In April of this year, Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy reached its 10th anniversary. So this week, we’re bringing back the conversation between hosts Bill Loveless and Jason Bordoff about the special milestone.
With the help of some colleagues, Jason founded CGEP in 2013 to produce unbiased, evidence-based research that examines energy issues in economics, national security, environment, and climate.
Ten years later, CGEP is busier than ever addressing the world’s energy and climate challenges through research, education, and dialogue.
Jason is the founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy. He previously served as a special assistant to President Obama, and senior director for energy and climate change on the staff of the National Security Council. He has held senior policy positions on the White House’s National Economic Council and Council on Environmental Quality. Earlier in his career, Jason was a scholar at the Brookings Institution, served in the Treasury Department during the Clinton administration, and was a consultant with McKinsey & Company.
He is also a co-founding dean emeritus of the Columbia Climate School.
Climate change is threatening human health across the globe. Extreme weather events like wildfires and heat waves are causing immediate and long-term health risks, with sometimes deadly results. According to this year’s Lancet Countdown report, which tracks the effects of climate change on human health, the impacts are getting worse.
To address this growing crisis, the recent UN Conference on Climate Change, or COP28, featured its first ever Health Day. Discussions there established the issue as a vital factor in climate negotiations. But the final agreement from the climate talks does not include the phasing out of fossil fuels, which is language many health experts were hoping to see included.
So, how do researchers track the connection between climate change and human health? What are the key indicators? And what do they warn will be the consequences of continuing to burn fossil fuels?
This week host Bill Loveless talks with Dr. Marina Romanello about the intersection of health and climate change.
Marina is the executive director of the Lancet Countdown, and a climate change and health researcher at University College London. She has also carried out research in the Buenos Aires Institute of Technology, University of Cambridge, and the Francis Crick Institute. From 2020-2021, Marina helped England’s National Health System develop net-zero commitments.
Averting the worst impacts of climate change requires rapidly reducing carbon emissions across all sectors. This is particularly challenging for some so-called “hard-to-abate” sectors like cement and steel manufacturing. Carbon management – which includes carbon transport; carbon utilization and storage; direct air capture; and point source carbon capture – seeks to trap or remove carbon emissions where they can’t be easily avoided.
Recent policies like the Inflation Reduction Act have given these technologies a boost. But major questions remain regarding their feasibility, cost, and scalability. As the climate crisis unfolds, these questions urgently need answers.
What is the role for carbon management in the energy transition? Who should be responsible for deploying these technologies? And can they be scaled quickly enough to play a role in meeting the world’s climate goals?
This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Dr. Julio Friedmann about the basics of carbon management and the regulatory landscape for this sector.
Julio is the chief scientist at Carbon Direct, a consulting and investment firm focused on carbon management and carbon removal solutions. He served as principal deputy assistant secretary for the Department of Energy from 2013 to 2016, where he was responsible for the Department’s research and development program across a variety of energy technologies. Until recently, Julio was a senior research scholar at Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy.
In 2022, the United States and the European Union consumed more than twice as much energy as Africa and Southeast Asia combined, despite having roughly a third of the population. At the same time, developing countries are experiencing the most severe impacts of climate change even though they’ve contributed the least to cumulative emissions.
Many of these regions are endowed with considerable clean energy potential as well as large deposits of oil and gas. Africa, for example, has the world’s greatest solar potential, 30% of the world’s mineral reserves, and large untapped oil and gas reserves. For the energy transition to succeed, the large and growing populations in emerging and developing economies must be able to meet their domestic energy needs affordably and sustainably and capitalize on their natural resources.
What is the outlook for clean energy development in emerging and developing economies? What can be done to ensure that the benefits of the energy transition accrue to historically disadvantaged communities? And what is Africa’s role in the growing market for clean energy?
This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Dr. Zainab Usman about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for Africa’s energy development.
