Stories by Robert Johnston

Expert Voices

Town hall could test traction of climate policy in Democratic primary

stack of file folders on a lectern with a microphone
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

At Wednesday night's climate change town hall, top Democratic presidential candidates will be challenged to lay out a climate strategy that is both effective and politically viable.

The big picture: Despite efforts by state governments and the private sector, the U.S. has a long way to go to formulate a coherent and globally credible climate strategy. A dedicated town hall offers Democratic primary voters a chance to scrutinize proposals like the sweeping Green New Deal and it reflects their growing sense of urgency around climate change.

Expert Voices

U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil leave slim margin for future shocks

Mike Pompeo speaking at press conference
Secretary Mike Pompeo at a State Department press conference about the sanctions waivers on April 22. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Global oil prices plunged on Friday, erasing a week of gains after the U.S. said on Monday it would no longer issue waivers for Iranian oil imports. The administration's decision is likely to keep jostling oil markets as the waiver deadline approaches.

The big picture: The U.S. allowed 8 countries to buy Iranian crude and condensate over the past 6 months. The State Department has declined to address whether it will allow a “wind down” period for purchases beyond the May 2 deadline, after which importers would be immediately exposed to sanctions.

Expert Voices

Trump’s Iran strategy collides with oil market realities

oil tankers off the coast of Iran
Ships at Iran's Port of Kharg Island Oil Terminal. Photo: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Trump administration must decide by May 2 whether to allow Iran to continue exporting crude oil — a decision with huge implications for Washington’s Iran strategy and the oil market.

The big picture: Since withdrawing from the nuclear deal last May, the U.S. has steadily ratcheted up economic and political pressure on Iran. The core component of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy is reducing the Islamic Republic's oil exports, which provide provide a third of government revenues.