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Columbia Energy Exchange

America’s Industrial Strategy for the Energy Transition


Brian Deese

Institute Innovation Fellow, MIT


Brian Deese: The core of an industrial strategy , in my view, is using public investment and other tools of policy to try to crowd in private investment and build productive capacity in the economy in those areas where You believe that the private sector on its own is going to under invest in the productive capacity we need for economic or national security needs.
Jason Bordoff: Investment in America’s clean energy sector is rising. According to the Clean Investment Monitor, a joint project of the Rhodium Group and MIT, the sector received 213 billion in new investment over the past year. a 37 percent increase over the previous year. But with this new investment comes new challenges, such as implementing the Inflation Reduction Act, translating money into infrastructure, sustaining support for the energy transition, and fending off economic competition from abroad.
How is the surge of clean energy investment changing the American economy? What sectors and regions are benefiting the most? And what is still needed to get the United States on track to meet its climate goals
This is Columbia Energy Exchange, a weekly podcast from the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University.
I’m Jason Bordoff.
Today on the show, Brian Deese. Brian was director of the White House’s National Economic Council from 2021 to 2023. Prior to that, he served in the Office of Management and Budget and as a senior advisor to President Barack Obama, as well as Global Head of Sustainable Investing for BlackRock.
Since leaving government, Brian’s taken up a post as Institute Innovation Fellow at MIT, where he’s played a key role in developing the Clean Investment Monitor, which released its first summary report last week. Brian joined me to talk about the findings of this report and the growth of clean energy investment in the American economy.
We also discussed IRA implementation, green industrial strategy, and national security. I hope you enjoy our conversation.
Jason: Brian Deese, welcome to Columbia Energy Exchange. Really great to have you with us. Thanks for making time.
Brian Deese: I am happy to be here.
Jason: Uh, first tell our listeners what’s going on. I have images of you sipping craft beer and eating lobster and sitting in a lighthouse as you’ve escaped from Washington, D. C. to Maine. So what’s, uh, what are you up to in Maine now that you’ve left the White House?
Brian Deese: That’s a very, um, uh, sort of stereotypical view of Maine. You know, there’s, there’s a, there’s a big, great big state up here. So no, um, I live in
Jason: a wonderful view.
Brian Deese: It’s a wonderful view. Um, uh, I live in Portland, Maine, uh, with my, uh, with my family now. And, uh, uh, we’ve actually, uh, lived here for some time. I commuted, uh, for, um, the Better Heart Path of last year when I was working in the White House.
Um, and, um, I am, uh, up to a bunch of stuff, including I am… Uh, I have an appointment now at MIT, uh, as an innovation fellow working on, um, economic policy, industrial strategies, clean energy, and a whole range of things that I assume we will get into forthwith.
Jason: So one of those is this clean investment, clean energy investment monitor that just came out, uh, one of the things you’re doing in your new role as an innovation fellow at MIT. So, um, for those who may not have seen it, tell, uh, just tell us what it is and what was important about the findings in the data that you put out.
Brian Deese: Yeah, look, I think as the clean energy sector grows… We’re going to need more and better tools to actually assess in closer to real time what’s happening, track trends, which is true both for just our basic understanding and also for making better policy. And one thing that I recognized was that we were really lacking the ability to track Actual investment.
So the way that we think about investment from, you know, a GDP perspective of actual fixed in business investment and durable goods purchases by consumers for the clean energy sector, our government statistical agencies don’t really capture that in a timely way on while there has been a proliferation of aggregations of announcements.
We’ve seen a ton of company announcements and press releases. Um, yeah. To really understand what’s happening in the economy, what you want to do is you want to be able to go beyond the press release and look at the actual investment. So that’s the problem we have tried to solve here and create a database.
It’s completely open source. Anyone can access it www. cleaninvestmentmonitor. org and we hope it will be a resource for folks.
Jason: So what did, uh, tell us what it found or what was surprising to you? What, how big is the difference between. Uh, announcements and investments. Is that to be expected? Or does it tell us something about the effect of the Inflation Reduction Act about the pace of the clean energy transition, positive or otherwise?
Brian Deese: Yeah, a couple of things that were really striking. The first is just the overall magnitude of, uh, clean investment in the economy. So in the last year, and this is measuring from the third quarter of 2022 to the end of the second quarter of 23. So the, this summer basically, um, in total $213 billion in clean energy investment.
Um, that is up 37 percent from the previous year. So growing at a healthy clip. And if you look backward, it’s up 165 percent from the annual total 5 years ago. Um, so we’re seeing significant growth and getting to significant scale. That’s about… Um, four percent, uh, of, uh, of total investment. It’s larger than the GDP of 18 states.
The clean energy sector is large and growing. That’s less surprising, um, certainly, uh, to you and, uh, listeners of this podcast, uh, but striking, uh, nonetheless. Underneath that, the most significant and rapid growth is in manufacturing and clean energy manufacturing. And when you look at the… If you look at the chart or the graphic of actual investment in clean, uh, manufacturing, you’re seeing really rapid growth.
So, uh, whereas overall investment grew 37 percent year over year, manufacturing investment growth grew 125%. Um, most of that is being driven by the, um, the electric vehicle industry. Batteries, battery manufacturing and, uh, electric vehicle assembly. Um, as well as on the retail side, um, where retail investment, uh, grew 32%, a lot of that is electric vehicles, but it’s also heat pumps.
It’s also distributed energy, um, on the retail side, principally rooftop solar. Um, so that’s, uh, that, that, that, that was interesting, uh, as well. I think a third thing that I found quite interesting was the sort of economic geography of seeing. where these investments are actually taking place and you see there’s been a lot of talk about the battery belt running through from sort of Michigan down to the southeast, but we’re starting to see a you know, an hydrogen CCS belt, uh, operating across the Gulf Coast, uh, we’re starting to see an emerging western, uh, belt, uh, through Arizona, um, Nevada, where you see, uh, battery and solar investments.
So you can start to see and chart these investments, um, uh, on the, on, on, on a map as well. Um, another big clear indicator is that, um, wind investment is falling. Uh, wind investment has fallen by almost half over the course of the last eight quarters. You’ve seen that anecdotally in some announcements and announced projects, uh, uh, that have been, that have been delayed or discontinued, but you really see it starkly in the data itself.
