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Michael A. Levi

David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change

Expertise

Climate change; energy policy; weapons of mass destruction; homeland security; arms control and proliferation; technology and foreign policy; science and technology in the Islamic world.

Programs

Program on Energy Security and Climate Change , Program on Energy and National Security , Program on Science and Technology , Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies

Featured Publications

All Publications

Council Special Report No. 47

The Canadian Oil Sands

Author: Michael A. Levi

The Canadian oil sands present an important challenge to policymakers: they promise energy security benefits but present climate change problems. Michael A. Levi assesses the energy security and climate change effects of the oil sands and makes recommendations for U.S. policymakers within the context of broader bilateral relations with Canada.

See more in Canada; Climate Change; Oil

Teaching Module

Teaching Module: Confronting Climate Change

Author: Michael A. Levi

This module features teaching notes by Michael A. Levi, director of the CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force report, Confronting Climate Change: A Strategy for U.S. Policy, along with other resources to supplement the text. This report lays out a U.S. negotiating proposal for a global climate accord, including what the United States should be willing to offer and what it should expect others to do in order to confront climate change.

See more in Climate Change; Global

Council Special Report No. 39

Deterring State Sponsorship of Nuclear Terrorism

Author: Michael A. Levi

Unlike during the Cold War, the threat of nuclear attack now comes from rogue states that receive their weapons from sovereign nations. In this report, Michael A. Levi outlines how to discourage those nations from giving their nuclear technologies to terrorists, how to prevent accidental transfers, and the role that nuclear attribution plays in contemporary proliferation.

See more in United States; Proliferation; State Sponsors of Terrorism

Task Force Report No. 61

Confronting Climate Change

Against the backdrop of increasing attention to climate change in the presidential campaigns, debate of the Lieberman-Warner climate bill in the Senate, and preparations for this summer's G8 summit, this report recommends an overhaul of U.S. domestic and foreign policy to confront the challenges of climate change.

See more in Climate Change; United States

Current Projects

Past Projects

Program on Deterring a Nuclear Iran

Director: Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change
July 1, 2009—December 31, 2010

Most discussion--in the media, think tanks, the U.S. government, and elsewhere--has focused on how to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons or a nuclear weapons capability. This is not surprising. Like its predecessors and U.S. allies in Western Europe and the Middle East, the Obama administration has said that Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons would be "unacceptable." Yet a real prospect remains that efforts to prevent Iran from going nuclear will fail. Therefore, an examination of the options that the United States has should Tehran develop a weapon is crucial.

CFR's "Deterring a Nuclear Iran" Program focuses on U.S. options for containing a nuclear-armed Iran should that country obtain nuclear weapons. The program is directed by Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair James Lindsay; Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies Elliott Abrams; and David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment Michael Levi. It aims to bring together analysis from numerous experts about whether effective deterrence would be possible, what it would require, and what the regional effects of an Iranian nuclear weapon and American deterrence activities would be.

This program has been made possible by the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Independent Task Force on Climate Change

Staff: Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change
Chairs: George E. Pataki, Counsel, Chadbourne & Parke LLP, and Thomas J. Vilsack, Of Counsel, Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Senior Advisor: David G. Victor, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Science and Technology
July 11, 2007—June 13, 2008

Chaired by former Governor of New York George E. Pataki, counsel at Chadbourne & Parke LLP, and former Governor of Iowa Thomas J. Vilsack, of counsel at Dorsey & Whitney LLP, the Task Force will address U.S. climate change policy with an emphasis on its international dimensions. Michael A. Levi, fellow for science and technology, serves as project director, with David G. Victor, adjunct senior fellow for science and technology and director of the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development at Stanford University, as senior advisor.

The Task Force will examine the economics, science, and politics of climate change, and will propose a comprehensive strategy for addressing the challenges and seizing the possibilities that climate change creates, with special emphasis on those dimensions that explicitly involve foreign policy.

The Task Force held its first meeting in July 2007, under the leadership of Governor Pataki and former Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner, who stepped down from his role as co-chair to pursue a seat in the U.S. Senate. The group aims to produce a report in the spring of 2008.

Council Special Report on Climate Change and National Security

Staff: Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change
Author: Joshua W. Busby
June 2007—October 2007

Connections between climate change and national security are receiving unprecedented attention from policymakers and analysts. In March 2007, Senators Richard Durbin and Chuck Hagel introduced a bill requesting that the National Intelligence Council draft a National Intelligence Estimate to assess the security implications of climate change. In April 2007, the CNA Corporation released a report overseen by retired generals that documents the links between climate and national security. The British government initiated a similar discussion in the United Nations Security Council in the same month.

