Last year, David Sandalow, Inaugural Fellow at Columbia’s Center on Global Energy Policy, reached out to two prominent scholars.
He asked if they would teach a session about the food system and climate change as part of a course he was teaching.
The connection would lead to the development of the Food Climate Partnership, a collaboration between the Center on Global Energy Policy, the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) and New York University.
Host Bill Loveless speaks with the two scholars whose appearance in David’s classroom spawned the project, NYU Professor Matthew Hayek and NASA Scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig.
They speak about the carbon costs of global food production and how we can redirect our agriculture systems in a cleaner, greener direction.
This week, we're pleased to hand the microphone over to our colleague: Dr. Melissa Lott.
Melissa is the director of research here at the Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy. And for the last few months, she and her team have been working on a new podcast, called The Big Switch.
It’s a five-part series about how to clean up the energy system -- told in a clear, understandable and fun way.
We are offering you the first episode of The Big Switch, right now. So I hope you’ll give it a listen and subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, and any other place you get podcasts.
Congress has huge sums of money on the table for climate action, much of it contained within a $2 trillion dollar infrastructure plan. The bill would provide historic investments in electric vehicles, grid modernization, and renewable energy.
But a ceaseless struggle for bipartisanship threatens the bill and other types of climate legislation. Its success hinges on a small group of moderate Senators with a track record of reaching across the aisle.
Will they cast the votes that are necessary, or will party politics sabotage the push for meaningful climate action?
Today on the show, Bill Loveless is joined by Maine Senator Angus King.
Senator King is part of a small group of powerful moderates. He spends his time in the Senate actively working with Democrats and Republicans in search of climate compromise.
Senator King is a founding member of the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus and a Member of three prominent committees -- energy, intelligence, and armed services.
We spoke with the Senator about the state of play for climate and energy legislation.
In this final installment of conversations from the Center on Global Energy Policy’s recent annual Global Energy Summit, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Bernard Looney, CEO of bp, to discuss bp’s planned transformation from an oil and gas company to an integrated energy company, a little more than one year into the strategy. Jason and Bernard talk through the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the company and energy markets, what the new strategy means in practice, and what bp’s portfolio will look like in the future.
Bernard Looney is Chief Executive Officer of bp, and has been with the company for 3 decades. He started off as a drilling engineer, and then later, oversaw BP’s oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities worldwide before taking the helm last year.
Continuing with conversations from the Center on Global Energy Policy’s recent annual Global Energy Summit, in this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Gina McCarthy, National Climate Advisor at the White House to discuss the Biden Administration’s climate agenda.
Jason and Gina talk through the Biden administration’s nationally determined contribution (NDC), the measures the Administration will prioritize to deliver those results, whether it can secure bipartisan support for related infrastructure investments, and how Washington will encourage large-scale deployment of zero-carbon energy and cushion the impact on workers in legacy industries.
Gina is the first National Climate Advisor—the president's chief advisor on domestic climate policy—and leads the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy. Previously, she served as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and then as President and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). She has been at the forefront of environmental and public health issues for over three decades, at the state and federal levels, and for both Republican and Democratic elected officials.
Last week, the Center on Global Energy Policy held its annual Global Energy Summit, which featured an all-star cast of energy leaders, policymakers and experts speaking on the most pressing energy and climate issues we face today. This year, in a virtual setting, speakers hailed from every corner of the world including Africa, South Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and North America. In the weeks to come, a few of those conversations will be shared in podcast form.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, who discussed key findings from the Agency’s groundbreaking new report on pathways to creating a global net-zero energy economy by 2050.
Dr. Fatih Birol has served as Executive Director of the International Energy Agency since September 2015, has been at the IEA for a quarter century, and is widely recognized as one of the foremost global figures in the energy world. He is also chair of the World Economic Forum’s Energy Advisory Board and serves on the U.N. Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Sustainable Energy for All. Before the IEA, Dr. Birol worked at the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna. He earned a BSc degree in power engineering from the Technical University of Istanbul and received an MSc and PhD in energy economics from the Technical University of Vienna.
