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Climate Change Takes Center Stage at Houston’s Annual CERAWeek Conference

As the bustling streets of downtown Houston swell with the influx of attendees flocking to the annual CERAWeek conference, anticipation brewed for fresh faces and a novel dialogue surrounding a pressing industry concern: climate change.

Running from March 18th to the 22nd, S&P Global Commodity Insights orchestrated this significant event, punctuated by the establishment of an autonomous Climate Hub last year within the ambit of Agora, the conference’s arena for energy innovation and burgeoning technologies. This year, the Climate Hub boasts a robust lineup of 40 sessions, a substantial increase from its inaugural 32.

The spotlight on climate matters has intensified within industry circles, spurred by recent U.S. incentives favoring clean technologies and the global shift towards emissions regulations and tariffs, particularly prominent in Europe and other pivotal markets. Fresh from the COP28 climate conference in November, world leaders injected newfound vigor into the discourse with a slew of commitments.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Ken Downey, the executive director of CERAWeek’s Innovation Agora, remarked, “This is one of the first opportunities, really, since COP28 to have these policy and technology discussions at a high level. I think there’s big momentum coming out of COP.”

Notable alterations mark this year’s Climate Hub agenda, with a pronounced emphasis on climate science, featuring panels led by distinguished researchers alongside policy and industry luminaries.

David Sandalow, a fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy and former Department of Energy regulator, reflects on the evolving focus on climate and the transition to clean energy at CERAWeek over the years. He’s set to engage in two Climate Hub panels, delving into generative AI and U.S.-China relations.

Transitioning from the conventional energy sector to sustainability consultancy, Bryan Fisher, now managing director of Rocky Mountain Institute, underscores the industry’s burgeoning interest in climate issues, driven not only by legislative incentives but also by strategic imperatives.

Carbon transport and storage take center stage in discussions, with Fisher slated to contribute to a panel on this pivotal topic. Ash Singh, spearheading Agora’s hub programming, highlights the thematic array, spanning carbon markets, policies, and the burgeoning “blue economy.”

Matt Watson, at the helm of Environmental Defense Fund’s industry transition efforts, observes a notable shift in the landscape, with environmental concerns assuming a central role in industry dialogues.

Last year, CERAWeek witnessed a substantial turnout for the Agora program, with registration numbers for the climate-centric innovation segment surpassing previous benchmarks. As anticipation mounts for this year’s conference, the trajectory suggests a heightened engagement with climate discourse compared to years past.

RA Staff
RA Staff
Written by RA News staff.


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