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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: general
Sep 20, 2022

Covid and the Russian war in Ukraine have slowed economic development in East Asia and the Pacific. High global commodity prices are stressing countries heavily dependent on energy and food imports. 

Recent heat waves and drought sweeping across the region are adding further economic pain.

In China, coal consumption is climbing as hydropower resources dry up. And it’s not the only major economy in the region heavily reliant on the dirtiest fossil fuel. Across Asia, hundreds of new coal plants and mines are being built.

So how do the countries that are most vulnerable to climate change – and the biggest users of coal –  balance economic development and the energy transition?

This week, Bill Loveless talks with Manuela Ferro, the Regional Vice President for East Asia and Pacific at the World Bank. Previously, Manuela served as Vice President of Operations Policy and Country Services, where she oversaw the Bank’s crisis response to the coronavirus pandemic. She’s an engineer and economist with a masters in engineering from University of Lisbon, and a Ph.D. in development economics from Stanford University.

Bill talks with Manuela about the World Bank’s recently released economic update on East Asia and the Pacific called Braving the Storm. They also discussed other developments – like the region’s reliance on coal for energy security, and how the World Bank can help the transition to cleaner energy.

Sep 13, 2022

Winter is coming. The energy crisis that is afflicting Europe and other parts of the world is worsening as Russia weaponizes natural gas.

After Putin turned off supply of Russian gas through the Nord Stream pipeline earlier this month, prices across Europe soared – causing severe pain for manufacturers and consumers, and pushing the region closer to recession. European countries are weighing emergency measures, like price caps and rationing.

In addition to the immediate energy crisis, key questions remain about what all of this means for the clean energy transition. The supply of critical materials for clean energy technologies – such as copper, lithium, and cobalt – will also present challenges. A recent report by S&P Global predicted that demand for copper will double by 2035 as a consequence of the energy transition, and it is unclear if the existing supply chains can sustain such an increase. 

How can governments and companies address the energy crisis without sacrificing progress on climate? And how might current and future supply shortages change the geopolitical landscape?

This week, Jason Bordoff talks with Dr. Dan Yergin, an internationally known authority on energy, geopolitics, and economics. He sits on the boards of numerous institutions – including Columbia’s Center of Global Energy Policy.

Dr. Yergin is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power.” And his most recent book, “The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations,” illustrates the greatest issues of geopolitics and energy today. 

He is the Vice Chairman of S&P Global, and was the project Chairman for the report, “The Future of Copper: Will the looming supply gap short-circuit the energy transition?”

Jason spoke with Dr. Yergin about the ongoing energy crisis, the supply of critical materials, and the future of energy superpowers.

Sep 8, 2022

Nuclear fusion seems like something out of science fiction – a reaction created inside a machine that replicates the sun. But the technology behind this process could be inching closer to reality. And with it, new opportunities to harness electricity.  

The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act allocates $280 million for fusion energy science. And experiments in China, the U.K., and California have some scientists feeling hopeful that fusion could play a role in the global energy transition. 

But there’s a problem. At lower temperatures, nuclear fusion requires more energy than it produces. It’s only when the plasma used to combine atoms reaches an extremely high temperature that it sets off a chain reaction and makes the process sustainable. 

There are different approaches to achieving this chain reaction. But are scientists actually getting close to commercialization? And when will nuclear fusion be powering our homes and businesses? 

This week, host Bill Loveless talks with Dr. Dennis Whyte, Hitachi America Professor of Engineering at MIT and director of the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center. He also leads the Laboratory for Innovations and Fusion technology, which has energy company sponsorship to explore early-stage, disruptive fusion technologies. 

Dr. Whyte played an integral role in Commonwealth Fusion Systems, a startup out of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center, that recently raised $1.8 billion in funding to commercialize fusion energy. 

Bill talks with Dr. Whyte about the science behind nuclear fusion, his work at MIT, and the efforts to bring this technology to market.

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.

Jul 26, 2022

Relentless extreme heat is gripping regions around the world. Spring and summer brought numerous crippling heat waves to Europe – smashing temperature records, killing more than a thousand people, and buckling infrastructure. 

India and Pakistan experienced one of the hottest springs ever, with heat waves in March and April hurting crop yields, and putting more than a billion people at risk.

And here in the US, heat waves are scorching large swaths of the country, exacerbating a western megadrought.

Every year, hot, humid conditions that can kill people are getting more likely. And scientists are getting better at attributing specific heat waves to human-caused climate change.

This week, host Bill Loveless talks with Dr. Radley Horton, a Research Professor at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. 

Radley’s research focuses on climate extremes, tail risks, climate impacts, and adaptation. He was a lead author for the Third National Climate Assessment.

Bill spoke with Radley about this year’s brutal conditions that have hit Europe, North America, and Asia over the last few months. They discussed his research into heat-related mortality, where regions are becoming most vulnerable to extreme weather, and what it all means for our ability to adapt.

Jul 19, 2022

Europe’s gas crisis has entered a scary new phase. Last week, the biggest pipeline carrying Russian gas into Germany was closed for maintenance. And many in Europe fear the Russians will keep Nord Stream 1 closed indefinitely – putting further pressure on gas supply in the colder months.

Europeans are burning more coal, scrambling for new sources of gas, and committing to lots of renewable energy in a frantic attempt to slash reliance on Russian fossil fuels. But there are real questions about how quickly those solutions will shift the balance of power. 

Meanwhile, gas prices are soaring in markets around the world – leading to fears about recession and long-lasting economic impacts. What are the possible scenarios that could play out?

This week, host Jason Bordoff sits down with Anne-Sophie Corbeau and Dr. Tatiana Mitrova to explain the state of gas markets. 

Anne-Sophie Corbeau is a Global Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs; Dr. Tatiana Mitrova is a Research Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy. 

Together, they discuss  how deeply the gas shocks will impact Europe, Russia, and the rest of the world.

May 3, 2022
A rocky pandemic recovery, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and increasing social and consumer pressure to move away from Russian commodities have led to a spike in  oil, natural gas, and even coal prices.  

For a look at  how commodities should be regulated and how policymakers think about energy supplies in a fractious geopolitical environment, host Jason Bordoff spoke with Javier Blas from Bloomberg News. He’s a leading energy columnist and commodities expert with a renowned career at top media outlets like the BBC and the Financial Times. 

He’s also the author of a new book: “The World for Sale: Money, Power, and the Traders Who Barter the Earth's Resources,” co-authored with senior Bloomberg News reporter Jack Farchy. 

The pair have been on the show previously to discuss the book in detail, which you can listen to here. They also participated in a recent event with Maria Jelscu Dreyfus, CEO and Founder of Ardinall Investment Management which you can watch here

In this discussion, Javier focuses on the implications of the current war for commodities markets and the global clean energy transition. 

Jun 15, 2021

This week, we're pleased to hand the microphone over to our colleague: Dr. Melissa Lott. 

Melissa is the director of research here at the Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy. And for the last few months, she and her team have been working on a new podcast, called The Big Switch.

It’s a five-part series about how to clean up the energy system -- told in a clear, understandable and fun way. 

We are offering you the first episode of The Big Switch, right now. So I hope you’ll give it a listen and subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, and any other place you get podcasts.

Jun 15, 2021

Congress has huge sums of money on the table for climate action, much of it contained within a $2 trillion dollar infrastructure plan. The bill would provide historic investments in electric vehicles, grid modernization, and renewable energy.

But a ceaseless struggle for bipartisanship threatens the bill and other types of climate legislation. Its success hinges on a small group of moderate Senators with a track record of reaching across the aisle.

Will they cast the votes that are necessary, or will party politics sabotage the push for meaningful climate action?

Today on the show, Bill Loveless is joined by Maine Senator Angus King. 

Senator King is part of a small group of powerful moderates. He spends his time in the Senate actively working with Democrats and Republicans in search of climate compromise.

Senator King is a founding member of the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus and a Member of three prominent committees -- energy, intelligence, and armed services.

We spoke with the Senator about the state of play for climate and energy legislation.

May 6, 2019

When it comes to the Green New Deal, Washington is still trying to sort out what the movement means and what steps can be taken to address the dangers posed by climate change. And a similar case is happening in some states, like New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a Green New Deal and bold steps he says are necessary to achieve it.

In this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Alicia Barton, the president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. NYSERDA is a public corporation dedicated to energy innovations that would improve New York’s economy and environment – and an agency that will play a big part in the state’s Green New Deal.

Bill sat down with Alicia outside the Center on Global Energy Policy’s summit in New York recently to talk about the governor’s energy agenda, including its call for an ambitious ramp-up in renewable energy deployments in New York as the state aims for 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040 and ultimately the elimination of its carbon footprint. It’s not without controversy; some state lawmakers and some interest groups say Cuomo’s Green New Deal doesn’t go far enough. But one way or another, the Empire State seems likely to follow through on a plan of this sort.

Alicia has held public and private sector leadership roles in clean energy for more than a decade, including serving as co-chair of the energy and clean tech practice at the law firm Foley Hoag, chief operations officer of the global utility business unit at SunEdison, and CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, a publicly supported agency in Massachusetts.

In Massachusetts, she was also the deputy commissioner for policy and planning at the Department of Environmental Protection and the deputy general counsel at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

During their conversation, Bill and Alicia talked about various elements of New York’s Green New Deal, like its ambitious goals for offshore wind power, distributed solar energy and energy storage, and what her agency and the rest of the state’s government, not to mention the private sector, can do to meet them. They also touched on the growing significance of states like New York acting on energy and climate change in the absence of policy in Washington.

Just as important was their discussion of women in energy and the gender imbalance still seen across much of the energy apparatus in the U.S.

Apr 29, 2019

Big changes are taking place in Chile when it comes to energy, with a strong push for renewable energy in recent years. And there’s more to come, according to the country’s president, Sebastián Piñera.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with Susana Jiménez, Chile’s energy minister, who’s overseeing her government’s plan to change significantly the way the nation produces and uses energy. In the process, she aims to make her nation a model for not only South America but also the world.

The fifth largest consumer of energy in South America, Chile is only a minor producer of fossil fuels and therefore has relied heavily on energy imports. That’s changing, however, as Chile looks increasingly to solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy. In fact, renewable energy now accounts for about 18% of the nation’s electric power capacity, up from 5% just five years ago.

Minister Jiménez and Bill talked about this during her visit to the Center on Global Energy Policy in New York as well as her government’s plans to step up its transformation to cleaner forms of energy, all of which will require even more investment by the private sector and innovations in government regulation.
They also discussed Chile’s commitments to address climate change by reducing the carbon intensity of its economy. A good sign of that vow is her government’s agreement to host the next round of U.N. climate talks in December after Brazil reversed its plans to host the meeting.

Susana Jiménez holds a Business Degree and a Master's Degree in Economics from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She also obtained a Diploma in Free Markets from the same institution and a Master's Degree in Humanities from Universidad del Desarrollo. She has been a professor at Universidad de Chile, Universidad Central, Universidad Finis Terrae, and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Until 1997, Ms. Jiménez was an economist with the Research Division of the Central Bank of Chile and subsequently she served as economic assistant in the representative office of the Chilean Treasury Ministry in New York. From 2000 to 2002 she was head of research at consulting firm Zahler & Co. Subsequent to that, she was an associate economist with consulting firm P. Rojas y Asociados, where she became a partner in 2009.

In May 2010 she joined the thinktank Libertad y Desarrollo (LyD) as a senior economist in charge of research on energy, environment, regulation, and free markets and water resources. She was promoted to deputy director of LyD in January 2017, a post she served in until she was appointed government minister.

Apr 24, 2019

Vicki Hollub is the President and CEO of Occidental Petroleum -- one of the largest oil and gas exploration and production companies in the U.S. and a major player in the Permian Basin. She joins host Jason Bordoff at the 2019 Columbia Global Energy Summit to discuss carbon pricing, the battle for dominance in the Permian Basin, what’s next for LNG, and the business case for advancing a lower carbon future.

Vicki Hollub is the first woman to head a major American oil company, serving as an industry leader since she joined Occidental in 1982. In her 35 years with the company, she has held management and technical positions with responsibilities on three continents, including overseeing operations in the United States, Russia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. She is the chair of the U.S. Secretary of Energy Advisory Board and a member of the World Economic Forum and the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative.

On April 10, the 2019 Columbia Global Energy Summit in New York City hosted top politicians, business leaders, and academics for a variety of lively discussions on what to expect in changes to the oil and gas landscape, the latest research on powering the low-carbon transition, navigating U.S. political fields to advance climate solutions, how to assess risk and build grid resilience, and much more.

Apr 22, 2019

In this Columbia Energy Exchange, Center on Global Energy Policy Inaugural Fellow David Sandalow is joined by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee at the 2019 Columbia Global Energy Summit for a conversation on how to bring clean energy lessons from Washington State to Washington, D.C., what the role of nuclear power and carbon capture sequestration should be in the U.S. energy landscape, and the value of perseverance and optimism for delivering on “a goal of a clean energy economy.”

Governor Inslee is a fifth-generation Washingtonian and graduate of the University of Washington and the Willamette University College of Law. He began his political career as a State Representative in 1989, then served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Washington’s 4th and 1st Districts until 2012. He has been Governor of Washington since 2013.

On April 10, the 2019 Columbia Global Energy Summit in New York City hosted top politicians, business leaders, and academics for a range of lively discussions on what to expect in changes to the oil and gas landscape, the latest research on powering the low-carbon transition, navigating U.S. political fields to advance climate solutions, how to assess risk and build grid resilience, and much more.

Columbia University does not support or oppose candidates for political office and any opinions expressed are not those of the University.

Apr 15, 2019

On this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by María Fernanda Suárez, Minister of Mines and Energy in Colombia, where she manages the country's efforts to boost oil production, promote sustainability, and diversify their power portfolio to promote energy security and meet growing demand. She leads Colombia’s efforts to diversify its electricity sector from its current, largely hydro-powered composition, which is threatened by El Niño conditions.

Recorded at CERAWeek, they discuss the future of Colombia’s oil and gas sector, particularly the role shale will play, its energy transition and added renewables to its electricity sector, and the impact of the crisis in neighboring Venezuela on Colombia.

CERAWeek is an annual event that brings together 4,000 industry leaders and policymakers from more than 75 countries.

Apr 8, 2019

Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat has had a rich career in government: working in four Democratic administrations over the course of 50 years, his most senior roles include Chief Domestic Policy Advisor for President Carter and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and Ambassador to the European Union for President Clinton.

Eizenstat advised President Carter through the 1979 oil crisis and through a period of substantial progress on energy and conservation - they doubled the size of the national park system, passed major federal policies that helped increase renewable fuel production and decrease dependence on foreign oil, and even symbolically installed a solar panel on the White House.

During the Clinton Administration, Eizenstat served as chief U.S. negotiator for the Kyoto Protocol, which created the international treaty to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. He also gave host Jason Bordoff his first job in government, straight out of grad school.

On this episode, Jason and "Stu" reunite to discuss his new book, titled "President Carter: The White House Years." They unpack Eizenstat's unique insights into President Carter's stamp on energy and environmental policy, including deregulating oil and gas markets, conservation efforts, the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster, protecting Alaska's lands, and much, much more.

 

Apr 1, 2019

Climate change is gaining attention fast in Congress as the Green New Deal makes waves. It’s a top priority for Democrats, although they may differ over the exact approach for curbing carbon emissions. And even among Republicans there seems to be more talk about backing cleaner forms of energy.

In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless sits down with Representative Paul Tonko, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, the place where legislation on climate change begins.

In fact, the New York Democrat is well on his way to crafting bills. He’s unveiled a set of principles that will guide his actions and laid out a two-part strategy for legislation, starting with relatively modest measures with potential for widespread support, and then moving on to greater challenges, like putting a price on carbon.

Bill met with Chairman Tonko in his office the other day, amid a flurry of activity over climate change at both ends of Congress. Senate Republicans had just voted to reject the Green New Deal even as a leading Republican announced legislation for a New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy. And in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was spotlighting a measure reaffirming the United States’ commitment to the Paris climate agreement.

Bill asked the chairman what he made of all this and how he intended to navigate his way forward on this controversial issue. They talked about the Green New Deal, his legislative intentions, his look back on past attempts by Congress to deal with climate change, and his very personal insights into the phenomena taking place.

Mar 18, 2019

The U.S. economy kicked into high gear in 2018, and the results were evident in nearly every energy sector including overall demand, power generation, energy prices and carbon emissions. So, what does this mean for the movement to sustainable energy?

In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Lisa Jacobson, the president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, a coalition of companies and trade associations representing the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors.

Every year, the council along with Bloomberg New Energy Finance puts out “Sustainable Energy in America Factbook,” providing annual information on key trends in the U.S. energy sectors. The 2019 edition of the report, the seventh compiled, illustrates the extent to which the U.S. energy picture is changing and what it indicates for the nation’s economy.

Lisa has headed the Business Council for Sustainable Energy for about 15 years, after having worked on Capitol Hill as a congressional aide. She is a member of the Department of Energy’s State Energy Efficiency Steering Committee, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee, and the Gas Technology Institute’s Public Interest Advisory Committee.

She has represented energy industries before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and testified before Congress. In fact, she had just appeared before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee regarding the 2019 factbook when she and Bill spoke at her office in Washington.

They talked about the latest findings in the various energy sectors as well as a couple of questions the report raises about energy productivity in the U.S. and the absence of federal policy on climate change.

Mar 11, 2019
The U.S. is undergoing a boom in energy production as oil, natural gas and renewable energy set records for output, and electric utilities increasingly shift to cleaner fuels for power generation.
So, what does this mean for jobs in energy sectors that are flourishing as well as some that are not?
 
In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to David Foster, the author of the newly released “U.S.
Energy and Employment Report 2019.” It’s the product of the Energy Futures Initiative, a Washington-based think tank headed by former U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and the National Association of State Energy Officials.
 
The report, previously compiled by the U.S. Department of Energy, looks at employment in 2018 in five sectors: fuels; electric power generation; transmission, distribution and storage; energy
efficiency; and motor vehicles. And it compares those numbers with those of the previous year.
 
As Bill and David discuss, the findings are generally positive, showing, for example, that employment in the traditional energy sectors, like fuels, electric power, and transmission, distribution
and storage, as well as energy efficiency, increased 2.3% in 2018, adding almost 152,000 jobs, nearly 7% of all new jobs nationwide.
This comes as the U.S. energy system continues to experience an evolution in which market forces, new technology, tax policy, and declining federal regulation affect the changing profile of the
energy workforce.
 
David Foster is a distinguished associate at the Energy Futures Initiative, and previously was a senior adviser to Secretary Moniz from 2014 to 2017, where he designed the report when it was
done at DOE.
 
Before that, he was the founding executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance, a partnership of unions and environmental organizations, and director of a United Steelworkers district covering
13 states. Now, he also sits on the boards of Kaiser Aluminum and Oregon Steel Mills.
 
The talk is timely as Washington and the rest of the U.S. grapple over the best way to address climate change, with the Green New Deal attracting so much attention.
Mar 4, 2019

On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Lord Adair Turner, Senior Fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Chair of the Energy Transitions Commission, and former Chair of the UK Parliament's Climate Change Committee. In November 2018, the Energy Transitions Commission published a report entitled ‘Mission Possible: Reaching net-zero carbon emissions from harder-to-abate sectors by mid-century’. The report outlines the possible routes to fully decarbonize cement, steel, plastics, trucking, shipping, and aviation – which together represent 30% of energy emissions today and could increase to 60% by mid-century. Lord Adair Turner and Jason discuss the report in detail – its findings, recommendations, and implications for the energy transition. We also hear Lord Adair Turner's thoughts on an array of issues, including climate change, the proposed Green New Deal, and the broader role of government in the energy transition.

Feb 25, 2019

Freeing the world of poverty is the predominant goal of the World Bank, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. And one of the most important factors in achieving that objective is providing reliable and affordable electricity to the more than 1 billion people around the world who lack it now.

In this episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Riccardo Puliti, the top energy official at the World Bank. As a senior director and head of the Energy and Extractives Global Practice at the bank, Riccardo leads a team of 400 professionals who develop policies and financing in these industries, with a portfolio of some $40 billion.

Bill and Riccardo met recently at his office at World Bank headquarters in Washington, two years after their first conversation on the Columbia Energy Exchange, when Riccardo was still new to the job. They talked about what’s happened since then, including stepped-up efforts at the bank to promote access to renewable energy in remote regions like Africa and Southeast Asia and to address the threats of climate change.

Always an optimist, Riccardo finds satisfaction in the progress that’s been made to expand access to cleaner types of energy, though he acknowledges more needs to be done. And he’s keen on the potential of new technologies like energy storage. But he also makes clear the bank’s concerns over climate change, whose potential impact is of growing concern to nations around the world.

Of course, he and Bill were meeting as the World Bank awaits a new president, following the resignation of Jim Yong Kim earlier this year and the Trump administration’s nomination of David Malpass, an official at the U.S. Treasury Department, to replace him. Will energy and climate policies change under the bank’s new leadership? Not surprisingly, Riccardo responded carefully, saying, “We have to wait until the new president comes and then see what kind of dialogue takes place.”

Prior to joining the World Bank, Riccardo was the managing director in charge of energy and extractive industries at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He started his career at Istituto Mobiliare Italiano in 1987 before moving to Banque Indosuez and NM Rothschild where he worked in equity capital markets, always in the energy and infrastructure sectors. 

Dec 3, 2018

OPEC and non-OPEC countries will meet in Vienna this week to decide whether to cut oil production to prop up tumbling prices. This comes amid high output from Saudi Arabia, Russia and the U.S. and slowing demand for oil in several non-OECD countries.

On this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff talks to Paul Horsnell, global head of commodities at Standard Chartered Plc, a multinational banking and financial services company based in London. Previously, Paul was managing director and head of commodities research at Barclays Capital, head of energy research at JPMorgan and assistant director for research at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

Paul and Jason got together in Vienna ahead of the OPEC meeting to discuss the decline in oil prices over the past few months, the impact of rising U.S. shale oil production, President Trump’s pressure on Saudi Arabia for lower prices, Russia’s role in decisions on oil production and other market developments. They addressed, too, what might be expected of this significant meeting.

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