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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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Jun 15, 2020

Mary D. Nichols has been called “the most influential environmental regulator of all time.” As chair of the powerful California Air Resources Board, she has pioneered several landmark climate initiatives, including the state’s cap-and-trade program, and worked to set stronger automative emission standards, triggering a pitched battle with the Trump Administration as it seeks to roll back Obama-era fuel economy standards and take away California’s ability to set its own pollution rules.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Chair Mary Nichols, the chair of CARB since 2007, a position she also held from 1979 to 1983. Over a career as an environmental lawyer spanning nearly a half century, Mary Nichols has played a key role in California and the nation’s environmental policymaking. In Mary’s extensive career as an environmental lawyer and policymaker, she founded the LA office of the Natural Resources Defense Council as a senior attorney, served as Executive Director for the Environment Now Foundation, served as the Assistant Administrator of Air and Radiation in the Clinton Environmental Protection Agency, worked in private practice, among many other distinguished roles. Mary is a graduate of Yale Law School and serves on the faculty at the UCLA School of Law.

Jun 8, 2020

As China’s reported number of coronavirus cases hovers close to zero and the country begins charting an ambitious economic recovery, one question emerging is how the pandemic affects China’s outlook for energy and climate change. The National People’s Congress, which took place last week following a two-month delay, broke with tradition in not announcing a 2020 growth target for the economy, and likewise, China’s top planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, has declined to set an energy intensity reduction target for the year due to ongoing global economic uncertainty. 

The three biggest producers of greenhouse gases - the European Union, the United States, and China - are signaling quite diverging paths about how green a stimulus and clean energy investment plan might be. How is China considering carbon-intensive industry to restore economic growth? How is it thinking about the role of oil and gas, its relationship with the U.S. and its trade deal, and its leadership in the global climate arena? 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by two Center on Global Energy Policy experts, David Sandalow and Erica Downs, to discuss these questions. 

David Sandalow is the Inaugural Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy and co-Director of the Energy and Environment Concentration at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He directs the Center’s U.S.-China Program and is the author of the Guide to Chinese Climate Policy. Last fall, he was a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Schwarzman Scholars Program at Tsinghua University in China. David came to Columbia from the U.S. Department of Energy, where he served as Under Secretary of Energy (acting) and Assistant Secretary for Policy & International Affairs. Prior to serving at the Department of Energy, David was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He also served in the White House and as an Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of State.

Dr. Erica Downs is a Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy focusing on Chinese energy markets and geopolitics. Erica previously worked as a senior research scientist in the China Studies division of the CNA Corporation, a senior analyst in the Asia practice at Eurasia Group, a fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution, and an energy analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. Erica holds a Ph.D and M.A. from Princeton University.

For more on Covid-19 and China's energy outlook, check out a new commentary from CGEP's Kevin Tu, COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impacts on China’s Energy Sector: A Preliminary Analysis.

Jun 1, 2020

Universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030 has been a goal of the United Nations since 2015. And much progress has been made, as the UN, the World Bank and other international organizations make clear in a new report. But there’s still a long way to go. And the pandemic raging around the world now will only make meeting the goal more difficult.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks with Makhtar Diop, the vice president for infrastructure at the World Bank. He leads the bank’s efforts to develop sustainable solutions and help close the infrastructure gap in developing and emerging economies.

Makhtar discusses the reasons behind the progress that has been made around the world and the impediments keeping the goal of universal access still out of the reach of so many people, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. The latest challenge, he notes, is the pandemic. 

He also explains what the World Bank is doing to alleviate these needs, including new initiatives in the works.

The Tracking SDG-7 Energy Progress Report was released by the UN Statistical Division, the World Bank, the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency and the World Health Organization.

Prior to taking on this current role at the World Bank in 2018, Makhtar was the institution’s vice president for Africa, where he oversaw the delivery of a record-breaking $70 billion to Sub-Saharan Africa to address development challenges, like increasing access to affordable and sustainable energy.

Prior to these and other roles at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Makhtar started his career in the banking sector and held government positions, including minister of economy and finance in his native Senegal.

He holds degrees in economics from the Universities of Warwick and Nottingham in England.

May 25, 2020

With the coronavirus wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy, there’s considerable discussion underway about steps that can be taken to get business and consumers back on track. Much of that talk involves energy initiatives that the federal government could undertake. But states have important roles to play, too. Among them is Virginia, which just recently became the first southern state to adopt a 100% clean energy standard.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks with Anthony Artuso, an executive scholar at the University of Virginia’s Center for Economic and Policy Studies, just weeks after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed the new Virginia Clean Economy Act.

