Jason Bordoff: Why energy leaders need SIPA


Last week, Jason Bordoff, the founding director Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, co-authored the article, “Why Energy Leaders Need to Read Cicero” for Reuters. In it he discusses why energy leaders need the kind of skills taught at SIPA now more than ever.

Bordoff, who’s also a professor of professional practice in international and public affairs at SIPA, will teach the “INAF U6242 Energy Policy” course this spring. “Energy Policy” is a favorite course of SIPA’s Energy and Environment students. The course provides a survey and analysis of the various dimensions, domestic and international, of policy formulation that, taken together, constitute energy policy. The course reviews natural energy resources, the promotion of fuels and development of new technologies, energy conservation and energy efficiency, and environmental regulation. 

In the article, Bordoff highlights why it’s important for energy students to learn about both geology and geopolitics, among other unlikely topical partnerships.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Successfully navigating these complex issues requires geopolitical and cultural expertise. Today’s oil and gas CEOs must understand history and religion to develop insights into the dispute between Baghdad and Erbil over Iraqi oil revenue, or the potential to bring Eastern Mediterranean gas resources to market. They must understand cultural and local norms to evaluate the future of shale development from Colorado to France to China’s Tarim Basin, or the future of nuclear power in Germany or Japan. They must understand politics to assess the potential impact of climate policies or EU renewable targets.

The same breadth of skills, perspective, and experience will be necessary for leaders in every other aspect of the energy sector as well, from NGOs to finance to academia.

For a major university like ours, that means that training the next generation of energy leaders requires not only geologyengineering or mathematics, but geopolitics, history, and anthropology. These new energy leaders are going to need to combine a vastly broader toolkit to succeed in today’s complex geopolitical and economic environment.

Read the entire article here.