Zainab is a senior fellow and director of the Africa Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Prior to Carnegie, she was a public sector specialist at the World Bank. She has written on energy and economic development in Africa, and was the lead author of the Carnegie Endowment’s recent report, “How Can African Countries Participate in U.S. Clean Energy Supply Chains?”
This week, climate leaders, scholars, and activists from around the world will travel to the United Arab Emirates for the annual United Nations conference on climate change known as COP. Many highly debated topics will take center stage at this year’s COP28, including the role of fossil fuels in meeting future global energy demands, the follow through on loss and damage commitments from last year’s meeting, and rising international trade tensions over clean energy economics.
Even the location of the meeting has sparked debate. The UAE is a major oil exporting country, and the CEO of its national oil company, Ahmed Al Jaber, is this year’s COP president.
So, how will world leaders address some of these major topics? And what could be the outcome of this year’s meeting?
This week host Bill Loveless talks with David Sandalow and Sagatom Saha about COP28.
David is the director of the energy and environment concentration at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He is also the inaugural fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy, and founded and directs the Center’s U.S.-China Program. Before joining Columbia, David served in senior positions at the White House and at the U.S. State and Energy departments.
Sagatom is a senior associate in the energy transition practice at Macro Advisory Partners as well as an adjunct research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy. He previously worked on cleantech competitiveness at the International Trade Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce, and served as a special adviser to the Office of the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy, John Kerry.
When it comes to energy and climate, Canada is a key player and a land of contrasts. It gets more than 80% of its electricity from low-carbon sources and has a hefty carbon tax. It’s also a major oil and gas producer, and has resources for the metals and minerals needed for a clean energy transition.
As the urgency of the climate crisis grows, the Canadian government has committed to accelerate its climate goals. At the same time, the importance of oil and gas to the Canadian economy, along with the thorny politics of climate, makes reducing its reliance on fossil fuels difficult. Canada also faces challenges balancing energy production and critical mineral mining with a commitment to upholding the rights and sovereignty of First Nations communities.
How is the Canadian government planning to meet its climate goals? What would a just energy transition look like for the country? And what are its leaders hoping to achieve at COP28?
This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Steven Guilbeault about recent developments in Canadian energy and climate policy, and what he is hoping to achieve at COP28.
Guilbeault is Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and an elected member of Parliament. He previously served as Minister of Canadian Heritage. Prior to serving in Parliament, he was the senior director of Équiterre, Quebec’s largest environmental organization, which he co-founded in 1993. He has also worked as a director and campaign manager for Greenpeace, and was a strategic advisor to Cycle Capital, a Canadian clean technology fund.
Three months ago, deadly wildfires swept across the western shore of Maui. It was the deadliest environmental disaster in Hawaii’s history. Now the community is rebuilding, and around the state residents are preparing for more extreme weather events.
Elemental Excelerator, a Honolulu-based non-profit investor in climate technology, relies on local knowledge to create a wide range of climate solutions. The organization pairs technology startups with local nonprofits, which have a deep understanding of community needs.
This model aims to address the unique challenges that Hawaii faces in the ever-worsening climate crisis. Elemental says these solutions can scale well beyond the islands.
So, in the aftermath of the Maui fires, what is the community doing to rebuild? What other projects are underway across Hawaii? And how can local solutions be used at a global level?
This week host Bill Loveless talks with Dawn Lippert about community-oriented technology investments.
Dawn is the founder and CEO of Elemental Excelerator. In 2009, she created a climate focused investment platform called Energy Excelerator, which merged with the Emerson Collective eight years later to form Elemental Excelerator. Dawn also chaired the advisory board for the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative from 2015 to 2020. In addition to leading Elemental, Dawn is a founding partner at Earthshot Ventures, and the founder and board member of Women in Renewable Energy.
The practice of capturing steam bursting through the earth’s surface to generate electricity has been around for more than a century. This is the traditional concept of geothermal energy.
