Category

Climate

Climate, Energy

Energy Journalists Take Deep Dive to Learn More

The second Columbia Energy Journalism Initiative took place in New York in June with 20 up-and-coming energy journalists from the U.S. and five other countries. Among the media outlets represented were Argus, Bloomberg, Congressional Quarterly/Roll Call, E&E News, Financial Times, Greentech Media, Quartz, S&P Global, Thomson Reuters and the Washington Examiner. I’m pleased to direct this innovative program at the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy, where reporters can take time off the beat to learn more about markets, policy, science and other topics associated with today’s energy and environmental issues. It’s a rare opportunity for journalists in today’s fast-paced world of reporting. Thanks to CGEP Founding Director Jason Bordoff for hosting this innovative program and to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and CGEP Advisory Board Members Jim Rogers and Reid Hoffman for their generous financial support. It’s a…

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Blog, Climate

A National Voice for Republicans on Climate Change

In what may seem like a politically senseless move, a young Republican congressman is trying to rally support in the U.S. House of Representatives for comprehensive actions addressing climate change, including possibly a tax on carbon emissions. “I’m not ready to come out yet and endorse any specific ideas, because ideally this would happen organically, and members would together think it through and build something by consensus,” Rep. Carlos Curbelo said in an interview with me on the “Columbia Energy Exchange” podcast. “But we are approaching the time when Republicans, in conjunction with our Democratic colleagues, have to do more than simply oppose bad policy. We have to proffer good policy, and that’s what we’re trying to build to.” At a time when many members of his party still deny the occurrence of climate change and humans’ contributions to the…

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Article, Climate, coal

A long-shot opportunity for coal and carbon capture?

By Bill Loveless New efforts to promote technology to capture carbon-dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and bury them underground or use them to enhance oil production are getting more attention in Washington these days thanks to the Trump administration and its commitment to save the U.S. coal industry. Now, the credit-rating agency Moody’s is cautiously predicting that the technology may be the answer for the declining industry in the long run, though daunting obstacles remain. One thing that could jump start interest in carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) would be a spike in the cost of natural gas, whose abundance in the U.S. and low price in recent years have persuaded electric utilities to rely more on gas to fuel their power plants and less on coal, according to a new report from Moody’s. On that score, the agency…

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Climate, Podcast, Policy

Columbia Energy Exchange: Senator Maria Cantwell

With the UN climate summit underway in Germany, the latest developments in climate change are receiving fresh attention, including the extent to which global warming contributes to the severity of hurricanes, wild fires and other natural disasters. Heaven knows, we’ve had plenty of reminders recently with the devastating hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, and widespread fires in western states. In this new episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, I talk to Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, about a new report she and Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, just received from the U.S. Government Accountability Office tabulating the astonishing costs of natural disasters in this country, costs which will only escalate sharply if current patterns persist. Tune in, and let me know what you think. And, if you haven’t done so yet, subscribe to this podcast from the Columbia University…

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Article, Climate, Sustainable Energy

On climate, candy maker Mars not so quiet

For a company famously tight-lipped when it comes to most of its business operations, Mars is incredibly outspoken regarding matters like climate change. That’s become even more evident as the company launches a $1 billion plan called “Sustainable in a Generation” which expands on goals set previously by the maker of M&M’s, Snickers and other popular food brands. “Mars has been in business for four generations and intends to be for the next four generations,” Grant Reid, the CEO of the family-owned business with $33 billion in annual net sales and operations in more than 80 countries, said Sept. 5 in announcing the new initiative. But he added, “The only way that will happen is if we do things differently to ensure that the planet is healthy and all people in our extended supply chains have the opportunity to thrive.”…

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Article, Climate, Electricity

Coal comeback unlikely after Paris climate pact withdrawal: utility CEO

From USA TODAY President Trump once again promised to revive the U.S. coal industry when he announced his intention to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. But that reversal seems as unlikely as ever as electric power producers, the biggest consumers of coal in the U.S., continue to shift to natural gas and renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. In 2016, natural gas became the leading fuel for U.S. electricity generation for the first time, responsible for 33.8% of the output, compared with 30.4% for coal, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Nick Akins, the CEO of American Electric Power, one of the largest utilities in the U.S., says the preference for gas, renewables and energy efficiency, will only grow in response to increasing demands from shareholders and customers for cleaner energy, regardless of changes in…

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Blog, Climate, Sustainable Energy

With void in Washington, energy policy shifts to states

As the late U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local,” and that pertains to energy as much as any issue. Take the Metro section in the May 17 Washington Post where three stories remind us that battles over climate change are increasingly shifting from Washington to the states and local communities, as the Trump administration puts the kibosh on Obama-era environmental policies. The lead story reports that Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has ordered state officials to develop regulations to reduce carbon emissions from power plants and encourage solar and other clean energy sources. McAuliffe wants the plan, which is consistent with the Obama strategy for climate change and energy, implemented by the time he leaves office in January, a tall order given the resistance he will face from the Republican-controlled legislature in Virginia. Nonetheless, his bid…

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Climate, Oil, Podcast, Policy, Shale

Columbia Energy Exchange: Chevron CEO John Watson

Host Bill Loveless talks with John Watson, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Chevron Corporation, the second largest integrated oil company in the United States. Bill and John spoke in Washington, D.C. about topics including: the outlook for oil and natural gas markets; climate change and the role of energy companies; the breakdown of public discourse on energy issues; and the Trump Administration, free trade, tax reform and energy policy. Listen.

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Climate, Energy, Government and Politics, Podcast, Policy

Columbia Energy Exchange: Minister Catherine McKenna

Host Bill Loveless sits down with Hon. Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, to get an inside look at environmental policy in the nation. Catherine and Bill discuss: Canada’s approach to climate change and linkages between the environment and economic policy; different approaches to environmental and climate policy between the U.S. and Canada under President Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; and the realities of a national carbon pricing plan in Canada. (Listen)

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Climate, Energy, Podcast, Policy

Columbia Energy Exchange: Steve Mufson, Amy Harder

New markets dynamics, technological innovation, and evolving climate and geopolitical issues have made the energy sector incredibly dynamic and increasingly complicated to understand for policymakers, business leaders, academia and the general public alike. To help decode and explain these issues and their significance within a greater global context, journalists covering the energy beat have never been more important. On this episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange host Bill Loveless sits down with veteran energy reporters Steve Mufson from the Washington Post and Amy Harder, who has recently moved from the Wall Street Journal to a new startup called Axios, to discuss the importance of energy literacy and how the energy beat has dramatically changed in the last decade. Among many topics Bill, Steve and Amy discussed, several include: The importance of energy literacy and key challenges journalists face when covering the energy beat;…

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