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Columbia Energy Exchange

Columbia Energy Exchange features in-depth conversations with the world’s top energy and climate leaders from government, business, academia and civil society. The program explores today’s most pressing opportunities and challenges across energy sources, financial markets, geopolitics and climate change as well as their implications for both the U.S. and the world.
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Now displaying: September, 2019
Sep 30, 2019

Today’s unprecedented rate of change leaves many questions about the benefits and risks of new technologies, and how we can best leverage innovation to address our biggest challenges.     

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Lord John Browne to discuss his latest book, Make, Think, Imagine: Engineering the Future of Civilization -- which serves up an optimistic look at the benefits engineering, technology, and innovation can bring in solving some of humanity’s greatest challenges, such as disease, climate change, and artificial intelligence.  

Anyone who studies or works in the energy industry knows Lord John Browne. He has been one of the legendary and visionary leaders in the sector for decades. He’s the former Chief Executive of BP, with a career spanning more than 40 years in the company. He rose from apprentice to heading the British multinational oil and gas company, where he notably engineered a merger with rival Amoco, and was a strong proponent of renewables, famously rebranding the BP initials to “Beyond Petroleum.” 

Jason and Lord Browne also discussed his latest endeavor, a merger of Dea and Wintershall to create one of the world’s largest oil and gas independents and other developments in global energy markets and in policy.  

Sep 23, 2019

We know climate change is real. It’s caused by human activity, and primarily by emissions from energy use. But there is a lot of uncertainty and a lot of misunderstanding about just how bad its effects will be. An op-ed last month by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio suggested South Florida should become more resilient and just adapt. On the other hand, maps of the world at 2100 show coastal cities submerged, not to mention a range of other calamities that scientists say may be caused by climate change. Scientists who study climate change often have trouble communicating the risks in ways the public can broadly understand. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by journalist David Wallace-Wells, a fellow at the New America Foundation and a columnist and deputy editor of New York Magazine. He is also the author of a new book, The Uninhabitable Earth, which depicts in meticulous and terrifying detail a future that may await should we continue to add greenhouse gases into the atmosphere unabated. 

As the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit gathers in New York City today, kicking off Climate Week, Jason and David’s conversation about adequately communicating the worst effects of climate change, and what motivates action -- as well as what kind of action is needed to address the crisis -- is timely.   

Sep 16, 2019

Climate change is an urgent challenge. We are nowhere on track to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement in countries around the world. Action depends not just on reducing emissions here at home, but meeting rapid economic growth around the world – China, India, Southeast Asia – while decarbonizing the global energy mix far more quickly than we are today. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Jonathan Pershing. Jonathan has been a key architect of the world’s landmark climate change deals, including securing the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. He served as Special Envoy for Climate Change at the U.S. State Department, was lead U.S. negotiator to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and was a senior advisor to the Secretary of Energy, Secretary of State, and the White House. He’s also worked at leading organizations like the World Resources Institute and the International Energy Agency. 

Jonathan holds a PhD in geology and geophysics; and is now doing innovative work putting the resources of the Hewlett Foundation to work addressing our global environmental and climate challenges. 

Jonathan and Jason sat down to discuss the role of government policy to send market signals, various approaches for addressing the variability of renewables, the practical impact of the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, and much more.

Sep 9, 2019

U.S. waters off the Atlantic coast are shaping up as a bonanza for offshore wind power, with the federal government having approved 15 tracks of water for development and investment flowing in from overseas. But some say projects may be facing a crosswind as the U.S. government takes a closer look at their impact.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks with Jeff Grybowski, until recently the co-CEO of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind and previously the CEO of Deepwater Wind, the Rhode Island-based company that completed the first offshore wind farm in the U.S., a five-turbine project off Block Island in 2016. Jeff joined Ørsted when the Danish company, a global leader in offshore wind energy, bought Deepwater Wind last year.

Jeff shepherded the Block Island project to completion, drawing on his experience not only in business and law but also as a former state policymaker in Rhode Island. Alex Kuffner, a reporter for the Providence Journal, wrote that Jeff, “by proving that an offshore wind farm could be built in the United States, is arguably more responsible than anyone for ushering in the current rush of development.”

Likewise, Thomas Brostrom, the CEO of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind, told the Journal that Jeff is “one of the pioneers of the offshore wind industry in the U.S.”

Bill and Jeff last met two years ago, when the Block Island turbines had been spinning energy for less than a year. Here, they get together again at Jeff's North Kingston, R.I., home to catch up on this emerging industry, the proliferation of projects and the outlook its expansion in the U.S. 

They also discuss a controversial decision by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to take more time to examine the impact of a project called Vineyard Wind, an 84-turbine project planned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables that would be the first large-scale wind farm in the U.S. That government inquiry has implications not only for Vineyard Wind but also projects planned by Ørsted and other developers off the Atlantic coast.

They touch, too, on the significance of state policies for offshore wind energy as well as federal policies, like a soon-to-expire investment tax credit.

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