Anthony is part of a team at the UVA center working on clean energy modeling and policy analysis in Virginia. He’s also collaborating with a group of faculty and staff at UVA’s Darden Graduate School of Business on economic and sustainability issues, focusing again on clean energy.

In addition to his work at UVA, Anthony is a member of the advisory board of the 100% Clean Energy Collaborative convened by the Clean Energy States Alliance, a nonprofit coalition of public agencies and organizations working together to advance clean energy. Previously, he did research and consulting for U.S. government agencies, state governments, the World Bank and the UN on issues related to clean energy, environmental policy and sustainable development.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Columbia University, a master’s degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a PhD in natural resource policy and management at Cornell University.

Bill reached Anthony at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

May 18, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to take a massive toll on the U.S. economy, causing widespread job loss and suffering. Congress and the Federal Reserve have moved quickly to respond with trillions of dollars of support, and the Democratic House last week passed another stimulus bill for a staggering $3 trillion. As governments around the world spend money to support businesses and workers, there is a critically important conversation to be had about how we spend that money and whether it is possible to not just get the economy back on its feet, but build a cleaner economy too and make investments today that will help to advance the clean energy transition. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Jason Furman to hear about how the progressive economic policy community thinks about greening economic recovery. From an economic standpoint, what needs to be done to rebuild the economy, what are the criteria for smart stimulus policies, and how might other social objectives like climate change be considered through that lens.  

Jason is Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. He is also nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Previously, he served for eight years as a top economic advisor to President Obama, including as his chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. He also worked at the Brookings Institution, where he worked with Jason Bordoff, and was a Director of the Hamilton Project and Senior Fellow. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. 

May 11, 2020

Few countries are as important to the outlook for energy demand and climate change as is India. It uses huge amounts of coal, was projected to be one of the biggest drivers of growth in oil use, and has ambitious targets to grow both the use of renewables and natural gas. So how does the Covid-19 pandemic change that outlook - with weeks of strict lockdown measures by India’s 1.3 billion people cratering transportation activity and other energy use? The skies over normally polluted Indian cities turned clear, and more blue. Now with the economy starting to open up, what are the consequences for energy use, for carbon emissions, and for local air pollution? 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff explores these and other questions with The Honorable Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Minister Pradhan is India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Steel. He previously served as the Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship during Prime Minister Modi’s first term. As Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, he has guided decision-making around production, supply distribution and pricing of petroleum, as well as India’s overall energy sector development. 

A transcript of the conversation is available here.

May 4, 2020

Today's global pandemic is testing the limits of people’s ability to cope with massive disruption in their lives, including steps they take for the public good. And there may be lessons there regarding our response to climate change.

In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Robert H. Frank, a professor of management and economics at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management and the author of a new book from Princeton University Press called Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work. They discuss human behavior in a crisis, whether it is the COVID-19 pandemic that we are enduring today, or the climate catastrophe that we may be just beginning to experience.

In his book, Robert explains how the strongest predictor of our willingness to support climate friendly policies, install solar panels or buy an electric car is the number of people we know who have already done so. And while climate change may not be uppermost in people’s minds now amid the pandemic, he draws parallels for Bill between our reaction to this health crisis and how we might respond to climate change.

They also talk about another book, one by the journalist David Wallace-Wells called The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, which Robert says had a big impact on his thinking. David was a guest on Columbia Energy Exchange with Jason Bordoff in September 2019.

In his discussion with Bill, Robert explains his views on the meaning of “behavioral contagion,” its relationship to previous changes in public attitudes about smoking and other controversial issues, and its potential to inspire broad public support for measures to address climate change.

Among his other credentials, Robert is a former economics columnist for the New York Times. His earlier books include The Winner-Take-All-Society, The Economic Naturalist and Success and Luck.

Apr 22, 2020

Fifty years ago this week, 20 million Americans came together to march for the planet, demanding action to clean up America’s waterways and air and protect public health. Their efforts launched the first Earth Day and the modern environmental movement. This week on the Columbia Energy Exchange, we reflect back on the U.S. environmental movement in 1970, examine the movement’s successes in reducing pollution, and find lessons for addressing the existential environmental issue of our time -- climate change.

