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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: Category: News and Politics
Apr 20, 2020

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.

Apr 13, 2020

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.

Apr 6, 2020

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.

Mar 26, 2020

Like most operations, the Columbia Energy Exchange has shifted to be entirely remote, with hosts Jason Bordoff and Bill Loveless continuing to make podcast episodes from home. Given the unprecedented circumstances we are all living through and the uncertainty and questions that follow, Jason and Bill will try whenever possible to bring insights into the energy and climate related aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To that end, there has been much talk in recent weeks about how to think about using emergency economic relief and stimulus funding from Washington, D.C. to not only address the immediate economic fallout from COVID-19, which has resulted in many parts of the economy being shut down, but also to make progress on some of our more urgent longer-term challenges, mainly, climate change. Climate scientists, environmental groups, certain industries and others have been urging lawmakers to jumpstart the economic recovery through a green stimulus package. Ideas range from clean energy tax credits, to requirements that bailed-out airlines commit to decarbonize, to building green infrastructure, and many more ideas.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Dr. Joe Aldy to gain insight into design of stimulus and how climate policy could factor into it. Joe is a leading environmental economist, currently a Professor of the Practice of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. His research focuses on climate change policy, energy policy, and more. From 2009 to 2010, he served as the Special Assistant to President Obama for Energy and Environment. It was in that role, and on the presidential transition that preceded it that he was a key White House staffer, that Joe negotiated with Capitol Hill on the Recovery Act that included $90 billion for green goals.

Joe was previously a Fellow at Resources for the Future and served on the staff of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

Mar 23, 2020

India has laid out an ambitious agenda to expand energy access to all its people, reduce air pollution, increase energy security, and reduce carbon emissions intensity. It has made tremendous progress providing access to electricity and clean cooking to its people. It rapidly increased the deployment of renewables even as coal still supplies two thirds of its electricity mix. The country’s oil consumption is expected to grow faster than any other major economy, as are its CO2 emissions. In short, with a population of 1.4 billion people, and rapidly rising energy demand, India will be a key country, perhaps the key country, for energy markets and climate change in the decades to come.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General of The Energy & Resources Institute in New Delhi, to discuss the energy outlook in India. Ajay was in New York City in February to attend a workshop hosted by the Center on Global Energy Policy on engaging state-owned enterprises in climate action, based on a recent report from the Center. 

Ajay is a member of the Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change. He served as Director General of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in the Indian government from 2006 until 2016, and previously headed the Climate Change Team at the World Bank, as well as the interim Secretariat of the Green Climate Fund. 

Mar 14, 2020

The global oil market is in free fall, following the collapse of a meeting last week of OPEC and non-OPEC producers. Saudi Arabia decided to surge its output, sending oil prices tumbling. This historic oil price crash is weighing on stock markets already reeling from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Low oil prices raise questions about the future of U.S. shale production, OPEC’s credibility and effectiveness, the geopolitical motivations and the fallout for Saudi Arabia and Russia, the fiscal impacts on key oil-producing countries, the implications for the battle against climate change, and much more.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, Jason Bordoff is joined by three experts who study energy markets, geopolitics, and policy to delve into these complex issues: Helima Croft, Amy Myers Jaffe, and Bob McNally. 

Helima Croft is a Managing Director and the Head of Global Commodity Strategy and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Research at RBC Capital Markets. She is a CNBC contributor, she started her career at the CIA after earning her PhD from Princeton University. 

Amy Myers Jaffe is the David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations. Amy previously served as Executive Director for Energy and Sustainability at the University of California, Davis, as Founding Director of The Energy Forum at Rice University’s Baker Institute, and she is also the Co-Chair of the Center on Global Energy Policy’s Women in Energy Steering Committee. 

Bob McNally is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy, and Founder and President of The Rapidan Energy Group, a consulting firm based in Washington DC. From 2001 to 2003, Bob served as the top international and domestic energy adviser on the White House staff, holding the posts of Special Assistant to the President on the National Economic Council and, in 2003, Senior Director for International Energy on the staff of the National Security Council. He is also the author of Crude Volatility, a history of oil markets and efforts to manage them, published through the Center on Global Energy Policy’s book series with the Columbia University Press. 

Mar 9, 2020

Capturing carbon emissions, storing them and even using them in novel ways are getting a lot more attention now than they did a few years ago, as policymakers, business leaders, scientists and others look more urgently for ways of addressing climate change.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless catches up with Julio Friedmann, a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy and the director of the center’s Carbon Management Research Initiative. He’s one of the most widely known and authoritative experts in the U.S. in this field with expertise in technology, policy and operations.