Um, and to your question about announced versus actual, you know, um, One of the things that this database now allows us to do is to more accurately also predict and look forward about what we think investment will be based on where we are tracking announcements. Um, but I think this is important for people who want to think critically about what’s going on because, you know, on the one hand, you can see in the database that a company like Qcells, which has gotten a lot of attention in Georgia, um, that, um, uh, that, that, It does solar supply chain manufacturing announced earlier this year that they were going to do to two and a half billion dollars of investment that investment is moving forward, but only about 15 percent of that investment has actually happened so far.
That’s to be expected, but the real question that we need to monitor across time is over what time frame does that two and a half billion dollar investment actually take place on the flip side, you look at some of these wind investments where if you were just monitoring announcements. You would see, you know, announcements of projects that were announced in 2020 or early 2021, um, and that have actually, you know, are showing up as zeros in our database, because, um, they’ve just been pushed, uh, to the right.
So I think it’s the kind of granularity that you want to be able to, um, understand and assess not only where companies are signaling their intention to build, But, you know, this big question that many of us have been, uh, have been thinking about and that, um, that your, um, has been a frequent topic on this, uh, podcast is how, how, how hard is it going to be to build while some of this is, you know, you can see in the actual distinction between announcements and, and tangible investment on the ground.
Jason: Did that report, uh, the monitor tell you anything about causality? Of policy intervention. So those are big numbers. 37 percent increase in clean energy investment. It wasn’t that big in the year prior, especially with the pandemic. But if you go to the year before the pandemic, actually similar numbers for year on year growth.
So in terms of where we’re headed and the effect of the policies you had a central hand in putting to work, like the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Act. Um, what do you attribute that growth to, and what does that tell us about where we may be headed from here?
Brian Deese: Well, I think the first goal of the database was to actually establish a baseline of data and information. the goal literally was to try to provide the equivalent of, um, of the, the investment data that goes into GDP, uh, but to do so for a particular sector in a more real time way as a tool to start to ask and answer these kinds of questions about attribution and causality and the like.
So the actual database itself was not designed on its own to answer those questions. And frankly, you know, to just give a plug to all of those curious researchers and others out there. Our hope is actually this becomes a tool that others try to critically answer questions like that off of. Now, that said, there are some things that you can clearly see, um, you know, attribution in terms of just big upticks, uh, you know, that are, at least you can see correlation in time.
So, the uptick in battery manufacturing investment that starts, you know, right around the end of 2021, beginning of 2022, and then just really rockets upward, um, is pretty aligned with the incentives passed first in the infrastructure bill and then with the in the Inflation Reduction Act. Um, the explosion, if you look in announced investments in hydrogen and carbon capture, you’ve seen in the last three quarters, the announcements have started to tick up.
Very significantly, and we’re going to keep a very close eye on how that announced investment turns into actual investment. That again, correlates pretty clearly with policies, uh, in the, uh, in the Inflation Reduction Act. But, you know, I think that the question that you’re asking is one that I’m excited to, um, have, uh, have people spend more time on because, uh, because part of the reason to have a tool like this is to be more critical and more analytical about really understanding and unpacking specific incentives in specific sectors and specific geographies and trying to understand those relationships better.
Last thing I’ll say is, this is version 1. 0 that we put out this year. We will, by the end of the year, be putting out an updated version. One of the things that we are going to include in that context is actual tax credit and subsidy estimation. So, the version that is out there today is capturing private investment, but because of the way that we’re aggregating the data, we will be able to estimate Um, tax subsidies, grants, and other subsidies that these projects are availing themselves of.
That’ll give us more visibility into this question that has been a topic of hot debate about, you know, just how much, um, will the public, uh, cost, uh, be here? Which, frankly, we have a lot of projections, but we don’t have a lot of good, you know, concrete data on. So that’s a TBD, but we should have at least a, a reasonable first cut estimate of that by the end of the year.
Jason: Do you have a sense of which way things are trending toward the kind of official, just under 400 billion dollar estimate, or the Goldman Sachs and other more than a trillion dollar estimates? And if it turns out to be much more than CBO said, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Brian Deese: So I’ll do the positive first and the normative second. So, uh, you know, from what we see in this data, uh, I think that, I think we are tracking at something closer to 2x, um, the initial, um, estimated cost, uh, so closer to, You know, 700 to 900 billion and not 3x or more that, you know, others have had projected.
I think, you know, I want to have some caution on that because I’m very eager to actually try to just get more concrete data to answer that question rather than more speculation. But but I think if anything, I think the risks are to the downside rather than the upside on that because of the timing of how this investment is actually going to.
How announced, announced projects are going to turn into, um, investment, uh, across time. Uh, to the normative question, look, I think that the, this goes to the structure of the, of the IRA in particular, but also the, the infrastructure bill to some degree, which is, For good or for bad, and I think for good, but there’s a reasonable debate around this, the basic goal was tax incentives and other subsidies designed to crowd in private capital and get private capital to invest in these technologies at scale.
And so the only way that you end up with greater public cost is if you have induced more private investment into areas where we have identified a policy need, uh, for economics or national security or both. And so I think we want more private investment in areas like hydrogen and carbon capture and geothermal and energy storage and wind and solar and the like.
And so if that was the policy goal and the policy design. So I think as long as the reason why the. tax estimates or the cost is going up is because it’s spurring private investment in that way, then I think that it’s a good thing. Obviously, you want to be careful that, you know, that, that, that. If, if the incentives are being misused or mis, misappropriated, then that would be a real problem.
But that’s what the implementation is intended to do and the guidance that Treasury and other agencies are putting out to try to provide clarity on that front. And then that clarity, that certainty over the long term, that is the engine here that is intended to drive private capital at scale.
Jason: Is that big growth in clean energy investment, 213 billion? Is that a, is that about composition of investment, like a shift in investment toward green? Or is this an increase in overall investment, particularly manufacturing investment?
Brian Deese: It’s a great question. To date, the evidence suggests that it is an increase. Um, in the sense that if you look at the, um, if you, if you look at investment X green, it’s been basically, you know, at trend in some cases above trend, and then you see an uptick in this, uh, context. If you look, this is, this is cutting the data differently because, you know, we didn’t build an entire BEA and rebuild the entire, uh, the entire GDP investment tables in this context.
But if you look at, you know, manufacturing construction investment, uh, generically. What you see is a big uptick, like a doubling in real manufacturing construction investment since the end of 2021, and basically at trend investment elsewhere. So, that would suggest that, to date, it is, um, uh, additive and not, not a compositional shift.
