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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: October, 2023
Oct 31, 2023

“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.

Oct 24, 2023

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

Oct 17, 2023

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.

Oct 10, 2023

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.

Oct 3, 2023

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. 

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