To celebrate this historic milestone, we have a special double episode of Columbia Energy Exchange featuring conversations with two champions of the environmental movement -- one Republican, one Democrat. On Monday, host Jason Bordoff spoke with former Environmental Protection Agency administrator for President George H.W. Bush, Bill Reilly. And today, he speaks with his former Obama Administration colleague, Gina McCarthy. 

Gina served as the 13th administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in President Obama’s second term, after serving as assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation in the first term. Earlier this year, she became president and chief executive officer of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of America’s most important environmental organizations, founded the same year as the first Earth Day -- 1970. Earlier in her career, she held senior environmental policy roles in the state governments in Massachusetts and Connecticut, serving as commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, deputy secretary of the Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development, and undersecretary of policy for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. She also spent time after the Obama Administration at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, serving as a professor of the practice of public health in the Department of Environmental Health, and is currently chair of the board of advisors at the Harvard Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE).

They discuss the current state of the environmental movement, progress made to cut pollution and expand clean energy in the U.S., and the challenges that remain to address the threat of climate change. They also discuss the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, and how the spread of the virus has highlighted the importance of science and preparedness, and the inequitable burdens of environmental pollution on public health.

Apr 20, 2020

Fifty years ago this week, one out of every 10 Americans, 20 million in all, came together for a series of rallies, teach-ins, and speeches, to tell their leaders they were no longer willing to put up with choking air and poisoned water. The fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day is an occasion to celebrate the environmental movement’s vast success cleaning up America’s skies and waterways, but also a moment to take stock of lessons learned - for how to address the existential environmental issue of our time: climate change.

To celebrate this historic milestone, the Columbia Energy Exchange will have a special double episode this week with two conversations with two champions of the environmental movement for many years. Both are former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrators, one Republican and one Democrat, William Reilly and Gina McCarthy. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by William Reilly, who has a remarkable career in the environmental movement. On the first Earth Day in 1970, Bill was at the time one of the first employees at the brand new Council on Environmental Quality that had just been created in the White House. He went on to serve as the President of the World Wildlife Fund, and as Administrator of the EPA during the Administration of President George H. W. Bush, leading efforts to pass the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, and to bring President Bush to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. He was also appointed by President Obama to co-chair the National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, among many other prominent positions in his long and distinguished career. He served in the army to the rank of Captain from 1966-1968, and he graduated from Harvard Law School, and earned his master's degree from Columbia University in urban planning.  

Keep an eye out for host Jason Bordoff's conversation with Gina McCarthy, coming out on Wednesday.

Apr 13, 2020

Governments around the world are consumed now with the challenge of responding effectively to the coronavirus pandemic, including providing adequate healthcare and alleviating the economic impact of the crisis. But policymakers in Washington and other capitals will eventually need to find ways to stimulate a recovery of their economies to put back to work the legions of people who are now unemployed.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Ernest Moniz about the role that energy sectors can play in reinvigorating the U.S. economy, especially those sectors responsible for the early stages of a low-carbon transition that’s taken place over the last decade, and the importance of building coalitions to support such options.

Moniz is well known to listeners as a former U.S. secretary of energy during the Obama administration and a key architect of the Paris Agreement on climate change. He also negotiated the Iran nuclear agreement alongside then Secretary of State John Kerry. Now, he is the founder and CEO of the Energy Futures Initiative, a Washington-based clean-energy nonprofit, and co-chair and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit that works to prevent catastrophic attacks and accidents with weapons of mass destruction.

Apr 6, 2020

One of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has been an intentional effort to bring much of the economy to a standstill to slow the spread of the virus. A consequence of that has been an unprecedented drop in global oil demand. Oil prices have fallen about two thirds since the beginning of the year, before rebounding and then falling again on speculation that OPEC and some non OPEC nations might cut production when they meet later this week.

This drop in demand and price impacts the United States, the largest oil producer in the world now, in ways that weren’t true a decade ago - leading President Trump to call on Russia and Saudi Arabia to raise oil prices. 

In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Arjun Murti, Bobby Tudor, and Marianne Kah to discuss the impact of the oil price collapse on the U.S. energy sector, shale oil production in the long run, and what this might mean for the clean energy transition. 