Julio served as a principal deputy assistant secretary for fossil energy at the U.S. Energy Department during the Obama administration and has held positions at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. With Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Southern California, he also worked for five years as a senior research scientist at ExxonMobil.

Their conversation is timely as Congress considers new legislation that would expand government incentives promoting carbon capture technologies as concerns over the risks of climate change and commitments to address the phenomenon grow. Julio also breaks down the challenges of financing these technologies.

And by the way, keep an eye out for an upcoming paper from Julio and the Center on Global Energy Policy that will examine which policies might work to stimulate investment in carbon capture technology in the U.S. power sector.

Feb 29, 2020

As scientists and public health officials race to control the spread of the deadly Coronavirus disease -- COVID-19, which first sickened people in China in December 2019 -- individuals around the world are grappling with the implications of a possible global pandemic. The virus has now spread to 50 countries and will test the strength and resilience of our global health system and infrastructure. This is a public health emergency, and while the leading concern remains the risk to human life, the spread of the virus also creates risk for the global economy and will have significant impacts on our energy system. Traders and investors are anticipating a severe economic slowdown, and oil prices have fallen sharply -- with eyes now focusing on next week’s OPEC meeting in Vienna to see whether the cartel will step in to prop up prices. The energy sector is scrambling to understand the outlook for the virus and efforts to contain it. Our guest today is a leading expert on public health and disaster preparedness, who will help bring the fight against the spread of the Coronavirus into context.

This week on the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Dr. Irwin Redlener, Professor of Health Policy and Management and Pediatrics at the Columbia University Medical Center and Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute. Dr. Redlener is a nationally-recognized leader in disaster preparedness and public health system readiness and children's health advocate. He is the author of “Americans at Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Megadisasters and What We Can Do Now.” 

Dr. Redlener discusses critical and timely information, including what we know now about the COVID-19 disease, how we can prevent the spread of the virus, where to go for reliable information about the outbreak, and what the future impacts might be to public health, travel, the economy and more. 

Feb 24, 2020

America’s preferences for energy have changed substantially over the past decade, with natural gas, renewable energy and energy efficiency all recording big gains. Now, a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy sheds light on just what happened over that time and suggests what may lie in store over the next 10 years.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Ethan Zindler, head of Americas for the research service BNEF, and Lisa Jacobson, president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, a coalition of companies and trade associations from the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors.

The topic is the eighth edition of the “Sustainable Energy in America Factbook,” which the two organizations publish each year. This latest report chronicles the transformation in energy taking place in the U.S. not only for the year 2019 but also for the last 10 years. It’s full of details regarding the improving energy productivity of the U.S., the increasing competitiveness of renewable energy, the impact of record U.S. gas production on electric power supplies, and the often-overlooked advantages of energy efficiency.

Bill talked with Ethan and Lisa about these developments, and what may lie in store over the next decade or so for gas, renewable energy and energy efficiency, including how sustainable commitments to gas will be given growing concerns over carbon emissions from that fuel.

Feb 17, 2020

Climate change has not been a popular topic with Republicans in the U.S. Congress in recent years. Some deny the phenomenon is even happening, and others simply avoid the topic altogether. But that’s changing in the U.S. House of Representatives, where the Republican leader and others are talking it up now and even offering an agenda for addressing climate change. So, what’s given rise to this burst of activity and what message are Republicans trying to send?

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Representative Garret Graves, a Louisiana Republican who’s one of the leaders of the climate change movement among members of his party in the House. Graves is the top Republican on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, a panel formed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last year to develop policy options on climate change.

Bill visited Representative Graves at his office on Capitol Hill just hours after House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy unveiled four pieces of legislation as part of his party’s response to climate change. The measures would support global efforts to plant one trillion trees, promote more research on carbon-capture technologies and uses for carbon, and make permanent a tax break for companies that use the technology. It’s a mix of old and new policy ideas, some of which already enjoy bipartisan support.

In a wide-ranging discussion, the Baton Rouge native talked about what’s motivating him and his Republican colleagues to offer a climate change agenda now and how he distinguishes it from policy approaches taken by Democrats. He also discussed how these plans might fare with President Trump.

Feb 10, 2020

The world’s oil and gas supermajors have been managing lots of headwinds these days not only from the market, but also rising social pressures to move more urgently to address the threat of climate change. Some oil majors have been exploring low-carbon sources of energy, expanding their businesses into power and other parts of the energy sector even as most of their capital expenditures remain in their traditional businesses. As such, the role of the oil and gas industry in the energy transition is a timely and increasingly important topic. 

