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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: November, 2022
Nov 29, 2022

War. Inflation. Supply shortfalls. The global energy system looks much different than a year ago, thanks to a confluence of disruptive forces for oil and natural gas. Ever-cheaper renewables, electric cars, and stronger climate policies are putting peak fossil fuel consumption in sight. 

How will these competing factors play out in the coming decade and beyond? 

This fall, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published the latest version of its flagship report, the World Energy Outlook (WEO). It examines the state of the global energy system and maps out a variety of decarbonization scenarios for the future. 

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Laura Cozzi. Laura is the chief energy modeler at the IEA . She also serves as the head of the demand outlook division, and is responsible for producing the annual World Energy Outlook. Laura has been with the IEA for more than 20 years and has co-authored multiple editions of the WEO. 

Jason talks with Laura about this year’s analysis – and the various scenarios outlined in the report. They discuss the prospect for a peak in fossil fuel consumption, the impact of increased investments in clean energy, and the long-term impacts of today’s supply crisis.

Nov 22, 2022

The November midterm elections proved better than expected for Democrats, in spite of many predictions of a Republican wave sweeping across the United States.

Regardless of what happens in the Georgia run-off in December, Democrats will hold a majority in the Senate. 

Republicans, however, have taken a narrow majority in the House of Representatives, where they can contest President Biden’s climate and energy agenda. Most notably, they could try to minimize the impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act and other new laws through oversight and investigations into its funding for various agencies. 

How will climate and energy policy shake out over the last two years of President Biden’s term? Will the administration look to regulatory agencies like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission to move the needle on climate action with a split Congress? 

This week host Bill Loveless talks with Rich Powell and Aliya Haq. 

Rich is the CEO of Clear Path and Clear Path Action. Both are DC-based organizations advancing policies that accelerate innovations to reduce emissions in the energy and industrial sectors. He is also the co-chair of the Conservative Climate Foundation.

Aliya is the vice president of U.S. policy and advocacy at Breakthrough Energy. Her team pushes for ambitious climate and clean energy policy to help the U.S. achieve its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Previously, she was the federal climate policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Bill spoke with Rich and Aliya about the election results and how they will impact policy over the next two years. They discussed the possibility of bipartisan action and how a Republican House could influence energy and environmental agencies.

Nov 15, 2022

The spotlight is on Africa at COP27, the UN climate change conference taking place in Egypt.

This year, climate-induced disasters have ravaged the continent. Cyclones and flooding in the south, and a four-year drought in the east have crippled food supplies, increased human suffering, and hurt economic growth. 

Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of Africans still live in energy poverty. With pressure from developed nations to cut emissions at global climate talks, African leaders are hoping to secure billions of dollars to invest in the transition away from fossil fuels and build new energy infrastructure. 

But securing financing to build renewable energy projects isn't enough. For the first time in its history, the COP agenda includes “loss and damage” funds. These are reparations that industrialized countries would pay to developing countries which have suffered the most from climate change. 

What will it take to bring about meaningful energy transitions in Africa? And do the energy developments underway give us some insight on what’s possible?

This week host Bill Loveless talks with Dr. Destenie Nock. Destenie is an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University where she teaches civil and environmental engineering as well as engineering and public policy. She is also newly appointed to Columbia’s Visiting Faculty Program.

Destenie recently co-authored a report about energy poverty in Africa in the journal Nature titled “Africa needs context-relevant evidence to shape its clean energy future.”

Bill and Destenie spoke about her research, and the nuanced energy and climate needs of African nations. They discuss ‘loss and damage’ and the previously unfulfilled promises from wealthy countries to fund climate mitigation projects.

Nov 8, 2022

In 2021, 6.9 million electric vehicles were sold globally. And with 18 of the 20 largest auto manufacturers committed to embracing electrification, sales are expected to reach 55-72 million by 2025

To produce these vehicles, manufacturers need critical minerals like cobalt, lithium, and nickel for their batteries. China is a major player in battery manufacturing because of its capacity for processing these minerals. 

The European Union is close to striking a deal to ban new combustion-engine cars starting in 2035. Earlier this summer, the California Air Resources Board passed a new mandate for EVs, effectively phasing out the sale of gasoline-powered cars by 2035.

With the United States and Europe both aiming to bolster their domestic supply chains, the contest for critical minerals is also heating up. What will it take to produce these minerals in sufficient quantities? And how can it be done in ways that protect the environment and the mining communities?

This week host Bill Loveless talks with Henry Sanderson, the executive editor at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. From 2014 to 2021, he served as the commodities correspondent for the Financial Times. He also spent seven years in China reporting for Bloomberg and the Associated Press.

In July, Henry published a new book, “Volt Rush: The Winners and Losers in the Race to Go Green”. Volt Rush is about the geopolitics and competition over the commodities needed to build a greener world. 

Bill talks with Henry about the competitive global market of EV battery components and the often overlooked working and environmental conditions in developing countries. They also discuss efforts by the United States and other countries to build domestic supply chains.

Nov 1, 2022

Europe is getting some much-needed relief in the midst of its energy crisis. Although energy prices are still high, a warm October and a surge in liquified gas imports brought spot prices down from record levels and gas storage to near full capacity. A worst-case supply crisis has been averted — for now.

But tensions are still high. Fears over Russian sabotage of North Sea pipelines are causing concerns about cuts to remaining gas supplies. Impending winter weather and a coming embargo on Russian oil are adding uncertainty to an already volatile market. European households and businesses will still see prices for natural gas and electricity well above average. 

Has Europe seen the worst of its energy crisis? What are the options for EU leaders to manage the energy crisis during the frigid winter months? How will further measures to pressure Russia economically affect the European economy?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Anne-Sophie Corbeau and Tatiana Mitrova about the winter outlook and the options for managing the energy supply. This conversation was recorded on October 14, 2022. 

Anne-Sophie is a global research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Tatiana is a research fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy.

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