Michael A. Levi is the David M. Rubenstein senior fellow for energy and the environment at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, 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.
Energy, Economics, and International Security
Energy has long been intimately connected with the global economy and international relations. But with rapid changes in the energy landscape, the international economy, and world affairs, scholars' and policymakers' understandings of how energy influences the world are increasingly out of date. In 2010, I convened a workshop to identify important research questions in this space, and published a working paperoutlining important areas for investigation. Since then, I've led an effort to answer many of those questions (along with others that have emerged) through a mix of my own research, commissioned papers, and intensive workshops. My own recent work has produced, among other products, books on the future of U.S. energy and Chinese resource strategyand papers on natural gas exports, the influence of oil in international diplomacy, and the potential role of oil taxes in fiscal reform. Commissioned papers have addressed matters ranging from oil dependence in the Chinese military to the impact of falling U.S. oil imports on the current account. Future activities will continue to illuminate and clarify the relationships between energy, economics, and international security, with an eye toward insights that can inform pressing policy decisions.
This project is made possible through the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Climate Change and Foreign Policy
Climate change is the ultimate foreign policy problem: meeting the aggressive emissions-cutting goals agreed to by governments will require strong action from every major economy in the world. Effectively tackling climate change will require sustained dialogue and collaboration between the climate change and foreign policy communities, much as effective Cold War arms control required collaboration between specialists in nuclear weapons and in foreign policy. My activities aim to build these dialogues through two main means. I conduct and publish research on connections between energy production and climate change, in policy and scientificjournals, and convene dialogues that mix energy producers and people who focus on climate change. Since energy production is a critical part of the international security and foreign policy landscape, this is essential to bridging the two worlds. I also host a series of roundtable discussions that expose foreign policy experts to recent developments in the climate change world. My ongoing activities extend both efforts while deepening a two-way dialogue between the climate policy and foreign policy communities.
International Economics and International Security
The world is economically interdependent like at no time since the outbreak of World War I. Friends and rivals alike are enmeshed in economic relationships that inevitably shape—and are shaped by—their broader foreign policy and international security interactions. Security experts, however, often lack sufficient background to understand the consequences of economic developments, while experts on economics and markets are seldom engaged with security issues beyond their strictly economic implications. My colleagues and I at the Center for Geoeconomic Studies seek to narrow this divide. We aim to do this through two primary activities: convening workshops of scholars and practitioners from both sides of the gulf between economics/markets and foreign/security policy thinking, and producing analyses of historical and contemporary policy challenges that present and compare interpretations of those challenges from both the economics and security perspectives. Through these efforts, we hope to promote a more integrated approach to foreign policy and to provide policymakers with resources that allow them to more effectively address global security risks.
This project is made possible through the support of Carnegie Corporation of New York.
China's pursuit of natural resources is restructuring markets, pushing up commodity prices, and transforming resource-rich economies. Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi explore the unrivaled expansion of the Chinese economy and the global effects of its meteoric growth.
A groundbreaking analysis of what the changes in American energy mean for the economy, national security, and the environment, authored by one of America's most prominent experts on energy's role in the world.
Michael A. Levi says natural gas is a good and inexpensive alternative to coal and oil, but it's still a fossil fuel. Keeping in mind that gas is far from a permanent climate solution, delegates meeting in Doha for the UN climate change negotiations "should strengthen their efforts, individually and collectively, to promote innovation and development of cost-effective zero-carbon energy options."
Richard N. Haass and Michael A. Levi say it is in the American interest to pursue a negotiated outcome to the current impasse with Iran because the main alternatives to diplomacy—war or the existence of an Iran with nuclear weapons—will be costly and risky.
Michael A. Levi argues that celebrations by environmental activists over delayed approval of the Keystone XL pipeline are shortsighted, as the tactics and arguments that have won the day are ultimately as likely to retard clean energy development as they are to thwart dirty fuels.