This week on the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Maarten Wetselaar, Director of Integrated Gas & New Energies and Member of the Executive Committee of Royal Dutch Shell. He’s responsible for Shell’s gas business, including its industry-leading liquefied natural gas and gas-to-liquids businesses. He also leads the new energies business, including Shell’s investment in new fuels, new energy carriers, and new business models for a low-carbon future.

Jason and Maarten discuss the role of the oil and gas industry in the energy transition, and prospects for addressing climate change and reducing emissions, while meeting the growing demand for energy. 

Feb 3, 2020

The year 2020 promises to be a tumultuous one in the U.S. for any number of reasons, including a national election, an impeachment of the president and ongoing divisions between Republicans and Democrats over the future course of government. And among the issues that continues to heat up is climate change.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless meets with two of the leading energy and environment reporters in Washington: Steve Mufson of The Washington Post and Amy Harder of Axios.

Steve has worked at The Post since 1989, covering the White House, China, economic policy and diplomacy as well as energy. His current beat is the business of climate change. Earlier, he worked at the Wall Street Journal in New York, London and Johannesburg.

Amy has been with Axios for three years, with her column, the “Harder Line,” a regular feature of the news service. Previously, she was a reporter at the Wall Street Journal and the National Journal.

Sitting down with top energy and environment reporters in January to talk about what’s in store for energy and climate issues in the new year has been a regular feature for Bill for several years now, and Steve and Amy offer a behind-the-scenes look at some of the major stories and trends taking place. 

The program also offers Bill an opportunity to talk about the Energy Journalism Initiative, an annual seminar conducted by the Center on Global Energy Policy to help energy journalists deepen their understanding of complex issues associated with the beat. The deadline for applications is Feb. 16.

Jan 27, 2020

The past decade has been a turbulent one for the London-based oil and gas major BP, from the serious Deepwater Horizon accident that brought the company to the brink, to navigating its troubled relations with Russia and the oil price collapse of 2014, to charting a path forward - now toward a lower-carbon world to address the challenge of climate change. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by BP’s chief executive, Bob Dudley, who has been at the helm of BP for the past decade, and is the first American to head the company. He started his career in the oil and gas industry forty years ago with Amoco Corporation as a chemical engineer. Amoco was then acquired by BP, and Bob took on a number of roles, including working for Lord John Browne, managing BP’s alternative energy business around the time that its Beyond Petroleum Initiative was launched, heading the unique Russian joint oil venture called TNK-BP, and leading American and Asian activities. 

Bob is credited for stabilizing, and indeed saving, the company at a pivotal time. Nearly a decade on, BP has emerged as a much stronger company, trying to navigate a rapidly-changing energy landscape, and deal with new pressures, including diversifying into clean energies and figuring out how an oil and gas company responds to climate change. 

Bob Dudley steps down as CEO next week, and Jason sat down with him at BP’s London Headquarters to reflect back on his career, and to look ahead on where the company, and the energy industry, may be going.  

Jan 20, 2020

After going on for nearly two years, the Trump administration’s trade war with China has taken a new turn with a so-called phase-one agreement. Among the terms of the deal is China’s pledge to buy about $200 billion more in U.S. goods over the next two years, including $52.4 billion in U. S. energy goods. Now, as the ink dries on the document, some ask if those energy sales are likely to happen.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless visits with Dr. Erica Downs, a Senior Research Scholar at the Center who specializes in Chinese energy markets and geopolitics. Erica is a former Senior Research Scientist in the China Studies division of the CNA Corp. Among her other credentials, she was an Analyst at the Eurasia Group, the Brookings Institution and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Bill caught up with Erica soon after President Trump signed the agreement with China at the White House to get her take on its implications, especially as it relates to U.S.- China energy trade, which had looked promising until trade troubles between Washington and Beijing erupted. She also provides fascinating insight on China’s oil and gas industry, which has recently made self-reliance a major commitment, and explains why Russia has a lot to gain now as an oil and gas supplier to China.

In preparing for the conversation, Bill found very helpful a paper Erica wrote for the Center on Global Energy Policy in the fall called “High Anxiety: The Trade War and China’s Oil and Gas Supply Security.” If you have a minute, download it from the center’s website. It’s worth a look.