Arjun Murti is Senior Advisor at Warburg Pincus and serves on the board of ConocoPhillips. He previously served as Co-Director of Equity Research for the Americas at Goldman Sachs, and he is a member of the Center on Global Energy Policy’s Advisory Board. Bobby Tudor serves as Co-Head of the advisory business of Perella Weinberg Partners and is Chairman and founder of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Prior to founding Tudor Capital, he was a partner with Goldman Sachs. Marianne Kah is an Adjunct Senior Research Scholar and Advisory Board member at the Center on Global Energy Policy. She was the Chief Economist of ConocoPhillips for 25 years.

Mar 26, 2020

Like most operations, the Columbia Energy Exchange has shifted to be entirely remote, with hosts Jason Bordoff and Bill Loveless continuing to make podcast episodes from home. Given the unprecedented circumstances we are all living through and the uncertainty and questions that follow, Jason and Bill will try whenever possible to bring insights into the energy and climate related aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To that end, there has been much talk in recent weeks about how to think about using emergency economic relief and stimulus funding from Washington, D.C. to not only address the immediate economic fallout from COVID-19, which has resulted in many parts of the economy being shut down, but also to make progress on some of our more urgent longer-term challenges, mainly, climate change. Climate scientists, environmental groups, certain industries and others have been urging lawmakers to jumpstart the economic recovery through a green stimulus package. Ideas range from clean energy tax credits, to requirements that bailed-out airlines commit to decarbonize, to building green infrastructure, and many more ideas.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Dr. Joe Aldy to gain insight into design of stimulus and how climate policy could factor into it. Joe is a leading environmental economist, currently a Professor of the Practice of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. His research focuses on climate change policy, energy policy, and more. From 2009 to 2010, he served as the Special Assistant to President Obama for Energy and Environment. It was in that role, and on the presidential transition that preceded it that he was a key White House staffer, that Joe negotiated with Capitol Hill on the Recovery Act that included $90 billion for green goals.

Joe was previously a Fellow at Resources for the Future and served on the staff of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

Mar 23, 2020

India has laid out an ambitious agenda to expand energy access to all its people, reduce air pollution, increase energy security, and reduce carbon emissions intensity. It has made tremendous progress providing access to electricity and clean cooking to its people. It rapidly increased the deployment of renewables even as coal still supplies two thirds of its electricity mix. The country’s oil consumption is expected to grow faster than any other major economy, as are its CO2 emissions. In short, with a population of 1.4 billion people, and rapidly rising energy demand, India will be a key country, perhaps the key country, for energy markets and climate change in the decades to come.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General of The Energy & Resources Institute in New Delhi, to discuss the energy outlook in India. Ajay was in New York City in February to attend a workshop hosted by the Center on Global Energy Policy on engaging state-owned enterprises in climate action, based on a recent report from the Center. 

Ajay is a member of the Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change. He served as Director General of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in the Indian government from 2006 until 2016, and previously headed the Climate Change Team at the World Bank, as well as the interim Secretariat of the Green Climate Fund. 

Mar 14, 2020

The global oil market is in free fall, following the collapse of a meeting last week of OPEC and non-OPEC producers. Saudi Arabia decided to surge its output, sending oil prices tumbling. This historic oil price crash is weighing on stock markets already reeling from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Low oil prices raise questions about the future of U.S. shale production, OPEC’s credibility and effectiveness, the geopolitical motivations and the fallout for Saudi Arabia and Russia, the fiscal impacts on key oil-producing countries, the implications for the battle against climate change, and much more.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, Jason Bordoff is joined by three experts who study energy markets, geopolitics, and policy to delve into these complex issues: Helima Croft, Amy Myers Jaffe, and Bob McNally. 

Helima Croft is a Managing Director and the Head of Global Commodity Strategy and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Research at RBC Capital Markets. She is a CNBC contributor, she started her career at the CIA after earning her PhD from Princeton University. 

Amy Myers Jaffe is the David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations. Amy previously served as Executive Director for Energy and Sustainability at the University of California, Davis, as Founding Director of The Energy Forum at Rice University’s Baker Institute, and she is also the Co-Chair of the Center on Global Energy Policy’s Women in Energy Steering Committee. 

Bob McNally is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy, and Founder and President of The Rapidan Energy Group, a consulting firm based in Washington DC. From 2001 to 2003, Bob served as the top international and domestic energy adviser on the White House staff, holding the posts of Special Assistant to the President on the National Economic Council and, in 2003, Senior Director for International Energy on the staff of the National Security Council. He is also the author of Crude Volatility, a history of oil markets and efforts to manage them, published through the Center on Global Energy Policy’s book series with the Columbia University Press. 

