Comments by Roman Kilisek Subscribe

On Australian-Japanese Coal 'Partnership' and Why Global Coal is Here to Stay


Dear Keith,

The paragraph you refer to actually continues and makes a very important point:

“The Obama administration should have an interest in a thriving and viable domestic coal industry and perhaps consider a ‘Chinese-like’ coal import tax on foreign producers in tandem with the currently pursued policy of spurring a speedy transition to a higher percentage of renewables within the US energy mix. Remember, climate change requires global action and policies should not help other countries to free-ride and reap the benefits of a zero-sum game within the coal export market with severe domestic ramifications for employment in coal producing countries, which have literally chosen to ‘self-destruct’ their coal industry.”

With all due respect, it is nonsense to call one’s energy policy ‘all-of-the-above’ while blatantly attempting to punish one energy sector in particular. A reasonable ‘energy mix’ requires exactly what the word ‘mix’ means; namely, various options and not – in extremis – 100% renewable energy. This can work in small villages in Denmark but cannot be the blueprint for a highly industrialized country where additionally the ‘internet of things’ is about to take over almost every aspect of modern life.

Nonsense is to think of natural gas as ‘clean’ energy and a panacea. This is evidenced by many studies referenced on The EnergyCollective. Nevertheless, in the long term it obviously makes more sense to replace coal to a certain degree with natural gas if we sort out the issues with methane leaks/GHG emissions.

Finally, it is nonsensical to not understand that climate change can only be ‘solved’ with concerted global action in order to prevent any free-riding by nations such as India, China et alia because we share the same atmosphere. Therefore, it is indeed advisable to push renewables in the US. However, it is utter nonsense and borderline un-American to punish one domestic sector and thereby opening up business opportunities for foreign countries, on which we have decided to impose sanctions for various other reasons.
I have called in this article for not hurting ourselves while acknowledging that coal will remain responsible for at least 30% of power generation for decades to come and I have called explicitly not for ignoring climate change. Policies need to be reasonable and commonsensical to benefit the US and global climate at the same time.


October 27, 2014    View Comment    

On In Ukraine Crisis Wake: Geopolitics and a Case for European LNG Import Terminals


Thanks for your note. I consider the BP numbers (June 2014) to be representative. The subsequent chart reflects numbers compiled in February 2014. Moreover, the purpose of that chart was twofold - to show the current general trend and to illustrate where in Europe LNG is non-existent (Europe's Southeastern flank). I should have made this clearer.

August 6, 2014    View Comment    

On Oil Price Leverage Over Russia in Ukraine Crisis

I agree with your overall argument. However, the focus of this article has never been the SPR for exactly the reasons you give. In any event, using the SPR would have only a temporary effect. 

Rather, President Obama’s only source of real leverage vis-à-vis Russian President Putin lies currently in American “stranded” oil. Given surging US oil production, as shown in the article, the US is in an extraordinary strong position which it needs to take advantage of. But instead of focusing on the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) as instrument, President Obama should approach it from the vantage point of the US oil export ban and contemplate an executive order allowing the US to respond quickly to its potential international responsibilities citing national security.

Moreover, just think about what such an announcement by President Obama regarding US oil exports would do to expectations regarding future oil contracts. It will create downward pressure on crude oil prices.  

April 20, 2014    View Comment    

On Tackling Energy Poverty with Renewables?

Thanks for your comment. I actually do share your sentiment. I did not come across a better map with more recent data. Nevertheless, this map accurately pinpoints where energy poverty is still a big problem. Keep in mind, the map is from 2011 and the IEA's definition of energy poverty is broad: "Energy poverty is a lack of access to modern energy services. These services are defined as household access to electricity and clean cooking facilities." Therefore, I also mentioned Brazil's program in order to make clear that it is a dynamic process. What all maps do not show is the rural-urban divide. This is one key underlying factor in all those "red energy poor countries" on the map. Check out this NASA satellite image ( which is admittedly less confusing but points to the same countries. It shows economic activity at night.

April 15, 2014    View Comment