But thanks to research and development in both the private and public sectors, new forms of capturing subsurface heat have been developed. Fervo Energy, an advanced geothermal start-up, made headlines this year with breakthroughs in drilling techniques inspired by those of oil and gas. After a successful 30-day pilot this summer, known as Project Red, Fervo proved it can produce 24/7 carbon-free energy using enhanced geothermal systems.
So what led to these breakthroughs? And what role can geothermal play in the energy transition?
This week host Bill Loveless talks with Tim Latimer about innovation in geothermal technology and scaling opportunities in the U.S.
Tim is the co-founder and CEO of Fervo Energy. After studying geothermal energy in grad school at Stanford University, he started the company in 2017 with Jack Norbeck. Before Stanford, Tim worked as a drilling engineer for BHP Billiton in the Permian and Eagle Ford basins in Texas. He has also worked as a consultant for the Boston Consulting Group, Biota Technology, and McClure Geo-mechanics.
“Coal demand reached a new all-time high in 2022.” That was the headline of the International Energy Agency’s annual coal market update, released in July of this year. In fact, 2022 was the third year in a row that global coal consumption has increased.
This growth occurs against the backdrop of an ever-worsening climate crisis driven by energy sector emissions, of which coal accounts for 40%, and it’s why the IEA’s own executive director Fatih Birol called for an end to new coal power plant construction in a recent op-ed. But despite coal’s impact on the climate, it remains a vital source of energy for much of the world, particularly in Asia.
What is the outlook for coal in the years to come? What will it take to move away from the fuel? And what would phasing it out mean for emerging and developing economies?
This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Carlos Fernández Alvarez about the findings of this year’s Coal Market Update.
Carlos is a senior coal analyst at the International Energy Agency, and recently served as the acting head of the Gas, Coal, and Power Markets division. He was the lead author on this year’s Coal Market Update and has contributed to many other IEA reports, including the organization’s flagship publication, the World Energy Outlook. Carlos has 25 years of experience in the energy sector, serving as an energy consultant, an energy advisor for the Spanish Government, and later as the director of the Spanish Coal Agency.
The energy transition requires a lot of minerals. Lithium, copper, cobalt, nickel, and other materials that are collectively known as “critical minerals” are vital components of most clean energy technologies. According to the International Energy Agency, getting on track for net zero will mean a sixfold increase in the demand for these materials by 2040.
But mineral production has a mixed history. Without proper protections, mining can have negative impacts on environmental health, labor practices, and Indigenous communities. Therefore, the prospects for a just energy transition will depend both on meeting future demand for critical minerals, and on doing so in a just and sustainable way.
What does the next decade hold for the mining industry? What challenges will critical minerals pose for energy and geopolitics? And what can be done today to overcome these challenges?
This week, host Jason Bordoff talks with Ernest Scheyder about critical mineral supply.
Ernest is a senior correspondent for Reuters covering the green energy transition and critical minerals. He is also the author of the forthcoming book, The War Below: Lithium, Copper, and the Global Battle to Power Our Lives. The War Below details the complex choices facing our world as the energy transition accelerates. Ernie has previously covered the American shale oil revolution, politics, and the environment
Fifty years ago today, on October 17, 1973, a group of Arab oil ministers announced an embargo on oil exports to the United States and other countries in retaliation for America’s support of Israel in the Arab-Israeli War. What followed is seared into the American psyche: Fuel shortages across the country left drivers waiting for hours at the gas pump. Even the White House’s Christmas tree remained unlit as a sign of austerity.
The Arab Oil Embargo has defined energy policy in Washington ever since. In the decades following, markets evolved and governments developed new tools to deal with fuel shortages. But underlying risks remain.
What is the legacy of the Arab Oil Embargo? How do today’s energy security risks compare to those from 1973? And how does the climate crisis complicate efforts to address them?
This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Dr. Daniel Yergin about the legacy of the Arab Oil Embargo, the current crisis in the Middle East, and the outlook for energy security.
