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climate change

Podcast

Coal communities face fiscal ruin

The coal industry continues to tumble in the U.S. as electric power plants turn increasingly to natural gas and renewable energy as their fuels of choice. And that decline might only worsen for coal mining and the communities that rely on it if Washington someday adopts strong policies to reduce carbon emissions associated with climate change. In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, I pay a visit to Adele Morris, a senior fellow and policy director for climate and energy economics at Brookings Institution. Adele and Noah Kaufman, a research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy, and Siddhi Doshi, a senior research assistant at Brookings, have written a new paper from the center that looks at the danger of fiscal collapse in coal-reliant communities. What they tell us is that while climate risks to corporations have received scrutiny in…

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Whither the Green New Deal?

There’s a lot of speculation and disagreement over the Green New Deal and what it means for U.S. policies addressing climate change. But one thing is for sure: it’s stimulated more discussion of the topic than we’ve seen in years. And that’s a good thing! I had the pleasure of discussing the GND on the TV program “White House Chronicle” hosted by my dear friend and former competitor (when he owned The Energy Daily and I edited McGraw Hill’s Inside Energy) Lewellyn King and joined by the “dean” of energy reporters in Washington, Peter Behr of E&E News. We had a good time sorting out what this GND movement means for policymaking in the U.S. and future of the nation’s energy apparatus. Watch here.

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Podcast

Future brightens for Chile as energy leader

Big changes are taking place in Chile when it comes to energy, with a strong push for renewable energy in recent years. And there’s more to come, according to the country’s president, Sebastián Piñera. In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, I sit down with Susana Jiménez, Chile’s energy minister, who’s overseeing her government’s plan to change significantly the way the nation produces and uses energy. In the process, she aims to make her nation a model for not only South America but also the world. The fifth largest consumer of energy in South America, Chile is only a minor producer of fossil fuels and therefore has relied heavily on energy imports That’s changing, however, as Chile looks increasingly to solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy. In fact, renewable energy now accounts for about 18% of…

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Podcast, Uncategorized

Climate policy starts hereFeatured

The Green New Deal is one of the hottest topics in Washington right now, as it should be. But putting together legislation is a difficult task, especially amid the partisan politics taking place on Capitol Hill today. In a “Columbia Energy Exchange” podcast, I talk to the lawmaker at the start of this process: Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y. Tonko chairs the House Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee, the first start for making climate policy in Congress. Hear him describe what lies in store for climate policy making and the impact of the Green New Deal movement on this effort. You’ll find the podcast here https://bit.ly/2Gfu2Ll.

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Podcast

Taking stock of ESG risks for U.S. utilities

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks are becoming increasingly important to judging the credit worthiness of electric utilities, especially as climate change makes their work more challenging. On this episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Jim Hempstead, a managing director in Moody’s Global Project and Infrastructure Finance Group. In his role at Moody’s, one of the largest credit ratings firms in the world, Jim helps oversee the North American Regulated Utility and Power Team. He also heads Moody’s working group in charge of ESG issues in the Americas. In the conversation with Bill, Jim makes clear that defining ESG standards is still very much a work in progress for the credit rating firms and the companies they assess for credit worthiness. Nevertheless, ESG metrics are an important means of evaluating the utility sector where shifts…

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Podcast

A Boston formula for clean tech success

Innovation has resulted in remarkable advances in clean energy technology, like solar and wind energy systems that are becoming increasingly competitive in the U.S. And more breakthroughs are coming, as ambitious scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs make headway on products and services that will change the way we produce, use and save energy. But getting a good head start on innovation is challenging for pioneers, who often lack the wherewithal to design, build and test their inventions. That’s where institutions like Greentown Labs can play a big role. In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange, I visit Greentown Labs in Somerville, Mass., and meet with its CEO, Emily Reichert to talk about the outlook for clean technology in the U.S. and what programs like hers can do to help entrepreneurs get a good head start. Greentown Labs bills itself as…

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Climate, Podcast

Absent national policy, U.S. climate action takes many forms

Leaders from around the world will gather in San Francisco Sept. 12-14 to celebrate the achievements of states, regions, cities, corporations and others at the sub-national level with respect to climate action. Organizers of the Global Climate Action Summit say the meeting will also serve as a launch pad for deeper commitments to put the world on track to prevent dangerous climate change and realize the historic Paris agreement – even as the U.S. government under the Trump administration takes a different course. On this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, I talk to Carter Roberts, the president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in the United States. WWF is one of the partners in the Global Climate Action Summit, along with other groups including C40Cities, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ceres and the United Nations Foundation. Among the topics we touched on are…

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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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Electricity, Natural Gas, Podcast, Regulations

Columbia Energy Exchange: Regulators in the Trenches

Interest in energy policy often focuses on Washington, where actions by the Trump administration, Congress and agencies like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission receive much of the attention. But it’s easy to forget how much happens in the states, where utility commissioners play a big role in determining how energy is delivered to consumers and at what cost. That’s why I sat down with John “Jack” Betkoski III, the new president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, in this latest episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast. Listen to it here, and let me know what you think!

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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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