The International Politics of Climate Change

December 7, 2021, 12:00 - 1:30 PM EST
Virtual session

Online Registration

Energy has increasingly become about “transition” as a consequence of material impacts of climate change. A lower carbon emitting global economy is being cemented into the energy dialogue and the resultant policy frameworks. But improving the emissions efficiency of fossil fuels and reducing their share of the overall energy mix creates a new often divisive politics of energy use and energy policy.

The purpose of this session is to help recognize the parameters of the inescapable debate between various constituencies based on geographic differences in consumption patterns, resource endowments and levels of economic development. First, hydrocarbon producing nations have an inherently different view than hydrocarbon consuming countries. Second, economic development differences create competing importance of energy equity considerations. Third, even within countries that are both major producers and major consumers of fossil fuels, regional debates are gaining prominence.

We are joined by two keynote speakers: Dr. Jonathan Pershing, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate at the U.S. Department of State, and, Fahad Alajlan, president of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC). We will then follow with a panel discussion for more regional perspectives. Louise Burke, president of The Energy Forum board of directors, will moderate the discussion.

This event will be a virtual session via Zoom from 12:00 until 1:30 PM EST. Additional details will be provided to registered attendees prior to the session.


Jonathan Pershing

Dr. Jonathan Pershing is Deputy Special Envoy for Climate at the U.S. Department of State. He joined John Kerry’s climate team after four years as the environment program director at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. He previously served as the Special Envoy for Climate Change at the Department of State in the Obama administration where he coordinated the joining and implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Prior to that, Dr. Pershing served as the Senior Climate Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy and the Principal Deputy Director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis at the Department of Energy. He was a key architect of the “Mission Innovation” commitment to double climate and clean energy research and development budgets around the world, and a major contributor to the first ever “Quadrennial Energy Review,” a deep assessment of U.S. energy policy.

Dr. Pershing spent six years as the director of the Climate, Energy and Pollution Program at the World Resources Institute; five years as the Head of the Environment Division at the International Energy Agency in Paris; and for nearly a decade in the 1990s, he served the Science Advisor and Deputy Director of the Office of Global Change in the U.S. Department of State.

He holds a Ph.D. in geology and geophysics from the University of Minnesota. A scientist by training, he served as a lead author, review editor and contributor for reports of the Nobel-prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He has taught at the University of Minnesota and at American University, and he has published and lectured widely on climate and energy issues. In addition, he lived and worked for several years in Alaska in the energy and mining industry.

Fahad Alajlan

Engineer Fahad Alajlan was appointed as the president of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) in August 2021. Prior to joining KAPSARC, Fahad was the director of the Hydrocarbon Sustainability Program at the Ministry of Energy. He was responsible for looking at the long-term energy trends and their impact on energy markets including global demand for oil and gas. Additionally, he oversees the Circular Carbon Economy National Program, which aims to utilize a comprehensive framework to manage emissions while furthering the socioeconomic development of the Kingdom.

Fahad also worked at the Ministry of Economy and Planning in Saudi Arabia, advising on energy markets, policy, and trends, as well as the industry and petrochemical sector.Before that, he served for more than 15 years at Saudi Aramco, where he held senior positions working across operation, corporate strategy and investment planning, as well as mergers and acquisitions.

He holds a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University and an MBA from Stanford University in California.


Philippe Roos

Philippe Roos is a Senior Reporter for Energy Intelligence. He also maintains the EI’s energy transition data, focusing on the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) and power markets. As the Subject Matter Specialist for Alternative Energy, Mr. Roos’ specific areas of energy expertise lie within power and power marketing, including both renewables and conventional fuels such as gas and coal. Mr. Roos has spent most of his career within the energy and financial sectors. Prior to joining Energy Intelligence, he served as an Energy and Finance Specialist at the World Bank where he worked on a solar scale-up investment program in the Middle East and North Africa, including the preparation of the landmark Noor 1 project in Morocco. Mr. Roos also worked as Senior Energy and Industry Specialist at Crédit Agricole, serving as a primary internal expert on the global power sector, and as a researcher at the Paris School of Mines. Mr. Roos holds an MSc in Engineering, an MSc in Metallurgy and Materials Science and a PhD in Industrial Economics, all from the Paris School of Mines.

Victor Gao

Victor Gao is Chair Professor of Soochow University, Chairman of China Energy Security Institute; Vice President of the Center for China and Globalization; a member of the Beijing Energy Club; a Member of the Global Counsel of Asia Society in New York City; a member of the International Advisory Board of the Energy Intelligence Group in London; an advisor to Saudi Aramco and a member of the Board of Directors of several listed companies in Hong Kong. 

Victor Gao has extensive experience in government, diplomacy, securities regulation, legal, investment banking, PE, corporate management and media.  Victor was Deng Xiaoping’s English interpreter in the 1980s.  Victor served as the China Policy Advisor at the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission in 1999 and 2000. Victor’s prior investment banking experience included senior positions with Morgan Stanley (Vice President of Morgan Stanley Asia, in the Merger, Acquisition and Restructuring Department), CICC (General Manager of the Investment Banking Department, Head of M&A Practice, and Head of CICC Hong Kong Investment Banking Department) and Daiwa Securities (Co-Chairman of China, Executive Vice President and Managing Director).  Victor’s corporate management experience included senior positions with CNOOC Limited as its Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Company Secretary, Member of the Investment Committee, and Director of CNOOC International and with major Hong Kong companies including PCCW and Henderson Land Group.

Over the years, Victor Gao worked on many major M&A, IPO, CB, Bond Issues and other corporate advisory assignments with a combined value in excess of US$100 billion, including in TMT, oil and gas, automobile, banking, insurance, building materials, consumer goods, aviation, satellite communications, and new and renewable energy.     

Victor holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, a M.A. in International Relations from the Political Science Department of Yale Graduate School, an M.A. in English from Beijing University of Foreign Studies, and a B.A. in English from Suzhou University, and is a licensed attorney-at-law in the State of New York.   Since 2004, Victor has been the Chairman of the Yale Law School Association of China.


Louise Burke

Louise Burke is President, Energy Forum Advisory Board and is currently working for Argus Media on strategic business initiatives for the company. Prior to this, Ms. Burke was Executive Director of the Energy Forum, and president of J.C. Energy, an energy consulting firm. She has worked extensively in the energy sector analyzing pricing and markets for Mobil Oil Canada, Alberta Energy Company and Petroleos DeVenezuela. In addition, as Vice-President, Marketing for the New York Mercantile Exchange, she supervised major energy and metals futures and options product launches and was closely involved in the successful growth of energy commodity markets. Ms Burke has also been affiliated with the SIPA energy program at Columbia University, New York as an instructor in the area of petroleum markets trading since 2008. Ms. Burke holds a BA honors economics degree from the University of Alberta and an MBA from New York University.


12:00 - 12:30 PM: Keynote Speakers

12:30 - 1:30 PM: Panel Discussion and Q&A


This session is complimentary for all registrants. Registration is required for event link details.


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