Last week, a cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline system forced the shutdown of one of the nation’s most critical pieces of energy infrastructure, spurring price spikes and panicked buying to fill up tanks. While the pipeline is back up and running, the lasting significance of the Colonial outage--the largest attack on the US energy system in history--should not be overlooked.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Bob McNally and Adam Segal, leading experts on energy and cybersecurity, respectively, to examine what happened with the Colonial Pipeline system and what lessons should be drawn about the vulnerability and resilience of critical energy infrastructure.
Bob McNally is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy, and the founder and President of the Rapidan Energy Group. From 2001 to 2003, Bob served as the top international and domestic energy adviser on the White House staff. He is the author of the book Crude Volatility, published through the Center on Global Energy Policy book series.
Adam Segal is the Ira A. Lipman chair in emerging technologies and national security, and director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is the author of the book The Hacked World Order: How Nations Fight, Trade, Maneuver, and Manipulate in the Digital Age. Before coming to CFR, Adam was an arms control analyst for the China Project at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He has been a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for International Studies, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, and Tsinghua University in Beijing.
It’s been quite a tumultuous year for the oil and gas industry, from a historic pandemic that sent oil prices crashing to growing pressure and urgency for companies to align their strategies with the world’s escalating climate ambitions. Occidental Petroleum is one of those companies, which has faced those challenges and more, including how to manage the high profile acquisition of Anadarko shortly before the pandemic struck.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by the person navigating Occidental Petroleum through this period, its CEO, Vicki Hollub, who has been CEO since 2016. Vicki recently said Oxy would become not just an oil company but a carbon management company, and Jason asked her about that and more when they spoke a few days ago in front of a live virtual audience at the annual Climate Science and Investment Conference hosted by the Columbia Climate School and the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School.
During her 35-year career with Occidental, Vicki has held a variety of management and technical positions on three continents. Vicki started her career working on oil rigs in 1981, after graduating from the University of Alabama. She’s the most senior woman in the oil and gas sector and was the first woman to head a major American oil company.
For years, Washington State has been a battleground over carbon pricing, with advocates of the idea suffering one defeat after another. But that’s no longer the case now that the state legislature has passed a cap-and-trade bill that some supporters say will set the gold standard for addressing climate change in the United States.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Mike Stevens, the Washington State director of The Nature Conservancy, a global environmental organization and one of the key players in the passage of the new Climate Commitment Act.
The bill is designed to reduce Washington State’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 through increasingly stringent restrictions on the state’s 100 biggest sources of emissions. They include refiners, gas utilities and Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company.
If Governor Jay Inslee signs the bill as expected, Washington will become the second state after California with a comprehensive cap-and-trade system.
Once it takes effect in 2023, the Washington measure is forecast to raise $460 million in its first full year and at least $580 million annually by 2040, according to a report in the Seattle Times. That’s money that would be spent on a broad range of activities that include restoration of marine and fresh waters, forest health, renewable energy and public transportation. Some would be set aside to assist workers and low-income residents move to a clean-energy economy.
It’s those plans that prompt supporters of the measure to call it “cap and invest” rather than cap and trade.
Mike has headed the Washington State chapter of the organization since 2012. He brings more than 20 years of experience in conservation, sustainable agriculture and field science to his role as state director. Previously, he was a western sheep rancher and land manager.
Mike and Bill talked about the elements of this new law and how they would work, as well as the political dynamics that enabled success for its supporters after so many setbacks. They also delve into some of the features of this bill that distinguish it from other carbon proposals. Among them is a focus on environmental justice.
President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate, which brought together forty world leaders to galvanize efforts by the major economies around the world to tackle climate change, ended on Friday with the United States pledging to reduce its carbon emissions by at least half by 2030, along with pledges from many other countries to reduce emissions as well. Even with the Biden administration’s unequivocal message to the world that America is back when it comes to global climate leadership, numerous challenges lie ahead--from the thorny US-China relationship, to the limits of Biden’s own ability to drive emissions cuts at home with a deeply divided Congress. That’s the difficult task facing Secretary John Kerry and other global climate leaders in the months ahead as they work toward a November United Nations Climate Change Conference that aims to raise ambition among both governments and the private sector.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by David Sandalow to discuss last week’s climate summit and what lies ahead.
