Aspen Ideas Festival to Explore Climate, Sustainability, & the Energy Innovations of the Future

June 2, 2023

Climate leaders and energy experts to feature among the more than 300 speakers at the Festival, taking place June 24-30.

Contact: Jon Purves
Associate Director, Media Relations
The Aspen Institute

Washington, DC & Aspen, CO, June 2, 2023
— Speakers at this summer’s Aspen Ideas Festival will dive into energy and the innovations that will steer our world to net zero during one of the event’s main programming tracks, “Powering the Future.” Attendees will engage in deep conversation about the latest innovations driving sustainability and decarbonization, ESG, the role of young people in protecting our climate and more. The Aspen Institute’s signature summer festival takes place in Colorado in partnership with NBCUniversal News Group, with more than 300 speakers and thousands of attendees set to participate. 

The Aspen Ideas Festival runs from June 24-June 30, 2023; passes to attend are available now, and members of the media are invited to request credentials here. 

Among the programming planned that will focus on energy, sustainability, and the environment:

  • An interview with John Podesta, President Biden’s senior advisor for clean energy innovation and implementation.
  • Energy expert and “Chief Carbon Wrangler” Julio Friedmann of Carbon Direct provides an overview of the opportunities and challenges of the future energy landscape, in conversation with Cipher’s Amy Harder.
  • A cutting-edge nuclear power plant is coming to Wyoming. Rich Powell, the CEO of ClearPath, speaks with two of the driving forces behind the project: TerraPower President & CEO Chris Levesque and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon.
  • How do we make the clean energy transition, and what role will fossil fuels play in that future? Chevron chairman and CEO Mike Wirth shares his perspective with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin.
  • The Colorado River Compact is 100 years old, and its guidelines for water use are about to expire. What policies and technologies could get a new agreement across the finish line? John Entsminger, Nevada’s lead negotiator for the Compact, Bidtah Becker, Attorney with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, and lifelong expert on river ecosystems, Jennifer Pitt, shed light on the range of stakeholders, both human and animal, whose needs are up for debate.
  • NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly leads a conversation on the geopolitical implications of the transition to cleaner energy with Jason Bordoff, co-founding Dean of the Columbia Climate School and former energy advisor to President Obama, Abby Wulf, Vice President and Director of Critical Minerals Strategy at Securing America’s Future Energy and Andrew Kamau, Co-Director for the Energy Opportunity Lab at the Center on Global Energy Policy and former Kenyan Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining.
  • As Patagonia celebrates its 50th anniversary, CEO Ryan Gellert  reflects on the company’s legacy in the wake of a transformational decision to commit all profits to environmental causes with Baratunde Thurston, host of the “How to Citizen” podcast.
  • Many organizations say they don’t have the plans and data to reach Paris Agreement targets. Deloitte Senior Manager Steven Ward and Deloitte Managing Director Jonathan Schuldenfrei discuss the strategies needed to design a net-zero future.
  • Energy start-up leaders pitch their big ideas: using A.I. to find critical minerals under the earth’s surface, installing geothermal systems in your home, storing clean energy in the grid when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining, and more. With Ramya Swaminathan, CEO, Malta; Josh Goldman, President and Co-founder, KoBold Metals; and Kathy Hannun, CEO, Dandelion.
  • What role does clean hydrogen have to play in the energy mix of the future? Adria Wilson, U.S. Policy and Advocacy Director at Breakthrough Energy, Jon Horek, Vice President of Hydrogen at Invenergy, and Geoff Tuff, Principal and U.S. Hydrogen Practice Leader at Deloitte, speak to Cipher’s Amy Harder.
  • Centering young leaders’ role in protecting our climate: hear from former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program Greg Gershuny, Executive Director at the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute Nikki Santos, and environmental activist Charitie Ropati.
  • Unprecedented federal funding for sustainable initiatives provides innovation opportunities within the private sector. Hear from Deloitte Managing Director Mike Kohler and other business leaders in conversation with Cipher’s Amy Harder.
  • Inclusive climate resilience: a conversation on reducing climate-related risks across geographies and demographics with Deloitte Principals Chris Ruggeri, and Nes Parker, Deloitte Specialist Executive Mike Byrne, Professor at University of Colorado Boulder, Evan Thomas, and Joanna Smith-Ramani, Co-Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s Financial Security Program.

Speakers will continue to be announced in the coming weeks. More than 300 are ultimately set to attend, including leaders and innovators in policymaking, the arts, science, education, and more. A complete list of speakers confirmed to date is available here.

Aspen Ideas: Health, which takes place June 21-24 and opens the Ideas Festival, also has a programming track, “Planet Health,” which will explore the impacts of threats of pollution, infectious agents, microplastics, catastrophic weather, and climate change on human health. Learn more at

Presenting Underwriters for the 2023 Aspen Ideas Festival are Allstate, Amazon, Comcast NBCUniversal, Danone, Deloitte,, Mount Sinai Health System, Walton Family Foundation, Wells Fargo, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Supporting Underwriters are Google, IBM, Meta, Prudential Financial, and Ralph Lauren.


The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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