I think that, certainly, like, both theory and practice would suggest some of what we’re going to end up with is a compositional shift. Um, which I don’t think is a, is, is necessarily a problem. Um, but obviously, if what we’re getting is some, some combination of a compositional shift and increased investment overall, that would be, that would be the best case.
To date, the data appears to suggest that that’s the case, but it’s something that we should all keep a close eye on. And again, having this kind of data, this database doesn’t answer that question. Um. But, uh, but this database gives us now a tool to answer that question when combining with other data as well.
Jason: And can you come back to the point about wind, which you know, is going in the other direction? Is that something you think you would be advising back in your old job, policy intervention to reverse? Is that a function of supply chains, increased interest rates, cost of capital? But seems to be affecting when more than other other parts of the clean energy sector, although is a challenge for lots of parts of the energy transition right now,
Brian Deese: I think what’s going on, you know, obviously individual projects are, are unique, but I think what’s going on overall is that wind is particularly challenged by the combination of the increased interest rate environment because of the big, uh, upfront capital investment needed. And the bottlenecks that we’re seeing in interconnects, uh, and those two are particularly unforgiving to wind, uh, because of the nature of the asset and, um, the, the size of the capital investment required.
You know, I, I, I’m, I’m, hesitant to think that, um, that the situation requires sort of new or novel policy intervention. I think it is going to require a clearer and clearer eyed look at what’s the cost of capital needed, um, and, and what is the kind of combined subsidy rate that you need in state, local, uh, federal incentives to, uh, maintain the build across time.
Uh, but, you know, I think that the, the, these, These investments in these technologies are going to need to figure out how to build through cycles. Uh, and so, you know, I, I, I certainly want to see those projects stay on track wherever they can. Uh, but I don’t. Um, I think we should be pretty hesitant about some sort of new or, you know, um, overarching, like try to go in and do something very specific for wind right now, uh, maybe at the project by project level.
There’s ways that, um, the federal government can work with states, try to, you know, de bottle deck supply chains or give them some, um, uh, get some incremental support.
Jason: you’re you’re a pretty astute political observer as well as economic policy wonk. So when you look at which part what the geographic distribution is, which parts of the country are benefiting from what’s in that clean investment monitor. What does that tell you about the political durability of policies like the Inflation Reduction Act?
There is concern in the climate community about how changes in them. Political control in Washington might affect these policies in the long run.
Brian Deese: Well, it’s funny because I’m going to start to answer your political question from an economic perspective and not because I’m trying to ignore the political piece, but in part because, you know, this conversation almost always goes immediately to the political. You put up a map and it says, you know, most of the investment is going to red states.
And then people immediately jump to, well, does that mean that this will make people more politically durable? Or does that mean that this was, like, stupid for Joe Biden to do because he’s, you know, supporting, uh, uh, uh, Republican, uh, you know, or, uh, districts that vote Republican? And I actually think that before you even get to that, there’s a question, I think a pretty significant question about, is this set of, suite of policies to include the semiconductor investments and the infrastructure bill changing the economic geography of the country?
Um, and I think that the, I’m more optimistic than I have been on any, you know, major policy push in my lifetime that the answer can be yes. And that matters beyond the political cycle or beyond the political implications because 83 percent of this investment over the last two years, for example, has gone to counties with below median income.
Um, about 80 percent of it has gone to counties with below college graduation rates. And that is, um, that’s a different economic proposition than just the way that private fixed investment naturally flows in our economy and naturally flows to areas that have more uh, wealth, um, and more productive capacity already.
Being able to invest in places that have potential but lower productive capacity today is better for It’s good for labor supply, meaning those are, those are places where currently labor, labor force participation is depressed, but you can bring that up more quickly in those places. Um, it’s good for inflation in the sense that those areas are lower cost areas to build in our country where there’s less constraints from high housing costs and high land costs and the like.
Um, and it also is a. An economic strategy explicit that explicitly could get at this sense that many of those communities, whether they vote Democrat or Republican, are communities that have felt left behind in prior economic expansions, um, and have the potential to see new economic opportunity. Now, as you say, I’m not immune to the political implications.
And of course, the political implications are, on the one hand, that the investment is going more to red and purple districts than blue districts. And so that should. Uh, be, make it more politically durable, but that’s not self executing. And, and so, but, but I’m, but I think there’s a bigger thing here, right?
I think there’s a bigger thing about changing economic geography that we should all be thinking closely about before we get to the politics of it. Even though we, of course, will get to the politics of it.
Jason: I’m just curious, I want to, what that tells you about, um, the challenge of dislocated communities, coal workers, the most obvious example, but in a clean energy transition of the scale and speed we’re talking about, there are winners and losers, there are communities that may suffer. Economic dislocations going back decades with free trade.
The overall, everyone’s better off. You just need to make sure the winners compensate the losers. We have a pretty poor track record of making sure that that part happens. Uh, hence maybe some of the backlash we’re seeing To the broad support for some of the assumptions about a more open integrated economy that prevailed a decade or two ago, how do you think about what, what, what you tried to do as an official in the Biden administration and what else needs to be done?
to think about the issues of which communities may, may, may be challenged in this transition and how to make sure there’s sort of an equitable distribution of the new economic opportunities created.
Brian Deese: Well, I think, first of all, this data, while preliminary, it’s very positive in the sense that it suggests that the… Winners from the surge of the surge of investment that we’re seeing are actually disproportionately lower income communities and communities that might have potentially again, you know, been, um, Um, had sort of disproportionate negative economic spirals in prior downturns as well.
So that’s different. That’s new. That’s, and if that continues and sustains, that’s a different sort of baseline than the baseline that you laid out of sort of saying if you’re, if your dominant economic strategy is a one of trade liberalization where you sort of accept as the premise. that the benefits won’t be shared and then you need an effort to redistribute.
I think there has been a prior assumption that the clean energy transition would operate that way as well. I think in practice what we’re seeing is that this policy agenda to go at the clean energy transition may well turn that on its head. Um, and that’s the most powerful way to get at this because, to your point, we don’t have the best track record of, of compensating people on the back end.
So if this is an effort to try to actually drive investment on the front end, that, you know, to me, that helps to, sort of, change the conversation. Now that said, we also need to have a dedicated federal policy focus on energy communities. Uh, and take seriously the real work that needs to be done in those places to generate real economic opportunity and not just the prospect of that happening, you know, in far away places.