PanelistsChristophe de MargerieChairman and Chief Executive Office, TOTAL S.A.; Member, CFR Global Board of Advisers, Paolo ScaroniChief Executive Officer, Eni; Member, CFR Global Board of Advisors, Michael A. LeviDavid M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, Council on Foreign Relations PresiderDavid M. RubensteinCofounder and Co-Chief Executive Officer, The Carlyle Group; Vice Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations; Chair, CFR Global Board of Advisers
October 7, 201312:30–1:00 p.m. - Lunch 1:00–2:00 p.m. - Meeting
PanelistsChristophe de MargerieChairman and Chief Executive Officer, TOTAL S.A.; Member, CFR Global Board of Advisers, Paolo ScaroniChief Executive Officer, Eni; Member, CFR Global Board of Advisors, Michael A. LeviDavid M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, Council on Foreign Relations, David M. RubensteinCofounder and Co-Chief Executive Officer, The Carlyle Group; Vice Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations; Chair, CFR Global Board of Advisers
CFR 90th Anniversary Series on Renewing America: The Future of Energy
SpeakersMichael A. LeviDavid M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, Council on Foreign Relations, William F. MartinChairman, Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee, U.S. Department of Energy; Former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy, David SandalowAssistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy PresiderThomas WallinEditor in Chief, Energy Intelligence Group
June 8, 20115:30–6:00 p.m. - Reception 6:00–7:00 p.m. - Meeting
Energy Innovation in Brazil, China, and India: U.S. Policy Implications
SpeakersMichael A. LeviDavid 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'NeilDouglas Dillon Fellow for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations PresiderIrina A. FaskianosVice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations
SpeakerMichael A. LeviDavid M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations PresiderIrina A. FaskianosVice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations
SpeakersFrank E. LoyChair, Board of Directors, PSI, Michael A. LeviDavid M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, CFR, Daniel M. PriceSenior Partner for Global Issues, Sidley Austin, LLP PresiderJuliet EilperinNational Environment Reporter, Washington Post
ModeratorSheila A. SmithSenior Fellow for Japan Studies, Council on Foreign Relations PanelistsEvan A. FeigenbaumSenior Fellow for East, Central, and South Asia, Council on Foreign Relations, Michael A. LeviDavid 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 SegalMaurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, David H. ShinnAdjunct Professor, George Washington University
The United States and the Future of Global Governance: Tackling Climate Change
SpeakersPaula J. DobrianskySenior International Affairs and Trade Advisor, Baker & Hostetler LLP and former Under Secretary, Democracy and Global Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Michael A. LeviDavid M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, Council on Foreign Relations, William John AntholisManaging Director, The Brookings Institution ModeratorJessica T. MathewsPresident, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Symposium on the U.S.-Japan Partnership, Session One: Global Transformations and the U.S.-Japan Partnership
Introductory SpeakerRichard N. HaassPresident, Council on Foreign Relations PanelistsTanaka AkihikoProfessor of International Politics, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies and Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo, Michael A. LeviDavid M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, and Director, Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations, Sheila A. SmithSenior Fellow for Japan Studies, Council on Foreign Relations PresiderFunabashi YoichiEditor-in-Chief, Asahi Shimbun
CFR Symposium: The International and the Domestic - Latin America and U.S. Policies and Politics, Session Three
PanelistsMichael A. LeviDavid M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, Council on Foreign Relations, David J. RothkopfPresident and CEO, Garten Rothkopf ModeratorSteven MufsonEnergy Correspondent, Washington Post
Confronting Climate Change: A Strategy for U.S. Policy
ChairsGeorge E. PatakiCounsel, Chadbourne & Parke LLP, Thomas J. VilsackOf Counsel, Dorsey & Whitney LLP SpeakerMichael A. LeviDavid M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and Environment, Council on Foreign Relations PresiderTerry MoranAnchor, Nightline, ABC News
SpeakerMichael A. LeviFellow 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 PresiderIrina A. FaskianosVice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations
Can Coal be Clean? The Promise of Climate Change Technology
SpeakersErnest J. MonizCecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems, Director, MIT Energy Initiative, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rick BoucherMember, U.S. House of Representatives (D-VA) PresiderMichael A. LeviFellow for Science and Technology and Director, Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations Workshop: American Nuclear Energy in a Globalized Economy, Session III: Can Nuclear Energy Go Beyond the Energy Policy Act of 2005?
Introductory SpeakerCharles FergusonFellow for Science and Technology, Council on Foreign Relations PresiderMichael A. LeviFellow for Science and Technology, Council on Foreign Relations SpeakersRuth Greenspan BellDirector, IIDEA, Resources For the Future, Angelina HowardVice President, Nuclear Energy Institute, Daniel RosenblumCo-Director, Carbon Tax Center
June 14, 2007 - June 15, 200711:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m. - June 15, 2007
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."
In The Power Surge, Michael Levi takes readers inside the changes sweeping American energy to find out what they mean for the country and how the United States can harness the new opportunities they create.
By All Means Necessary
In By All Means Necessary, Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi explore the unrivaled expansion of the Chinese economy and the global effects of its meteoric growth.