Jan 11, 2020

On January 2, the United States carried out an attack in Baghdad against a convoy of vehicles that killed Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian general and head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force. Iran retaliated for the attacks, launching ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. The next morning, both sides indicated a desire to deescalate the conflict. 

Yet, while Iran and the U.S. have seemingly stepped back from the brink, it is far from clear Iran is done retaliating for Soleimani’s death, and a broader military conflict certainly remains a possibility, along with further attacks that may affect energy infrastructure.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by CGEP's Richard Nephew and Antoine Halff, who explain what led to this escalation with Iran, and what may happen next. Richard is a Senior Research Scholar at CGEP and the former Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the U.S. Department of State. In his prior role, Richard was instrumental in designing the sanctions regime against Iran, as well as the deal that lifted them, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which the Trump Administration has pulled out of. Antoine is an Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at CGEP, and former Chief Oil Analyst at the International Energy Agency. One of the leading oil market experts in the world, Antoine served as editor of IEA's flagship publication, the Oil Market Report. Before that he was Lead Industry Economist at the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Jason sat down with Richard and Antoine yesterday to discuss the attack on Solemani, Iran’s response, and the potential impacts on geopolitics, energy markets, oil prices, energy security, and more.

Jan 6, 2020

Happy New Year! And welcome back to Columbia Energy Exchange, a weekly podcast from the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University.

The year 2020 promises to be an important one for energy and environmental issues in the U.S., with significant debates in Congress over policy options and a national election in which climate change may be a decisive issue for many voters.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Ralph Izzo, a well-known leader in the U.S. utility sector and in the public-policy arena.

Ralph is the Chairman and Chief Executive of Public Service Enterprise Group, a diversified energy company in New Jersey that includes Public Service Electric and Gas Company, the largest investor-owned utility in the state.

He joined the utility in 1992 and has since held several executive positions within PSEG’s family of companies.  

You will often find him testifying before Congress or speaking before groups on some of the most pressing energy and environmental issues of the day.

But what you may not know is Ralph’s career began in science as a researcher at a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory after earning his Ph.D. in applied physics at Columbia University. It’s a professional foundation that’s influenced his business approach for decades.

At Columbia, he also received his bachelor of science and master of science degrees in mechanical engineering, and later went to Rutgers Graduate School of Management for his master of business administration degree.

Host Bill Loveless sat down with Ralph during one of his recent visits to Washington to talk about his increasing concerns over climate change and what he sees as a disparate approach to the crisis when it comes to national and state policies. While he notes that much is being done to reduce emissions in the U.S., including in the electric-power sector, he worries that the advances are likely to fall short of what’s needed to keep temperatures from rising more than 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius.

Dec 16, 2019

The United Arab Emirates, especially Abu Dhabi, is a crucial player on the global energy stage. The UAE is one of the world’s 10 largest oil producers and a critical member of OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. It is also an important player in a critical region of the world that’s been riven by geopolitical tensions of late. The UAE’s hydrocarbon production has supported a dramatic economic expansion that has turned it into an important financial and trading center. The UAE has also diversified its energy investments, focusing on low-carbon options such as solar energy, carbon capture and storage, and other new technologies. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Omar Suwaina Al Suwaidi, who sits at the center of many of these developments as the Executive Office Director of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), a company where he has worked for nearly fifteen years. As part of its Executive Management team, he oversees operational and business development activities for the company’s vast oil and gas reserves.

State-run ADNOC is the main oil-producing company in the United Arab Emirates, supplying nearly 3% of global oil demand. Crude oil remains the centerpiece of the company’s operations, and ADNOC has sought to remain competitive in a busy market by improving efficiency, applying cutting edge technology, and reducing extraction costs. The company has recently announced sizeable new oil and gas reserves, and it has announced the goal of making the UAE self-sufficient in gas. It has also expanded its outreach to international investors and to foreign partners.

Jason sat down with Omar on the sidelines of the ADIPEC -- the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference -- in November to discuss ADNOC’s ventures and the state of play of UAE’s oil and gas industry.

Dec 9, 2019

On the global energy scene, oil, gas, and petrochemicals still play a prominent role, even as sustainability concerns become steadily more and more urgent. Investors are pressing for greater efficiency, reduced emissions, and heightened attention to financial discipline, as well as long-term viability. An important player in the energy industry of the Middle East region is the Abu Dhabi State Investment Company, Mubadala Investment. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Musabbeh Al Kaabi, Mubadala Investment’s Chief Executive Officer for Petroleum & Petrochemicals. Musabbeh Al Kaabi is responsible for a portfolio of more than $40 billion in assets spanning the global oil and gas value chain of the Mubadala Investment Company. Previously he headed Mubadala Petroleum as its CEO -- the company’s wholly-owned exploration and production company, at a time of declining commodity prices. He also spent a number of years with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) -- eventually managing its exploration division. He is a frequent and highly-respected commentator in the world of international energy investing. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Geophysical Engineering from Colorado School of Mines and a Master of Sciences in Petroleum Geoscience from Imperial College, London.