This Council Special Report (CSR) will move the discussion from broad assessments of the links between climate and security to a plan for action. It will examine whether climate change poses a direct security threat to the United States, and will identify the security assets that will be affected by climate change. Finally, it will outline the policies that the United States should adopt to protect critical infrastructure, and military bases from these effects.

Roundtable on Confronting Nuclear Proliferation

Staff: Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change
March 22, 2007—July 31, 2010

Preventing the spread of nuclear weapons is a key goal of American foreign policy, yet sometimes nonproliferation fails. This series explores ways the United States can prepare to deal with states that, despite our best efforts, acquire nuclear weapons.

Recent Activity from Energy, Security, and Climate

CFR Events

Guest Event ⁄ Washington

DC Fellows' Book Launch Series--By All Means Necessary: How China's Resource Quest is Changing the World

Speakers:

Elizabeth C. Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

James M. Lindsay, Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair, Council on Foreign Relations
February 4, 2014 5:30-6:00 p.m. - Registration
6:00-6:45 p.m. - Meeting
6:45-7:15 p.m. - Reception and Book Signing

This meeting is on the record.

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Guest Event ⁄ New York

CFR Fellows' Book Launch Series--By All Means Necessary: How China's Resource Quest is Changing the World

Speakers:

Elizabeth C. Economy, C.V. Starr Fellow and Director for Asia Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
January 29, 2014 5:30-6:00 p.m. - Reception
6:00-6:45 p.m. - Discussion
6:45-7:15 p.m. - Cocktail Reception and Book Signing

This meeting is on the record.

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Corporate Meeting ⁄ New York

CFR Fellows' Book Launch Series--By All Means Necessary: How China's Resource Quest is Changing the World

Speakers:

Elizabeth C. Economy, C.V. Starr Fellow and Director for Asia Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
January 29, 2014 5:30-6:00 p.m. - Reception
6:00-6:45 p.m. - Discussion
6:45-7:15 p.m. - Cocktail Reception and Book Signing

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

General Meeting ⁄ New York

CEO Speaker Series: The Future of Energy

Panelists:

Christophe de Margerie, Chairman and Chief Executive Office, TOTAL S.A.; Member, CFR Global Board of Advisers, Paolo Scaroni, Chief Executive Officer, Eni; Member, CFR Global Board of Advisors, Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

David M. Rubenstein, Cofounder and Co-Chief Executive Officer, The Carlyle Group; Vice Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations; Chair, CFR Global Board of Advisers
October 7, 2013 12:30-1:00 p.m. - Lunch
1:00-2:00 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

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Corporate Meeting

CEO Speaker Series: The Future of Energy

Panelists:

Christophe de Margerie, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, TOTAL S.A.; Member, CFR Global Board of Advisers, Paolo Scaroni, Chief Executive Officer, Eni; Member, CFR Global Board of Advisors, Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, Council on Foreign Relations, David M. Rubenstein, Cofounder and Co-Chief Executive Officer, The Carlyle Group; Vice Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations; Chair, CFR Global Board of Advisers
October 7, 2013 1:00-2:00 p.m.

This meeting is on the record.

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General Meeting ⁄ New York

CFR 90th Anniversary Series on Renewing America: The Future of Energy

Speakers:

Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, Council on Foreign Relations, William F. Martin, Chairman, Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee, U.S. Department of Energy; Former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy, David Sandalow, Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy

Presider:

Thomas Wallin, Editor in Chief, Energy Intelligence Group
June 8, 2011 5:30-6:00 p.m. - Reception
6:00-7:00 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

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Academic Conference Call

Energy Innovation in Brazil, China, and India: U.S. Policy Implications

Speakers:

Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations, Shannon K. O'Neil, Douglas Dillon Fellow for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Irina A. Faskianos, Vice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations
February 2, 2011

This meeting is on the record.

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Academic Conference Call

Climate Change and Copenhagen

Speaker:

Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Irina A. Faskianos, Vice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations
December 3, 2009

This meeting is not for attribution.

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Conference Panel Session

U.S. Options for Copenhagen

Speakers:

Frank E. Loy, Chair, Board of Directors, PSI, Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, CFR, Daniel M. Price, Senior Partner for Global Issues, Sidley Austin, LLP

Presider:

Juliet Eilperin, National Environment Reporter, Washington Post
November 10, 2009

This meeting is on the record.

