Columbia Energy Exchange features in-depth conversations with the world’s top energy and climate leaders from government, business, academia and civil society. ...
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America's Industrial Strategy for the Energy Transition
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.
Tensions Rise in Global Trade
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.
“The Heat Will Kill You First”
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.
Australia’s Clean Energy Outlook
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.
Re-Run: The Economics of the Energy Transition
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.
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.