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 founded and directs the Center’s U.S.-China Program and is author of the Guide to Chinese Climate Policy. He has also been a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Schwarzman Scholars Program at Tsinghua University. David has held many senior government climate posts, including acting Under Secretary and Assistant Secretary of Energy, Assistant Secretary of State and Senior Director on the National Security Council staff.
The importance of diversity in energy finance is gaining attention as more investors look closer at how companies are stacking up when it comes to the representation of women and minorities on their boards of directors and in their management ranks.
And it is not just the energy sector discovering this trend. It is taking place across corporations in the U.S. and around the world, a point illustrated in a new commentary from the Center on Global Energy Policy.
In this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless joins two of the authors of that commentary, Maria Jelescu, the CEO of Ardinall Investment Management, and Jully Meriño Carela, the director of the Women in Energy (WIE) initiative at CGEP.
Maria also co-chairs the WIE steering committee and serves on the center’s advisory board. She and Jully co-authored the commentary with Amy Myers Jaffe, the managing director of the Climate Policy Lab at Tufts University’s Fletcher School and a co-chair of the WIE steering committee.
In the commentary, the authors make clear that the social aspects of ESG -- or environmental, social and governance considerations -- are front and center now as pressure mounts on energy companies to address the gender and racial makeup of their operations and recognize the value of diversity to them.
The commentary is called “The Social Aspects of ESG Investing: Insights on Diversity in Energy Finance.”
The discussion is particularly timely now amid a new shareholder proxy season, as investors press companies on ESG factors, and the Biden administration signals that closer government scrutiny of these matters may be in order.
Maria founded Ardinall Investment in 2017 as a firm focused on sustainability and climate change solutions. Previously, she spent 15 years at Goldman Sachs in various investment roles. Jully worked in labor and nonprofit fields before joining the Center on Global Energy Policy and taking charge of the Women in Energy initiative. Its mission is to elevate women in the energy sector at all career stages.
The commentary can be found here.
As the first meetings take place between top Biden administration officials and their Chinese counterparts, the U.S. and China are beginning to map out how they plan to engage on climate change. Given diplomatic tensions between the two countries on such issues as trade, technology, and human rights, questions remain about whether the countries can cooperate to address the climate crisis.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Kelly Sims Gallagher to discuss what both the U.S. and China are doing domestically on climate change, and whether and how their actions may play out as cooperation or competition between the two nations.
Kelly Sims Gallagher is Academic Dean and Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, where she directs the Climate Policy Lab and the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy. She served in the second term of the Obama Administration as a Senior Policy Advisor in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and as Senior China Advisor in the Special Envoy for Climate Change office at the U.S. State Department.
Gallagher is the author of Titans of the Climate (The MIT Press 2018) and The Global Diffusion of Clean Energy Technologies: Lessons from China (MIT Press 2014), and dozens of other articles and book chapters.
There’s much afoot in Washington these days over the prospect of new policies to address climate change and to put the U.S. on more solid footing when it comes to consuming and producing energy. We’ll know more as time goes on as to whether the Biden administration and Congress can reach the difficult agreements necessary to put new policies in place.
Yet, even as we contemplate the possibilities, it’s worth taking a look back at how the U.S. energy policy has evolved over the years, especially during the 1970s, when energy crises roiled energy markets and Washington enacted more energy laws than at any other time.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless speaks with Jay Hakes, the author of a new book that looks closely at that era. It’s called “Energy Crises: Nixon, Ford and Carter, and Hard Choices in the 1970s.”
Jay is a former head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration and former director of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.
In his book, Jay describes events of the 1970s like the long gasoline lines amid the Arab oil embargo and the fall of the shah of Iran, the fuel shortages that closed schools and factories, the military and political tensions in the oil-rich Middle East and the sky-high inflation that wreaked havoc in the nation’s economy.
