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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: January, 2024
Jan 30, 2024

Within days of taking office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to create the Justice40 Initiative. The policy aims to allocate 40% of the benefits of federal clean energy and climate investments to frontline communities. 

For the energy sector, it’s helping to shine a growing light on  “energy justice.” Historically, the current energy system has negatively impacted disadvantaged communities the most – communities that often lack access to affordable energy, are excluded from potential benefits of a clean energy economy, and suffer the greatest harms from climate change. The Energy Opportunity Lab at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs is working to address these challenges, among many others. 

So, what progress has been made in ensuring energy justice for frontline communities? And with the energy transition continuing to accelerate in size and scale, how do we make sure disadvantaged communities aren’t left behind?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Shalanda Baker about the historical inequities of energy systems, and the Biden administration’s agenda on energy equity and climate justice.

Shalanda is the director of the Office of Energy Justice and Equity in the U.S. Department of Energy, and the secretarial advisor on equity. She also serves as chief diversity officer for the agency. Prior to her Senate confirmation in 2022, Shalanda served as the nation’s first-ever deputy director for energy justice. Before joining the Biden administration, she co-founded and co-directed the Initiative for Energy Justice, which provides technical law and policy support to communities on the front lines of climate change.

Jan 23, 2024

Around the world, new policies like the Inflation Reduction Act or the European Union's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism aim to accelerate the pace of decarbonization. But these same policies have also fueled trade tensions and raised concerns about protectionism. 

A successful clean energy transition means much more trade in clean energy technologies and products, according to the International Energy Agency. A rules-based global trading system, governed by the World Trade Organization, underpins much of that trade. But increasingly the WTO has faced challenges and calls for reform, particularly around issues of sustainability and climate change. 

So what reforms are needed to align the global trade framework with climate goals and policies around the world? And how can the World Trade Organization support both economic progress and sustainable development? 

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Dan Esty about how climate policy and trade policy intersect.

Dan is the Hillhouse Professor at Yale University and director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. He just finished public service leave working at the World Trade Organization and is co-leading the Remaking Global Trade for a Sustainable Future Project. Dan has written numerous books on environmental responsibility and economic progress, including Green to Gold and Greening the GATT. He previously served in a number of leadership roles at the Environmental Protection Agency, and as the Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection from 2011 to 2014.

Jan 16, 2024

The Department of the Interior is a key player in the energy transition in the U.S.. The federal government owns about 28% of the 2.3 billion acres of land in the country. The Department is responsible for permitting oil and gas drilling, renewable development, and mining on its vast land holdings. 

At the same time, the DOI is tasked with protecting America’s national parks and wilderness holdings for future generations. As the urgency of the climate crisis grows, the agency is at the heart of the difficult trade-offs between conservation and energy development that will define the energy transition. 

What does an environmentally and socially responsible approach to the energy transition look like? And how does the federal government weigh the impacts and benefits of energy development on public lands?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Tommy Beaudreau about the DOI’s effort to protect public lands and support the development of a domestic clean energy economy.

Tommy is the co-chair of WilmerHale’s energy, environment, and natural resources practice, and a distinguished visiting fellow at Columbia’s Center on Global Energy Policy. He recently served as deputy secretary of the Department of Interior from 2021-2023. Tommy served in senior leadership roles in the Department for nearly a decade across two administrations, including as the first director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in 2011.

Jan 9, 2024

As 2024 kicks off, energy and climate policy discussions loom large in Washington. With the added complexity of the November presidential elections in the U.S., it remains uncertain what will happen regarding the increasingly partisan issues of environmental regulation and green industrial policy.

The Biden administration plans to continue implementing the Inflation Reduction Act, but Republicans in Congress could take action to hinder further progress. And government agencies, like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency, could be significantly impacted by the Supreme Court’s ruling on a case that questions agencies’ ability to enact regulations. 

So, what can we expect to happen in the nation’s capital on the energy and climate front this year? And where are the reporters who follow this beat going to focus their attention? 

This week host Bill Loveless talks with journalists Jennifer Dlouhy and Justin Worland about what they’re keeping an eye on this year, and how Democrats and Republicans might approach major energy policy issues. 

Jennifer is an energy and environmental policy reporter at Bloomberg News. Before joining Bloomberg in 2015, she was the Washington correspondent for the Houston Chronicle where she covered energy and environmental policy with a special focus on oil and gas.

Justin is a senior correspondent at TIME, where he covers climate change and the intersection of policy, politics, and society. In 2022, he received Covering Climate Now’s inaugural Climate Journalist of the Year Award.

Jan 2, 2024

The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act last year marked not only significant climate action but efforts to shape industrial policy. Through billions of dollars of subsidies, the IRA aimed to quicken the pace and scale of the energy transition and also bolster domestic manufacturing and the economy. While providing an infusion of capital to America’s clean energy economy, the legislation heightened trade tensions around the world, with other countries vying to capture their share of clean energy supply chains. 

How does this green industrial strategy fit within the Biden Administration’s climate and economic goals? What potential impacts could policy have on the trade risks to the energy transition? And how might the energy transition affect the economy or economic inequities in American society?

This week for our second and final holiday rerun, we’re featuring host Jason Bordoff’s interview with Heather Boushey about the Biden Administration’s climate and economic policies and the case for green spending.

Heather is a member of the Council of Economic Advisors for the Biden administration and chief economist to the Biden administration’s “Invest in America” cabinet. Heather works on domestic investment and implementation of infrastructure and clean energy laws. She previously co-founded the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, where she served as chief economist, president and CEO. She has also held the position of chief economist for the Center for American Progress.

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