Mar 9, 2020

Capturing carbon emissions, storing them and even using them in novel ways are getting a lot more attention now than they did a few years ago, as policymakers, business leaders, scientists and others look more urgently for ways of addressing climate change.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless catches up with Julio Friedmann, a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy and the director of the center’s Carbon Management Research Initiative. He’s one of the most widely known and authoritative experts in the U.S. in this field with expertise in technology, policy and operations.

Julio served as a principal deputy assistant secretary for fossil energy at the U.S. Energy Department during the Obama administration and has held positions at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. With Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Southern California, he also worked for five years as a senior research scientist at ExxonMobil.

Their conversation is timely as Congress considers new legislation that would expand government incentives promoting carbon capture technologies as concerns over the risks of climate change and commitments to address the phenomenon grow. Julio also breaks down the challenges of financing these technologies.

And by the way, keep an eye out for an upcoming paper from Julio and the Center on Global Energy Policy that will examine which policies might work to stimulate investment in carbon capture technology in the U.S. power sector.

Feb 29, 2020

As scientists and public health officials race to control the spread of the deadly Coronavirus disease -- COVID-19, which first sickened people in China in December 2019 -- individuals around the world are grappling with the implications of a possible global pandemic. The virus has now spread to 50 countries and will test the strength and resilience of our global health system and infrastructure. This is a public health emergency, and while the leading concern remains the risk to human life, the spread of the virus also creates risk for the global economy and will have significant impacts on our energy system. Traders and investors are anticipating a severe economic slowdown, and oil prices have fallen sharply -- with eyes now focusing on next week’s OPEC meeting in Vienna to see whether the cartel will step in to prop up prices. The energy sector is scrambling to understand the outlook for the virus and efforts to contain it. Our guest today is a leading expert on public health and disaster preparedness, who will help bring the fight against the spread of the Coronavirus into context.

This week on the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Dr. Irwin Redlener, Professor of Health Policy and Management and Pediatrics at the Columbia University Medical Center and Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute. Dr. Redlener is a nationally-recognized leader in disaster preparedness and public health system readiness and children's health advocate. He is the author of “Americans at Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Megadisasters and What We Can Do Now.” 

Dr. Redlener discusses critical and timely information, including what we know now about the COVID-19 disease, how we can prevent the spread of the virus, where to go for reliable information about the outbreak, and what the future impacts might be to public health, travel, the economy and more. 

Feb 24, 2020

America’s preferences for energy have changed substantially over the past decade, with natural gas, renewable energy and energy efficiency all recording big gains. Now, a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy sheds light on just what happened over that time and suggests what may lie in store over the next 10 years.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Ethan Zindler, head of Americas for the research service BNEF, and Lisa Jacobson, president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, a coalition of companies and trade associations from the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors.

The topic is the eighth edition of the “Sustainable Energy in America Factbook,” which the two organizations publish each year. This latest report chronicles the transformation in energy taking place in the U.S. not only for the year 2019 but also for the last 10 years. It’s full of details regarding the improving energy productivity of the U.S., the increasing competitiveness of renewable energy, the impact of record U.S. gas production on electric power supplies, and the often-overlooked advantages of energy efficiency.

Bill talked with Ethan and Lisa about these developments, and what may lie in store over the next decade or so for gas, renewable energy and energy efficiency, including how sustainable commitments to gas will be given growing concerns over carbon emissions from that fuel.

Feb 17, 2020

Climate change has not been a popular topic with Republicans in the U.S. Congress in recent years. Some deny the phenomenon is even happening, and others simply avoid the topic altogether. But that’s changing in the U.S. House of Representatives, where the Republican leader and others are talking it up now and even offering an agenda for addressing climate change. So, what’s given rise to this burst of activity and what message are Republicans trying to send?

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Representative Garret Graves, a Louisiana Republican who’s one of the leaders of the climate change movement among members of his party in the House. Graves is the top Republican on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, a panel formed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last year to develop policy options on climate change.

Bill visited Representative Graves at his office on Capitol Hill just hours after House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy unveiled four pieces of legislation as part of his party’s response to climate change. The measures would support global efforts to plant one trillion trees, promote more research on carbon-capture technologies and uses for carbon, and make permanent a tax break for companies that use the technology. It’s a mix of old and new policy ideas, some of which already enjoy bipartisan support.

