Updated Apr 21, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on the renewed promise of climate solutions

On Wednesday, April 21, Axios managing editor Margaret Talev and energy reporter Ben Geman kicked off Axios' Energy Forward series with a virtual event on the politics and policy surrounding sustainability impact the groundwork for advancements in energy efficiency and new technologies, featuring Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Southern Company chairman, president, and CEO Thomas Fanning and GE Chairman & CEO Larry Culp.

Sen. Manchin discussed bipartisan consensus on energy and environmental policy, and highlighted the need for innovation in technologies that are cleaning up the environment.

  • On investing in new technology and research: "Through innovation, [we should] create new technologies so that fossil [fuels] can be used in the cleanest fashion and in the most prudent way without emitting greenhouse gases. If you really care about the climate, you better make sure that we have the research and technology...that's going to give us the answers."
  • On his view that more than a majority in the Senate should be needed to pass energy or climate legislation: “You have to on the legislation that’s good for our country.”

Larry Culp discussed the private sector's approach to energy challenges like climate change, as well as the U.S.'s evolving approach to a range of energy sources.

  • On supporting decarbonization through policymaking: "I think our hope would be that we'd focus on technology-neutral policies that allow us to move as rapidly as we can toward decarbonization...Longer-term, clear investing in technologies like hydrogen, like carbon capture, advanced nuclear are going to be part of further abating those emissions."
  • On a mixed approach to energy sources: "Gas, in concert with renewables and in addition to the grid technologies...will help us not only in the U.S. but more broadly around the world, reach the climate objectives that we have."

Thomas Fanning unpacked the upcoming infrastructure package and its impact on the energy sector, as well as meeting national climate goals.

  • On renewables in Southern Company's energy approach: "By the time we get to net-zero, you should expect to see about half of our generation being renewables. The lion's share of that is going to be solar...Gas will either be managed with carbon capture technology or we will still emit some carbon, but we will offset that carbon with a net negative carbon strategy."
  • On needing federal support to meet climate goals: "[If] reaching net-zero by 2035 becomes the policy of the administration, we're going to need all the help of the federal government to achieve this worthy goal. I don't think it's something we can just do on our own."

Thank you GE for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper