Energy and Environment Program

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Through our intentional dialogues, public programs, annual policy forums, and environmental leadership initiative, the Energy and Environment Program creates impartial venues for global leaders to engage in informed discussion around energy and environmental challenges and solutions. The Program provides nonpartisan leadership and a neutral forum for improving energy and environmental policy-making through values-based dialogue by leveraging our core competency of convening professional, high-level, content-driven dialogues in the policy, science, finance, and business arenas.
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Finding Common Ground on Energy & Environment in America: 
A Bipartisan Panel and Open Discussion

On Thursday, March 24, the Aspen Institute's Energy and Environment Program and Colorado State University's Center for the New Energy Economy held a special public panel discussion to explore the politics of clean energy and climate action in the presidential election year. Specifically, can Republicans, Democrats, and Independents find common ground on the role of federal government on these issues? If so, what are the most promising areas for bipartisan agreement? The bipartisan panel was moderated by Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, and featured: Bob Inglis, former Member of Congress (SC); Bill Ritter, Jr., former Governor (CO)Theodore Roosevelt IV, Managing Director, Barclays Capital Corporation; and Heather Zichal, former Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change. Learn More >>

New Reports


The 2015 Energy Policy Forum, “Leaning Into the Energy System of the Future,” was co-chaired by Sue Tierney, Managing Principal of The Analysis Group and former Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy, and Clint Vince, Chair of the U.S. Energy Practice at Dentons U.S. LLP.  Topics discussed included new global energy pricing realities and the effects on domestic energy; the Clean Power Plan; the electricity source mix of the future; and new business models needed to deal with current markets realities. Download the Report. 

The 2015 Forum on Global Energy Economy and Security, “The New Pricing Reality in Global Oil and Gas Markets,” was co-chaired by Claire Farley, Member of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company, and Bill White, Senior Advisor and Chairman of Lazard Houston and former Mayor of Houston. Topics discussed included the current and future drivers of global supply and demand for petroleum; specific regional changes and challenges; the global LNG market and market penetration for natural gas; environmental challenges that may impact oil and gas development; the effect of new technology and data on industry planning and investment; and the impact of lower prices on global investment and industry consolidation. Download the Report.

The 2015 Clean Energy Innovation Forum, “The New Energy Innovation Economy,” was co-chaired again this year by Roger Ballentine of Green Strategies and Andy Karsner of Manifest Energy.  Topics discussed included the ongoing transformation of the energy user experience; distributed generation and disruption incumbent electricity business model; challenges in bridging the energy technology gap between development and adoption; and the impact of climate concerns on accelerating change. Download the Report. 


The 2015 Modern Shale Gas and Oil Production Forum, “Regulation, Conversation, and Impact of Shale Gas and Oil in a Low Price Environment,” convened about 60 invited energy leaders, including regulators from leading producing states and representatives from industry and the environmental community.  The discussions covered a broad range of environmental and community effects related to shale gas and oil production, including water use and availability, surface and groundwater contamination, air emissions, land use impacts, induced seismicity, and local nuisance issues.  The Forum also benefited this year from a meeting of state regulators that took place in the days immediately preceding the Forum.  The focus of this meeting was to discuss the concept of a regulatory consultation and assessment process to promote continual regulatory improvement – an idea initially discussed during the 2014 Modern Shale Gas and Oil Production Forum. Download the Report.

The 2015 Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum, "Data Intelligence for 21st Century Water Management," brings together each year a select group of water experts with diverse knowledge - from finance and policy to technology and ecosystems - to explore the future of our water system; the role of corporations and municipalities in managing water risk; and the innovations in, and convergence of, water policy, finance, and technology to identify potential game changers. The forum this year specifically focused on water and big data to understand how the emergence of large, but dispersed, amounts of data in the water sector can best be utilized to improve the management and delivery of water for a more sustainable future. Understanding what water data we have, how we collect it, and how to standardize and integrate it may well be a prerequisite to taking action to address a wide range of water challenges. Download the Report. 

The Aspen Institute Dialogue on U.S. Food Insecurity & Healthcare Costs was a series of meetings and discussions among experts that explored the fiscal and policy relationships, trends and tradeoffs between food insecurity and healthcare costs. This group tested the policy supposition as to whether access to more sustainable and healthful food (i.e., a more food secure nation) could help reduce U.S. healthcare costs, including current spending on programs for treating—rather than preventing—diet-based problems. The report explores current understandings of the relationship among food insecurity, healthcare costs, poverty, relevant health outcomes (including but extending well beyond obesity), and public and private sector opportunities for addressing food insecurity. Download the Report. 

All of us share in a moral and pragmatic imperative to work toward food security as an instrument of human security, peace, and civilization. Over the next 30 years, food security will be a critical priority in planning for climate security, political stability, national security and economic growth. The Food Security Strategy Group’s Declaration on Global Food Security Planning articulates the linkages between strategic security-related factors and recognized food security priorities as a core strategy for communicating top level insights to leading policy- and decision-makers in both the public and private sectors who:  a) do not yet recognize their own interests in food security and/or b) have not yet assumed active leadership on national and global food security. The goal of the FSSG Declaration is to help bring increasing focus to the security-related orientation of global food security planning priorities. Download the Report