One of the most rewarding things that I did in my two years as NEC Director was partner with our National Climate Advisor and our Secretary of Energy to Basically, you know, to do just that, we had this thing with the, it was the worst acronym in the world, the Interagency Working Group on Fossil and Coal and Power Plant Communities.
Um, but it was one of the worst acronyms and one of the best interagency government processes I’ve ever been involved in. Um, And the, we housed that work, uh, at the National Lab that’s in West Virginia. We had a team, um, that works on this, uh, including the, the, the person who runs that National Lab, a guy named Brian Anderson.
who woke up every morning thinking really carefully about where these communities are, what their assets, what the assets they have are, what the challenges they have are. You know, a lot of that work gets really granular really quickly. When you’re the National Economic Council Director, you often spend time working on very big macro things.
This work was work that really grounded you in very specific communities and community circumstances. Success in that context almost never came from operating with big concepts. It came with operating very concretely and tactically, um, on the ground. But if you have a set of federal policies that are actually providing a powerful tailwind to help those communities, then it’s just a very different circumstance than if you, you know, are you’re operating in a place where it’s all headwind.
Jason: I want to ask you about a couple of the challenges to scaling clean energy investment as quickly as we need to or implementing the Inflation Reduction Act and other policies. One of those maybe stems from what you were saying, which is that the biggest area of growth that you found in the monitor was in factories, particularly electrifying transport, like all the you know, Battery manufacturing we need we’re talking this podcast will come out in a couple of days We’re talking on a day when the autoworkers have gone on strike uh, and one of the elements of the concern was about whether some of the components of evs will be made with unionized labor You talk about how you see this playing out.
Uh, what’s happening literally today with uh, with with with the autoworkers um what you’re Projection is for what’s likely to happen with that issue and how it will be resolved and and what impact it might have, if any, on how we think about the electric vehicle sector in the country.
Brian Deese: It’s a historic day, um, something unique is happening today because the UAW is striking and for the first time they are striking all three of the, uh, the major, uh, U. S. automakers, uh, Ford, GM, and Stellantis. Stellantis is the artist formerly known as Chrysler. I still have a hard time referring to them as Stellantis, but, uh, I will do it in this context.
Uh, and so, uh, So, two things that are really unique. One is they’re striking all three. And the second is that they are employing a tactic that they’re referring to as a stand up strike, where they are sort of surgically identifying particular plants or particular areas that they will strike that they, and they intend to change that across time.
So, for example, as of today, as we’re recording this podcast, though it could change, I think about 13, 000 of UAW workers are actually on strike by design, right? And, and this is, so this is, this is new. I think that’s the first point. This is new and the UAW’s approach is new. They are, it’s a more. committed effort to try to use the power that they have, they rightly have, um, uh, as part of their collective bargaining to strike, but use it in a new way against all the companies and with this more sort of dynamic sense of, we don’t, as a result, we don’t know where this is going to go.
And that’s a bit by design. In fact, the UAW said last night, you know, like this strategy will keep everybody guessing. And so that’s, um, that is, uh, that is new. Yeah. So, I think the, in the near term, that means that the economic impact is likely to be more muted. But in the medium term, it creates a much wider uncertainty band of where this could go.
You know, I think the, obviously the electric vehicle issue is operating in the background, but I also don’t want to, I think we should, we would make a mistake if we missed the foreground. Which is… The UAW, if you chart UAW wages and benefits over the course of the last 15 years or 30 years, it’s basically a flat line in real terms.
That the, that the wage and benefit, you know, compensation package for UAW workers has just not grown in a way that the companies have grown, the companies, um, uh, profitability has grown, and, and we have a macroeconomic environment where. We have a very strong labor market. Workers have more leverage, and so they intend to use that.
And we’ve seen this in other context. We saw it with the teamsters earlier this summer. I lived it very directly in a number of cases when I was at the White House. I think most notably last fall, uh, in the context of the rail, uh, workers where it was about almost exactly this time last year where we were working and reached a tentative agreement with the rail workers, which we then ultimately had to work to get passed through Congress because, um, all of the unions did not end up ratifying it.
Um, but we have a period where workers are pushing harder. And so in UAW is aligned with that trend. And the core is about trying to Use the tools they have to get better compensation for their workers. So they’re looking for a 36 percent wage increase. That is very ambitious, but they’re, they’re, they’re pushing for a wage increase as they can.
They’re looking for changes to their defined benefit or to their pension plans to give them something that looks more like a defined benefit plan. In addition to that, you have layered onto that the complexity of the electric vehicle transition and the different strategies that the companies are taking to try to Integrate battery technology and then integrate the manufacturing of that battery technology, uh, across time.
And so, um, you know, what does this do? I look, I think, I think it, it underscores that, um, the companies that want to position themselves for success in the EV transition really have to figure out how they are going to effectively operate with the workforce that they need. Um, and, uh, I think that that’s hard.
It’s particularly hard for companies that are behind, right? I think it’s no, it’s no, it’s no secret that both Ford and GM are behind Tesla. They’re behind other OEMs in terms of the, um, their sophistication in, you know, um, in driving electric vehicle technology. But they are running really fast right now to do it.
And so, um, this is a, you know, this is a, this is on the one hand a competitive global market, but it’s also a very competitive labor market. And so, they’re gonna have to get to the table. I, I, what I expect is that this will be a hard negotiation, that this will take some time, but that, you know, um, the companies can go farther than the offers they’ve put on the table.
Probably not to where the UAW has put out its high ambition markers, but that’s the process, right? That’s the process of, uh, and I hope, I really hope that they can get there sooner rather than later. Um, so that we avoid the kind of, the potential more significant economic impacts that could come if this thing gets really ratcheted up.
Jason: You said a minute ago, it’s, you know, a feature, not a bug. If if if this total package, the Inflation Reduction Act. Spends more. ’cause the goal is to get more capital catalyze, more private capital and clean energy. There are other goals too, like domestic manufacturing, domestic economic activity, or maybe with friends and allies in certain cases, which are requirements for all the tax incentives.
Um, industrial policy is sort of back in vogue. I think you’ll, you, you might call it industrial strategy when you can explain the difference. But, but so, so explain. Just for everyone listening. What industrial strategy means to you? Uh, and if, um, when I asked you, I was going to talk about maybe what some of the challenges to implementation are, uh, the idea that given the speed and scale we need for the clean energy transition, is it a good thing to have our batteries and our solar panels as cheap as they can possibly be?