Dan is the vice chairman of S&P Global, a major financial information and analytics company. He is the author of several books on the history of energy, including his newest, The New Map: Energy, Climate and the Clash of Nations and his Pulitzer Prize winner, The Prize. He is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on energy, economics, and geopolitics.
Dan spoke at the Center on Global Energy Policy on October 11, 2023 for an event marking the 50th anniversary of the Arab Oil Embargo. His keynote remarks can be found here.
As we move on from the hottest summer on record, climate change and its effects remain in the national zeitgeist. The topic has been featured in both Democratic and Republican presidential discussions. The Biden administration continues to advocate for the Inflation Reduction Act, which aims to fight climate change by cleaning up various pollution-heavy industries.
But politics are just one lens for looking at climate change. A series of surveys from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change study public opinion of climate change from different perspectives.
So, how worried, frustrated, or hopeful are people feeling about the climate crisis? What specifically do registered voters in America think about the issue? And how do those sentiments compare to other countries around the world?
This week host Bill Loveless talks with Anthony Leiserowitz about Yale’s and George Mason’s “Climate Change in the American Mind” report series, and beliefs held around the world.
Anthony is the founder and director of the Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication, and a senior research scientist at the Yale School of the Environment. He has worked with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Academy of Sciences, the World Economic Forum, and many other major organizations to understand the psychological, cultural, and political factors that shape climate change beliefs. In 2020, he was named one of the most influential climate scientists in the world by Reuters. Anthony also hosts “Climate Connections,’’a daily 90-second podcast about the climate crisis.
As the world changes over the next few decades, many young people in school or just starting their careers, will be working in the major industries impacted by climate change. Here at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, the Charif Souki Global Energy Fellows are studying the current challenges of the climate crisis and how to build the future they want to live in.
This episode features two conversations with the fellows. As people raised in a time of elevated climate consciousness, they bring a fresh perspective to the energy transition.
So, what do the next generation of energy professionals think about the climate crisis? And what do they see as solutions for a sustainable, prosperous, and equitable future?
This week host Bill Loveless talks with Meha Jain and Kathryn Obisesan.
Meha is pursuing a Master in Public Administration at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. She aspires to help protect low-income and vulnerable communities through energy and climate transitions. This summer, she worked with Warc Ghana, a social enterprise that provides agricultural services and consulting operations to Ghana and Sierra Leone.
Kathryn is working on a Master of International Affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs with a focus on energy and environment. Before attending Columbia, she worked as a junior policy analyst at the OECD-Nuclear Energy Agency. This summer she worked for the United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Around the world, activists are turning to the courts to hold major polluters accountable for climate change. This recently played out in the United States. Young plaintiffs in Montana successfully presented scientific evidence that connects the states’ greenhouse gas emissions to environmental harm.
Many legal experts say the case, Montana v. Held, is another major development for climate litigation. Other cases playing out across the globe show the courts could be a way to reduce CO2 emissions in the private sector.
So, what are some of the other major legal cases aimed at fighting climate change? And how could they impact the push to reduce global emissions?
This week, host Bill Loveless talks with Michael Gerrard about current trends in global climate change litigation, including the expanding range of legal theories that are being applied.
Michael is the founder and faculty director of Columbia’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, where he writes and teaches courses on environmental law, climate change law, and energy regulation. He was the chair of the faculty of Columbia University’s Earth Institute from 2015 to 2018. Before joining Columbia in 2009, Michael practiced environmental law in New York for three decades.
The Sabin Center maintains a database that tracks climate change litigation around the world. As of December 31, 2022, the database included 2,180 cases. In addition, the Sabin Center and the UN Environment Program recently issued the 2023 “Global Climate Litigation Report,” which takes into account information from that database.
Investment is rising in America’s clean energy sector. According to the Clean Investment Monitor, a joint project of the Rhodium Group and MIT, the sector received $213 billion in new investment over the past year, a 37% increase over the previous year.
