Revitalizing U.S. Energy Policy for the 21st Century

May 17, 2024 Topic: Security Region: Americas Tags: LNGNuclear EnergyClean EnergyRussia

Revitalizing U.S. Energy Policy for the 21st Century

Achieving a green future is a worthy and necessary aspirational goal. However, realizing aspirations requires sound strategy and a willingness to learn and reformulate policies and plans in the future.


Russia is doing all it can to ensure that the United States abdicates its role as an energy security guarantor to its allies. Moscow is actively spreading claims without scientific basis to discourage further U.S. energy production and exports. Common Kremlin narratives include overstating shale’s negative impact on the environment and fearmongering about nuclear energy.

President Biden’s decision has impacts that extend far beyond Europe. It affects U.S. allies in the Asia Pacific—Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea—whose energy needs are heavily dependent on LNG imports, accounting for 35 percent, 29.9 percent, and 26.8 percent of their respective energy mixes.


The United States needs to worry about more than Russian LNG exports. Qatar has announced an 85 percent expansion of its LNG exporting capacity. If American LNG isn’t available, Qatar’s will be.

A policy of LNG pauses and freezes will not replace American LNG with green energy. It will replace American LNG with Qatari LNG, Russian LNG, Algerian LNG, etc. Ukraine is fighting for its life, while our European allies cannot do without the LNG we promised them. South Korea and Japan need American LNG to stand up against China. If we don’t deliver, they will be forced to turn elsewhere. LNG is the bridge fuel to the future, but if that bridge isn’t standing, we won’t be able to make it to the other side of the energy transition.

The United States must manage the energy transition in gradual, consumer-friendly, and business-friendly ways. The American energy industry needs to expand electricity generation to meet the growing demand from the transportation sector and AI. We require a nuclear renaissance and a new generation of U.S.-built SMRs. We need technological breakthroughs for affordable storage and will need to upgrade the grid to make it smart and capable of handling renewables.

Current U.S. government policy does none of these. This policy is not just too expensive. It is a faulty policy that aims for the stars but ignores the present. In doing so, it inadvertently sacrifices the future. America can do better. America deserves better.

Ariel Cohen, L.L.B., Ph.D., is an internationally renowned expert on energy policy, Russia/Eurasia, Eastern and Central Europe, and the Middle East. Dr. Cohen is a Senior Fellow with the International Tax and Investment Center and Managing Director of the Energy, Growth and Security program. He also serves as a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.

This article is a version of Ariel Cohen’s Testimony before the Senate Budget Committee on May 1, 2024, abridged and edited for style. The full testimony is available here in written form and here in video form. 

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