President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency announced the Clean Power Plan on August 3, 2015. The plan provides a toolkit for states to implement to reduce the carbon emissions from existing fossil-fueled power plants. This plan is an update of the 2014 proposed plan and a step in the larger Climate Change Plan.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Commerce Department reviewed its tariffs on imported Chinese solar panels, originally imposed in 2012 in retaliation against Chinese subsidies and below-market pricing, and opted to maintain the total tariff burden on most panels.
Iran and six nations led by the United States reached a historic agreement on July 14, 2015, that will limit Tehran's nuclear capacity for more than a decade in return for lifting international economic sanctions. Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Philip Gordon assesses the deal's implications for U.S.-Iran relations and Iran's role in the international community.
Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi explore how Chinese demand drive global commodity prices, the broader implications of the Chinese slowdown for the global economy and regional security, and consequences of China’s resource quest for the world’s resource-producing states and industries.
Shale gas is no panacea but, with the right policies to protect communities where gas is produced and to harness the fuel as part of a broader climate strategy, it can play a critical role in confronting global warming, argues Michael A. Levi in a Democracy article.
Authors: Varun Sivaram, Henry J. Snaith, and Samuel D. Stranks Scientific American
An upstart material—perovskite—could finally make solar cells that are cheaper and more efficient than the prevailing silicon technology. Varun Sivaram and co-authors delve into the science behind perovskites and assess the technology’s commercial prospects.
For decades, oil prices have influenced the outlook for alternatives to oil and policies that support those alternatives. Expensive oil makes substitutes more appealing; cheap oil makes the economic case for alternatives that much more difficult. High prices in the 1970s kick-started clean energy, including the first modern electric vehicles, while the oil slump beginning in the 1980s pummeled sources like wind and solar power and undermined the push for more fuel-efficient cars.
Climate talks have largely failed to curb rising temperatures, but bottom-up initiatives featuring subnational actors hold great promise if coordinated effectively. Varun Sivaram and David Livingston argue that California and Germany can “lead from between” to bridge international and subnational climate action.
As China’s global power grows, Beijing is learning that its image matters. For all its economic and military might, the country suffers from a severe shortage of soft power. According to global public opinion surveys, it enjoys a decidedly mixed international image.
Most observers agree that the United States, propelled by its boom in oil and gas production, is becoming increasingly central to global energy. As oil prices have plummeted, American oil producers have taken credit. As U.S. imports have fallen, foreign policy thinkers have suggested that Washington could rely far less on the Middle East.
Climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity today. To avoid catastrophe, we must dramatically reduce the carbon intensity of our modern energy systems, which have set us on a collision course with our planetary boundaries.
Pope Francis released this document on June 18, 2015. The encyclical states that humans have made "irresponsible use" of the Earth, that climate change affects most people living in poverty, and that all must unite to protect the planet.
After decades of stalled or blocked reforms, China’s environmental protection effort may finally be gaining traction. Elizabeth Economy looks at four barometers for gauging the progress of China’s “war on pollution.”
Alyssa Ayres, CFR's senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia, discusses the international and domestic response to the recent earthquakes in Nepal, as part of CFR's Religion and Foreign Policy Conference Call series.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »