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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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Aug 10, 2020

Despite much progress in meeting the ambitious goal of attaining universal access to sustainable and modern energy, nearly 800 million people still lack access to electricity. Even more lack access to clean cooking fuels. This has serious health, gender, economic, and climate consequences -- and those are especially evident during this pandemic when access to basic health and safety protocols, medical services and clean water is hampered in many parts of the world. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by one of the world’s leaders responsible for addressing this crisis, Damilola Ogunbiyi. She is CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy.

Special Representative Ogunbiyi previously served as the first female Managing Director of the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency. In a prior role, Damilola worked in the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Office of the Vice President as Senior Special Assistant to the President on Power and Head of the Advisory Power Team. Damilola was also the first female to be appointed as General Manager of the Lagos State Electricity Board. She first entered public service as the Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Public-Private Partnerships, and prior to her appointment, she was a consultant for the United Kingdom Department for International Development on public-private partnerships. 

Aug 3, 2020

Young people around the world are speaking out increasingly about the dangers of climate change and taking actions, too, to reduce the risks of global warming in their lifetimes.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks with Akshat Rathi, the editor of a new book called "United We Are Unstoppable," a collection of essays by 60 young people about their determination to save the world from climate change.

The book is a stirring collection of stories about the impacts of climate change that are already taking place or are likely to do so in the future from activists, many of them from developing countries where the results of global warming often go unnoticed.

Bill and Akshat discuss this new book, the message it sends and its significance at a time when the risks of climate change loom large, especially for generations that will live through it this century.

Based in London, Akshat writes for Bloomberg about people and their ideas for tackling climate change. Previously, he was a senior reporter at Quartz and a science editor at The Conversation. He has also worked for The Economist and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Akshat has a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Oxford and a degree in chemical engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai. He was a 2018 participant in the Columbia Energy Journalism Initiative, a program at the Center on Global Energy Policy that helps energy journalists deepen their understanding of complex topics associated with energy and environmental issues. 

Jul 27, 2020

Long a leader in progressive climate change legislation, the European Union doubled down on those ambitions this week as it pushed forward a groundbreaking green stimulus package to revive its pandemic-ravaged economies. On July 21, 2020, EU leaders reached agreement, subject to ratification by the European Parliament and national legislatures, on their new green stimulus, a package entitled Next Generation EU. This package will make fighting climate change central to Europe’s recovery, with large sums earmarked for green investments and carbon reduction goals. There remains disagreement about the package and criticism from some member states that are heavily dependent on hydrocarbons, as well as from some environmentalists who say it doesn't go far enough. At the end of last week, the EU parliament approved a non-binding resolution criticizing the deal.

On this episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by someone who has been at the forefront of the EU’s response, Executive Vice President of the European Commission in Charge of the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans. Frans Timmermans is a Dutch politician and diplomat who has served as First Vice President of the European Commission since 2014. Since December 2019, he has served as the Executive Vice President of the European Commission for the European Green Deal and simultaneously as the European Commissioner for Climate Action. He was previously Minister of Foreign Affairs and State Secretary for Foreign Affairs for the Netherlands. Earlier in his career, he was a member of the Dutch House of Representatives for the Labour Party and a civil servant in the diplomatic service of the Netherlands before becoming active in politics. 

What policies help stimulate economic activity, can be done in a reasonably quick timeframe, and also help address climate change? They discuss what's included in the Next Generation EU package and what the deal might mean for carbon reduction, climate change and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, both in the EU and around the world. 

Jul 20, 2020

In the last few weeks, we've seen numerous events with implications for how to think about the twin challenges of developing the energy resources we need while also protecting our public lands, curbing climate change, and protecting the environment. There have been setbacks for three major U.S. pipeline projects, all rooted in flaws that courts found in environmental review processes; a new announcement by  President Trump about a “top to bottom overhaul” of the nation’s environmental review process, a cornerstone of the landmark environmental law President Nixon signed half a century ago; and ambitious new plans announced by Vice President Biden to dramatically increase clean energy investments. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by David J. Hayes to discuss what all these changes might mean for energy infrastructure projects on federal lands moving forward, along with other issues like what’s next for clean energy and climate policy, how states are responding to the Trump administration’s recent environmental rollbacks, and much more. 

David J. Hayes is an environmental, energy and natural resources lawyer who leads the State Energy and Impact Center at the NYU School of Law, which supports state attorneys general in their advocacy for clean energy, climate and environmental laws and policies. David previously served as the Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of the Interior for President Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. He’s also been a visiting lecturer at Stanford Law School, is a member of the board of the Coalition for Green Capital, and is founder of the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance. Earlier in his career, he worked in private law practice as global chair of the Environment, Land and Resources Department at Latham & Watkins. 

