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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: 2022
Apr 5, 2022

Wildfires, extreme heat and particulate matter from fossil fuel power plants are increasingly affecting the well-being of people in the U.S. and other countries.

In this episode, host Bill Loveless visits with Dr. Renee Salas about the adverse impacts of climate change on public health. As a leading public health researcher and emergency medical doctor, Dr. Salas has published extensively and testified in Congress on the impact of climate change on healthcare and the medical system.

She served as the lead author of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change U.S. Brief since 2018.  

Dr. Salas is a Yerby Fellow at the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is also a practicing emergency medical physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School.

They bring us a compelling conversation about the mindset shift necessary to address the climate health crisis head on.

Mar 29, 2022

Earlier this month, a delegation of senior U.S. officials made an unexpected visit to South America to meet with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

The visit caused a flurry of speculation. Will the United States consider easing oil sanctions on Venezuela to replace Russian crude? Such a move could have huge ramifications for Venezuela’s oil exports but involves navigating a complicated relationship with the Maduro regime. 

For a look into how this could work, host Bill Loveless spoke with Dr. Luisa Palacios, a Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy and former Chairwoman of Citgo Petroleum Corporation. 

Luisa was on the show a few months ago for a conversation about the energy transition in Latin America. She returns to discuss a paper she recently co-authored: “Venezuela Oil Sanctions: Not An Easy Fix.”

Together, they discuss the potential ripple effects of easing sanctions on Venezuela as oil prices spike around the globe.

Mar 22, 2022

Heavy Russian airstrikes continue in Ukraine with no end in sight. 

As the conflict escalates, rising oil prices are causing alarm about the future of global energy markets. So far, sanctions issued by the European Union have spared Russia’s energy exports, but some European Commission officials have started to call for an oil embargo. 

To make sense of the recent oil price volatility, host Jason Bordoff called on energy expert Ed Morse. Morse has been focused on energy policy and commodities since the 1970s and is currently the managing director and global head of commodity research at Citigroup.

He was a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and served as the deputy assistant secretary of state for energy policy in both the Carter and Reagan administrations. 

Together, they discuss what Russia’s invasion of Ukraine means moving forward for global oil supplies and prices at the pump.

Mar 15, 2022

An increased demand for energy following COVID-19 lockdowns created a severe energy supply crunch in Europe this winter. And now, decisions from corporate executives and government leaders to reduce or outright ban the purchase of Russian oil has forced energy prices even higher.  For a look at how energy markets can be leveraged to end Russia’s war in Ukraine and accelerate the transition to clean energy– all while reducing the risks of nuclear proliferation– host Jason Bordoff spoke with former US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.

A key architect of the Paris Agreement and Iran nuclear deal, Moniz is currently the CEO of the Energy Futures Initiative and the Nuclear Threat Initiative. Before joining the Obama administration as Secretary of Energy, Dr. Moniz  served as Under Secretary of Energy and as Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the Department of Energy. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Moniz was a Physics and Engineering Systems Systems Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he founded the MIT Energy Initiative.

In this conversation, Dr. Moniz sheds light on the energy security threats created by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, where things stand on the Iran deal and the future of energy innovation amid turbulent times for the markets.

Mar 8, 2022
Russia’s continued military aggression towards Ukraine has become a full-blown humanitarian crisis. At the same time, energy prices are soaring as markets react to Russian oil and gas disruptions, including President Biden’s announcement today to ban US imports of Russian oil.    The global energy ramifications of the conflict are profound. As a major oil and gas supplier – to Europe in particular – Russia has the power to weaponize its fossil fuels. And that has markets worried. 

For a deeper look at how the Russia-Ukraine conflict is impacting energy markets globally, host Jason Bordoff speaks with two foreign policy experts on energy: Angela Stent and Meghan O’Sullivan. 

Stent is senior adviser to the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies and professor emerita of government and foreign service at Georgetown University. She’s published extensively on Russia-related foreign policy matters including “Putin’s World: Russia Against the West and With the Rest.” 

O’Sullivan is the Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs and the director of the Geopolitics of Energy Project at Harvard University. She served as a national security advisor to President George W. Bush, and has written various books and articles on international affairs. 

Together, they discuss the complex energy security and resource management challenges during this time. 

Mar 1, 2022

Delegations from Kyiv and Moscow met in Belarus yesterday for the first round of talks which resulted in no resolution. At the same time Russian rockets battered Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, killing and wounding dozens, and leaving much uncertainty on what’s to come next.

Sanctions have been the primary tool by the West to deter Russian aggression and de-escalate the tenuous situation. In this episode host Jason Bordoff speaks with international sanctions experts Richard Nephew and Eddie Fishman about the global energy implications of these diplomacy challenges. 

Nephew recently rejoined the Center On Global Energy Policy as a senior research scholar. He’s the author of “The Art Of Sanctions,” and was most recently the US Deputy Special Envoy for Iran under the Biden administration where he played a key role in negotiations over the Iran nuclear deal.

Fishman is an adjunct professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. From 2015 to 2017, he worked at the US State Department and advised Secretary of State John Kerry on Europe and Eurasia, leading policy work around economic sanctions. 

Their discussion focuses on Russia’s global oil and gas exports, the near and long-term outcomes of economic sanctions on the Russian economy and the prospects for a revived Iran nuclear deal. 

Feb 22, 2022

Silicon Valley is giving greater attention to potential business opportunities in clean energy and climate. It’s also seeing enormous potential for growth when it comes to battery storage, geothermal, electric vehicles, solar, and more. 

But there are still questions about how the private sector can effectively fund these new technologies and ventures.