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Conference Panel Session

China 2025: Panel Two: China Goes Global

Moderator:

Sheila A. Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Panelists:

Evan A. Feigenbaum, Senior Fellow for East, Central, and South Asia, Council on Foreign Relations, Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations, Adam Segal, Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, David H. Shinn, Adjunct Professor, George Washington University
October 19, 2009

This meeting is on the record.

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Conference Panel Session

The United States and the Future of Global Governance: Tackling Climate Change

Speakers:

Paula J. Dobriansky, Senior International Affairs and Trade Advisor, Baker & Hostetler LLP and former Under Secretary, Democracy and Global Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, Council on Foreign Relations, William John Antholis, Managing Director, The Brookings Institution

Moderator:

Jessica T. Mathews, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
May 7, 2009 - May 8, 2009

This meeting is on the record.

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Conference Panel Session

Symposium on the U.S.-Japan Partnership, Session One: Global Transformations and the U.S.-Japan Partnership

Introductory Speaker:

Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations

Panelists:

Tanaka Akihiko, Professor of International Politics, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies and Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo, Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, and Director, Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations, Sheila A. Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Funabashi Yoichi, Editor-in-Chief, Asahi Shimbun
December 1, 2008

This meeting is not for attribution.

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Symposium

CFR Symposium: The International and the Domestic - Latin America and U.S. Policies and Politics, Session Three

Panelists:

Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, Council on Foreign Relations, David J. Rothkopf, President and CEO, Garten Rothkopf

Moderator:

Steven Mufson, Energy Correspondent, Washington Post
September 12, 2008

This meeting is not for attribution.

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Academic Conference Call

Defending Against Nuclear Terrorism

Speaker:

Michael A. Levi, Fellow for Science and Technology and Director, Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, On Nuclear Terrorism, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Irina A. Faskianos, Vice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations
January 31, 2008

This meeting is not for attribution.

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Guest Event ⁄ New York

On Nuclear Terrorism

Speaker:

Michael A. Levi, Fellow for Science and Technology, Council on Foreign Relations

Introductory Speaker:

Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
November 20, 2007 5:30-7:00 p.m. - Cocktail Reception and Book Signing with informal remarks at 6:00 PM

This meeting is on the record.

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Press/Panels

Radio Interview

WNYC: The Power Surge as Weekend Reading

Joe Nocera will be reading The Power Surge by Michael Levi, an energy expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. "He's a pragmatist. He doesn't buy into the pieties of the right or the pieties of the left. He thinks about practical solutions, what works, what doesn't, what makes sense, and where we're truly headed in terms of energy."

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Bio

Michael A. Levi is the David M. Rubenstein senior fellow for energy and the environment at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and director of the CFR program on energy security and climate change. He is an expert on climate change, energy security, arms control, and nuclear terrorism.

Before joining CFR, Dr. Levi was a nonresident science fellow and a science and technology fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution. Prior to that, he was director of the Federation of American Scientists' Strategic Security Project.

Dr. Levi is author of The Power Surge: Energy, Opportunity, and the Battle for America's Future (Oxford University Press, May 2013), and By All Means Necessary: How China's Resource Quest is Changing the World (with Elizabeth Economy), (Oxford University Press, February 2014). He is also the author of the books On Nuclear Terrorism (Harvard University Press, 2007) and (with Michael O'Hanlon) The Future of Arms Control (Brookings Institution Press, 2005). He was project director for the CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force on climate change, co-chaired by former governors Tom Vilsack and George Pataki. His 2005 monograph with Michael D'Arcy, Untapped Potential: U.S. Science and Technology Cooperation with the Islamic World, was the first comprehensive study of science and technology in the Muslim world. His recent writings include studies of natural gas exports, the Canadian oil sands, and the global politics and economics of clean energy innovation.

Dr. Levi has testified before Congress and presented expert scientific evidence to the National Academy of Sciences on climate change and on nuclear security. His essays have been published in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Nature, and Scientific American, among others. His op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times. Dr. Levi previously wrote a monthly online column on science and security for the New Republic, and served as a technical consultant to the critically acclaimed television drama 24. He currently writes a blog on energy, climate, and nuclear issues.

Dr. Levi holds a BSc (Hons.) in mathematical physics from Queen's University (Kingston) and an MA in physics from Princeton University, where he studied string theory and cosmology. He holds a PhD in war studies from the University of London (King's College), where he was the SSHRC William E. Taylor fellow. He lives in New York.