And we need global trade to get us there. Or if you require things to be made, um, at home or maybe in some other countries, uh, closer to us. Um, It might be more expensive. Maybe that, maybe that slows down the transition. Just explain industrial strategy and then let’s talk about some of the challenges, particularly the trade backlash that we’ve seen from some countries.
Brian Deese: Yeah, absolutely. Let’s take those in turn. So, um, so I start with start with defining industrial strategy. I think the, the, the core of an industrial strategy from, in my view, is using public investment and other tools of policy to try to crowd in private investment and build productive capacity in the economy in those areas where You believe that the private sector on its own is going to under invest in the productive capacity we need for economic or national security needs.
And so, why is
that different from industrial policy? I think it’s an important distinction for two reasons. One is, most of what the policy tools that you use in an industrial strategy In my view, are actually more traditional tools of public investment.
So, for example, if you look across the infrastructure bill, the semiconductor bill, and the Inflation Reduction Act, in total, it’s about 1. 5 trillion dollars in investment across 10 years. That’s me benchmarking that the IRA will be roughly double its original cost, right? About 1. 5 trillion dollars over 10 years, that’s about a half to three quarters of a percent of GDP. Most of that, 90 percent of that is in tax incentives and, um, grants and other, and other, uh, tools that are not particularly remarkable in the sense that we’re investing in, uh, building roads and bridges and airports and ports. We’re also building out broadband infrastructure around the country. Um, we are.
Building transmission lines. We are, uh, we’re, we’re building out capacity where we believe the private sector is going to underinvest on its own. A small segment is what often gets defined as industrial policy, which is the government selecting individual companies, providing them subsidy, and then, uh, in an effort to try to build those companies capacity. There are areas where we are absolutely doing that, semiconductors is the most prominent of them. But the traditional risks that you identify when you talk about industrial policy, attach much more to those than they do to the others. The other reason I think that this is an important distinction is When people, there has been this sort of negative shadow cast over the words industrial policy that make it seem like something that is, um, odd or unique or out of line with the sort of way the traditional American market economy operates.
And that is part of the other reason why I think it’s important we talk about industrial strategy is to recognize that it is Much more the norm in the history of the United States and other countries as well to have an explicit industrial strategy That was true at our founding. It was it’s sort of Hamiltonian economics.
It’s Lincolnonian or Lincolnian? I don’t know how do you say that. Um, uh, you know, go read Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. It was behind the building of the Intercontinental Railroads and the land grant college system. It was what was behind President Eisenhower’s dual focus on building the interstate system and investing in the R& D that It ultimately became the space race, um, and ultimately delivered all sorts of economic benefits to our country.
And so in fact, it’s only in the last couple of, you know, two generations that we’ve moved to this place that somehow industrial policy is, is, is a bad thing. So I actually think it’s an important distinction. And now people say to me, well, I don’t like industrial strategy because I want to act because I actually support all of the other stuff.
I just don’t, I just don’t like the stuff that I want to call industrial policy and I don’t want you to lump all of that together. Um, so some of this is, so I guess in that sense there’s an element to this that is a semantic debate. But I think it’s actually quite important because for the first time in years, if not generations, you look across these three Uh, laws, and we do have now an American economic growth strategy focused on long term public investment to try to drive more productive capacity in infrastructure, innovation, and clean energy.
We have that today, right? Some components of it look like what people call industrial policy. Some components of it look like what people call public investment in R& D. But it is a comprehensive, coherent strategy. We can call it a lot of things. I, I find calling an industrial strategy instructive, most importantly, is whether it’s actually going to achieve its intended benefits.
Jason: You answered part of the question I rudely interrupted to start to ask when you gave the high level definition because as I was listening to the high level definition and you mentioned Hamiltonian economics and, you know, one of my early jobs in policy was working with some of Our friends at a research institution named for Alexander Hamilton, with folks that might be classified as neoliberal economic thinking, like Larry Summers and Bob Rubin, and I don’t think anyone would have disagreed with what you said, which is that the free market is the best organizing principle for an economy, but there are market failures.
And one of those is, is pollution, and the government needs to step in and price pollution. There are public goods like infrastructure and education, and government needs to provide those. So I can’t tell if it’s a semantic difference. Is there really something different in Bidenomics, uh, versus what we would have thought in the past about how to identify market failures and what the right policy response should be?
Brian Deese: I, I think there is something different. I think it’s more a difference in degree than a, than a sort of fundamental shift. But the difference in degree becomes a fundamental shift. Hamiltonian view. of what you’re referring to as market failures. It was a much more ambitious effort. You know, his report on the subject of manufacturers, I would go and recommend it as reading, right? People think about Hamiltonian for the bank and, and the, the amazing musical now, uh, right? But in the report on the subject of manufacturers, he laid out a view that you actually have to use investment and public tools to build industrial capacity in the United States.
Literally, in his terms. And then he went on to use a very, very ambitious set of, you know, of tariffs to do so. Uh, you know, the Hamiltonian and Lincoln economic strategy was really, was a lot driven by Um, that were designed to build industrial capacity in a, in a, in a small and growing nation. Now, we obviously find ourselves in different circumstances, but a lot.
So if you look at what we’re trying to accomplish in infrastructure. in innovation and in clean energy. Can you justify or explain most of the public interventions in terms of market failures? In most cases, yes, right? In the context of semiconductors, you get into complicated national security dynamics that I think, you know, there’s some limits.
But in the aggregate, what it represents is a less, is a more ambitious. And less apologetic view of saying we are way short a public investment strategy for the country. We have gone years, if not decades, Deferring maintenance on investing in core drivers of economic growth. The fact that we need to now do a national program to build broadband in every part of this country and build out transmission lines and rebuild airports and airports and rebuild energy capacity um, is a function of the fact that for a couple of decades, we have serially underinvested.
Now, I think some of the debate is, is the reason why we serially invested because we had a You know, an economic philosophy that was too inclined to defer to the pri, to the, to the market and not intervene, you know, more in a more hands-on way. You know, that I think that that can get us into, I, in my view, unproductive semantic debates or ideological debates.
The, the facts are that, that, what is different, I think is the ambition of the public investment agenda, which you have to go back to the 1960s to find. the level of ambition to try to be doing multiple things at the same time. And the willingness to, you know, explain that this does fit into, um, a kind of an overarching industrial strategy.
