl looks at the factors which enabled the rise of oil and gas production from shale deposits, focusing on the developments which have transpired in Texas.

This Global Energy Center report examines the Texas experience to draw lessons learned for countries hoping to utilize their shale resource potential and implications for global energy markets and geopolitics. The report concludes that the US case illustrates the challenges of operating in both a rural and an urban environment, underscores the unique advantages of the enabling ecosystem in the country, and demonstrates the importance of size and scale.
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As energy markets and technologies rapidly change, international oil companies (IOCs) are facing a set of interconnected challenges that will fundamentally affect their business models. From changes in the supply and demand picture, to shifts in how energy is produced and consumed, to public pressure to decrease greenhouse gas footprints, companies have a wide range of issues to consider as they decide how to prepare for an unpredictable future. In a new issue brief, “Navigating the Energy Transition: International Oil Company Diversification Strategies,” Global Energy Center Senior Fellow David Koranyi provides a macro picture of select IOC’s strategic (re)thinking and explores some of the strategies IOCs have undertaken to diversify their portfolios and prepare for the unfolding energy transition.

IOCs have diverging views on many of the issues at hand and have chosen to address the energy transition in different ways, so which strategies will ultimately be successful? Only time will tell which companies will benefit from the current energy transition and which ones will struggle to cope with the disruptions to come, and to what extent the oil industry can play a constructive role in developing a new, more climate friendly energy system for the twenty-first century.
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In a new report, Three Pipelines and the Three Seas: BRUA, TAP, the IAP and Gasification in Southeast Europe, Global Energy Center Fellow John Roberts takes a comprehensive look at the state of gas infrastructure and interconnections throughout southeast Europe.

Integration in the region, which includes countries that were formerly members of the Warsaw Pact, is crucially important not just for economic development and the further integration of the European gas market, but also as a bulwark against reliance on Russian gas supplies. Interconnection offers options and liquidity—crucial for competition and energy security.
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In “Climate Leadership in Uncertain Times,” authors Joshua Busby and Nigel Purvis argue that international climate cooperation continues to have promise and potential, even in the current political climate. The authors lay out a comprehensive view of climate leadership, examining climate policy in the United States under President Trump, the potential for climate leadership around the world, best practices for pursuing change, and areas to target for effective cooperation and maximum impact.
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In a new report, Decarbonization and Peak Oil Demand: The Role of Policy in the Transportation Sector, Robert Johnston, chief executive officer of the Eurasia Group and senior fellow with the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, and Hilary Novik Sandberg, Eurasia Group Global Energy & Natural Resources analyst, examine the role of government policy in the transportation sector amidst international efforts to reduce carbon emissions and peak oil demand concerns. The report specifically focuses on the numerous policies and technological developments that have already been adopted or could be developed to aid the decarbonization of the transportation sector, as well as the reforms necessary to their widespread adoption.


    

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