Fifty years ago this week, 20 million Americans came together to march for the planet, demanding action to clean up America’s waterways and air and protect public health. Their efforts launched the first Earth Day and the modern environmental movement. This week on the Columbia Energy Exchange, we reflect back on the U.S. environmental movement in 1970, examine the movement’s successes in reducing pollution, and find lessons for addressing the existential environmental issue of our time -- climate change.
To celebrate this historic milestone, we have a special double episode of Columbia Energy Exchange featuring conversations with two champions of the environmental movement -- one Republican, one Democrat. On Monday, host Jason Bordoff spoke with former Environmental Protection Agency administrator for President George H.W. Bush, Bill Reilly. And today, he speaks with his former Obama Administration colleague, Gina McCarthy.
Gina served as the 13th administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in President Obama’s second term, after serving as assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation in the first term. Earlier this year, she became president and chief executive officer of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of America’s most important environmental organizations, founded the same year as the first Earth Day -- 1970. Earlier in her career, she held senior environmental policy roles in the state governments in Massachusetts and Connecticut, serving as commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, deputy secretary of the Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development, and undersecretary of policy for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. She also spent time after the Obama Administration at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, serving as a professor of the practice of public health in the Department of Environmental Health, and is currently chair of the board of advisors at the Harvard Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE).
They discuss the current state of the environmental movement, progress made to cut pollution and expand clean energy in the U.S., and the challenges that remain to address the threat of climate change. They also discuss the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, and how the spread of the virus has highlighted the importance of science and preparedness, and the inequitable burdens of environmental pollution on public health.
Fifty years ago this week, one out of every 10 Americans, 20 million in all, came together for a series of rallies, teach-ins, and speeches, to tell their leaders they were no longer willing to put up with choking air and poisoned water. The fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day is an occasion to celebrate the environmental movement’s vast success cleaning up America’s skies and waterways, but also a moment to take stock of lessons learned - for how to address the existential environmental issue of our time: climate change.
To celebrate this historic milestone, the Columbia Energy Exchange will have a special double episode this week with two conversations with two champions of the environmental movement for many years. Both are former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrators, one Republican and one Democrat, William Reilly and Gina McCarthy.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by William Reilly, who has a remarkable career in the environmental movement. On the first Earth Day in 1970, Bill was at the time one of the first employees at the brand new Council on Environmental Quality that had just been created in the White House. He went on to serve as the President of the World Wildlife Fund, and as Administrator of the EPA during the Administration of President George H. W. Bush, leading efforts to pass the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, and to bring President Bush to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. He was also appointed by President Obama to co-chair the National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, among many other prominent positions in his long and distinguished career. He served in the army to the rank of Captain from 1966-1968, and he graduated from Harvard Law School, and earned his master's degree from Columbia University in urban planning.
Keep an eye out for host Jason Bordoff's conversation with Gina McCarthy, coming out on Wednesday.
Governments around the world are consumed now with the challenge of responding effectively to the coronavirus pandemic, including providing adequate healthcare and alleviating the economic impact of the crisis. But policymakers in Washington and other capitals will eventually need to find ways to stimulate a recovery of their economies to put back to work the legions of people who are now unemployed.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Ernest Moniz about the role that energy sectors can play in reinvigorating the U.S. economy, especially those sectors responsible for the early stages of a low-carbon transition that’s taken place over the last decade, and the importance of building coalitions to support such options.
Moniz is well known to listeners as a former U.S. secretary of energy during the Obama administration and a key architect of the Paris Agreement on climate change. He also negotiated the Iran nuclear agreement alongside then Secretary of State John Kerry. Now, he is the founder and CEO of the Energy Futures Initiative, a Washington-based clean-energy nonprofit, and co-chair and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit that works to prevent catastrophic attacks and accidents with weapons of mass destruction.
One of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has been an intentional effort to bring much of the economy to a standstill to slow the spread of the virus. A consequence of that has been an unprecedented drop in global oil demand. Oil prices have fallen about two thirds since the beginning of the year, before rebounding and then falling again on speculation that OPEC and some non OPEC nations might cut production when they meet later this week.
This drop in demand and price impacts the United States, the largest oil producer in the world now, in ways that weren’t true a decade ago - leading President Trump to call on Russia and Saudi Arabia to raise oil prices.
In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Arjun Murti, Bobby Tudor, and Marianne Kah to discuss the impact of the oil price collapse on the U.S. energy sector, shale oil production in the long run, and what this might mean for the clean energy transition.
Arjun Murti is Senior Advisor at Warburg Pincus and serves on the board of ConocoPhillips. He previously served as Co-Director of Equity Research for the Americas at Goldman Sachs, and he is a member of the Center on Global Energy Policy’s Advisory Board. Bobby Tudor serves as Co-Head of the advisory business of Perella Weinberg Partners and is Chairman and founder of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Prior to founding Tudor Capital, he was a partner with Goldman Sachs. Marianne Kah is an Adjunct Senior Research Scholar and Advisory Board member at the Center on Global Energy Policy. She was the Chief Economist of ConocoPhillips for 25 years.