Jul 13, 2020

To one extent or another, governments around the world are trying to decide how to recover from the economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic, and that includes measures that might also minimize the risks of climate change. In the U.S., those discussions are increasingly reflecting acknowledgement of racial and environmental justice.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Justin Worland, Time magazine’s reporter covering energy, the environment and climate. Justin spoke with Bill as Time is out with a new double issue largely dedicated to climate change.

Justin wrote the cover story headlined “One Last Chance: The Defining Year for the Planet.” He also filed another piece for this edition called “Why the Larger Climate Movement is Finally Embracing the Fight Against Environmental Racism.”

Bill and Justin talk about what makes 2020 so important for addressing climate change. In fact, Justin writes that this year may be the most pivotal yet in the fight against climate change.

In his second piece, Justin recalls a fire at a Philadelphia refinery in 2019 in explaining why environmental racism is getting more attention amid much broader protests over systemic racism in America.

Bill and Justin also touch on coverage of these issues now and in the past, and the challenges the pandemic presents for Justin and other reporters trying to cover events first hand.

Justin joined Time in 2014. He graduated Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in history.

Jul 6, 2020

A new report from Democrats on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis calls for comprehensive actions by the U.S. Congress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. as quickly as possible, make communities more resilient to climate change, and build a durable and equitable clean energy economy.

Called “Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient and Just America,” the 550-page report contains hundreds of recommendations. Some call it the most far-reaching report on climate change to ever appear on Capitol Hill.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless reached the chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, Rep. Kathy Castor, a Florida Democrat, soon after the report was released by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Castor. It was the second appearance on Columbia Energy Exchange by Rep. Castor, who first sat down with Bill last fall when the committee was still gathering material for the report.

Among the report's specific goals are 100% net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and net negative emissions in the second half of the century. The report would also require a clean energy standard for the electric power sector; a standard to ensure that all light duty vehicles sold by 2035 are zero emission; and similar emission requirements for all new commercial and residential construction by 2030.

It comes after a year of hearings, meetings, research and other actions by the panel to come up with a comprehensive climate strategy. Originally due to be released earlier this year, the report was postponed because of the pandemic.

In their latest discussion, Bill and Rep. Castor talk about the report’s recommendations and the outlook for action on it in Washington at a time when the U.S. is struggling with a pandemic, protests over racial inequality and an economic downturn, not to mention a national election in the fall.

Jun 29, 2020

Ever since Thomas Edison lit up lower Manhattan in 1882, New York has long been at the forefront of many energy and environmental issues, and that remains true today. New York recently adopted groundbreaking targets to decarbonize the state’s electricity, and eventually its entire energy system. This comes on the heels of an innovative set of regulatory initiatives to modernize and decarbonize New York’s electric grid, called Reforming the Energy Vision, led by Richard Kauffman, now an Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy. As the Cuomo administration emerges from the hardest-hit days of the COVID-19 pandemic, questions remain as to how the state plans to achieve these ambitious goals and perhaps show the rest of the nation what a pathway to decarbonization might look like. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Ali Zaidi, Chairman of Climate Policy and Finance and Deputy Secretary for Energy and Environment in the Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Ali served as top energy official at the White House Office of Management and Budget during the Obama administration, among other positions. Since leaving the Obama administration, Ali has also worked as a transactional and regulatory attorney, co-founded Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy, and was a Non-Resident Fellow at CGEP.

Jun 22, 2020

As the dangers of climate change become ever more urgent and the costs of renewable energy plummet, the electricity sector has been experiencing wrenching shifts. More intermittent, distributed sources of energy, new technologies, new competitors, new business models, and policy changes. As we drive toward lower and lower carbon sources of energy,  how can the power sector deliver abundant, affordable, secure, flexible power all at the same time? It’s a critical question for the clean energy future, and it also happens to be the subject of a new book by Peter Fox-Penner.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Peter Fox-Penner, who is Founder and Director of Boston University’s Institute of Sustainable Energy, and is a Professor of Practice in the Questrom School of Business. His extensive research and writing interests, in the areas of electric power strategy and regulation, energy and climate policy, and sustainable finance, include the book Smart Power and now its sequel, Power After Carbon. Earlier in his career, Peter was a Principal at The Brattle Group, where he specialized in energy and regulated industry matters. He served as Principal Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy unit, and as a Senior Advisor in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He also currently serves as Chief Strategy Advisor to Energy Impact Partners. Peter received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago. 