More to the point, he writes deeply about the perceptions of these events by the men who occupied the White House then, their determination to end U.S. reliance on foreign oil, and their successes and failures to persuade Congress to go along with their energy agendas.
In short, Jay tells us that the 1970s hold a pre-eminent place in the U.S. when it comes to energy, and he reminds us, as well, that actions then set the foundation for today’s energy production and consumption trends.
Innovation takes many forms and all of them are important as the U.S. and other countries look for ways to avoid a catastrophe from climate change. Over the years, the federal government in Washington has been a big contributor to science and technology in energy, the environment and other fields. And that’s likely to continue. But given the immensity of climate change and other challenges, new options for enabling breakthrough technology are important, too.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless reaches out to someone with a lot of experience with science and engineering in government, the private sector and finance. Arati Prabhakar was the head of the Defense Research Projects Agency at the U.S. Department of Defense, better known as DARPA, during the Obama administration and director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology under President Bill Clinton.
Arati’s family emigrated to the U.S. from India when she was a young girl, and she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Texas Tech before heading to the California Institute of Technology, where she received a master’s degree in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in applied physics.
Between her stints in Washington at NIST and DARPA, she moved to Silicon Valley, where she was chief technology officer and senior vice president at Raychem Corp. and then vice president and president of Interval Research. Later, she was a partner with U.S. Venture Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm.
Now, she’s back in Silicon Valley as a founder and the CEO of Actuate, which bills itself as a new kind of nonprofit organization, formed to contribute a fresh approach to society’s critical challenges, like climate change. In short, Arati sees a bigger role for philanthropy to play in addressing climate change.
Bill spoke with Arati about this new approach and why she thinks it fills a gap in public support for science and technology. They also talked about her experience in Washington, which over the years saw the U.S. government try different ways of advancing promising but risky technologies in energy and other fields.
The window of opportunity to stabilize global temperature rise to 1.5°C is closing fast. And yet, recent trends point to an ever-widening gap between where we are and the pathway on which we need to be in order to achieve this target.
Last week’s release of the World Energy Transitions Outlook preview from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) highlighted that gap. It also outlines global strategies towards carbon-neutrality by 2050. The report focuses not only on the end-point, but also what needs to happen now. It looks at the cost outlook for renewables, the suite of other technologies that will be needed as well, and how the transition will unfold differently in different regions of the world.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Francesco La Camera to discuss the Outlook report and its findings.
Francesco La Camera is the Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Previously, Mr. La Camera served as Director-General of Sustainable Development, Environmental Damage, EU and International Affairs at the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land & Sea since 2014. He served as co-chair of the Africa Centre for Climate and Sustainable Development established in Rome and co-chaired the Financial Platform for Climate and Sustainable Development. He began his career as an economic analyst at the Italian Ministry of Budget and Planning.
Every piece of our modern life--from the coffee you may have had this morning, to the phone or laptop on which you are listening to this podcast, to the energy that charged it up--is built on the global flow of commodities. Coal, oil, metals, and much more. We don’t give much thought to where they come from or at what cost. But underlying today’s global economy is the secretive world of commodity trading, controlled for decades by a small number of firms led by a handful of billionaires.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Javier Blas and Jack Farchy, two Bloomberg reporters with decades of experience between them covering energy and commodities, and the authors of the new book The World for Sale: Money, Power and the Traders Who Barter the Earth’s Resources. In The World for Sale, Javier and Jack pull back the curtain on the shadowy world of commodity trading to reveal wild tales of adventure and financial booms, as well as corruption, bribery, and unethical behavior. They show how a small number of commodity trading firms most people have never heard of have shaped global trade, the environment, and the course of geopolitics.
Javier Blas is the Chief Energy Correspondent of Bloomberg. He was previously the Financial Times’ commodities editor and a reporter with the Spanish business daily, Expansion.
Jack Farchy is a Senior Reporter on Energy and Commodities at Bloomberg. He formerly worked as the Moscow and Central Asia Correspondent, and a Commodity Markets Reporter, for the Financial Times.
