President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate, which brought together forty world leaders to galvanize efforts by the major economies around the world to tackle climate change, ended on Friday with the United States pledging to reduce its carbon emissions by at least half by 2030, along with pledges from many other countries to reduce emissions as well. Even with the Biden administration’s unequivocal message to the world that America is back when it comes to global climate leadership, numerous challenges lie ahead--from the thorny US-China relationship, to the limits of Biden’s own ability to drive emissions cuts at home with a deeply divided Congress. That’s the difficult task facing Secretary John Kerry and other global climate leaders in the months ahead as they work toward a November United Nations Climate Change Conference that aims to raise ambition among both governments and the private sector.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by David Sandalow to discuss last week’s climate summit and what lies ahead.
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 founded and directs the Center’s U.S.-China Program and is author of the Guide to Chinese Climate Policy. He has also been a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Schwarzman Scholars Program at Tsinghua University. David has held many senior government climate posts, including acting Under Secretary and Assistant Secretary of Energy, Assistant Secretary of State and Senior Director on the National Security Council staff.
The importance of diversity in energy finance is gaining attention as more investors look closer at how companies are stacking up when it comes to the representation of women and minorities on their boards of directors and in their management ranks.
And it is not just the energy sector discovering this trend. It is taking place across corporations in the U.S. and around the world, a point illustrated in a new commentary from the Center on Global Energy Policy.
In this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless joins two of the authors of that commentary, Maria Jelescu, the CEO of Ardinall Investment Management, and Jully Meriño Carela, the director of the Women in Energy (WIE) initiative at CGEP.
Maria also co-chairs the WIE steering committee and serves on the center’s advisory board. She and Jully co-authored the commentary with Amy Myers Jaffe, the managing director of the Climate Policy Lab at Tufts University’s Fletcher School and a co-chair of the WIE steering committee.
In the commentary, the authors make clear that the social aspects of ESG -- or environmental, social and governance considerations -- are front and center now as pressure mounts on energy companies to address the gender and racial makeup of their operations and recognize the value of diversity to them.
The commentary is called “The Social Aspects of ESG Investing: Insights on Diversity in Energy Finance.”
The discussion is particularly timely now amid a new shareholder proxy season, as investors press companies on ESG factors, and the Biden administration signals that closer government scrutiny of these matters may be in order.
Maria founded Ardinall Investment in 2017 as a firm focused on sustainability and climate change solutions. Previously, she spent 15 years at Goldman Sachs in various investment roles. Jully worked in labor and nonprofit fields before joining the Center on Global Energy Policy and taking charge of the Women in Energy initiative. Its mission is to elevate women in the energy sector at all career stages.
The commentary can be found here.
As the first meetings take place between top Biden administration officials and their Chinese counterparts, the U.S. and China are beginning to map out how they plan to engage on climate change. Given diplomatic tensions between the two countries on such issues as trade, technology, and human rights, questions remain about whether the countries can cooperate to address the climate crisis.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Kelly Sims Gallagher to discuss what both the U.S. and China are doing domestically on climate change, and whether and how their actions may play out as cooperation or competition between the two nations.
Kelly Sims Gallagher is Academic Dean and Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, where she directs the Climate Policy Lab and the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy. She served in the second term of the Obama Administration as a Senior Policy Advisor in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and as Senior China Advisor in the Special Envoy for Climate Change office at the U.S. State Department.
Gallagher is the author of Titans of the Climate (The MIT Press 2018) and The Global Diffusion of Clean Energy Technologies: Lessons from China (MIT Press 2014), and dozens of other articles and book chapters.
There’s much afoot in Washington these days over the prospect of new policies to address climate change and to put the U.S. on more solid footing when it comes to consuming and producing energy. We’ll know more as time goes on as to whether the Biden administration and Congress can reach the difficult agreements necessary to put new policies in place.
Yet, even as we contemplate the possibilities, it’s worth taking a look back at how the U.S. energy policy has evolved over the years, especially during the 1970s, when energy crises roiled energy markets and Washington enacted more energy laws than at any other time.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless speaks with Jay Hakes, the author of a new book that looks closely at that era. It’s called “Energy Crises: Nixon, Ford and Carter, and Hard Choices in the 1970s.”
Jay is a former head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration and former director of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.
In his book, Jay describes events of the 1970s like the long gasoline lines amid the Arab oil embargo and the fall of the shah of Iran, the fuel shortages that closed schools and factories, the military and political tensions in the oil-rich Middle East and the sky-high inflation that wreaked havoc in the nation’s economy.
More to the point, he writes deeply about the perceptions of these events by the men who occupied the White House then, their determination to end U.S. reliance on foreign oil, and their successes and failures to persuade Congress to go along with their energy agendas.
In short, Jay tells us that the 1970s hold a pre-eminent place in the U.S. when it comes to energy, and he reminds us, as well, that actions then set the foundation for today’s energy production and consumption trends.