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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: Page 2
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. 

Sep 26, 2023

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.

Sep 19, 2023

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.

Sep 12, 2023

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.

Sep 5, 2023

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.

Aug 29, 2023

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. 

Aug 22, 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.

Aug 15, 2023

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.

Aug 8, 2023

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.

Aug 1, 2023

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.

Jul 25, 2023

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. 

Jul 18, 2023

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.

Jul 11, 2023

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.

Jul 4, 2023

Excitement is brewing over an Atlantic offshore wind project 15 miles east of Massachusetts. Developers of the first utility-scale project in the country have begun laying the foundations for 62 planned turbines.  

Vineyard Wind, the nation’s first commercial scale offshore wind farm, is expected to generate 800 MW of electricity. A joint venture of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables, Vineyard Wind would power 400,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts annually. State officials are confident this project, and others coming down the pike, will play a critical role in meeting net zero by 2050 goals. 

But challenges remain for offshore wind. Inflation is driving up costs. Complicated logistics for groundbreaking projects could cause delays. And opposition from the commercial fishing industry, which has deep roots in the area, is still strong.

So, what role will public policy play in getting this and other offshore projects across the finish line? And how will it impact the rest of the industry?

This week host Bill Loveless talks with Lars Thaaning Pedersen about the Vineyard Wind project and the policy support that has kept it moving forward. They also discuss the challenges of developing offshore wind projects in the U.S. 

Lars is co-CEO of Copenhagen Offshore Partners (COP) and CEO of Vineyard Offshore. Both organizations are engaged in offshore wind development and the energy transition around the world. Prior to founding Copenhagen Offshore Partners in 2015, Lars held executive positions at DONG Energy, which is now Ørsted. He has been involved in more than 10 offshore wind projects in Europe since 2008, and is now focusing his attention on the U.S. as well as other areas of the world.

Jun 27, 2023

The global energy transition is unfolding in an increasingly fragmented world. The rise of green industrial policies aimed at bolstering domestic clean energy industries is heightening trade tensions and threatening to fracture global markets. 

Meanwhile, power struggles are amping up on the world stage. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and simmering tensions between China and the West, have underscored the complexities of the post-Cold War global order.

All of this is happening against the backdrop of a rapidly escalating climate crisis that requires a concerted global effort to address. 

What do broad trends of deglobalization mean for the clean energy transition? What would a retreat from the norms of free trade mean for the pace of clean energy deployment? And how can policymakers reconcile domestic economic priorities with the urgency of the climate crisis?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Pascal Lamy about the role of international trade in meeting climate goals.

Pascal is the chair of the Climate Overshoot Commission, an organization created to address the consequences of current and past greenhouse gas emissions. Previously, he was president of the Paris Peace Forum, a French nonprofit that convenes leaders to pursue global cooperation and collective action. Prior to that, he served as the director-general of the World Trade Organization from 2005 to 2013. He has also served in a variety of roles at Crédit Lyonnais, the European Commission, and the French government.

Jun 20, 2023

Clean energy technology deployment will play a major role in meeting the Biden administration’s “net zero by 2050” goal. To stay on target, America will need to shore up clean energy supply chains, reduce the cost of existing technologies, and fund innovation for up and coming solutions – like carbon capture and storage and fusion energy

The Energy Team at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is a driving force behind these efforts. With its expertise in policy and science, the team helps develop innovation priorities that facilitate a swift, equitable energy transition. 

So what is the strategy for deploying the clean energy technology needed to meet net zero goals? What is the timeline for emerging technologies? And how does the OSTP’s Energy Team plan to make the transition equitable? 

This week host Bill Loveless talks with Sally Benson about the OSTP’s history as an innovation engine, and its current role in meeting net zero by 2050 goals.

Sally is the deputy director for energy and the chief strategist for the energy transition at OSTP. She helps oversee the Net Zero Game Changers Initiative, which funds innovation in clean energy technologies for building heating and cooling, aviation, nuclear fusion, and other areas. Sally joined the Biden administration as the Precourt Family Professor of Energy Resources Engineering at Stanford University. She has also held various positions at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Jun 13, 2023

The oil and gas industry is at a crossroads. With the impacts of climate change becoming more severe every year, it’s clear that fossil fuel consumption must decline to prevent global warming from crossing a dangerous threshold. 

Yet oil and gas companies posted record returns in 2022, driven by volatility in the global market. Many are making more investments in clean energy technologies, but it’s still a small share of their total capital expenditures. As the transition to clean energy gains momentum, these firms are balancing the requirements of the energy transition and the realities of today’s fossil fuel-dependent economy. 

How can oil and gas majors reduce emissions while continuing to meet the global demand for fossil fuels? What role do they have in a clean energy transition? And how do their leaders see their position in an increasingly fractious and volatile global energy system?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Patrick Pouyanné.  

Patrick is the Chairman and CEO of Total Energies, a French multinational oil and gas company and one of the world’s seven supermajors. He has served in this role since 2014. 

Since his appointment, Patrick has overseen a diversification of his company’s portfolio, signified by its name change from Total to Total Energies in 2021. He has continued to expand Total Energies’ oil and gas business, pursuing new projects in Qatar, Mozambique, Uganda, and elsewhere. In the process, Patrick has emerged as a highly influential– and sometimes controversial– voice in the industry. 

This episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange is a recording of a live, in-person conversation that took place on April 12th during the Columbia Global Energy Summit 2023.