This new investment brings new challenges, such as implementing the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), translating money into infrastructure, sustaining support for the energy transition, and fending off economic competition from abroad.
How is the surge of clean energy investment changing the American economy? What sectors and regions are benefitting the most? And what is still needed to get the U.S.on track to meet its climate goals?
This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Brian Deese about IRA implementation, green industrial strategy, and national security.
Brian was the director of the White House’s National Economic Council from 2021 to 2023. Prior to that, he served in the Office of Management and Budget and as a senior advisor to President Barack Obama, as well as global head of sustainable investing for BlackRock. Since leaving government, he has taken up a post as Institute Innovation Fellow at MIT, where he plays a key role in developing the Clean Investment Monitor.
Around the world, green industrial policy is driving a surge of new investment into clean energy. This is good news for the climate, but it puts the international trading system under intense strain.
As countries around the world vie for influence over the growing market for clean energy, new fault lines are emerging and old rivalries are re-igniting. With energy security still top of mind, policymakers face the difficult task of balancing access to an open market against control over the energy supply chains of the future. The risks of failure are immense—a fractured global market could slow clean energy uptake, which is vital for solving the ever-worsening climate crisis.
What risks do trade tensions pose for the energy transition? What are the major areas of dispute? And how can policymakers improve the global trading system to support rapid clean energy growth?
This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Maureen Hinman about the challenges facing global clean energy trade.
Maureen is the co-founder and executive chair of Silverado Policy Accelerator, a nonprofit organization that uses a venture capital approach to address policy challenges in cybersecurity, trade, geopolitics, and energy.
Before founding Silverado, she served as director for Environment and Natural Resources at the Office of the United States Trade Representative, where she led a range of trade policy initiatives focused on natural resource conservation. She has also served as the U.S. Department of Commerce’s senior industry trade specialist and as a consultant for Nathan Associates.
July was the hottest month ever recorded.
Heat waves broke records around the world this summer. Phoenix, Arizona, endured 31 days of 110 degrees or hotter. Sanbao, a remote township in northwest China, hit 127 degrees – a record for the country. And parts of Europe reached over 100 degrees.
These temperatures can be deadly. They also wreak havoc on the built environment. As global temperatures creep higher from greenhouse gasses, heat waves will be hotter and more frequent.
So, what exactly is a heat wave and how is it connected to climate change? How are scientists researching these extreme weather events? And what can policy makers do to help mitigate the impact on people and cities?
This week host Bill Loveless talks with author and journalist Jeff Goodell about his new book “The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet”.
Jeff has covered climate change for more than two decades. His book “The Heat Will Kill You First” examines the impact that rising temperatures will have on our planet. Jeff has also written books on rising seas, sinking cities, and the coal industry. He is a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow and a contributing editor at Rolling Stone.
The energy transition is a hot-button issue in Australia. It is the world’s largest exporter of coal and its efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions have consistently fallen short of its peers. It also faces serious risks from climate change, with damages from flooding, wildfires, and heat waves worsening nearly every year.
At the same time, Australia is one of the countries best situated to benefit from a transition to clean energy. It has immense wind and solar resources and is a leading exporter of critical minerals such as lithium, which are needed to manufacture clean energy technologies.
What will it take for Australia to emerge as a leader in the clean energy economy? How can policymakers untangle the difficult politics of climate change? And how is the energy transition shaping Australia’s relations with other countries?
This week host Jason Bordoff talks with former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about how the Australian government is approaching the energy transition.
He was Australia’s 29th prime minister, serving in the role from 2015 to 2018.
Prime Minister Turnbull began his parliamentary career in 2004, including stints as the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and later as Minister for Communications. After leaving politics in 2019, Prime Minister Turnbull joined the private equity firm KKR as a senior advisor. He is also the inaugural chair of the Global Hydrogen Organisation and will become president of the International Hydropower Association on October 31, 2023.