Jason sat down with Musabbeh on the sidelines of ADIPEC -- the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, one of the largest energy conferences in the world -- in November. They discussed how Mubadala Investment Company’s investments in the energy sector are playing out, the role of natural gas in the context of the energy transition, how the Middle East will meet its energy demand, the forecast for petrochemicals given sustainability concerns, and much more.

Dec 2, 2019

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, known as FERC, regulates interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, and electricity. For decades, FERC has played a key role in energy policy but often labored in obscurity. Today, FERC stands squarely at the heart of some of the biggest energy policy issues that we face in this country: pipeline capacity, cyber attacks, the role of natural gas in the energy transition, and issues of grid reliability and resilience as we transition to a more distributed and lower carbon electricity grid composed of more renewable energy. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Cheryl LaFleur, a nationally recognized energy leader and one of the longest serving commissioners at FERC, having served from 2010 until August of this year. She was appointed by President Obama as chairperson both for 2014-15, and also served as acting chair from 2013-14, and was again named chair in 2017. She is the only person to leave FERC twice, under two different administrations. 

Cheryl joined FERC after a long career in the northeast utility industry, retiring from her role as Executive Vice President and acting CEO of the utility company National Grid, which serves electricity to over 3 million customers. She most recently stepped down from her role at FERC and was elected to the Board of Directors of ISO New England, an independent nonprofit that operates and plans the power system and administers wholesale electricity markets for New England. 

Jason sat down with Cheryl to discuss the changes she saw at FERC during her tenure, the role of natural gas in the energy transition, what FERC can do to address climate change, and much more.

Nov 25, 2019
The world is undergoing remarkable changes in the way energy is supplied, delivered and used, affecting virtually every aspect of our lives. In fact, megatrends are taking shape so quickly that keeping up with them is challenging.
 
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Barbara Humpton, the CEO of Siemens USA, where she guides the German engineering conglomerate’s strategy and engagement in its largest market in the world. Previously, Barbara was president and CEO of Siemens Government Technologies, and before that an executive with Booz Allen Hamilton and Lockheed Martin.
 
Bill sat down with Barbara at Siemens offices in Washington to talk about how megatrends, including digitalization, automation and electrification are driving corporate decisions, not to mention the impact of other phenomena like climate change and urbanization. They also talked about the roles of government policy and regulation in addressing these issues, as well as options for making sure there’s an adequate workforce to keep things running smoothly.
Nov 18, 2019

East Asia and the Pacific is one of the fastest growing regions of the world, a place where the demands for energy are increasing just as rapidly, as are the risks of climate change and other environmental calamities. To one extent or another, nations in that region like China, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines recognize the need to provide energy that’s not only accessible, affordable and reliable but also sustainable. And helping them do that is the World Bank.

In today’s edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Ranjit Lamech, the regional director of the World Bank’s Infrastructure Department in the East Asia and Pacific region. As such, Ranjit is responsible for overseeing the bank’s loans, grants and other assistance for infrastructure development in the region, including energy development.

Ranjit has spent nearly three decades across the bank’s energy practice, most recently as the manager covering South and Central Europe, Western Balkans and Central Asia. In the 1990s and early 2000s, he led the bank’s energy lending and advisory program in China and Turkey during a transformational period in energy markets.

An Indian citizen, Ranjit began his career with Tata Electric Companies in Bombay.

Bill and Ranjit talked about China and other East Asian and Pacific nations and their challenges and opportunities when it comes to energy and the environment, as well as what the World Bank is doing to help them respond in a sustainable way. They also discussed the roles of governments and state-owned enterprises in adapting to changes in energy supply, what the World Bank looks for in deciding whether to provide assistance, and a recent undertaking in China aimed at helping workers in coal-dependent regions amidst a shift to cleaner forms of energy.

Nov 8, 2019

He’s known as the father of fracking. And while the designation may not be quite right, there’s no doubt that George P. Mitchell set the stage for a revolution in natural gas and oil production in the United States through hydraulic fracturing of shale formations. So, what made this man tick and what lessons might policymakers and industry leaders learn from him today?