Yes, driven a lot by identification of areas where the private market on its own is not going to achieve those objectives. Um, but also with a real willingness to say what’s missing is public investment.
Jason: I think the quote I remember from the report on manufacturers, manufacturers was an embrace of markets can be
beneficially stimulated by prudent aids and encouragements on the part of government. I think that’s what you’re talking about.
Brian Deese: I’ll give you my favorite, my favorite quote, which again, it’s, you know, the sort of deal that the language of the day, we need to figure out, we need Lin Manuel Miranda to actually like make, make this more interesting than you and I would say. But there’s a quote that says the public purse must supply the deficiency of private resource.
And what can it be so useful as in promoting and improving the efforts of industry? Now that is a provocative statement.
Jason: That was impressive
Brian Deese: a, but that’s a,
Jason: have that committed to
Brian Deese: that’s a provocative statement. Um, when, when a raid against, um, some of the more, um, market oriented views, right? And what could it be so useful as promoting the efforts of industry, right?
That is something that makes people who are concerned about economic, uh, about industrial policy anxious. And so, it’s not to suggest that Hamilton was right then and they’re, you know, wrong today, or they’re wrong today because Hamilton was right then. But that was… You know, that was a big part of Hamiltonian economics.
Jason: So let me ask about a couple of the assumptions in that frame of industrial strategy. And you mentioned in your summary of it up front national security concerns. We heard your former colleague. Uh, Jake Sullivan talk about this in an important speech a few months ago at Brookings, and you gave the example of advanced semiconductors.
And I think people would probably broadly recognize why, uh, dominant production of these very sensitive. Inputs to electronics in, in, in one country, particularly one the U. S. is in a significant amount of competition and rivalry with, like China, could be a problem, uh, or if most of them are made by one company in Taiwan.
When you think about inputs to a clean energy economy, like solar panels or batteries, why is it a national security concern if most of those are imported and come from another country?
Brian Deese: Well, you’re starting from the premise that it is. But, um, I think that…
Jason: Well, I guess my question is, well, is it? And then is that the rationale for saying we need to onshore a lot of this activity? If it’s not a concern, what is the rationale for saying it’s a problem if most of the If China is going to make solar panels and batteries, and the result of that is that they’re going to be a lot cheaper than they would otherwise be, you can push back on that if you don’t believe that to be true, is that a good thing or a bad thing for the clean energy transition?
And what would be the reason for them saying, we want a lot of that manufacturing to take place here in the U. S. or maybe elsewhere?
Brian Deese: Yeah, so I think there’s three rationales for incentives that encourage investment in the United States. The first is a more basic rationale, which is if you’re going to use explicit taxpayer dollars, it should subsidize activity in the United States. And that’s, that is… That is controversial, but has been a part of American policy for centuries.
Um, so, you know, it’s been true for a hundred years that when we make infrastructure investments in the United States, we buy American. That’s not a Joe Biden thing. It’s, it’s, Joe Biden is, is quite, um, uh, supportive of that. Um, but, but that’s based on a more practical rationale, which is use of taxpayer dollars should benefit the American economy.
There’s a second argument around The, uh, diversification of supply chains, uh, and input components that are important to systems in the United States, uh, which is less of a national security concern and more of an economic security concern, which, you know, born out of the pandemic and other shocks, we see that if we don’t have, if our supply chains are too, um, indexed on particular suppliers or particular, um, Um, components, then, uh, we can have real, um, shocks to a system that seems incredibly efficient and operating just in time until it doesn’t, and then you have a shock, and then you, that you, the cost of having resilient supply, of, of, of failing to have resilient supply chains is born during moments of crisis, um, and that’s the example, the stylized example of, you know, if, If they, if, if Switzerland was the, you know, dominant producer of, uh, semiconductors or of polysilicon, right?
Um, you would, you might, if you, if you cared about resilience, uh, supply chain resilience, you would care even if though it was Switzerland, even though there was no national security overlay, right? And then there was the third issue, which is the national security overlay, which is if it’s not Switzerland and it’s Taiwan, then, you know, then you have the, the, the, overarching national security concerns as well.
I lay that out because I think that There are arguments for and against, um, any of those. The, you know, if it’s our taxpayer money, it should go to the U. S., we should have more resilience in our supply chains, and we should, you know, deal with acute national security concerns. But I also think that people use different of those arguments when they’re talking about different things, so it’s worth trying to, uh, tease it out.
You know, in my, from my perspective, I think that most of, most of what we’re talking about in the clean energy supply chain, the policy rationale in my mind operates principally in the second category, which is we do, I think it is important that we build sufficient resilience, particularly in growing supply chains, right?
So, you know, um, solar is the most difficult because we’ve built a lot, you know, we, we have. We have seen over the course of the last 20 years that China made an explicit decision to dominate this industry. They used massive tools of subsidy and other government intervention, and they succeeded in doing so.
If you think about hydrogen, if you think about electric vehicle charging, manufacturing, if you think about these more nascent industries, I think that having policies that are very intentional about building out how do we end up with a more resilient supply chain and don’t just end up… Um, with such a concentrated supply chain is worthwhile because I do think that those the costs of just in time supply chains, we do end up bearing and we should be able to take that into account.
I think we should be very careful and take great care to not use the third category of national security policy concern. We should, we should be very sparing in our use because National security concerns are not, do not, you know, propagate everywhere. I think there are some national security concerns with respect to some critical minerals.
Uh, and so, uh, I think that those are justified. And on the first, you know, that’s a more, that’s, that’s a more generic and historic, uh, public policy debate, right? Um, when you use public,
Jason: meaning it should be for U. S. economic activity, it should be for U. S. jobs, when you say the first,
Brian Deese: Right, that if you’re, if you’re using public taxpayer money, then, uh, then it should be encouraging. You know, economic activity in the United States and you know, and that’s a that’s a that’s a that’s a policy debate We’ve had it predated the IRA. It will live on beyond the IRA and I think you know You can you can debate that in different contexts to me in clean energy.
The second category is the most interesting.
Jason: I’ll just echo, I mean, reinforce your point, maybe with one thing you didn’t say, which is, um, one of the tools that I think, It’s fair to say trying to use to try to drive the cost down there may have been other values. We have like not using forced labor in your supply chain. Um, but but is the takeaway from what you just said?