Jun 15, 2020

Mary D. Nichols has been called “the most influential environmental regulator of all time.” As chair of the powerful California Air Resources Board, she has pioneered several landmark climate initiatives, including the state’s cap-and-trade program, and worked to set stronger automative emission standards, triggering a pitched battle with the Trump Administration as it seeks to roll back Obama-era fuel economy standards and take away California’s ability to set its own pollution rules.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Chair Mary Nichols, the chair of CARB since 2007, a position she also held from 1979 to 1983. Over a career as an environmental lawyer spanning nearly a half century, Mary Nichols has played a key role in California and the nation’s environmental policymaking. In Mary’s extensive career as an environmental lawyer and policymaker, she founded the LA office of the Natural Resources Defense Council as a senior attorney, served as Executive Director for the Environment Now Foundation, served as the Assistant Administrator of Air and Radiation in the Clinton Environmental Protection Agency, worked in private practice, among many other distinguished roles. Mary is a graduate of Yale Law School and serves on the faculty at the UCLA School of Law.

Jun 8, 2020

As China’s reported number of coronavirus cases hovers close to zero and the country begins charting an ambitious economic recovery, one question emerging is how the pandemic affects China’s outlook for energy and climate change. The National People’s Congress, which took place last week following a two-month delay, broke with tradition in not announcing a 2020 growth target for the economy, and likewise, China’s top planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, has declined to set an energy intensity reduction target for the year due to ongoing global economic uncertainty. 

The three biggest producers of greenhouse gases - the European Union, the United States, and China - are signaling quite diverging paths about how green a stimulus and clean energy investment plan might be. How is China considering carbon-intensive industry to restore economic growth? How is it thinking about the role of oil and gas, its relationship with the U.S. and its trade deal, and its leadership in the global climate arena? 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by two Center on Global Energy Policy experts, David Sandalow and Erica Downs, to discuss these questions. 

David Sandalow is the Inaugural Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy and co-Director of the Energy and Environment Concentration at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He directs the Center’s U.S.-China Program and is the author of the Guide to Chinese Climate Policy. Last fall, he was a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Schwarzman Scholars Program at Tsinghua University in China. David came to Columbia from the U.S. Department of Energy, where he served as Under Secretary of Energy (acting) and Assistant Secretary for Policy & International Affairs. Prior to serving at the Department of Energy, David was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He also served in the White House and as an Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of State.

Dr. Erica Downs is a Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy focusing on Chinese energy markets and geopolitics. Erica previously worked as a senior research scientist in the China Studies division of the CNA Corporation, a senior analyst in the Asia practice at Eurasia Group, a fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution, and an energy analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. Erica holds a Ph.D and M.A. from Princeton University.

For more on Covid-19 and China's energy outlook, check out a new commentary from CGEP's Kevin Tu, COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impacts on China’s Energy Sector: A Preliminary Analysis.

Jun 1, 2020

Universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030 has been a goal of the United Nations since 2015. And much progress has been made, as the UN, the World Bank and other international organizations make clear in a new report. But there’s still a long way to go. And the pandemic raging around the world now will only make meeting the goal more difficult.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks with Makhtar Diop, the vice president for infrastructure at the World Bank. He leads the bank’s efforts to develop sustainable solutions and help close the infrastructure gap in developing and emerging economies.

Makhtar discusses the reasons behind the progress that has been made around the world and the impediments keeping the goal of universal access still out of the reach of so many people, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. The latest challenge, he notes, is the pandemic. 

He also explains what the World Bank is doing to alleviate these needs, including new initiatives in the works.

The Tracking SDG-7 Energy Progress Report was released by the UN Statistical Division, the World Bank, the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency and the World Health Organization.

Prior to taking on this current role at the World Bank in 2018, Makhtar was the institution’s vice president for Africa, where he oversaw the delivery of a record-breaking $70 billion to Sub-Saharan Africa to address development challenges, like increasing access to affordable and sustainable energy.

Prior to these and other roles at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Makhtar started his career in the banking sector and held government positions, including minister of economy and finance in his native Senegal.

He holds degrees in economics from the Universities of Warwick and Nottingham in England.

May 25, 2020

With the coronavirus wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy, there’s considerable discussion underway about steps that can be taken to get business and consumers back on track. Much of that talk involves energy initiatives that the federal government could undertake. But states have important roles to play, too. Among them is Virginia, which just recently became the first southern state to adopt a 100% clean energy standard.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks with Anthony Artuso, an executive scholar at the University of Virginia’s Center for Economic and Policy Studies, just weeks after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed the new Virginia Clean Economy Act.

Anthony is part of a team at the UVA center working on clean energy modeling and policy analysis in Virginia. He’s also collaborating with a group of faculty and staff at UVA’s Darden Graduate School of Business on economic and sustainability issues, focusing again on clean energy.

In addition to his work at UVA, Anthony is a member of the advisory board of the 100% Clean Energy Collaborative convened by the Clean Energy States Alliance, a nonprofit coalition of public agencies and organizations working together to advance clean energy. Previously, he did research and consulting for U.S. government agencies, state governments, the World Bank and the UN on issues related to clean energy, environmental policy and sustainable development.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Columbia University, a master’s degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a PhD in natural resource policy and management at Cornell University.

