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Earth Day 2022: Engaging State-Owned Enterprises in Climate Action

Past Event

April 28, 2022

9:00 am - 10:00 am

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are major drivers of greenhouse gas emissions, at both national and global levels, and yet they are often overlooked in the climate discourse. According to a recent CGEP report, SOEs emit nearly 9 GtCO2-e and likely more. This amount is more than the emissions of any country other than China. And in China, SOEs are responsible for about half of national CO2 emissions.

But SOEs are also major players in providing low-carbon alternatives, particularly in the power sector where globally they own more than half of utility scale “zero-carbon” sources (including hydropower and nuclear). From power generation, to national oil companies and coal providers, to large industrial users to state-owned banks, SOEs dominate the energy landscape in China, as well as in many other emerging economies. These companies, however, typically respond to a different incentives framework than their private sector counterparts which garner much of the attention in the international climate discussion. SOEs provide both opportunities and challenges in implementing the energy transition because of their government ownership; they also differ from their private sector counterparts.

In celebration of Earth Day 2022, Columbia Global Centers | Beijing and the Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) at Columba SIPA invited Philippe Benoit, Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at CGEP, to present his recent research on this topic.

The session was moderated by Kevin Tu, Non-Resident Fellow at CGEP and Managing Director at Agora Energy Transition China.


Philippe Benoit is an Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA. Philippe has had a distinguished career in energy, development, and climate policy. His experience spans a wide spectrum of regions, including the emerging economies of Asia and Latin America, developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, North America and Europe. He has over 25 years of experience in working on energy, finance and development in both the private and public sectors. From 2011-2016 Philippe served as head of the Energy Environment and Energy Efficiency Divisions at the International Energy Agency. In addition to his time at the IEA, he worked for over 15 years at the World Bank, including as energy sector manager for Latin America and the Caribbean, and at Société Générale as a director in the Energy Project Finance Department.

Philippe has managed over 50 publications in the areas of clean energy, development and climate change while at the IEA and the World Bank. He holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a B.A. in economics and political science from Yale University, and a masters in trade law from the University of Paris.

Kevin Jianjun Tu is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy of Columbia University. He is also the managing director of Agora Energy Transition China, and an adjunct professor at the School of Environment of Beijing Normal University.

Prior to his affiliation with CGEP, Tu had served various key positions including China program manager at Paris-based International Energy Agency, director of China Energy & Climate Program at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC., partner at a Vancouver-based premier energy consulting firm, director of marine operations at China’s largest LPG importer and distributor, and construction project manager at Sinopec, a Chinese national oil company.

Tu has more than two decades of solid experience in the energy and environmental fields as well as government affairs in Asia Pacific, North America, and Europe. His research interests cover the full spectrum of energy issues including fossil fuel value chains, energy transitions, energy sector reforms, climate change, and corporate strategy & transformation, with a focus on U.S.-China relations and EU-China relations, and their implications for China’s energy & climate policies.