Um, this is we should accept. This is all might be cost inflationary for the clean energy transition. Costs will be higher. It might be harder. It might take longer. But the benefits of resilience or not using forced labor or something else, those are prices worth paying.
Brian Deese: I Think that’s kind of a I don’t think that’s a particularly helpful frame. I, I, I would put it differently over the course of 20 years as we massively accelerated ramp this transition, how do we have low cost and secure, reliable supply of the components that we’re going to need to massively scale, And so if you were confident that building in some elements of resilience today would actually improve the, You know, 20 year time horizon cost when we go through cycles where, you know, having, uh, um, uh, having vulnerable supply chains are actually going to become more costly. Then you would view that as actually the lowest cost way to operate over.
Over cycle. So that’s, so that’s why, you know, saying, well, look, any, you know, the, the cheapest thing to do would be to just let China run its playbook of using, as you say, using slave labor, dominating, uh, with subsidies, using non-market practices. We should just let them do that because that will actually be the cheapest.
And anything we do to intervene on that front is inflationary. But maybe it’s worth it. I, I think a better frame is to say we want to have low cost access to the components we need to drive massive ramp up of clean energy capacity. But we want that low cost access to be reliable and secure across time and through different geopolitical regimes and just different geopolitical risks.
And so it is. It’s actually quite sensible to be thinking forward to what those geopolitical concerns and risks are, what those supply chain concerns and risks are, and crafting policy with those front of mind. That’s not a reason to, you know, to do things that, to use that as a pretext, uh, to try to achieve, you know, completely unrelated policy goals, but I think that that’s a quite legitimate enterprise that is not just about higher cost today, but, you know, we’re achieving some unrelated policy goals.
Jason: There are so many issues around. IRA implementation. We obviously don’t have time to get to all of them. Let me just ask you about one, one other one, which is we have so much building to do at a scale and speed. We’ve never done transmission lines mining in this country, and it is really hard and takes a really long time to build things.
I just want you to sort of grapple with. I think there’s a lot of discussion about yes, and therefore we need to accelerate permitting, but not always. Um, grappling with how hard that really is to do the risks that are involved in doing it. I’m here in New York City where, you know, Robert Caro captured how Robert Moses built New York and did it really fast and had a lot of control over it, but ran over a lot of low income communities in the process.
So how, how, what is it? What do you think the real? Solution set looks like, which isn’t just federal, it’s state, it’s local, to try to accelerate building of infrastructure this quickly while respecting, uh, local community input issues of equity and, and, and justice, uh, it’s really hard.
Brian Deese: Well, I’ll give you one impression, um, and I’m curious, uh, to get Jason Bordoff’s reaction to this impression as well. Lucky for me, he happens to be on this podcast with me right now, is that I’ve been having, I’ve had a lot of conversations with, uh, investors who are deploying capital into clean energy in the American economy right now and sort of on the front lines of deploying capital.
And one thing that has struck me about those conversations is that Permitting isn’t the first thing that they mention. And in most cases, the thing that they mention as being the biggest bottleneck and also the biggest dial mover is actually utility markets and, uh, and the interconnections. That if we, if we think about particularly, this is about building, um, uh, building out the power sector. We have a real reform problem on our hands around getting utility markets and capacity markets to operate efficiently to actually encourage the deployment of reliable zero cost energy, right? And so our utility, most utility markets and capacity markets don’t actually, um, effectively incentivize the build out of storage in a way that’s actually makes sense.
Um, Uh, the interconnection queues are not being managed in a way that is prioritizing the most efficient solutions. And I think the reason why this matters is because if those markets are broken, they also discourage innovation. So, for example, the build out of electric vehicle charging. If we don’t actually get the, uh, the utility market component of that right, we’re not going to build out electric vehicle infrastructure in a way where.
It can actually charge efficiently into the grid and or, or worse, we’re going to create a bunch of problems where, um, where, you know, building of the electric vehicle infrastructure creates additional problems on the grid. So what I hear a lot of is we need to reform those market structures because those are the things that actually generate the long term bankable incentives to invest against.
And then, once you do that, then you have to de risk project timelines, uh, and project cost curves. And those, that’s where permitting comes in, right? I also raise that issue because I think that’s an issue that we’re paying not enough attention to in, in the country. And that we have a lot of really…
Problematic. You know, there’s there’s some of that is local capture of, you know, public utility commission. Some of that is outright sort of anti climate politics being injected into utility markets to actually, ironically, use regulation and use non market. structures to try to discourage investment. So I think we really need to take that on, and if we do, it could drive a lot of investment.
And we also have to get permitting right, too. So, right, this is hard. Um, uh, uh, this, uh, this is hard. The one thing I will say on permitting is that I do think that I have, I, where I find optimism is that there is so much appetite. To build right now. So much in appetite to invest that it’s creating incentives for tables where you can get the right players around to do this right on the front end.
So it’s not easy and it’s not easy to do what needs to be done and actually get community input on the front end and to have the partners who actually live and in many cases own and are part of the land. Uh, in that process from the beginning, it’s not easy, but there’s more opportunity to do it now than there ever has been because people’s incentives are more aligned than they ever have been right.
And so I think some of that is doing the work. Some of that is getting You know, getting reforms passed through Congress and I hope that’ll happen and we can talk more about that. But, um, but I give you that long winded answer because I actually think everybody goes to, or this is, the reason why I want to ask your question is I’m curious your view too.
Like, every, there is a, there is a tendency right now to say, boy, it’s hard to build. And then immediately it’s like word association, everybody says permitting. But I actually think energy market structure and utility market structure needs to get bumped up in that word cloud. Um, because that’s gonna, that will help.
I’m confident that that will actually help to unlock a lot of investment here.
Jason: No, it’s a super important point and insight. And I agree. Interconnection is a huge issue. I do think the broad issue of building new infrastructure, because we’re trying to put a lot of renewables into the grid today. Uh, As you scale and you get Toward bigger and bigger deployment and goals like decarbonizing the entire electricity sector, the challenge of the new infrastructure.
We need to build the transmission lines, not to mention More mining or refining and processing. If we want to diversify global supply chains for the reasons we talked about a minute ago, it does. It does start to become an even bigger and I think you might hear that more as the first thing out of someone’s mouth, not the second or third As we go further and further down the course of this transition, I guess that but but you’re absolutely right.
We need to focus more on Interconnections. Um, just to bring this to a close. Can I ask you, uh, The bright, shiny object in the room, a historic piece of legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act. Um, what’s next for the policy community? I mean, you do something like this maybe once every 10 or 20 years.