Bill reached Anthony at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

May 18, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to take a massive toll on the U.S. economy, causing widespread job loss and suffering. Congress and the Federal Reserve have moved quickly to respond with trillions of dollars of support, and the Democratic House last week passed another stimulus bill for a staggering $3 trillion. As governments around the world spend money to support businesses and workers, there is a critically important conversation to be had about how we spend that money and whether it is possible to not just get the economy back on its feet, but build a cleaner economy too and make investments today that will help to advance the clean energy transition. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Jason Furman to hear about how the progressive economic policy community thinks about greening economic recovery. From an economic standpoint, what needs to be done to rebuild the economy, what are the criteria for smart stimulus policies, and how might other social objectives like climate change be considered through that lens.  

Jason is Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. He is also nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Previously, he served for eight years as a top economic advisor to President Obama, including as his chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. He also worked at the Brookings Institution, where he worked with Jason Bordoff, and was a Director of the Hamilton Project and Senior Fellow. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. 

May 11, 2020

Few countries are as important to the outlook for energy demand and climate change as is India. It uses huge amounts of coal, was projected to be one of the biggest drivers of growth in oil use, and has ambitious targets to grow both the use of renewables and natural gas. So how does the Covid-19 pandemic change that outlook - with weeks of strict lockdown measures by India’s 1.3 billion people cratering transportation activity and other energy use? The skies over normally polluted Indian cities turned clear, and more blue. Now with the economy starting to open up, what are the consequences for energy use, for carbon emissions, and for local air pollution? 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff explores these and other questions with The Honorable Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Minister Pradhan is India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Steel. He previously served as the Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship during Prime Minister Modi’s first term. As Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, he has guided decision-making around production, supply distribution and pricing of petroleum, as well as India’s overall energy sector development. 

A transcript of the conversation is available here.

May 4, 2020

Today's global pandemic is testing the limits of people’s ability to cope with massive disruption in their lives, including steps they take for the public good. And there may be lessons there regarding our response to climate change.

In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Robert H. Frank, a professor of management and economics at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management and the author of a new book from Princeton University Press called Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work. They discuss human behavior in a crisis, whether it is the COVID-19 pandemic that we are enduring today, or the climate catastrophe that we may be just beginning to experience.

In his book, Robert explains how the strongest predictor of our willingness to support climate friendly policies, install solar panels or buy an electric car is the number of people we know who have already done so. And while climate change may not be uppermost in people’s minds now amid the pandemic, he draws parallels for Bill between our reaction to this health crisis and how we might respond to climate change.

They also talk about another book, one by the journalist David Wallace-Wells called The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, which Robert says had a big impact on his thinking. David was a guest on Columbia Energy Exchange with Jason Bordoff in September 2019.

In his discussion with Bill, Robert explains his views on the meaning of “behavioral contagion,” its relationship to previous changes in public attitudes about smoking and other controversial issues, and its potential to inspire broad public support for measures to address climate change.

Among his other credentials, Robert is a former economics columnist for the New York Times. His earlier books include The Winner-Take-All-Society, The Economic Naturalist and Success and Luck.

Apr 22, 2020

Fifty years ago this week, 20 million Americans came together to march for the planet, demanding action to clean up America’s waterways and air and protect public health. Their efforts launched the first Earth Day and the modern environmental movement. This week on the Columbia Energy Exchange, we reflect back on the U.S. environmental movement in 1970, examine the movement’s successes in reducing pollution, and find lessons for addressing the existential environmental issue of our time -- climate change.

To celebrate this historic milestone, we have a special double episode of Columbia Energy Exchange featuring conversations with two champions of the environmental movement -- one Republican, one Democrat. On Monday, host Jason Bordoff spoke with former Environmental Protection Agency administrator for President George H.W. Bush, Bill Reilly. And today, he speaks with his former Obama Administration colleague, Gina McCarthy. 

Gina served as the 13th administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in President Obama’s second term, after serving as assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation in the first term. Earlier this year, she became president and chief executive officer of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of America’s most important environmental organizations, founded the same year as the first Earth Day -- 1970. Earlier in her career, she held senior environmental policy roles in the state governments in Massachusetts and Connecticut, serving as commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, deputy secretary of the Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development, and undersecretary of policy for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. She also spent time after the Obama Administration at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, serving as a professor of the practice of public health in the Department of Environmental Health, and is currently chair of the board of advisors at the Harvard Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE).

They discuss the current state of the environmental movement, progress made to cut pollution and expand clean energy in the U.S., and the challenges that remain to address the threat of climate change. They also discuss the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, and how the spread of the virus has highlighted the importance of science and preparedness, and the inequitable burdens of environmental pollution on public health.

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.

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