On this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, host Bill Loveless is joined by Dr. Marcia McNutt, the president of the National Academy of Sciences.
Bill visited Dr. McNutt, not long after the release of the recent report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to learn more about the latest findings in climate science and the challenges of conveying that message to the public. The mission of the Academy is to promote the use of science to benefit society and inform policy debates.
Dr. McNutt was named president of the Academy in 2016, becoming the first women to hold the position. Previously, she was the editor in chief of the journal Science, director of the U.S. Geological Survey during the Obama administration, and president and CEO of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. She holds a BA in physics from Colorado College and a Ph.D. in earth sciences from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Dr. McNutt and Bill discussed the new UN report as well as the overall state of climate science. They also touched on the public response to warnings about climate change and new steps the Academy is planning to inform the debate. Finally, they addressed one of Dr. McNutt’s top priorities: diversity at NAS. In short, she wants to change the face of this renowned institution.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently produced a report showing that the world needs to cut carbon pollution far more quickly than current rates to avoid severe consequences. But how can the global community achieve its climate goals when the conversation around climate change is often hyper-polarized?
To discuss this question and other issues, on the latest episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange host Jason Bordoff sat down with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist, professor of political science, and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. Dr. Hayhoe has been a recipient of numerous awards, including TIME’s 100 Most Influential People and Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers.
Over the course of the conversation Jason and Dr. Hayhoe discussed how she merges her faith as an evangelical Christian and her scientific professional work, what needs to be done to win hearts and minds on the issue of climate change, and the role that renewables and policy can play in addressing this global challenge.
During the recent Climate Week in New York City, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), a collection of global energy companies, made several announcements. First, OGCI added three new US-based members -- Exxon, Chevron, and Occidental Petroleum -- bringing the total number of companies in the group to 13. Second, OGCI announced its first collective methane reduction target for member companies, a 0.25 percent leakage rate.
To discuss these issues and more, host Jason Bordoff sat down with Dr. Pratima Rangarajan, CEO of OGCI Climate Investments, on the latest episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange. OGCI Climate Investments is the arm of the organization that is investing more than $1 billion in what they describe as innovative startups to lower the carbon footprints of the energy and industrial sectors. Pratima has previously held various senior positions in the renewable energy field, including roles at GE and Vestas Wind Systems.
During their conversation Pratima and Jason discussed the history of OGCI and the goals of the Climate Investments portfolio. Pratima shared her view on what is needed to achieve deep decarbonization, the role for renewable energy and energy efficiency in that process, and the role of policy in driving down greenhouse gas emissions.
Other topics discussed include what improvements are necessary to scale carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies, the use of satellites to continuously measure methane emissions, and what the future global energy system will look like if we successfully get on track to meet the necessary emissions reductions targets.
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks are becoming increasingly important to judging the credit worthiness of electric utilities, especially as climate change makes their work more challenging.
On this episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Jim Hempstead, a managing director in Moody’s Global Project and Infrastructure Finance Group. In his role at Moody's, one of the largest credit ratings firms in the world, Jim helps oversee the North American Regulated Utility and Power Team. He also heads Moody’s working group in charge of ESG issues in the Americas.
In the conversation with Bill, Jim makes clear that defining ESG standards is still very much a work in progress for the credit rating firms and the companies they assess for credit worthiness. Nevertheless, ESG metrics are an important means of evaluating the utility sector where shifts are occurring not only due to climate change but also from public policies, market forces, and public attitudes about how electricity is produced and used.
Jim and Bill also talk about the relevance of government policy and regulation as it relates to ESG and the power sector, including recent developments in Washington D.C. and the enactment of an historic climate law in California.