The U.S has used sanctions to influence geopolitics for decades, including measures targeting the oil and gas trade. Most recently, the U.S. and other G7 nations put a price cap on Russian oil as punishment for its invasion of Ukraine.
In the past, sanctions focused on trade embargos—like the grain embargo against the Soviet Union in 1980 and much broader restrictions against Cuba in 1960. Today, they focus on financial impacts. It’s an effective strategy for a country with significant global financial clout like the U.S., but unilateral sanctions can fuel tensions with allies and result in unintended consequences.
So how does the U.S. use financial pressure to address conflicts with other nations? What are the geopolitical and economic impacts of current sanctions? And how could they affect America’s standing in the global order?
Today on the show, Bill talks with Agathe Demarais, global forecasting director of the Economist Intelligence Unit and former economic advisor for the diplomatic corps of the French Treasury.
Agathe is the author of Backfire: How Sanctions Reshape the World Against U.S. Interests. The book explores how sanctions affect multinational companies, governments, and millions of people around the world. It’s part of the Center on Global Energy Policy’s book series published by the Columbia University Press.
Bill speaks with Agathe about what’s in the U.S sanctions arsenal and why they’ve become so popular in the past two decades. They also discuss the use of sanctions as a foreign policy tool in the past, present, and future.
Innovation in clean energy is accelerating. Batteries are getting denser and cheaper; wind turbines are getting bigger and better, and new solar projects often generate the cheapest electricity in the world.
Meanwhile, cutting-edge technologies like hydrogen electrolysis and direct-air carbon capture keep improving.
Most of the world’s major economies – the US, EU, India, Japan, and China – are racing to capture the economic benefits of this tech innovation through deployment incentives and support of domestic manufacturing.
But bottlenecks for critical minerals, supply chain constraints from Covid, and fierce competition among countries are all potential hurdles for this new industrial age.
Where is clean energy innovation advancing the fastest? And how will competition over manufacturing shake out in the decade ahead?
This week host Bill Loveless talks with Timur Gül.
Timur is head of the Energy Technology Policy Division at the International Energy Agency and leads the Energy Technology Perspectives report. The flagship series serves as the world’s first global guidebook for the clean technology industries of the future. The 2023 version was just released earlier this month.
Timur gives us an insider’s look into the report. He and Bill discuss how the key findings fit into the current geopolitical atmosphere of energy markets. They also talk about the major opportunities both globally and domestically for technology innovation.
After years of political pressure, Democrats in Congress narrowly passed an historic climate bill at the end of 2022. Now, it’s time to implement it.
The Departments of Energy, Interior, Treasury, IRS, EPA, and state governments are set to deploy hundreds of billions of dollars for clean energy technologies. That means hiring lots of people into government, structuring new programs, and distributing dollars efficiently.
But the politics aren't over. With a Republican-controlled House, other pressures are emerging. The House Energy Committee has plans to investigate President Biden’s energy and climate actions. The DOE’s Loan Programs Office is under attack for its spending, which was recently increased by the Inflation Reduction Act. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will only have four commissioners instead of five because of objections over re-nominating Chairman Richard Glick.
How will these conflicts play out? And how will the actual work of implementing the Inflation Reduction Act get done?
This week Jennifer Dlouhy and Stephen Mufson join host Bill Loveless to discuss what to expect out of Washington D.C. this year.
Jennifer has been an energy and environment reporter for Bloomberg in Washington, D.C. since 2015. She has more than fifteen years of experience covering energy policy.
Stephen covers the business of climate change for the Washington Post. In his 30 years at the Post, he’s covered economic policy, China, diplomacy, energy and the White House.
With seemingly low possibilities to pass major climate and energy legislation, Bill, Jennifer, and Stephen discuss what the Biden administration and Republicans could focus on this year. They also talk about the role federal agencies will play.
Clean electrons are vital to the net-zero economy. What about molecules?
There is a global race to expand hydrogen production for industry and heavy transportation – using wind, solar and biomass as a feedstock.
North American countries are taking hydrogen innovation seriously, passing policy to spur innovation. The United States’ Inflation Reduction Act and Canada’s Fall Economic Statement both offer production tax credits for clean hydrogen.
China is the global leader in production. But the country primarily uses coal as a feedstock. To make it clean, they’ll need to invest heavily in renewables and carbon capture technology.
With so much attention now on the industry, will it finally live up to the hype? How have recent developments in geopolitics and policy changed the outlook for the hydrogen industry? And what sectors will it help decarbonize?
This week host Bill Loveless talks with Daryl Wilson, the executive director of the Hydrogen Council.
Before joining the Hydrogen Council in 2020, Daryl served as CEO of Hydrogenics, a fuel cell and electrolysis technologies provider. During his time there, he oversaw the world’s largest new electrolysis project and the world’s first hydrogen powered public train service.
In 2017 the Hydrogen Council released its first report – an outlook through 2050. Bill talks to Daryl about whether that outlook has changed with the recent instability of global energy markets and the war in Ukraine. They also discuss how new policy developments could spur innovation.
Developing countries face the dual challenge of meeting rapidly growing energy demand while also scaling clean energy to avoid dramatic increases in carbon emissions. But financing all of those clean energy projects can be tough.
Emerging and developing economies need clean energy investments. Researchers estimate that they will need anywhere between $1-2 trillion per year for the next 30 years to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Most of that capital will need to come from the private sector. Multilateral development banks are working to fill the gap and catalyze private finance. But they still have to work through unique financial, policy, and technical challenges in emerging and developing economies.
So what are these barriers? And how do we overcome them to mobilize more capital for clean energy projects across the developing world?
This week, we’re re-running host Jason Bordoff’s interview with Mafalda Duarte. Mafalda is the CEO of Climate Investment Funds, one of the most ambitious efforts to finance clean energy projects in developing and middle-income countries.
In September, Jason and Mafalda discussed opportunities for financing the clean energy transition in emerging economies—including an ambitious new effort to phase out coal in parts of Africa and Asia.