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks with Loren Steffy, the author of a new book from Texas A&M University Press called “George P. Mitchell: Fracking, Sustainability, and an Unorthodox Quest to Save the Planet.” Loren is writer-at-large for Texas Monthly and a former business columnist for the Houston Chronicle. Before that, he was the Dallas bureau chief and senior writer for Bloomberg News.

The book is Loren’s latest of three, including one that explored the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Of the late George P. Mitchell, Loren says, “not since John D. Rockefeller had one single individual in the energy business made a greater public impact.” He tells a story of the son of Greek immigrants who built Mitchell Energy and Development Corporation from a small start-up into a pioneering company that enabled the commercial success of hydraulic fracturing in the U.S.

Bill reached Loren by phone at his home outside Austin, Texas, to discuss this fascinating figure, his contributions to fracking, the financial hardships his company endured to bring them about and the extent to which the government assisted those efforts. They also talked about Mitchell’s strong commitment to sustainable development, which sometimes put him at odds with his peers in the gas and oil industry.

Nov 4, 2019

The U.S. shale revolution has been among the most consequential developments in the global energy sector over the last decade. The U.S. is a large net exporter of gas, and is on the cusp of becoming a net exporter of oil, with significant economic, geopolitical and environmental consequences. The outlook for U.S. oil and gas production is increasingly uncertain, however, as lower oil prices, investor demand for capital discipline, and questions about the pace of the energy transition increasingly impact the sector.   

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Bobby Tudor, Co-Head of the Advisory business of Perella Weinberg Partners and Chairman of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co, a leading energy investment and merchant bank. Prior to joining TPH, Bobby was a partner with Goldman Sachs & Co., and a leader of its worldwide energy practice, and over his 30-year career in investment banking, has worked on many of the defining transactions of the period. In his volunteer work, Bobby is a patron of the arts and a passionate supporter of higher education, having served until recently as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Rice University.

Jason and Bobby discuss the recent decline in the Permian and what's next for the U.S. shale revolution, peak oil demand, the energy transition and more from an investor's perspective. 

Oct 28, 2019

Climate change, or the climate crisis as many would prefer to call it, has risen to the top of the legislative agenda for the U.S. House of Representatives since Democrats took control of the chamber in January. And laying the groundwork for policy options is the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis established by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to place a high priority on the work. So now, months later, what has this special panel accomplished and how has it navigated this controversial issue?

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks with Representative Kathy Castor, a Florida Democrat who heads the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Now in her seventh two-year term, Chair Castor represents a district that includes Tampa, a city on Florida’s Gulf Coast that’s at risk of sea-level rise. Before her election to Congress, she was a member of the Hillsborough County Commission and chair of the county’s Environmental Protection Commission.

In the House, she’s also a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, where much of the climate legislation will be assembled once the select committee that she heads completes its work.

Bill caught up with Representative Castor in her office on Capitol Hill to talk about what the select committee has done so far, how it will fulfill its mandate to provide legislative recommendations, and how she sees the politics of climate change playing out in Washington. They also talked about some of the options her panel has considered and what she needs to hear from the public before she submits recommendations early next year.

Oct 21, 2019

It’s a small country with big ambitions when it comes to climate change. The new government in Denmark plans to overhaul entirely the way it conducts climate policy, with a goal of reducing emissions by 70 percent by 2030 compared to 1990. And it says it’s doing so based on what science tells us, not what political expedience would suggest.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks with Dan Jørgensen, Denmark’s Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities since June. Minister Jørgensen was elected to the Danish parliament in 2013 and served as minister for food and agriculture between 2013 and 2015. He was also a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2013, and has taught at universities in Denmark, France and the United States.

Now, he’s in charge of an ambitious climate policy put in place by Denmark’s ruling Social Democrat Party and its three center-left allies.

Bill sat down with Minister Jørgensen during his recent visit to Washington to talk about Denmark’s plans to be among the nations that do the most to combat climate change, and the political climate in Denmark that makes such policies possible now. He walked Bill through some of the initial steps taken by his government and its plans to lock in its policies through a new climate law.

They also talked about Denmark’s plans to promote such policies across Europe and enable financing of green technology around the world.

Finally, the minister outlined a collaboration with Germany and the Netherlands to build an artificial island in the North Sea that could provide 10 to 15 gigawatts of offshore wind power and serve as a source for other forms of energy, like using hydrogen for energy storage.

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