Category Archives: Energy

Inaugural Jackson / Schlesinger Lecture with The Honorable John M. Deutch

The inaugural lecture last week in honor of Jim Schlesinger was a success. First we had John Deutch, MIT emeritus Institute Professor and former head of the CIA, speak at a Rainier Club lunch that drew diplomats, business people, and community leaders. In the afternoon he met with students at the Jackson School. And in the evening he gave an excellent, engaging lecture on nuclear deterrent policy and how that policy may or may not change going forward. We had 150 chairs filled with a line out the door for entry into the hall. The large audience included UW students, Navy ROTC members, as well as community members.

Professor John Deutch lecturing at UW

Professor Deutch also spoke about his relationship with both Jackson and Schlesinger. When Schlesinger became America’s first Secretary of Energy, Deutch served as Undersecretary of the Department.

The following day, Dr. Deutch worked with Jackson School students on their Task Force policy brief on nuclear proliferation and deterrence. It was a first-rate way to begin this important series, which we intend to continue to tie with the Jackson School’s Task Force program.

Board Member Larry Phillips wrote afterward, “John Deutch did a masterful job providing the historical context and ongoing debate, as well as the progress that has been made surrounding nuclear proliferation issues.  He sounded the alarm about the costs associated with upgrades to our nuclear triad deterrent, and the lack of robust debate so far and the need for that to occur before those funds are expended.  At the end he fielded questions from some pretty well-informed audience members, and did a good job providing substantive answers. The “refresher” on these issues was welcome and enlightening, especially so given the dearth of substantive discourse at the national level.  It was a bit of a walk back in time, when serious issues were discussed, debated, and decided by serious people.”

The Jackson Foundation initiated this lecture series to honor Senator Jackson’s longtime friend and colleague Jim Schlesinger by bringing high-level foreign policy experts to the Jackson School. Given his personal history with Jackson and Schlesinger, Professor Deutch was the perfect choice to start off this series.

Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director

Jackson Fellow promotes key Jackson legislative legacy

Andrew Lewis Andrew Lewis, one of the 2016 Jackson Leadership Fellows, chose for his project to analyze and write about an important Jackson achievement – the Land and Water Conservation Fund – addressing both its significance and its future funding and standing in Congress. As a recent graduate from the UC Berkeley School of Law, Andrew felt naturally drawn to legislation close to the heart of the Jackson legacy. Andrew has always been heavily involved in Washington State politics – starting at the early age of 14 as an intern in Washington State Senator Patty Murray’s re-election in 1994! His legal interests include environmental law, so he was attracted to the battle over the Land and Water Conservation Fund’s future. Senator Jackson introduced the original Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Act at President John F. Kennedy’s request. For over 50 years, the Fund has contributed resources to parks, wild spaces, recreation areas, and the natural heritage of our country. A small portion of oil and gas royalties funds the LWCF, as Jackson intended it to do, making the funding source smart economic and environmental policy.

Andrew’s paper, published in the Ecology Law Quarterly in spring 2016, explains the history of the LWCF and its purposes, namely “to preserve, develop and assure accessibility to outdoor recreation resources for the American people.” To do this, Congress authorized a $900 million annual appropriation to fund the LWCF. Historically, however, while the Fund has received resources, it has never received the full amount intended by the legislation. Andrew shows the LWCF’s success in driving conservation and economic growth despite its dwindling funding from Congress over the years.

Most important, Andrew describes the current state of the LWCF as “tenuous.” Congress gave the Fund a temporary, three-year extension and an appropriation of $450 million. Foundation President John Hempelmann mentored Andrew and provided him with careful editing as well as a big-picture political perspective on the legislation. Both John and Andrew expressed relief that the Fund’s life has been extended, but they are concerned about its future.  Andrew outlines options currently under discussion in Congress – led by Washington State leaders – that would provide permanent funding for the LWCF.

Jackson Fdn.--Jackson Leadership Fellows   113
John Hempelmann, Foundation President, with Brett Phillips and Andrew Lewis

The paper does an excellent job of clearly assessing the past and future prospects of this important piece of Jackson’s environmental legacy, and the protection of our nation’s natural resources. Bravo to Andrew for his excellent piece and for landing an article in a prestigious law journal – all while finishing law school.

 

Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director

Now available: China’s Energy Crossroads Program

A few weeks ago the Jackson Foundation partnered with NBR on the launch of NBR’s new publication, China’s Energy Crossroads, the 2014 Energy Security Report.  We wrote about that Washington, DC event here.  Today we draw your attention to the edited audio from the session, which featured opening remarks by John Hempelmann, President of the Jackson Foundation, and Admiral Dennis C. Blair, member of NBR’s Board of Directors.

