In conjunction with Climate Week, we are launching the first episode in our three-part NOW podcast series on the transition to a low-carbon economy. In this first episode, Brown Advisory’s Erika Pagel sits down with Dr. Atul Arya, the Chief Energy Strategist of S&P Global, to discuss the race to net zero. They cover the impact of the war in Ukraine, the role of traditional energy companies, the promise of technology and innovation, and the feasibility of reaching the Paris Agreement’s critical but ambitious targets by 2050.
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Clean energy is in a race against climate change, and despite many headwinds over the years, we have seen a massive acceleration in the global energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables. The transition to a lower carbon economy will be both very long term and extremely complex. Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine; the intensified focus on energy security; the fires, floods and extreme temperatures that demonstrate the effects of climate change—these all underscore the need to escalate the transition.
I’m Erika Pagel. I’m the Chief Investment Officer for Sustainable Investing and a portfolio manager at Brown Advisory. As we think about positioning client portfolios to capitalize on the energy transition, we are encouraged by both technological innovation and the significant investment in climate action that will result from the Inflation Reduction Act. At the same time, we must take into account second- and third-order risks such as supply chains, the environmental and social impacts of mining for the minerals that are key components of renewables, and the water-intensive processes of many alternative energy sources. There are no easy solutions.
This is why I wanted to delve into the energy transition with experts who represent various perspectives. In this three-part series, I will talk with thought leaders who can help us understand how we got to where we are today, the role of traditional energy companies, and the promise of new technologies and innovation to create a path toward a low-carbon future.
To lay the foundation, I invited Atul Arya on the podcast. Atul is one of the foremost thinkers in the energy industry—someone who has run businesses that spanned both oil and gas, as well as solar. Today, Atul is Senior Vice President and Chief Energy Strategist for S&P Global where he analyzes the entire energy value chain. As you’ll hear, Atul highlights the the challenges of reaching net zero by 2050, as outlined in the Paris Agreement.
I wanted to start by asking Atul for his view on the current state of the industry—and where we are in terms of a global energy transition.
Atul Arya, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President and Chief Energy Strategist, S&P Global
Dr. Atul Arya is Senior Vice President and Chief Energy Strategist at S&P Global Commodity Insights. He is responsible for integrating energy content, analysis and insights across the entire energy value chain and for c-suite client engagements. His areas of expertise include business strategy, commercial analysis, oil markets, energy technologies, climate change and renewables. He has previously led Energy Insight, Research and Analysis and Energy Research teams at IHS Markit (Now a part of S&P Global). Dr. Atul previously worked for BP for over 20 years in a number of operational, business, technical and strategic positions around the world. His career includes international leadership experience in a diverse array of energy fields spanning strategy development, business planning, field operations and technology commercialization. His experience includes leadership in solar energy development as well as oil and gas. Dr. Atul has previously served on boards of several companies and institutions and is member of the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Advanced Energy Technologies and is 25+ year member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. He is a sought-after speaker and moderator at public conferences, company boards and industry events and a member of the CERAWeek leadership team. He holds B.S., M.S. and Ph. D. degrees in engineering.
CIO of Sustainable Investing; Portfolio Manager, Brown AdvisoryErika is a partner, a member of the Executive Team, and serves as chief investment officer of sustainable investing and as a portfolio manager in the Boston office. She manages balanced accounts for private and institutional clients. Erika has worked in the investment management industry since 1996. Prior to Brown Advisory, she was an investment advisor at Silver Bridge Advisors. Erika started her career at MFS Investment Management before working in sell-side Equity Research for eight years following large cap pharmaceuticals, household products, consumer and retail sectors at Schroder & Co and then UBS Investment Bank. More recently, she was an analyst following consumer and retail companies at a hedge fund, Balyasny Asset Management. Over the past eight years, a focus of Erika’s has been researching investment options in the sustainability industry and helping clients build portfolios that are aligned with their mission and values.
- Getting Going: Breaking Through the Barriers to Corporate Climate Action, Oliver Wyman/The Climate Group, September 14, 2022
- Energy Transition Outlook, S&P Global, August 15, 2022
- The Net-Zero Transition in the Wake of the war in Ukraine: A Detour, a Derailment, or a Different Path?, McKinsey Quarterly, May 19, 2022
- Why the Energy Transition Will Be So Complicated, Dan Yergin, The Atlantic, November 27, 2021
S3 | Episode 3 | Getting Ethical AI Right—And Why It Matters to Us as InvestorsDecember 2, 2021
Artificial intelligence appears poised to disrupt industries, improve customer outcomes, and enhance lives, and solutions based on AI are projected to contribute as much as $15 trillion to the global economy in 2030—more than the current output of China and India combined. The problem-solving potential of AI is seemingly limitless, and it may well change the way we work, travel, power our cities, diagnose disease, and organize our society.
And yet there are reasons to be cautious. Information is power, and that power can be used for good or for ill. In this episode, Brown Advisory’s Katherine Kroll explores the investor case for “ethical AI” and why failing to proactively ensure AI is used to help, not harm, is a material and salient risk not only to investment performance but to our society’s ability to thrive. She speaks with three of the foremost experts on ethical AI: Aza Raskin, co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology; Arathi Sethumadhavan, Ph.D., Head of User Research for Ethics & Society at Microsoft; and Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head of AI and Machine Learning, World Economic Forum.Listen Now