Getting the global energy system to net-zero – a state in which it emits no more greenhouse gasses than it absorbs – means deploying clean energy infrastructure at a pace without historical precedent. The ripple effects of this transition are already apparent in business, geopolitics, and in people’s daily lives.
Increasing public concern over climate change and breakthroughs in clean energy technology have rendered this challenge more achievable. But turning this momentum into tangible progress will require careful policymaking and implementation, across all levels of government.
How might the clean energy transition reconfigure the global economy? What levers can policymakers pull to accelerate it? And what emerging solutions are already changing the outlook for net zero?
Today we’re re-running host Jason Bordoff’s interview with Cameron Hepburn about the economics of the climate crisis.
Cameron is a Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Oxford and Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. He also serves as the Director of the Economics of Sustainability Programme, based at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School. Cameron has over 30 peer-reviewed publications spanning economics, public policy, law, engineering, philosophy, and biology.
In a summer of both heightened climate ambition and heightened alarm over climate change, this conversation was held in the aftermath of the COP27 climate summit. Jason and Cameron discussed how technology developments are accelerating the energy transition and how to scale their impact.
This summer, the African Development Bank released its annual report stating that the continent needs between $230 billion to $250 billion annually to meet its climate goals.
Africa’s climate has warmed faster than the rest of the world since pre-industrial times. That makes it extremely vulnerable to climate change driven catastrophes that hinder economic growth and highlights the need for climate action through sustainable development.
So how are Africa’s leaders addressing the climate crisis? And how are countries across the continent approaching sustainable development?
This week we’re re-running host Bill Loveless’ conversation with Destenie Nock about the climate and energy needs of African nations.
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 currently a visiting faculty member at Columbia University.
Destenie is the director of the Energy, Equity, and Sustainability (EES) Group, where she leads a team of researchers at the intersection of social justice, energy analysis, and systems modeling. She has conducted extensive research on energy poverty in Africa.
This conversation was originally recorded in November 2022 during COP27 in Egypt, where Destenie participated in a panel on putting decarbonization strategies into practice. Bill and Destenie discussed how this is playing out across different parts of Africa, including specific examples of what sustainable development could look like across the continent.
The steel and cement industries are enormous and vital components of the global economy. Together, they account for roughly 16% of global greenhouse gas emissions. If the cement and steel industry were a country, it would be the third largest emitter. Both industries are referred to as “hard-to-abate” sectors because of the perceived challenges in reducing their carbon emissions.
But innovations in technology and policy are changing the way experts look at these industries, opening new doors to decarbonization strategies. They’re also causing new rifts in global trade relations, as countries vie for dominance over emerging low-carbon solutions.
What are the best strategies for decarbonizing the steel and cement industries? How much progress have we made? And how is the emerging low-carbon steel and cement trade reshaping international relations?
This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Chris Bataille about the prospects for decarbonizing the steel and cement industries.
Chris is an adjunct research fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy, where he studies technology and policy pathways to net zero, with a focus on industrial decarbonization. He is an associate researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations and an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University. He was also a contributing author to the IPCC 6th Assessment Report.
It’s been nearly a year and a half since Russia invaded Ukraine, plunging Europe and the world into a protracted energy crisis. Since then, the brutal fighting in Ukraine has turned into a war of attrition, and energy prices have fallen from the staggering heights they reached in mid-2022.
While the immediate crisis has faded from the headlines, Europe’s energy challenges remain. Electricity and natural gas prices are higher than normal. Policymakers face the challenge of turning the loss of Russian gas supplies into a long-term strategy for energy security and decarbonization. The ripple effects of this crisis have left emerging markets and developing countries struggling to afford energy.
How has Europe’s energy outlook evolved over the past year and a half? How are policymakers trying to secure the continent’s fuel supplies? And what does all this mean for the global energy transition?
