Stories by Richard Kauzlarich

Expert Voices

NOPEC bill risks volatile oil prices and blowback from U.S. allies

Rep. Steve Chabot
Rep. Steve Chabot (R–Ohio), sponsor of the House NOPEC bill. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act (NOPEC) — previously introduced during both the Bush and Obama administrations — remains relatively under the radar, but could rattle global oil markets.

The big picture: The bill aims to weaken the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) by removing sovereign immunity from states that cooperate to influence oil production, thereby allowing for antitrust action. If enacted and enforced, it could trigger oil price fluctuations, market instability and new risks to U.S. foreign relations.

Expert Voices

With natural gas on the rise, U.S. market is moving against coal

The stacks from the Gavin coal burning power plant tower over the landscape on February 4, 2012 in Cheshire, Ohio.
The stacks from the Gavin coal power plant in Cheshire, Ohio. Photo: Benjamin Lowy via Getty Images

U.S. coal mines are on the decline: The Energy Information Administration is reporting that the number of active coal mines has fallen to 671 nationwide, from 1,435 in 2008.

The big picture: It's increasingly clear that the market has chosen natural gas over coal as a more affordable, more efficient power source. During the past decade, the primary factor driving the closure of 764 U.S. coal mines — most of them underground — was simply a steady decline in demand.

Expert Voices

Time is running out for the U.S. and China to resolve the trade war

Liu He, Deputy Prime Minister of the People's Republic of China, speaks at the conference 'The Hamburg Summit
Liu He, vice premier of China. Photo: Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images

In the wake of failed talks between U.S. and Chinese trade officials in Beijing 2 weeks ago, the U.S.–China trade relationship continues to founder on uncertainty. The present impasse, which led to the cancellation of this week's preparatory talks in Washington, seems to be over forced technology transfer and structural reform in the Chinese economy.

Why it matters: Absent a way forward in these two areas, a successful outcome is unlikely to result from the meetings still planned for later this month. With time running out before the March 1 expiration date for the tariff ceasefire, the Chinese economy hovers on the verge of full contraction, and U.S. businesses endure increased costs of stalled negotiations, stoking fears of a U.S. recession.