National oil companies (NOCs) produce most of the world’s oil and natural gas and bankroll governments across the globe. Although NOCs superficially resemble private-sector companies, they often behave in very different ways. To understand these pivotal state-owned enterprises and the long shadow they cast on world energy markets, the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD) at Stanford University commissioned Oil and Governance: State-owned Enterprises and the World Energy Supply.
India has been famous for arguing that it (and the rest of the developing world) should incur no expense in controlling emissions that cause climate change. The west caused the problem and it should clean it up. That argument is increasingly untenable — both in the fundamental arithmetic of climate change, which is a problem that is impossible to solve without developing country participation, and in the political reality that important western partners will increasingly demand more of India and other developing countries. India’s own public is also demanding more.
India has been famous for arguing that it (and the rest of the developing world) should incur no expense in controlling emissions that cause climate change. The west caused the problem and it should clean it up. That argument is increasingly untenable-both in the fundamental arithmetic of climate change, which is a problem that is impossible to solve without developing country participation, and in the political reality that important western partners will increasingly demand more of India and other developing countries. India's own public is also demanding more.
One effect of the new Obama administration's global charm is that America could be let out of the environmental doghouse. The Obama plan to restart the economy is stuffed full of green incentives, and the new president has earned global cheers for his promise to cut the gases that cause global warming. But hope and change are not easy to implement in Washington, and the first big disappointment is likely to come later this year when the world's governments gather in Copenhagen to replace the aging and ineffective Kyoto treaty.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a promising technology that might allow for significant reductions in CO2 emissions. But at present CCS is very expensive and its performance is highly uncertain at the scale of commercial power plants. Such challenges to deployment, though, are not new to students of technological change. Several successful technologies, including energy technologies, have faced similar challenges as CCS faces now.
Effective strategies for managing the dangers of global climate change are proving very difficult to design and implement. They require governments to undertake a portfolio of costly efforts that yield uncertain benefits far in the future. That portfolio includes tasks such as putting a price on carbon and devising complementary regulations to encourage firms and individuals to reduce their carbon footprint. It includes correcting for the tendency for firms to under-invest in the public good of new technologies and knowledge that will be needed for achieving cost-effective and deep cuts
Effective strategies for managing the dangers of global climate change are proving very difficult to design and implement. They require governments to undertake a portfolio of efforts that are politically challenging because they require large expenditures today for uncertain benefits that accrue far into the future.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is among the technologies with greatest potential leverage to combat climate change. According to the PRISM analysis, a technology assessment performed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), wide deployment of CCS after 2020 in the US power sector alone could reduce emissions by approximately 350 million tonnes of CO2 per year (Mt CO2/yr) by 2030, a conclusion echoed by the McKinsey U.S. Mid-range Greenhouse Gas Abatement Curve 2030.
Natural gas could possibly become a significant portion of the future fuel mix in China. However, there is still great uncertainty surrounding the size of this potential market and therefore its impact on the global gas trade. In order to identify some of the important factors that might drive natural gas consumption in key demand areas in China, we focus on three regions: Beijing, Guangdong, and Shanghai.
New evidence that the climate system may be especially sensitive to the build-up of greenhouse gases and that humans are doing a poor job of controlling their effluent has animated discussions around the possibility of offsetting the human impact on climate through ‘geoengineering'. Nearly all assessments of geoengineering have concluded that the option, while ridden with flaws and unknown side effects, is intriguing because of its low cost and the ability for one or a few nations to geoengineer the planet without cooperation from others.
Like many other large oil importers, the United States stocks massive amounts of crude oil to buffer itself against shocks to the world oil market. But it has been reluctant to use these stocks, even in times of crisis, and has managed them based on an outdated vision of the market. Washington must radically reform its approach and coordinate it with those of the rest of the world.
This study was presented by PESD research fellows Jeremy Carl and Varun Rai and PESD Director David Victor at the conference “The Future of India's Foreign Policy,” hosted by the Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) at the University of Pennsylvania on April 22 and 23, 2008.
As the United States designs its strategy for regulating emissions of greenhouse gases, two central issues have emerged. One is how to limit the cost of compliance while still maintaining environmental integrity. The other is how to "engage" developing countries in serious efforts to limit emissions.
PESD has concluded a two year collaborative study on the Indian natural gas market with the Indian Institute of Management - Ahmedabad. The study explores gas demand to the year 2025 in the electricity sector under a range of different policy and economic scenarios.
The study concludes that coal is likely to remain the dominant fuel in the power sector, but opportunities exist for gas in reducing regional air pollution and providing peaking power.
Stanford Law School Professor and director of the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, David Victor, authors the book chapter "Fragmented carbon markets and reluctant nations: implications for the design of effective architectures" in the recently published book by the Belfer Center at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard.
PESD collaborators David Victor and Danny Cullenward published a new piece in Scientific American on lessons learned from efforts to build institutions to control emissions of greenhouse gases. Their study looks especially closely at the EU experience and applies some lessons to the budding US regulatory system.
Published in the December issue of the magazine, along with a longer and more detailed essay online.
Over the last fifteen years the world's largest developing countries have initiated market reforms in their electric power sectors from generation to distribution. This book evaluates the experiences of five of those countries - Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa - as they have shifted from state-dominated systems to schemes allowing for a larger private sector role.
The historical process of rural electrification in China can be divided into three stages. The first stage lasted from 1950 until the end of 1970s, when policies of economic reform and liberalization were introduced. Rural electrification was slow, yet impressive progress was made under strict central planning. The second stage encompasses the last two decades of the 20th century, during which time rural industrialization proceeded full force, with investment mainly from local rather than central government.
By most estimates, global consumption of natural gas - a cleaner-burning alternative to coal and oil - will double by 2030. However, in North America, Europe, China, and South and East Asia, which are the areas of highest-expected demand, the projected consumption of gas is expected to far outstrip indigenous supplies. Delivering gas from the world's major reserves to the future demand centres will require a major expansion of inter-regional, cross-border gas transport infrastructures.
The South African government is introducing a poverty-reduction policy that will supply households with a monthly 50 kWh free basic electricity (FBE) subsidy. We show that FBE distorts the energy choices of poor households by encouraging them to cook with electricity, whereas alternatives such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) can deliver a similar cooking service at a much lower cost to society.
National Security Consequences of U.S. Oil Dependency, a report by the Council on Foreign Relations Independent Task Force on Energy, concludes that the “lack of sustained attention to energy issues is undercutting U.S. foreign policy and U.S. national security.” The report goes on to examine how America’s dependence on imported oil—which currently comprises 60 percent of consumption— increasingly puts it into competition with other energy importers, notably the rapidly growing economies of China and India.