The challenges of providing reliable and affordable supplies of electricity in the U.S., not to mention cleaner forms of power, have been evident recently with the rash of unusually cold weather in Texas. Millions of Texans were left without power and drinkable water for days as the state’s grid nearly collapsed.
And as worries grow over the frequency and intensity of big storms, the power sector as well as policymakers in Washington and the states are looking more closely at steps needed to assure the reliability of the grid even as climate change makes these events more worrisome.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Lynn Good, the chair, president and CEO of Duke Energy, one of America’s largest energy holding companies, with more than 7 million electric power customers in the Southeast and Midwest and nearly 2 million natural gas customers in five states.
Bill reached Lynn at Duke Energy’s headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, to talk about the situation in Texas and what it might mean for utilities in other states, as well as her company’s goal of providing electricity with net-zero emissions by 2050, a target well short of the 2035 mark for that achievement set by President Biden and congressional Democrats.
Lynn and Bill touched as well on the similarities and differences in the cleaner-energy positions of the Biden administration and the power sector, and how she thinks the conversation could proceed to find some agreement on policies that would support a carbon-free power sector as soon as possible.
Lynn has been Duke Energy’s CEO since 2013, having served previously as the company’s chief financial officer and a leader of its commercial energy business. She began her utility career in 2003 with Cincinnati-based Cinergy, which merged with Duke Energy three years later. Prior to that, she was a partner at two international accounting firms, including a long career with Arthur Andersen.
Climate change is a top priority for the new Biden administration, starting with a slew of early executive orders signed during President Biden’s first week in office. In this “whole-of-government” approach to climate change, the Department of Energy is a key player not only in policy, but also basic research, commercialization, and deployment of new clean energy technologies which will be critical to get on a pathway to deep decarbonization.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Dr. Arun Majumdar to discuss the outlook for energy technology and climate policy under the Biden administration.
Dr. Arun Majumdar is a Professor at Stanford University, a faculty member of the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering and former Director and Senior Fellow of the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University. He served as the Founding Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E), and also served for a year as the Acting Under Secretary of Energy under President Obama. After leaving Washington, Arun was the Vice President for Energy at Google. He also led the energy agency review team for the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition, which covered the Department of Energy, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Arun received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Last week in Texas, millions of people experienced the loss of power during a recording-shattering cold snap and series of winter storms. Pundits and politicians have peddled ideologically driven narratives about what factors and energy sources deserve the blame for the catastrophic and life-threatening cascade of failures. Lawmakers and regulators have called for investigations into why the energy grid failed so miserably, and it will take some time to unpack the causes and consequences of last week’s crisis.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Cheryl LaFleur and Jesse Jenkins, two experts who have deep expertise in electricity and energy systems, for a deep dive into what we already know and what we don’t know about what happened in Texas.
Cheryl LaFleur is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Independent System Operator of New England (ISO-NE), the organization that plans and operates the power system and administers wholesale electricity markets for the New England region. Previously, Cheryl was one of the longest-serving commissioners on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), twice serving as its chair.
Jesse Jenkins is an assistant professor at Princeton University with a joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and Environment. He is a macro-scale energy systems engineer and leads a Princeton Lab focused on energy systems modeling to evaluate technology and policy options for net-zero emissions energy systems. He is a coauthor of a recent study from Princeton modeling scenarios to achieve net zero emissions in the US by 2050, which you can read more about in the cover story of this week’s Economist.
Saving energy is something generally seen as a good thing as a matter of public policy and business strategy. But for all its economic and environmental benefits, does saving energy get enough attention from policymakers, especially as a means of addressing climate change? And what more can be done to bring more of those savings to disadvantaged communities?
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Paula Glover, the new president of the Alliance to Save Energy, a 43-year-old coalition of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders with a bipartisan reputation for advocating advances in federal energy policy.
Paula has more than 25 years of experience in the energy industry, including 15 years with electric and natural gas distribution companies. Prior to her new job at the Alliance to Save Energy, she was the president and CEO of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, a nonprofit association dedicated to ensuring that African Americans and other minorities have input in the development of energy policy and regulations.
