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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: August, 2022
Aug 30, 2022

In 2020, Europe passed a landmark climate package called the Green Deal. It was supposed to mark a new era of climate progress for the region.

Few expected that two years later, Europe would be burning more coal, importing more liquified natural gas, shifting from gas to oil for industry, and spending more money to subsidize fossil fuel consumption. Europe’s energy crisis, many years in the making, has been exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and the subsequent turmoil in regional and global energy markets.

The past six months have proven how the global energy transition will play out in chaotic and non-linear ways.

So what will today’s energy crisis mean for the energy transition? How will governments around the world react to today’s supply shortages and price spikes? And what does the wild ride for commodities and energy pricing mean for security and climate goals around the world? 

This week, we’re running an episode of the Foreign Affairs Interview podcast featuring our co-host, Jason Bordoff, and Meghan O’Sullivan, a professor of international affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. 

Meghan is the author of “Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America’s Power.” And she served as deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush Administration.

In June, Jason and Meghan joined host Dan Kurtz-Phelan to discuss their recent articles on the ongoing energy crisis. They talked about market volatility, President Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia, and why energy is still so central to geopolitics.

Aug 23, 2022

This summer’s climate bill features an historic investment: $60 billion will be devoted to clean energy projects and climate resilience for disadvantaged communities. It will  also create a green bank to help drive climate investments with explicit equity outcomes.

Environmental justice is getting real attention in policymaking at the federal and state level. So how do we define and measure it? And why is it so crucial to the energy transition?

This week we’re bringing back one of our most popular episodes from last summer – co-host Bill Loveless’s conversation with environmental justice pioneer Dr. Robert Bullard.

Dr. Bullard helped build the environmental justice movement decades ago, and currently serves as distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas Southern University. His advocacy work has focused on everything from air pollution to housing to hurricane relief. 

This conversation on the history and urgency of environmental justice is particularly relevant given America’s recent investments in climate equity through the Inflation Reduction Act.

Aug 16, 2022

America is doubling down on support of electric vehicles. This summer’s historic climate bill extends key tax credits for buyers of EVs, putting them in reach for more drivers. 

 

Those credits also require a high percentage of American-sourced materials – which could be a long-term boon to domestic production, but a potential short-term problem for manufacturers with foreign supply chains.

Electric models make up 5% of EV sales in the U.S. and IHS Markit predicts EVs will represent 30% of sales by the end of the decade. With federal support of electric cars ramping up, what is the pathway for making EVs a mainstream choice?

We’re on a late summer break. So for the next couple of weeks, we’re bringing back some of our most popular interviews. This week features a conversation recorded in front of a live audience earlier this year between our co-host, Jason Bordoff, and two top figures in transportation: Jim Farley and Mary Nichols.

Jim Farley is president and chief executive officer of Ford. Mary Nichols is a long-time environmental champion and chair of the California Air Resources Board. She’s now a distinguished visiting fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy.

Jim and Mary discuss the significant changes taking place in the auto industry given new federal policies promoting electric cars and buses.

Aug 9, 2022

Wildfire season is upon us. With nearly 80% of the Western US in extreme drought, fires have already scorched more than five and a half million acres this year – double the number of acres compared to this time last year. 

Those fires pose an increasing risk to electric utilities. And no utility feels the urgency of that risk more than PG&E.

In 2018, PG&E equipment sparked the most devastating wildfire in California history – and it forced one of America’s largest utilities into bankruptcy protection.

The story isn’t likely to be an anomaly. As journalist Katherine Blunt writes in her new book, California Burning, the story is “a harbinger of challenges to come” as climate change threatens the grid built for a different era.

Katherine joins Bill Loveless on the show this week. She’s a Wall Street Journal reporter who covers the power industry. Her team’s reporting on PG&E was honored with multiple awards for business investigative journalism.

Bill spoke with her about the PG&E saga – and what it tells us about the risks facing utilities and the power grid in a rapidly-warming world.

Aug 2, 2022

Even as prices decline, the tight oil market is once again raising economic and political worries in Washington. 

In July, President Biden traveled to the Middle East to meet with several Arab leaders – including Saudi Arabia’s King and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Expanding oil supply was high on the list of the administration’s diplomatic objectives.

Saudi Arabia says it has limited ability to add extra oil to the market, and it’s not clear whether OPEC+ countries agree on the path forward for oil output. All of this comes at a time of enormous uncertainty in the global outlook for oil, due to fears of a recession and concerns over Russian supply. 

Now all eyes are on OPEC+ in early August. Will Biden’s overtures have any consequential impact on production? 

This week, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Dr. Karen Young and Bob McNally to discuss what’s next for oil markets.

Dr. Young is the newest Senior Research Scholar at the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy. She was a Senior Fellow and Founding Director of the Program on Economics and Energy at the Middle East Institute. 

Bob McNally is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy. He’s the author of Crude Volatility: The History and the Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices, published by Columbia University Press. In his full-time capacity he is the founder and President of Rapidan Energy Group, an independent energy consulting and market advisory firm based in the Washington DC area.

In the wake of Biden’s controversial trip to the Middle East, Jason spoke with Karen and Bob about what it tells us about the state of the global oil market in the months ahead.

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