This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Anne-Sophie Corbeau and Tatiana Mitrova about how Europe’s energy outlook has changed since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Anne-Sophie is a global research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy, where she studies low-carbon fuels and natural gas. Her career in the energy industry spans over 20 years, including stints as the head of gas analysis at BP, senior gas analyst at the International Energy Agency, and research fellow at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center.
Tatiana is a research fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy. She is an expert on Russian energy policy, having previously served as executive director of the Energy Centre of the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO, and as head of research in the oil and gas department in the Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. She currently serves on the board of directors at Schlumberger Limited.
The Advanced Research Project Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) recently announced $100 million for its SCALEUP program, which funds start-ups and emerging companies that need support commercializing products.
The agency serves as a research and development group for the Department of Energy. ARPA-E is often described as a venture capital fund, because of its focus on getting new technologies to market. Crucially, it garners support from both political parties because of its emphasis on innovation and national security through transformative energy tech.
Still, ARPA-E’s $450 million budget is much smaller than other research and development agencies. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), part of the Department of Defense, has a $4 billion budget this year.
So, what technologies will ARPA-E focus on this year? How will it make the most of its budget? And will it continue to see bi-partisan support in the current political environment?
This week host Bill Loveless talks with Evelyn Wang and Laurent Pilon about ARPA-E’s unique approach to developing and launching high-risk energy projects.
Evelyn Wang is the director of ARPA-E. Prior to joining ARPA-E in 2022, she served as the Ford professor of engineering and head of the department of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Laurent Pilon is a program director at ARPA-E. His research focuses on solar, thermal, and electrical energy storage. He was previously a professor in the mechanical and aerospace engineering department at the University of California, Los Angeles.
To meet net zero 2050 goals, the U.S. needs to quadruple wind and solar capacity, double the size of the grid, and increase the electric vehicle fleet 100-fold.
Under the existing permitting process, growth at this pace and scale is nearly impossible. It takes years to secure permits for new plants, transmission lines, and mines. That’s why accelerating the regulatory permitting process is critical.
But doing so may weaken 50 years worth of protections for communities, land, and wildlife in the United States.
What are the implications of the recent proposals for permitting reform? How should clean energy advocates navigate these tradeoffs? And how can policymakers protect American communities and ecosystems as they rush to build out clean energy?
This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Christy Goldfuss about the recent permitting reform proposals and the balance between expanding clean energy and protecting communities and ecosystems.
Christy is the chief policy impact officer for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) a U.S.-based environmental advocacy nonprofit. Prior to joining NRDC, she was the senior vice president for energy and environmental policy at the Center for American Progress. Christy also served in multiple senior positions during the Obama Administration, first as the deputy director of the National Parks Service, and then as the managing director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
July 4th 2023 was the hottest day on earth ever recorded.
The prevalence of extreme heat, which dramatically impacts quality of life and the built environment, highlights the urgency of tackling the climate crisis. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions known to exacerbate global warming.
The EPA’s new regulations aim to further limit pollution from power plants and vehicles and avoid hundreds of millions of metric tons of C02 emissions. These regulations would also prevent health issues and deaths.
Even with the upsides, the EPA still faces obstacles to these proposals. Most significantly, the Supreme Courts’ West Virginia vs. EPA ruling limits the agency’s ability to impose new emissions standards. Additionally, some professionals and legislators worry the technology standards on the power sector could impact grid reliability.
So, how will the new regulations play out in practice? Will the EPA be able to implement its agenda? And what will the impact be on industry and communities?
This week host Bill Loveless talks with Michael Regan about the EPA’s proposed regulations to reduce vehicle and power plants emissions, and how the agency plans to deal with pushback.
Michael Regan is the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Over the past two years, he has overseen the agency’s effort to curb emissions from U.S. industry and fight climate change. Prior to his nomination as administrator, he served as the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. He has also held positions at the Environmental Defense Fund, including associate vice president of U.S. Climate and Energy.