Bill and Paula talked about energy efficiency as a matter of public policy over the years and the potential for more initiatives to save energy under the new Biden administration and Democrat-controlled Congress. Paula made clear that she thinks a lot more could be done to promote energy efficiency as an effective response to climate change and a lucrative source of jobs for those displaced by the transition to cleaner energy.
She also emphasizes the importance of providing underserved populations and people of color with greater access to what she sees as the enormous economic opportunities of energy efficiency.
The commitment to acting on climate change by the Biden administration is attracting much attention, as President Biden outlines his agenda and appoints individuals to carry it out across the government.
But just as important, as they have always been, are steps being taken by states to curb emissions and promote cleaner forms of energy. And no state has been more of a leader on these issues than California.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to two of the leading energy reporters in California, which has been hard hit by the pandemic even as it copes with wildfires and other environmental disasters made worse by climate change.
Sammy Roth covers energy for the Los Angeles Times and writes the weekly “Boiling Point”. He previously reported for the Desert Sun and USA Today, where he focused on renewable energy, climate change, electric utilities and public lands. He holds a bachelor of arts in sustainable development from Columbia University, where he was the editor in chief of the Columbia Daily Spectator.
J.D. Morris is a business reporter covering PG&E and the coronavirus for the San Francisco Chronicle. Before joining the Chronicle, he was the Sonoma County government reporter for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, where he was among journalists awarded a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the 2017 North Bay wildfires.
Both Sammy and J.D. are past participants in the Energy Journalism Initiative at the Center on Global Energy Policy which helps energy journalists gain a deeper understanding of complex issues associated with the beat. CGEP is now accepting applications from energy journalists for the 2021 EJI seminar in June. More information is available on the CGEP website.
In their conversation, Bill, Sammy and J.D. discuss the impact of the pandemic in California and the implications of it for efforts to address climate change. They also delve into the status of various climate policies undertaken in the Golden State, including its cap-and-trade program and steps taken at the state and local level to promote electric vehicles and restrict installation of natural gas service in new residential and commercial buildings.
President Biden’s first days in office mark a sharp shift in US climate and energy policy, with a slew of executive orders reversing several Trump actions and directing federal agencies to pursue a wide range of new regulations in what’s been framed as “a whole-of-government approach” to the climate crisis. Combined with Democrats now in control of both houses of Congress by the slimmest of majorities, the raft of executive orders raises the question of how climate policy will advance going forward. To what extent will it advance through legislation versus executive action? To what extent will legislative action be on party lines? Will there be opportunities for bipartisan cooperation on climate?
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Rich Powell to discuss what to expect in climate policy moving forward, particularly on the Republican side of the aisle.
Rich Powell is the Executive Director of ClearPath and ClearPath Action, the DC-based organizations developing and advancing conservative policies that accelerate clean energy innovation. Rich frequently testifies before Congress on climate change and energy innovation. He served as a member of the 2019 Advisory Committee to the Export Import Bank of the United States, and is on the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center’s Advisory Group. Previously, Rich was with McKinsey & Company in the Energy and Sustainability practices. He holds a B.A. from Harvard College in Environmental Science and Public Policy, and a J.D. from New York University.
President Biden has quickly followed through on his commitment to address climate change with a series of executive orders aimed at undoing the policies of the Trump administration and appointments across the government to carry out his ambitious agenda. But his plans will also require the approval of Congress to provide the necessary funding and legislative authority.
Given the political divides in Washington, there are plenty of questions about Biden’s ability to win over the new Congress even with his party in charge of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless is joined by Heidi Heitkamp, a former Democratic senator from North Dakota, for some informed insight on the dynamics on Capitol Hill. Senator Heitkamp is known as a middle-of-the-road politician, one who worked with Republicans as well as members of her own party in search of legislative solutions. Among her priorities then and now is a commitment to making sure rural states like North Dakota have a say in national debates over major issues like energy and climate change.
She served in the Senate from 2013 to 2019, and had assignments on the Agriculture, Banking and Homeland Security committees. Earlier in her career, she was an attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency before completing two terms as North Dakota state tax commissioner and two terms as the state’s attorney general. After leaving Congress, she co-founded the One Country Project to reopen rural dialogue between voters and Democrats.