In a wide-ranging discussion, the Baton Rouge native talked about what’s motivating him and his Republican colleagues to offer a climate change agenda now and how he distinguishes it from policy approaches taken by Democrats. He also discussed how these plans might fare with President Trump.

Feb 10, 2020

The world’s oil and gas supermajors have been managing lots of headwinds these days not only from the market, but also rising social pressures to move more urgently to address the threat of climate change. Some oil majors have been exploring low-carbon sources of energy, expanding their businesses into power and other parts of the energy sector even as most of their capital expenditures remain in their traditional businesses. As such, the role of the oil and gas industry in the energy transition is a timely and increasingly important topic. 

This week on the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Maarten Wetselaar, Director of Integrated Gas & New Energies and Member of the Executive Committee of Royal Dutch Shell. He’s responsible for Shell’s gas business, including its industry-leading liquefied natural gas and gas-to-liquids businesses. He also leads the new energies business, including Shell’s investment in new fuels, new energy carriers, and new business models for a low-carbon future.

Jason and Maarten discuss the role of the oil and gas industry in the energy transition, and prospects for addressing climate change and reducing emissions, while meeting the growing demand for energy. 

Feb 3, 2020

The year 2020 promises to be a tumultuous one in the U.S. for any number of reasons, including a national election, an impeachment of the president and ongoing divisions between Republicans and Democrats over the future course of government. And among the issues that continues to heat up is climate change.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless meets with two of the leading energy and environment reporters in Washington: Steve Mufson of The Washington Post and Amy Harder of Axios.

Steve has worked at The Post since 1989, covering the White House, China, economic policy and diplomacy as well as energy. His current beat is the business of climate change. Earlier, he worked at the Wall Street Journal in New York, London and Johannesburg.

Amy has been with Axios for three years, with her column, the “Harder Line,” a regular feature of the news service. Previously, she was a reporter at the Wall Street Journal and the National Journal.

Sitting down with top energy and environment reporters in January to talk about what’s in store for energy and climate issues in the new year has been a regular feature for Bill for several years now, and Steve and Amy offer a behind-the-scenes look at some of the major stories and trends taking place. 

The program also offers Bill an opportunity to talk about the Energy Journalism Initiative, an annual seminar conducted by the Center on Global Energy Policy to help energy journalists deepen their understanding of complex issues associated with the beat. The deadline for applications is Feb. 16.

Jan 27, 2020

The past decade has been a turbulent one for the London-based oil and gas major BP, from the serious Deepwater Horizon accident that brought the company to the brink, to navigating its troubled relations with Russia and the oil price collapse of 2014, to charting a path forward - now toward a lower-carbon world to address the challenge of climate change. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by BP’s chief executive, Bob Dudley, who has been at the helm of BP for the past decade, and is the first American to head the company. He started his career in the oil and gas industry forty years ago with Amoco Corporation as a chemical engineer. Amoco was then acquired by BP, and Bob took on a number of roles, including working for Lord John Browne, managing BP’s alternative energy business around the time that its Beyond Petroleum Initiative was launched, heading the unique Russian joint oil venture called TNK-BP, and leading American and Asian activities. 

Bob is credited for stabilizing, and indeed saving, the company at a pivotal time. Nearly a decade on, BP has emerged as a much stronger company, trying to navigate a rapidly-changing energy landscape, and deal with new pressures, including diversifying into clean energies and figuring out how an oil and gas company responds to climate change. 

Bob Dudley steps down as CEO next week, and Jason sat down with him at BP’s London Headquarters to reflect back on his career, and to look ahead on where the company, and the energy industry, may be going.  

Jan 20, 2020

After going on for nearly two years, the Trump administration’s trade war with China has taken a new turn with a so-called phase-one agreement. Among the terms of the deal is China’s pledge to buy about $200 billion more in U.S. goods over the next two years, including $52.4 billion in U. S. energy goods. Now, as the ink dries on the document, some ask if those energy sales are likely to happen.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless visits with Dr. Erica Downs, a Senior Research Scholar at the Center who specializes in Chinese energy markets and geopolitics. Erica is a former Senior Research Scientist in the China Studies division of the CNA Corp. Among her other credentials, she was an Analyst at the Eurasia Group, the Brookings Institution and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Bill caught up with Erica soon after President Trump signed the agreement with China at the White House to get her take on its implications, especially as it relates to U.S.- China energy trade, which had looked promising until trade troubles between Washington and Beijing erupted. She also provides fascinating insight on China’s oil and gas industry, which has recently made self-reliance a major commitment, and explains why Russia has a lot to gain now as an oil and gas supplier to China.

