Episodes
Published 09/27/22
Developing countries face the dual challenge of meeting rapidly growing energy demand while also scaling clean energy to avoid dramatic increases in carbon emissions. But financing all of those clean energy projects can be tough. Emerging and developing economies need clean energy investments. Researchers estimate that they will need anywhere between $1-2 trillion per year for the next 30 years to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Most of that capital will need to come from the private...
Published 09/27/22
Covid and the Russian war in Ukraine have slowed economic development in East Asia and the Pacific. High global commodity prices are stressing countries heavily dependent on energy and food imports.  Recent heat waves and drought sweeping across the region are adding further economic pain. In China, coal consumption is climbing as hydropower resources dry up. And it’s not the only major economy in the region heavily reliant on the dirtiest fossil fuel. Across Asia, hundreds of new coal...
Published 09/20/22
Winter is coming. The energy crisis that is afflicting Europe and other parts of the world is worsening as Russia weaponizes natural gas. After Putin turned off supply of Russian gas through the Nord Stream pipeline earlier this month, prices across Europe soared – causing severe pain for manufacturers and consumers, and pushing the region closer to recession. European countries are weighing emergency measures, like price caps and rationing. In addition to the immediate energy crisis, key...
Published 09/13/22
Nuclear fusion seems like something out of science fiction – a reaction created inside a machine that replicates the sun. But the technology behind this process could be inching closer to reality. And with it, new opportunities to harness electricity.   The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act allocates $280 million for fusion energy science. And experiments in China, the U.K., and California have some scientists feeling hopeful that fusion could play a role in the global energy...
Published 09/08/22
In 2020, Europe passed a landmark climate package called the Green Deal. It was supposed to mark a new era of climate progress for the region. Few expected that two years later, Europe would be burning more coal, importing more liquified natural gas, shifting from gas to oil for industry, and spending more money to subsidize fossil fuel consumption. Europe’s energy crisis, many years in the making, has been exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and the subsequent turmoil in regional...
Published 08/30/22
This summer’s climate bill features an historic investment: $60 billion will be devoted to clean energy projects and climate resilience for disadvantaged communities. It will  also create a green bank to help drive climate investments with explicit equity outcomes. Environmental justice is getting real attention in policymaking at the federal and state level. So how do we define and measure it? And why is it so crucial to the energy transition? This week we’re bringing back one of our most...
Published 08/23/22
America is doubling down on support of electric vehicles. This summer’s historic climate bill extends key tax credits for buyers of EVs, putting them in reach for more drivers.    Those credits also require a high percentage of American-sourced materials – which could be a long-term boon to domestic production, but a potential short-term problem for manufacturers with foreign supply chains. Electric models make up 5% of EV sales in the U.S. and IHS Markit predicts EVs will represent 30%...
Published 08/16/22
Wildfire season is upon us. With nearly 80% of the Western US in extreme drought, fires have already scorched more than five and a half million acres this year – double the number of acres compared to this time last year.  Those fires pose an increasing risk to electric utilities. And no utility feels the urgency of that risk more than PG&E. In 2018, PG&E equipment sparked the most devastating wildfire in California history – and it forced one of America’s largest utilities into...
Published 08/09/22
Even as prices decline, the tight oil market is once again raising economic and political worries in Washington.  In July, President Biden traveled to the Middle East to meet with several Arab leaders – including Saudi Arabia’s King and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Expanding oil supply was high on the list of the administration’s diplomatic objectives. Saudi Arabia says it has limited ability to add extra oil to the market, and it’s not clear whether OPEC+ countries agree on the path...
Published 08/02/22
Relentless extreme heat is gripping regions around the world. Spring and summer brought numerous crippling heat waves to Europe – smashing temperature records, killing more than a thousand people, and buckling infrastructure.  India and Pakistan experienced one of the hottest springs ever, with heat waves in March and April hurting crop yields, and putting more than a billion people at risk. And here in the US, heat waves are scorching large swaths of the country, exacerbating a western...
Published 07/26/22
Europe’s gas crisis has entered a scary new phase. Last week, the biggest pipeline carrying Russian gas into Germany was closed for maintenance. And many in Europe fear the Russians will keep Nord Stream 1 closed indefinitely – putting further pressure on gas supply in the colder months. Europeans are burning more coal, scrambling for new sources of gas, and committing to lots of renewable energy in a frantic attempt to slash reliance on Russian fossil fuels. But there are real questions...
Published 07/19/22
In June, Colombia elected a new president: Gustavo Petro.  Petro is pushing major reforms in this oil-exporting country. He promised to cut Colombia’s reliance on selling oil and extracting raw materials, while also ramping up climate targets. Will Colombia become the first oil exporter to ban new production? Petro’s win is part of a broader progressive shift in Latin America around climate and energy. How will recent political developments in Colombia and other Latin American countries...