Recently, the Bipartisan Policy Center named Senator Heitkamp co-chair of its new Farm and Forest Carbon Solutions Task Force and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics made her a 2021 Pritzker Fellow.
Among the topics Bill and Senator Heitkamp discuss are the prospects for President Biden’s priorities for funding and legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions and promote cleaner forms of energy, including new jobs. Bill and Senator Heitkamp also talk about some of her former colleagues in Congress and their potential influence on energy and climate issues, as well as the outlook for oil and natural gas and the potential for emerging technologies like carbon capture and sequestration.
Joe Biden is selecting a large, experienced and diversified team to carry out his ambitious program to address climate change. Among them are John Kerry, the former secretary of state; Gina McCarthy, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency; Jennifer Granholm, once the governor of Michigan; and Deb Haaland, a member of Congress who would be the first Native American named to a president’s Cabinet.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless discusses the Biden administration’s climate change goals and his planned appointments with Carol Browner, who spearheaded climate policy for President Barack Obama following his inauguration in 2009.
With a long and distinguished career in environmental and energy policy and regulation at the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House, Carol brings unique insight to the challenges of implementing new policies and the wherewithal that’s needed to make it happen.
Carol now is a senior counselor in the sustainability practice at the Allbright Stonebridge Group, or ASG, where she advises clients on environmental impact, sustainable strategies, and partnerships. But her roles in government go back some 30 years.
From 2009 to 2011, she was an assistant to President Obama and director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, where she oversaw the coordination of environmental, energy, climate, transport and related policy across the federal government. During that time, the White House secured the largest investment ever in clean energy and established a national car policy that included both new fuel efficiency standards and the first-ever greenhouse gas reductions.
From 1993 through 2001, she was administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, where she adopted the most stringent air pollution standards in U.S. history and set for the first time a clean air standard for fine particulates. Her stint at EPA is the longest ever for an administrator at that agency.
She had state experience, as well, having served as secretary of environmental regulation in Florida from 1991 through 1993.
Among her other involvements, she’s the chair of the board of the League of Conservation Voters.
Among the topics that Carol and Bill cover are the challenges the Biden administration faces in fulfilling its sweeping plans to address climate change as well as the roles that his appointments of Kerry, McCarthy and others will play in that undertaking. They also talk about the outlook for congressional action on climate change at a time when Biden and lawmakers will also be consumed with addressing a pandemic and economic troubles, not to mention the repercussions of President Trump’s impeachment.
The attack on the U.S. Capitol may have obscured for the moment the traditional transfer of power that will take place with the inauguration of Joe Biden as president. But even amid the ongoing turmoil in Washington, efforts to set agendas in the new administration and the new Congress on important policy matters, like climate change, continue to take place.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless turns to two of the most experienced reporters covering energy and climate change: Amy Harder of Axios and Steve Mufson of The Washington Post.
The political climate has changed considerably in recent days. And it’s not only because of the violence on Capitol Hill. Significantly, Democrats will now control the Senate as well as the House of Representatives and the White House.
Bill, Amy and Steve talk about the hostility at the Capitol, which had taken place just a day before their conversation and sets a troubling tone for governance in Washington as the year 2021 begins.
That said, they look at the aggressive plans for energy and climate policy by Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and their options for acting on them quickly. They discuss, as well, the makeup of the new Congress and some of the lawmakers whose impact on policy is likely to be felt.
Regulation comes up, too, especially the potential for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission to step up their oversight of the impacts of climate change.
Amy has been with Axios for four 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 National Journal.
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.
As he talks to these senior reporters, Bill calls attention to the Center on Global Energy Policy’s Energy Journalism Initiative, which gives energy reporters an opportunity to learn more about complex topics associated with the beat, like science, technology, markets and policy, all with an eye toward helping them in their work. Some 80 journalists from the U.S. and abroad have participated in EJI since its inception in 2017, and details of this year's program will be announced soon.