I’m not sure we have that kind of time to make another big step forward. I don’t think the IRA is enough as big as it is. You can tell me if you disagree and if we do need to kind of come together and focus on More big policy changes, not all at the federal level, but let’s stay with the federal level for a moment.
Uh, what, what should be next for climate policy to focus on?
Brian Deese: I think the most significant opportunity we have going forward is to build an ambitious, incredible policy toolkit to extend the cost reducing climate technologies that we’re going to build and we’re going to innovate around through the IRA, um, to The rest of the world, and in particular, large emitting emerging market economies where the opportunity reflected in the IRA is that we’re going to drive down the cost of these deployable technologies in historic ways, and the opportunity for the planet is that we’re going to work with other countries in assist in a global system to efficiently the The Um, transfer and deploy those technologies at scale in those geographies, too.
And so, I think that the, whether you want to, you know, call that a, uh, you know, a, a post Paris Marshall Plan on climate, or whatever you want, or a post IRA, uh, um, Marshall Plan for the world, the opportunity is through. More effective and creative use of, um, U. S. development finance. Um, dramatic expansions of the Multilateral Development Bank capacity to include the World Bank and some of the, uh, things that the President just proposed at the G20.
More, and more effective bilateral partnerships, uh, with big players like, um, like the Indians, uh, uh, and the Indonesians. Um, and creating a global system that actually, um, encourages more rapid emissions reductions which is going to require border adjustments and harmonization of border adjustments across, uh, time.
That, I think, is the next big frontier. Um, there are pieces and there are components. The U. S. and the E. U. are negotiating a global arrangement on steel and aluminum. That’s a little, that’s a piece. There’s real interest in the, uh, In U. S. Congress around, uh, uh, legislation that would facilitate, you know, carbon border adjustment mechanisms in the United States.
Uh, there’s the reform of the multi lab development banks, as I discussed. There’s more effective and skilled use of U. S. development finance. But we need to bring all of those things together. We need to deliver on them at scale. And we need to make the case for why it is… urgently in an American’s economic and national security interest to scale that agenda.
Um, and so I think that that’s the next, I think that that’s the next big opportunity. And I think it’s, um, I really do think it’s opportunity because I think that, um, I do think the i r A is gonna succeed in driving down the cost of these technologies. And I do think that the most tangible development opportunity in a number of these emerging market economies is to take low cost technology and deploy it, um, in systems that are some, sometimes easier to do so than in the United States because, um, ’cause you already, you haven’t already built Manhattan.
Jason: And that way, everything you’re just you were just talking about, I think, would most of that would require congressional action. There’s not a lot in administration to do by itself. And that means we need to figure out how to work across the aisle, maybe on this, if possible, which is hard if you couldn’t.
Are talking about climate finance. I mean, as you said, and I agree with it. This is not just about climate, although it is. It’s also about America’s economic interests, national security, given that a lot of the investments being made in emerging and developing economies today are China or some other countries that raise concerns.
And so there is an important national security reason to counter those investments, which is some of what we just saw. In the in the G 20 conversation.
Do agree with that?
Brian Deese: I , we’re going to need to work with Congress and do more there, but I wouldn’t underestimate how much we can make progress with the tools that exist today. So just to put a number on it. It is right that we should be increasing contributions to the World Bank and really scaling World Bank capacity at the same time.
Using the tools the World Bank has today, better, more aggressively, more effectively, could unlock billions of dollars. Today the U. S. DFC has the potential to dramatically increase its climate lending to developing countries. The Green Climate Fund, um, has been, has struggled. for the last several years to effectively deploy at scale.
These are problems of reform and implementation. Uh, and so even though we do need more capacity, I would urge that we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that reform and implementation is sometimes the hardest stuff. Um, and it would be, it would be a real mistake. It would be a tragedy if what we all did was started looking over the horizon to how are we going to get the new legislation passed and we lost a year or two or three.
of opportunity to actually scale and reform. You know, the same is true with respect to border adjustment mechanisms and the like. You can’t get there fully, for sure. Um, but there’s opportunities to innovate. And, you know, that’s an area where there’s real bipartisan appetite. Uh, and, uh, and so I think, you know, as hard as these things are, um, I think that there’s opportunity to build the economic and national security case in precisely the way you just described.
Jason: Deese? Uh, you’ve been incredibly generous with your time. Thanks. Thanks for making so much time available. And, um, as a former colleague, and I should have said at the outset, a former boss of mine. Just thanks for being such such a incredibly valuable friend and mentor over the years. I’ve learned so much over the years and, um, and a lot in the last hour.
So thanks for sharing that.
Brian Deese: It was a lot of fun. Thanks for having me on.
JASON TRACKING: Thank you again, Brian Deese, and thank you for listening to this week’s episode of Columbia Energy Exchange. The show is brought to you by the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. The show is hosted by me, Jason Bordoff, and by Bill Loveless.
The show is produced by Stephen Lacey and Aaron Hardick from PostScript Media. Additional support from John Elkind, Sagatam Saha, Noah Kaufman, Daniel Propp, Natalie Voigt, Lily Li, and Q Li. Roy Campanella engineered the show. For more information about the podcast or the Center on Global Energy Policy, visit us online at energypolicy.
columbia. edu or follow us on social media at Columbia U Energy. And please, if you feel inclined, give us a rating on Apple Podcasts. It really helps us out. Thanks again for listening. We’ll see you next week.

Investment is rising in America’s clean energy sector. According to the Clean Investment Monitor, a joint project of the Rhodium Group and MIT, the sector received $213 billion in new investment over the past year, a 37% increase over the previous year. 

This new investment brings new challenges, such as implementing the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), translating money into infrastructure, sustaining support for the energy transition, and fending off economic competition from abroad. 

How is the surge of clean energy investment changing the American economy? What sectors and regions are benefitting the most? And what is still needed to get the United States on track to meet its climate goals?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Brian Deese about IRA implementation, green industrial strategy, and national security.

Brian was the director of the White House’s National Economic Council from 2021 to 2023. Prior to that, he served in the Office of Management and Budget and as a senior advisor to President Barack Obama, as well as global head of sustainable investing for BlackRock. Since leaving government, he has taken up a post as Institute Innovation Fellow at MIT, where he has played a key role in developing the Clean Investment Monitor.


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