Columbia University Q&A
Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Jason Bordoff joined SIPA in January 2013 after four years in the White House, where he served until recently as a special assistant to President Obama and senior director for energy and climate change on the staff of the National Security Council. He spent most of the past 12 years in Washington working in policy roles in governmental and political institutions on energy, economic, and environmental issues.
What do you study?
My research interests lie at the intersection of energy security, geopolitics, economics, and the environment.
What do you teach?
I teach energy policy — in particular how to think about the challenges and tradeoffs policymakers face in meeting multiple, and often conflicting, economic, energy security and environmental goals.
What do you consider today’s most pressing global issue?
Over the next 20 years, global GDP is projected to double, energy use to increase 50 percent, and greenhouse gas emissions to rise 43 percent (93 percent of that from non-OECD countries). A central challenge of our time is how to provide billions more people with reliable, secure, affordable sources of energy — consistent with rapid rates of economic growth — in a manner that preserves our planet.
What professional achievement are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the four years I’ve spent serving in President Obama’s White House — most recently as special assistant to the president and senior director for energy and climate change on the staff of the National Security Council, and prior to that in senior policy roles at the National Economic Council and Council on Environmental Quality.
Why did you choose to come to SIPA?
I am excited about returning to New York City, where I grew up and my family still lives, teaching at Columbia, and building a global energy policy center. As someone who until now consumed academic and think-tank analysis to help inform policy decisions, I believe there is a need for more independent, rigorous analysis of the energy policy choices that our leaders face. And there are few places better positioned than Columbia to fill that need, with its world-class reputation, location in New York, highly international student body and faculty, and depth and strength in a wide range of disciplines.