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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: February, 2023
Feb 28, 2023

When President Jimmy Carter addressed the nation on April 18, 1977, the U.S. was in a crisis. The Arab oil embargo of 1973 sent energy prices soaring, and four years later, the impacts were still rippling through the economy.

In his speech, President Carter called the crisis “the moral equivalent of war” and called on Americans to conserve energy. He outlined a plan to tackle the crisis, focusing on conservation, efficiency, and domestic technologies to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

President Carter signed energy legislation that created the U.S. Department of Energy, provided incentives for renewables and coal, deregulated oil and natural gas prices, and banned new power plants from using gas or oil. Some of these policies have had a lasting effect. Others drew criticism and were ultimately repealed.

So what is President Carter’s energy policy legacy? And how do the lessons of the ’70s help address energy challenges today?

This week, host Bill Loveless talks with Jay Hakes about how the energy crisis shaped Jimmy Carter’s presidency and the policies his administration enacted.

Jay is a scholar and author on U.S. energy policy. From 2000-2013 he served as the director of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. He also served in both the Obama and  Clinton administrations, including a stint as director of the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Jay is the author of the book Energy Crises: Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Hard Choices in the 1970s.

 

Feb 21, 2023

Western countries are once again trying to reduce their reliance on Russian resources. This time it’s nuclear fuel.

Russia accounts for a substantial share of both conversion and enrichment services worldwide. These two processes turn uranium into usable fuel. The war in Ukraine has raised concerns about supply disruptions – like shipping and payment, and government actions that could ban fuel imports.  

Still, the West has struggled to sever ties with Russia’s nuclear industry. Attempts at sanctions have faltered because of limited domestic capabilities to process uranium in the U.S and Europe. But as the war continues, the U.S., Europe and other nations are weighing options to make them less dependent on Russia's nuclear industry. 

So what are the alternatives to Russian conversion and enrichment services? How will changing supply chains impact the stability of the global nuclear fuel market?

This week host Bill Loveless talks with Jonathan Hinze and Bill Freebairn.

Jonathan is the president of UxC LLC, a market research and analysis company covering the nuclear industry. He has nearly two decades of experience working in the U.S. and Japan on technology development, international markets, and government policies.

Bill is a senior managing editor for S&P Global Commodity Insights, where he writes about nuclear plant construction and operation, regulatory developments, financial issues and uranium markets. He leads the Nucleonics Week publication, which is a source of global news for the commercial nuclear power business.

Both guests talk with Bill about how Russia came to dominate global nuclear fuel production and why it’s so difficult for other countries to find alternative supplies.

Feb 14, 2023

A push for stronger climate policy should unite Americans and Europeans. It might be raising trade tensions instead.

The Inflation Reduction Act was a signal that America is a serious player in global climate negotiations. European countries, however, worried the bill would be a threat to their domestic manufacturers and took their complaints directly to the Biden Administration.

The EU responded by proposing a Green Deal Industrial Plan, which will match American subsidies to clean-energy manufacturers. European officials are also pursuing a green tariff in 2026, which would tax imports of carbon-intensive goods. 

How will this transatlantic industrial arms race play out? And will it cause trade disputes between the U.S. and EU to escalate?

This week, host Bill Loveless talks with Noah Kaufman and Sagatom Saha.

Noah is an economist and research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy. He served as a senior economist at the Council of Economic Advisers under President Biden. He also served as the deputy associate director of energy and climate change at the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Obama.

Sagatom is an adjunct research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy and is an expert on the global energy transition and America’s competitiveness in clean energy technologies. He previously worked on cleantech competitiveness at the International Trade Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce, and served as an adviser to John Kerry, the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate. 

Noah, Sagatom, and two of their colleagues, Chris Bataille and Gautum Jain, recently published an article in The Conversation about how conflicting carbon tariffs could undermine climate efforts. Bill talks with them about the details of the U.S. and EU's domestic industrial policies, and why tensions are flaring between them.

Feb 7, 2023

Federal funding for environmental justice is beginning to flow.

The Biden administration came into office in 2021 determined to make environmental justice a major priority. President Biden jump started his agenda with a slew of executive orders and the Justice40 Initiative, an effort to address historical underinvestment in disadvantaged communities most impacted by climate change, pollution, and environmental hazards.

Now, with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, Washington has the money and programs to act on environmental justice. Just last month, the Environmental Protection Agency announced $100 million in grants for state and community organizations to address local environmental and public health issues.

How does the federal government decide what projects qualify for environmental justice funding? And how can environmental activists ensure the money is well spent? 

This week host Bill Loveless talks with Bob Bullard and Maria Lopez-Nunez.

Bob is a pioneering figure in environmental justice. He is the founding director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice and distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas Southern University. He serves on the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council.

Maria is the deputy director of organizing and advocacy of Ironbound Community Corporation. She was part of a team that fought for New Jersey to pass landmark environmental justice legislation. Maria also serves on the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council.

Together, they discuss the momentum building behind the environmental justice movement and how a new influx of money could shape energy infrastructure projects.

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