Reaching Net Zero by 2050: Challenges and Pathways

  • 20 Apr 2021
  • 12:45 PM - 2:00 PM
  • Zoom

Participation in this panel is included with conference registration. Please register on the main event webpage. This panel webpage provides more details on this specific panel, and allows attendees to save event details to their online calendars. 

12:45 - 1:45 PM:  Reaching Net Zero by 2050: Challenges and Pathways

1:45 - 2:00 PM:  Breakout Sessions

  • CONTEXT:

    • This panel will explore the plans and approaches proposed and analyzed to put the US on a path to carbon-neutrality by mid-century. Participants in this session will learn about the political, economic, and governance considerations shaping the practicality of strategies to meet aggressive emissions reductions.

    • Technological & socio-economic challenges of the transition 

  • MODERATOR: 

    • Richard Meyer, Vice President, Energy Markets, Analysis and Standards; AGA

  • DISCUSSANT

    • Joel Yudken, Ph.D., Principal, High Road Strategies, LLC

  • SPEAKERS:

    • Michael Webber - Chief Science and Technology Officer at ENGIE and Josey Centennial Professor in Energy Resources at the University of Texas at Austin

    • Jim Hunter, Labor Management Consultant and Former Director of the Utility Department at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

    • Sarah Ladislaw, Managing Director of the U.S. Program, Rocky Mountain Institute

Dr. Michael E. Webber is based in Paris, France where he serves as the Chief Science and Technology Officer at ENGIE, a global energy & infrastructure services company. Webber is also the Josey Centennial Professor in Energy Resources at the University of Texas at Austin. Webber’s expertise spans research and education at the convergence of engineering, policy, and commercialization on topics related to innovation, energy, and the environment. His latest book, Power Trip: the Story of Energy was published May 7, 2019 by Basic Books with a 6-part companion series that will air on PBS starting Earth Day 2020. His first book, Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survivalwhich addresses the connection between earth’s most valuable resources and offers a hopeful approach toward a sustainable future, was published in 2016 by Yale Press and was converted into a documentary by Alpheus Media.  

    Michael  was selected as a Fellow of ASME and as a member of the 4th class of the Presidential Leadership Scholars, which is a leadership training program organized by Presidents George W. Bush and William J. Clinton. Webber has authored more than 400 publications, holds 6 patents, and serves on the advisory board for Scientific American. A successful entrepreneur, Webber was one of three founders in 2015 for an educational technology startup, DISCO Learning Media, which was acquired in 2018. 

    Michael  holds a B.S. and B.A. from UT Austin, and M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.  He was honored as an American Fellow of the German Marshall Fund and an AT&T Industrial Ecology Fellow on four separate occasions by the University of Texas for exceptional teaching.


    Jim Hunter is a labor management consultant in the Washington D.C. area. He is former Director of the Utility Department of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), serving in that position from 2004 to 2017. The IBEW has 220,000 members in the Utility branch, which includes electric, gas and water utilities in the U.S. and Canada. Jim joined the IBEW International staff in 2002, after working 20 years for Potomac Electric Power Company, and serving as President, Business Manager of IBEW Local 1900 in Washington D.C. since 1994. From 1997 to 2002 he intervened and testified in numerous cases before FERC, the D.C. and Maryland Public Service Commissions and at Department of Energy Hearings. He also has testified before Congress on workforce issues as well as electric system reliability. 

      In 1998 Maryland Governor Paris Glendenning appointed Jim to the Governor’s Taskforce on Electric System Reliability. He previously served on the advisory boards for Carnegie Mellon Institute, on sustainability Boards for American Electric Power and Energy Future Holdings, on EPRI’s advisory board, and on the EPA Clean Air Act Advisory Committee from 2010 to 2012. In addition, Jim worked as a subject matter expert to help formulate the IBEW’s position on global warming and represented the IBEW at the U.N. climate change conferences from 2008 thru 2015. Jim is also former president, Unions for Jobs and Environment Progress (UJEP) a non-profit group representing 9 International unions with over 3 million members.


      Sarah Ladislaw is a managing director at Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), an independent, non-partisan, nonprofit organization of experts across disciplines working to accelerate the clean energy transition and improve lives. RMI’s mission is to transform the global energy system to secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. Sarah leads the U.S. program at RMI and works on other global initiatives to reduce industrial sector emissions and support the development of green banks.

        She was previously senior vice president and director of the Energy Security and Climate Change Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she led the think tank’s work in energy policy, geopolitics, and technology analysis. Ladislaw spearheaded new work at CSIS on climate change and foreign policy, deep decarbonization, and just transitions.

        Before CSIS, Sarah worked in the Office of the Americas in the Department of Energy’s Office of Policy and International Affairs, where she covered a range of economic, political, and energy issues in the Western Hemisphere. In addition, she spent a short period of time working at Statoil as its senior director for international affairs in the Washington office.

        Sarah is a member of the Strategic Advisory Council for Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Initiative, and the University of California, Davis Institute of Transportation Studies Board of Advisors. Ladislaw received her bachelor’s degree in international affairs/East Asian studies and her master’s degree in international affairs/international security from the George Washington University.


        Richard Meyer: Richard Meyer serves as Vice President of Energy Markets, Analysis, and Standards at the American Gas Association, which represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver natural gas throughout the United States.

          Richard is responsible for overseeing AGA’s energy markets, analysis, and codes and standards activities that support the association’s outreach to advance awareness of the vital role that natural gas utilities serve in meeting the needs of a clean energy economy.

          In his tenth year at AGA, Mr. Meyer’s work relates to natural gas supply and demand fundamentals, gas end-use economics, greenhouse gas emissions including methane topics, climate change policy, renewable gases, energy efficiency, and distributed generation technologies like combined heat and power, reliability and resilience, and innovation including advanced gas production and end-use technologies.

          Before AGA, Mr. Meyer was a Senior Associate with ICF International in its Fuels and Technology group. He worked on a range of natural gas and propane market modeling, analyses, and climate-related projects. He has an M.A. in Global Environmental Politics from American University and an M.S. in Physics from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California.

          Richard serves on the Business Council for Sustainable Energy Board of Directors and Council of the National Capital Area Chapter of the United States Association of Energy Economics.

          Richard and his wife Samantha, with their son Rex, live in Washington DC.


          Joel Yudken: Dr. Joel S. Yudken is principal and founder of High Road Strategies LLC, Arlington, VA, an economic policy research, analysis and design consultancy since 2006, with a focus on manufacturing, energy and workforce issues. Clients have included not-for-profit policy and environmental organizations, business associations, labor organizations, universities, and think-tanks.  He is past treasurer and a current council member of the National Capital Area Chapter-U.S. Association for Energy Economics.

          Prior positions include sectoral economist and technology policy analyst, AFL-CIO, and manufacturing policy analyst, AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council; senior advisor on modernization and workforce development, NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership; professional staff, U.S. House Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs; and American Association for the Advancement of Science congressional science & engineering fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).  

          He has written and spoken extensively on a wide range of policy issues, including manufacturing competitiveness, climate, energy and electricity regulation, economic conversion, the Internet, workforce development, and technology R&D. In the energy area, his work has included studies of workforce readiness in the unconventional energy sector (shale gas and tight oil), potential impacts of privatizing the Tennessee Valley Authority, the economic benefits of the military biofuels program, clean-energy manufacturing policies in California and Michigan, energy issues facing Ohio manufacturers, and climate policy impacts on energy intensive manufacturing.

          He holds a Bachelor Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Master of Science in engineering-economic systems (Dept. of Management Science and Engineering) and Ph.D. in technology and society from Stanford University.





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