In preparing for the conversation, Bill found very helpful a paper Erica wrote for the Center on Global Energy Policy in the fall called “High Anxiety: The Trade War and China’s Oil and Gas Supply Security.” If you have a minute, download it from the center’s website. It’s worth a look.

Jan 11, 2020

On January 2, the United States carried out an attack in Baghdad against a convoy of vehicles that killed Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian general and head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force. Iran retaliated for the attacks, launching ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. The next morning, both sides indicated a desire to deescalate the conflict. 

Yet, while Iran and the U.S. have seemingly stepped back from the brink, it is far from clear Iran is done retaliating for Soleimani’s death, and a broader military conflict certainly remains a possibility, along with further attacks that may affect energy infrastructure.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by CGEP's Richard Nephew and Antoine Halff, who explain what led to this escalation with Iran, and what may happen next. Richard is a Senior Research Scholar at CGEP and the former Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the U.S. Department of State. In his prior role, Richard was instrumental in designing the sanctions regime against Iran, as well as the deal that lifted them, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which the Trump Administration has pulled out of. Antoine is an Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at CGEP, and former Chief Oil Analyst at the International Energy Agency. One of the leading oil market experts in the world, Antoine served as editor of IEA's flagship publication, the Oil Market Report. Before that he was Lead Industry Economist at the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Jason sat down with Richard and Antoine yesterday to discuss the attack on Solemani, Iran’s response, and the potential impacts on geopolitics, energy markets, oil prices, energy security, and more.

Jan 6, 2020

Happy New Year! And welcome back to Columbia Energy Exchange, a weekly podcast from the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University.

The year 2020 promises to be an important one for energy and environmental issues in the U.S., with significant debates in Congress over policy options and a national election in which climate change may be a decisive issue for many voters.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Ralph Izzo, a well-known leader in the U.S. utility sector and in the public-policy arena.

Ralph is the Chairman and Chief Executive of Public Service Enterprise Group, a diversified energy company in New Jersey that includes Public Service Electric and Gas Company, the largest investor-owned utility in the state.

He joined the utility in 1992 and has since held several executive positions within PSEG’s family of companies.  

You will often find him testifying before Congress or speaking before groups on some of the most pressing energy and environmental issues of the day.

But what you may not know is Ralph’s career began in science as a researcher at a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory after earning his Ph.D. in applied physics at Columbia University. It’s a professional foundation that’s influenced his business approach for decades.

At Columbia, he also received his bachelor of science and master of science degrees in mechanical engineering, and later went to Rutgers Graduate School of Management for his master of business administration degree.

Host Bill Loveless sat down with Ralph during one of his recent visits to Washington to talk about his increasing concerns over climate change and what he sees as a disparate approach to the crisis when it comes to national and state policies. While he notes that much is being done to reduce emissions in the U.S., including in the electric-power sector, he worries that the advances are likely to fall short of what’s needed to keep temperatures from rising more than 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius.

Dec 16, 2019

The United Arab Emirates, especially Abu Dhabi, is a crucial player on the global energy stage. The UAE is one of the world’s 10 largest oil producers and a critical member of OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. It is also an important player in a critical region of the world that’s been riven by geopolitical tensions of late. The UAE’s hydrocarbon production has supported a dramatic economic expansion that has turned it into an important financial and trading center. The UAE has also diversified its energy investments, focusing on low-carbon options such as solar energy, carbon capture and storage, and other new technologies. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Omar Suwaina Al Suwaidi, who sits at the center of many of these developments as the Executive Office Director of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), a company where he has worked for nearly fifteen years. As part of its Executive Management team, he oversees operational and business development activities for the company’s vast oil and gas reserves.

State-run ADNOC is the main oil-producing company in the United Arab Emirates, supplying nearly 3% of global oil demand. Crude oil remains the centerpiece of the company’s operations, and ADNOC has sought to remain competitive in a busy market by improving efficiency, applying cutting edge technology, and reducing extraction costs. The company has recently announced sizeable new oil and gas reserves, and it has announced the goal of making the UAE self-sufficient in gas. It has also expanded its outreach to international investors and to foreign partners.

Jason sat down with Omar on the sidelines of the ADIPEC -- the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference -- in November to discuss ADNOC’s ventures and the state of play of UAE’s oil and gas industry.

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