International Energy Policy at a Crossroads?

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Since the inauguration of Donald Trump, the United States and Germany have embarked on pathways to quite different energy futures. The U.S. “energy dominance” strategy seeks to ramp up domestic oil, gas, and coal production. The German “Energiewende,” in contrast, is based on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Both countries’ energy strategies have become highly relevant for their international engagement. While the German government promotes sustainable energy in its international energy policy, the U.S. effort to promote access to affordable and reliable energy sources abroad does not take into consideration internationally agreed climate and sustainability goals.

The transatlantic partners, it seems, no longer share common energy policy interests. Their different energy policy approaches have translated into frictions over topics such as the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline or the Paris Climate Agreement. The German government has, however, recently acknowledged the importance of natural gas for the Energiewende, demonstrating its support for the construction of import terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) which would potentially enable U.S. LNG exports to Germany. Could LNG be a new means to draw the transatlantic partners together once again on energy matters despite their diverging energy policy interests? And is there a potential for German-U.S. cooperation on energy matters that extends beyond natural gas?

Sonja Thielges will present her research on the foreign policy implications of (sustainable) energy transitions in the U.S. and Germany and discuss implications for the transatlantic partnership.

Sonja Thielges is an AICGS/DAAD Research Fellow in April and May 2019. In Germany, Sonja is a research associate in the project “Pathways to Sustainable Energy” at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies(IASS) in Potsdam. Sonja’s research interests include the international dimension of the energy transition, foreign energy policy, the G20 energy agenda, as well as U.S. energy and climate policy. Her research has been published in studies, policy papers, online blogs, and academic publications.


1755 Massachusetts Avenue NW
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