Published 07/12/22
In a 6-3 decision in West Virginia v. EPA, Supreme Court justices determined that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overstepped its authority in regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Since the Thursday decision, several environmental groups have called the monumental ruling devastating to the Biden administration’s efforts to facilitate a clean energy transition.  For a breakdown of the decision and its implications for climate regulations moving forward, host Bill...
Published 07/06/22
This week, Columbia Energy Exchange brings you an episode of another podcast called Catalyst.  It’s a weekly show hosted by climate tech veteran Shayle Kann about the future of decarbonization. Each week, different experts, researchers, and executives come on to unpack the latest hurdles to decarbonization and advancing new climate tech solutions.  This episode is all about weighing the risks and rewards of solar geoengineering.  In it, Shayle speaks with a climate modeler named Dan...
Published 06/28/22
President Biden is heading to Saudi Arabia next month amidst a global energy crisis. The trip is nothing new. For decades when faced with an oil crisis, presidents from both political parties have turned to Saudi Arabia.  That’s because it’s one of the key players in the global oil market, producing about 10% of the world’s oil.  For a deep dive into the unique role that Saudi Arabia plays in global oil markets, host Jason Bordoff spoke with Dr. Ibrahim AlMuhanna. He’s the vice chairman of...
Published 06/21/22
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) continues to influence global energy systems, despite challenges to its unity and market share. Just this year, global leaders called upon OPEC to increase output to bring down oil prices.  But the organization comes under tremendous scrutiny for many of the decisions it makes, with some arguing that it has not done enough to address oil price spikes and others questioning its role generally.  For a look at how OPEC is navigating the...
Published 06/14/22
Earlier this year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed new regulations that would require publicly-traded companies to estimate their greenhouse gas emissions and disclose certain climate risks. The mandated rules around disclosure would be unprecedented in the United States and come at a time when investors are increasingly concerned about companies’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) commitments. But the controversial measure is stirring up complaints – from...
Published 06/07/22
Oil refiners are currently seeing a big boom in business – but how long will it last?  The process of turning crude into usable products has been plagued for years by low profitability and overcapacity, and the pandemic took a toll on many refineries which in some cases shut their doors permanently. And now climate action, the potential for an economic slump and global fuel shortages are raising new questions about whether refiners should continue to invest or cash out.  For answers to...
Published 05/31/22
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is responsible for safeguarding U.S.  nuclear infrastructure, maintaining energy security, fostering technology innovation, and guiding the country towards a green energy transition.  Today, the DOE is facing converging crises: climate change, global supply chains still impacted by the pandemic, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. So, what can the federal government do to sustainably shore up the country's energy sector?  To answer that question, host...
Published 05/24/22
Europe is at a crossroads over nuclear power.  Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed Europe to reconsider its energy mix.  Migrating away from Russian supply chains has become a priority, and Europe is looking at nuclear as one possible alternative. But opinions about nuclear energy vary throughout the European Union, where a quarter of all electricity comes from often aging reactors in a dozen countries. For insight into how the pressures of energy security and climate change could affect...
Published 05/17/22
Despite some setbacks, Europe is considering a ban on Russian oil, a major step toward energy independence from Russia. Meanwhile, Russia’s demand that buyers pay for its natural gas in rubles has put European consumers in a tough spot and has led Russia to cut off gas exports to Bulgaria and Poland.  All of this puts Europe in the middle of an energy crisis – with no clear end in sight.  For a look at whether Europe can stand against Russia without compromising its own energy supply and...
Published 05/10/22
A rocky pandemic recovery, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and increasing social and consumer pressure to move away from Russian commodities have led to a spike in  oil, natural gas, and even coal prices.   For a look at  how commodities should be regulated and how policymakers think about energy supplies in a fractious geopolitical environment, host Jason Bordoff spoke with Javier Blas from Bloomberg News. He’s a leading energy columnist and commodities expert with a renowned career at top...
Published 05/03/22
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sent oil and natural gas markets for a loop.  But less attention has been paid to the implications of the war for global energy and food security, particularly for the world’s least developed countries (LDCs).  For a deep dive into whether Western nations can still fulfill the climate finance promises made to LDCs in the midst of an unfolding global conflict and energy crisis in Europe, host Bill Loveless turned to Dr. Harry Verhoeven.  He’s a Senior...
Published 04/26/22
Around the world, natural gas prices continue to tick upward, surging to levels not seen in more than a decade.  Russia’s war on Ukraine is largely to blame for high energy prices in Europe as the continent competes with Asia for already tight supplies of non-Russian gas. And the scramble for alternatives to Russian gas has reached the US, where prices have doubled since the beginning of the year. For a look at what the future holds for natural gas markets, host Jason Bordoff spoke with Ira...
Published 04/19/22