For a look into how to scale climate solutions with the speed that’s needed, host Jason Bordoff sits down with John Doerr, chairman of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. John is known for his early investments in clean technology and outside of the investment world, he’s a social entrepreneur with a track record for tackling climate. 

And now, he has laid out his plan in a new book: “Speed & Scale: An Action Plan For Solving Our Climate Crisis Now.”

In this conversation, John outlines his vision for transitioning the economy to clean energy and reflects on his legacy of green investments.

Feb 15, 2022
The conflict between Ukraine and Russia is intensifying and President Biden has warned that Putin could send troops into Ukraine any day.

NATO countries, including the US, are sending military equipment to Ukraine in preparation for the worst. But Germany is holding back. With gas prices at an all-time high, the future of Nord Stream 2 in limbo and the recent shutdown of nuclear plants: Can Europe be self-sufficient without Russian gas?  

In this week’s episode, Jason Bordoff is joined by Stephen Lacey, host of The Carbon Copy podcast, to look at how we got here. Turns out a lot of it has to do with the geopolitics of the energy transition. 

Together, they break down the tricky dynamics between Russia and the rest of Europe. Countries like Germany have invested vast amounts of money in renewables in the hopes of cutting dependence on imported fossil fuels, but how long will it take to get there? 

Check out the Foreign Affairs article on this topic that Jason co-authored with policy expert Meghan O’Sullivan.

Feb 8, 2022

In February 2021, Winter Storm Uri pushed the Texas power grid to its limit, leading to widespread blackouts across the state. At its peak, the storm left 4.5 million homes and businesses without power, causing an estimated 250 deaths and $90 billion in damages.

As extreme weather worsens, experts worry that the current regulatory system is not enough to address the vulnerabilities in Texas’s electric system, making future outages more common and destructive. 

This February, another devastating winter storm hit Texas. In this week's episode, host Bill Loveless sits down with Michael Webber, an energy resources professor at the University of Texas, Austin and an expert on Texas’ unique grid, to discuss what has (or hasn’t) changed since Winter Storm Uri.  

What has Texas taught us about building a reliable grid in the face of extreme weather?

Michael is also the chief technology officer of Energy Impact Partners, a $2 billion cleantech venture fund. 

His book, Power Trip: the Story of Energy, was published in 2019 with an award-winning six-part companion series that aired on PBS and other networks.

Feb 1, 2022

Elevated ocean temperatures are rising sea levels, inundating coastlines, sinking island nations, bleaching coral, and creating more dangerous hurricanes. But oceans also act as a buffer against global warming.

Climate scientists are increasingly turning their attention to oceans. For a deep dive into the science shaping our understanding of the Earth’s watery depths, host Bill Loveless spoke with Peter de Menocal, president and director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

Peter is a marine geologist and paleoclimatologist by training, and the founding director of Columbia University’s Center For Climate And Life – a research accelerator that supports and trains the next generation of Earth scientists.

They discussed how oceans are changing, the capacity of oceans to take up carbon and the need for policy-relevant research on the seas. They also talked about what led Peter to a career studying and exploring oceans.

Jan 25, 2022

The most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen seems – at least in theory – to be a good source of energy. But because of the high costs and other barriers associated with hydrogen power, the real story is more nuanced.

For a deep dive into how the world can harness the power of hydrogen and what role it will play in the geopolitics of the energy transition, host Bill Loveless spoke with Elizabeth Press

She’s the Director of Planning and Programme Support at the International Renewable Energy Agency, which just published a new report mapping out the future of hydrogen.

The report, titled “Geopolitics of the Energy Transformation: The Hydrogen Factor,” digs into the evolution of hydrogen markets across the world, especially in developing countries. 

Read the full report here.

Jan 18, 2022

How can the US and Canada cooperate to meet international and domestic climate targets? 

To try and answer that question, host Jason Bordoff spoke with Catherine McKenna – the former Canadian Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and former Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change. 

McKenna, who recently joined the Center on Global Energy Policy as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow, was a lead negotiator of the Paris Agreement before introducing and successfully defending landmark legislation that established a carbon price across Canada. 

In this conversation, the pair discuss Canada’s decarbonization strategy, misogyny in climate politics, building US-Canadian partnerships in tackling climate change, and her hopes for this new, exciting stage in her career. 

Jan 11, 2022

Accelerating a global clean energy transition has never been more vital to curbing the worst impacts of climate change, but greenhouse gas emissions and the use of hydrocarbons continues to rise. 

And even as several global fossil fuel giants announce clean energy initiatives, net zero timelines, and carbon capture projects, they continue to invest in oil and gas. 

For a closer look at the role that legacy fossil fuel companies can and should play in the clean energy transition moving forward, Host Jason Bordoff spoke with Laszlo Varro — Vice President of Global Business Environment at Shell. 

Before taking this position, he spent a decade at the IEA as Head of Gas, Coal and Electricity Markets and then as the organization’s Chief Economist. 

They spoke about his take on the IEA’s outlook on the transition, natural gas as a bridge fuel and how traditional oil companies like Shell are responding to growing consumer demand for a clean transition.

Jan 4, 2022

The ongoing pandemic and a rocky White House transition overshadowed many other pressing events in the United States and abroad. 

Nevertheless, the threats of a changing planet persisted.

2021 included a dire report from the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change, a new round of international climate negotiations and climate-fueled fires, floods and hurricanes. 

In this episode, Host Bill Loveless sits down to recap the last year in climate and energy policy news and look ahead to 2022 with two climate reporters: Lisa Friedman and Justin Worland

Lisa is a Climate Desk Reporter with the New York Times, and Justin is a climate reporter with TIME magazine. 

Given their areas of coverage, the conversation focused on the United States. 

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