Op-Eds & Articles

Article

Ensuring Tesla Doesn't Crowd Out the Batteries of the Future

Author: Varun Sivaram
Forbes

Tesla is planning to scale up production of its lithium-ion batteries, which today power electric vehicles but tomorrow could back up the electricity grid, by building a massive “Gigafactory” in Nevada. Varun Sivaram argues that while positive in the short run, Tesla’s mediocre battery could crowd out more promising, advanced battery technologies in the long run, impeding long-term progress on climate change.

See more in Global; Renewable Energy

Article

Why Moore's Law Doesn't Apply to Clean Energy Technologies

Author: Varun Sivaram
Greentech Media

For fifty years, Moore’s Law has governed the startling pace of innovation in the computer chip industry. That Moore’s Law is an extraordinary phenomenon, unique to a single industry, is often forgotten by clean energy commentators who misappropriate it for predicting the progress of technologies like solar panels and batteries. Varun Sivaram argues that this sort of analogy is misleading, and that the clean energy sector should aspire to Moore-esque advances.

See more in Global; Renewable Energy; Clean Technology

Op-Ed

Congress Shouldn't Cut Military Research on Climate Change

Author: Varun Sivaram
The Hill

The new House budget sets a deadline of October 1 to “cut waste, eliminate redundancies and end the abuse or misuse of taxpayer dollars,” and it specifically targets the Department of Defense (DOD) for spending “part of their budget studying climate change.” Varun Sivaram highlights how the military’s broad portfolio of climate change adaptation efforts should not be considered redundant or wasteful because it bolsters American national security interests.

See more in United States; Climate Change; Budget, Debt, and Deficits

Op-Ed

The Austerity Wars: Debunking Paul Krugman

Author: Benn Steil
Forbes Online

Benn Steil’s new Forbes op-ed examines Paul Krugman's data analysis purporting to document definitively that "austerity," defined by declines in real government purchases, damaged growth between 2010 and 2013. He shows that this finding collapses entirely when he excludes countries without independent monetary policies, such as those in the Eurozone. For countries with independent monetary policies, changes in real government purchases had no effect on growth.

See more in Global; Monetary Policy

Op-Ed

"Do India's Renewable Energy Targets Make Sense?"

Author: Varun Sivaram
CFR Blog: Energy, Security, and Climate

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government recently set a target of 100 GW of solar panels in India by 2022, a target that would leapfrog India over all developed countries. Varun Sivaram critically examines how realistic the Modi Government’s ambition is for India to become the “renewable energy capital of the world.”

See more in India; Renewable Energy

Article

Weekend Reader: 'Market Madness: A Century of Oil Panics, Crises, and Crashes'

Author: Blake Clayton
The National Memo

In Market Madness: A Century of Oil Panics, Crises, and Crashes, stock analyst Blake C. Clayton tempers the craze surrounding oil exhaustion through a combination of historical investigation and sober, persuasive analysis. His book is a lucid, credible riposte to apocalyptic ravings about “peak oil.” Clayton examines how such panics have persisted through the decades, all unfounded, yet devastating to the market. Market Madness enjoins consumers, policymakers, and brokers to abstain from hysteria and remain informed about what the future of energy truly holds.

See more in Global; Oil

Op-Ed

Why the Oil Price Drop Matters

Author: Michael A. Levi
World Economic Forum

After three years of unusual stability around $100 a barrel, oil prices fell steeply in the second half of 2014, dropping from $115 a barrel in June to around $60 by December. With oil critical to national economies, international security and climate change, what does the apparent new world of oil mean?

See more in Global; Oil

Op-Ed

How the Fed Flubbed It

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
The Atlantic

CFR Senior Fellow Sebastian Mallaby reviews economic historian Barry Eichengreen's newest book Hall of Mirrors, which argues that history should have guided U.S. and European central bankers toward better decisions during the 2008 financial crisis.

See more in United States; Financial Crises

Op-Ed

Europe’s Dodgy Bank Stress Tests

Authors: Benn Steil and Dinah Walker
Wall Street Journal

Benn Steil and Dinah Walker analyze the market reaction to the publication of the European Central Bank's long-awaited bank stress test results. The ECB's coddling of stress-tested banks — through the use of inflated inflation estimates and generous treatment of tax offsets against future profits which may never arise — precipitated a sell-off of bank stocks in a period when broad European indexes were up significantly. Unlike with the successful 2009 U.S. stress tests, there is no credible backstop of public funds available for Eurozone bank recapitalization, which would account for the ECB's reluctance to draw attention to the sector's undercapitalization.

 

See more in Europe; Banks and Banking

Op-Ed

Why the World Missed the Oil Price Crash

Author: Michael A. Levi
The Washington Post

The recent oil price crash came as a surprise to many observers due to several critical misconceptions about oil markets, writes Michael Levi. As for prices going forward, “only the reckless would bet with any confidence on one particular outcome.”

See more in Global; Oil

Op-Ed

Should the U.S. Take Unilateral Action on Climate Policy?

Authors: Michael A. Levi and Andrew P. Morriss
Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal asks Michael Levi and Andrew P. Morriss whether the U.S. should act unilaterally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Levi answers “yes,” arguing that cutting greenhouse gas emissions now would enhance public health and the international credibility of the United States, and that reasonable action now would reduce long-term costs.

See more in United States; Environmental Policy