Jun 6, 2023

Governments around the world are increasingly turning to “industrial policy” in pursuit of stronger climate action such as the Inflation Reduction Act. These targeted economic measures can build domestic clean energy industries and increase security and resilience. But there are risks to this approach, including higher costs and trade tensions. In the years ahead, policymakers will face a difficult balancing act as they work to expand the availability of low-cost clean energy while boosting their own domestic economies. 

What does the shift towards green industrial policy mean for the energy transition? How has this shift manifested in the Biden administration’s approach to climate action? And what new climate policies might be on the horizon?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Jason Furman about the rise of green industrial policy, the outlook for the Inflation Reduction Act, and how economists think about climate change.

Furman is the Aetna professor of the practice of economic policy at Harvard University. He is a former colleague of Jason Bordoff in two different capacities, both in the Obama White House and at the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project. Prior to his appointment at Harvard, Furman served as a key economic advisor to President Obama, including as the chair of the Council of Economic Advisors. He played a key role in implementing the major economic policy initiatives of the Obama Administration, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Affordable Care Act. 

May 30, 2023

2022 was a landmark year for the energy transition. The world added a record amount of renewable energy, expanding the global installed capacity by nearly 10%. Electric vehicles also had a record year, reaching 10 million sales worldwide, a stunning 55% increase over the previous year. Yet despite this tremendous progress, the world is still not on track to meet its climate goals, with oil and gas demand predicted to be higher in 2030 than today.

Meanwhile, volatility in global energy markets is continuing to drive uncertainty over the future of the energy transition. Imbalances between supply and demand drove energy prices to dizzying heights last year, and 75 million people around the world lost access to electricity as a result.

What will it take to bring clean energy deployment in line with climate goals? What does the energy transition mean for the future of fossil fuels? And how can world leaders protect energy reliability in the transition to net zero?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Fatih Birol. 

Fatih is the executive director of the International Energy Agency, the intergovernmental organization tasked with providing data and policy analysis regarding the global energy sector. He spent more than 20 years at the IEA prior to becoming executive director. Most recently, he served as chief economist, in charge of the organization’s flagship publication, the World Energy Outlook. Before joining the IEA, Fatih worked for OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

This episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange is a recording of a live, in-person conversation that took place on April 12th during the Columbia Global Energy Summit 2023. 

May 23, 2023

As the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, the UK has long played a special role in the evolution of today’s modern energy system. But current sky-high energy prices are contributing to a modern-day “cost-of-living crisis” for British households–leading the government to spend tens of billions of pounds to protect consumers.

At the same time, climate change remains a key policy concern. While the UK has implemented meaningful climate policies and made progress in reducing emissions, the UK is not yet on track to meet its target of net-zero by 2050. 

How can the UK’s government make progress on climate against the backdrop of an energy affordability crisis? What is the role of industrial policy? And what lessons are policymakers taking away from other countries facing similar challenges?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Ed Miliband about the UK’s cost-of-living crisis, the role for oil and gas companies, and the country’s net-zero strategy.

Ed is the United Kingdom’s shadow secretary of state of Climate Change and Net Zero, as well as a member of Parliament representing Doncaster North. He was the leader of the Labour Party from 2010 to 2015 and, before that, the secretary of state for Energy and Climate Change, where he oversaw the introduction of the Climate Change Act. Outside of his work in Parliament, Ed is the co-host of the current affairs podcast “Reasons to be Cheerful.”

 

May 16, 2023

If 2022 were an earthquake for the global energy system, Europe was the epicenter. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine  – on top of a persistent mismatch in supply and demand – sent energy prices skyrocketing. Consumers across the continent struggled to pay their bills. In the year that followed, European governments spent more than €800 billion shielding consumers from these high prices, even as they scrambled to find alternatives to Russian energy.

Prices have now returned to their pre-invasion baseline, but the continent’s energy system remains precarious. Emergency measures must now give way to a longer-term strategy to secure Europe’s energy system, reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, and scale clean energy technology. 

What’s the outlook for European energy security? How can Europe meet its ambitious clean energy targets? And what technologies are needed to make this possible?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Ann Mettler about Europe’s response to the energy crisis, its plans for decarbonizing its energy system, and the outlook for energy security.

Ann is the vice president for Europe at Breakthrough Energy, a network of investment funds, philanthropies, and nonprofits dedicated to scaling low-carbon technologies. She previously served as director-general at the European Commission, where she ran an in-house think tank called the European Political Strategy Centre. Prior to that, she was the executive director of the Lisbon Council, an economic policy think tank she founded in 2003.

May 9, 2023

Last month, India surpassed China to become the world’s most populous country. With its large population, growing workforce, and fast-growing GDP, India is on the cusp of asserting major economic power on the world stage. 

But there are major energy-related challenges still to overcome. Persistent electricity shortages continue to weigh on the country’s manufacturing sector. And despite tremendous growth in renewables, India still relies heavily on coal and imported oil. 

India’s government has made addressing these challenges a priority, seeking to nearly triple its clean energy capacity by 2030. It is also investing heavily in new technologies like battery storage and hydrogen. At the same time, it continues to expand its fossil fuel sector, which it sees as vital to the country’s economic growth. 

What does the next decade have in store for India’s energy sector? What are the major obstacles to growth? And how is the government balancing its climate goals with meeting the country’s rapidly expanding energy demands?

This week, host Jason Bordoff talks with Suman Bery about the uncertainties facing India’s energy sector, from supply shortages to geopolitical risks. 

Suman is the vice chairperson of NITI Aayog, an Indian think tank. He conducts research and advises policymakers on matters of economics and public policy. Prior to his appointment, he was a senior visiting fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, and a global fellow in the Asia Programme of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. He was also the chief economist at Shell from 2012 to 2016.

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