John Hempelmann, Foundation President
John Hempelmann, Jackson Foundation President

John Hempelmann opened the day by placing the topic in context:  “Secretary of State John Kerry recently described the U.S.-China relationship as ‘the most consequential in the world today. Period.’” John went on to underscore how that relationship meant that the U.S. and China must work together and strengthen their understanding of one another.  “Undeniably, energy plays a growing role in this relationship,” John concluded.  “As the world’s largest consumer of energy across a broad range of fuel choices, China is a key player in any discussion of energy security.”

Gannett on Panel 2_Wide ShotLi Bin, Counselor for Economic Affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., reiterated how fundamental this issue is to the current Chinese government: “China is very serious about the shift from relying on investments in pollution-producing energy to something more sustainable.  China must strive for less emphasis on coal as well as using the direct utilization of coal in a more environmentally-friendly manner.”  Li Bin also described how pollution and climate issues have become central to politics at the local level in China:  “The reduction of emissions is now very important for local leaders.  They have signed on to targets with the central government.  If targets are not reached, there will be a conversation between local leaders and central government officials.”  Edited audio for this panel can be found here.

(l to r) Mikkal Herberg, NBR; Li Bin, Embassy, People’s Republic of China; Joanna Lewis, Georgetown University; Craig Gannett, Vice President, Jackson Foundation

Craig Gannett, the Foundation’s Vice President, spoke on a panel focused on U.S.-China Cooperation on Climate Change.  Commenting on the U.S. approach to climate change today, Craig characterized the U.S. as “making clear progress, but it’s messy and non-linear.”  Reflecting on the Obama Administration’s multi-step process toward climate policy, Craig described the Administration’s climate action plan as very broad.  “The centerpiece of the policy is new regulations under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act for existing power plants, which call for a 30% reduction of emissions below 2005 levels by 2030.”  Craig explained that since these rules have both “inside the fence” regulation – at the power plant itself, as well as “outside the fence” – in the economy’s demands for electricity – the EPA’s ability to regulate will be challenging.  “This is outside the ordinary domain of EPA, whose core authority is large sources of emissions.  To have EPA be responsible for a plan that is economy-wide is very ambitious and legally uncertain,” Craig explained.  “There is genuine jeopardy to the ‘outside the fence’ portions of that rule.”  He predicted that the rule, which becomes final next June, with state implementation the following June or later, will eventually come before the U.S. Supreme Court.  “It may survive, it may not.  It probably depends on who the next president is and therefore who replaces a couple of aging Supreme Court justices.”

To hear the entire audio of this very interesting session, please go to NBR’s Event site.

Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director

China’s Energy Crossroads

Earlier this week, the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and the National Bureau of Asian Research launched NBR’s 2014 Energy Security Report at an event entitled “China’s Energy Crossroads:  Forging a New Energy and Environmental Balance.”  The event in Washington, DC, attracted a large, diverse, policy-oriented crowd with a particular interest in Asia-Pacific affairs and China’s growing energy demands.

Admiral Blair and John Hempelmann
Admiral Dennis C.  Blair and John Hempelmann, Foundation President

Admiral Dennis C. Blair, former United States Director of National Intelligence and member of NBR’s Board of Directors, started the day with a note of optimism on a few fronts:  one, the recent joint announcement by the U.S. and Chinese government outlining steps each country will take to reduce carbon emissions and the warming of the global climate.  This “bright spot” in U.S.-China relations, as another speaker referred to it, will provide leadership to other major countries on climate change politics.  He also emphasized that the Chinese middle class, increasingly vocal and unhappy about air and water pollution in China, is being heard by Chinese political elites and is contributing to a sense of urgency about the need to act on China’s environmental challenges.

Gannett on Panel 2_Wide Shot
Panel on China’s Energy Policy and Its Impact on U.S. – China Relations

I was struck at the event by the monumental nature of the challenge that China faces today, and the truth in the title – a crossroads – and its implications not just for China, but for the world.  China no longer has the luxury – to the extent that it had it at all – of focusing primarily on growth without regard to environmental consequences.  It must face the results of its laser-like intensity to grow the economy.  The good news is that China’s political elites are well aware of this now.  The more difficult part is figuring out how to deal effectively with all the myriad problems this poses:  to the healthcare system, to China’s regional partners and global allies and rivals, to domestic political concerns within China, to its military and strategic thinking as it seeks to reinforce its current energy resources and explore new avenues beyond fossil fuels.  China’s energy demands continue to be a driver of both foreign and domestic policies and a spur to innovate.  Its decisions will impact America, other regional powers in Asia, and beyond.

Mikkal E. Herberg and Li Bin
Mikkal E. Herberg, NBR and Li Zhidong, Nagaoka University of Technology

NBR’s 2014 Energy Security Report discusses these interconnected concerns in a series of highly readable, policy-oriented briefs intended to inform policymakers, energy specialists and Asia-watchers.  Free copies of the report are available here.

Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director