ELEEP Network Hosts Energy Security and Climate Change Conference

The Emerging Leaders in Environmental and Energy Policy (ELEEP) network, an initiative of the Atlantic Council’s Young Atlanticist Program and Energy and Environment Program and the Ecologic Institute, hosted the Transatlantic Cooperation on Energy Security and Climate Change Conference on Thursday, October 4th at the Atlantic Council’s headquarters in Washington, DC with support from the Robert Bosch Foundation.

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Over 130 people, including 31 members of the ELEEP network, attend the event which consisted of three high-level panels featuring members of the ELEEP network as moderators and speakers and senior policy makers, industry experts, and civil society leaders as panelists. The conference’s unique model provides ELEEP’s members – exceptional young professionals in the energy and environmental policy space – the opportunity to share the stage with established thought leaders, senior experts, and policy makers. Some of the expert speakers included Vaclav Batruska, ambassador-at-large for energy security for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic; the Honorable C. Boyden Gray, founding partner at Boyden Gray & Associates LLP, former US ambassador to the EU, and a board member of the Atlantic Council; Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti, special representative for climate change at the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office; the Honorable Sherri W. Goodman, senior vice president and general counsel at the CNA Corporation and a board member at the Atlantic Council; and many others. The event concluded with a special post-conference networking and recruiting event for the ELEEP network for DC based young professionals in the energy and environmental policy world.

After welcoming remarks from Damon Wilson (executive vice president, Atlantic Council) and Michael Mehling (president, Ecologic Institute US) three panel discussions followed.

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The first panel addressed the current state of EU and US energy and environmental policy. Andrew Holland (senior fellow at the American Security Project and an ELEEP member) moderated the discussion with the three panelists Christian Burgsmueller (counselor — head of transport, energy, environment and nuclear nffairs section; the European Union Delegation to the United States), Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti (British special representative for climate change), and Tom Weirich (senior vice president of corporate relations of ACORE and ELEEP member).

The second panel discussion addressed the changing US and European energy landscape, paying particular attention to impacts on transatlantic cooperation. This panel was moderated by Georg Caspary (World Bank energy economist and an ELEEP Member) with comments from Vaclav Bartuska (ambassador-at-large for energy security, Czech Republic) and Hon. Boyden Gray (former U.S. ambassador to the European Union), and Steven Mufson (energy and finance reporter for The Washington Post).

The third discussion was concerned US and European climate change initiatives, asking the panelists to consider the extent to which current measures are sufficient to meeting the climate challenge and what additional steps might be necessary. The panel was moderated by Ásbjörg Kristinsdóttir (project planning and construction, Landsvirkjun; lecturer, Reykjavik University; and ELEEP member). The panelists were Sherri W. Goodman (CNA senior vice president and former deputy undersecretary of defense for environmental security), Mark Drajem (environment reporter for Bloomberg News), Georg Maue (first secretary for climate and energy issues, German Embassy to the United States) and Jake Schmidt (international climate policy director, NRDC).

The Emerging Leaders in Environmental and Energy Policy (ELEEP) Network is an ongoing, outcome-oriented dialogue about actual lessons in sustainable economic transformation across the Atlantic. The Atlantic Council, cooperating with the Ecologic Institute and strategic local partners, established ELEEP in 2011 as the first transatlantic network of its kind, with the goal of harnessing Web 2.0 technology to connect leading young professionals in these fields and facilitate discussions that would shape the energy and environmental policy landscape of the future. Since its founding, ELEEP has organized eight study tours, over 150 meetings with key policy makers in Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Hungary, France, England, Scotland, and the United States, and produced publications in The Atlantic, Bloomberg, Popular Science, and others. ELEEP is supported by the European Commission and Robert Bosch Shiftung.

ELEEP seeks to inject the voices of young leaders into the current policy discourse and offer unique professional development opportunities by providing its members with a platform for open dialogue, access to key policy makers, and an international network of like-minded peers. Discussions in the ELEEP forum have lead to over twenty member-organized meetings, micro-tours, and webinars, and influenced US and EU policy discourse through proposed legislation. ELEEP’s 100 members, aged 25 to 40, represent eighteen nations and come from a variety of professional and academic backgrounds. They include professionals from both traditional and renewable energy industries, as well as elected officials, CEOs, lawyers, urban planners, PhD researchers, and others.

For more information about the ELEEP program or to apply to join the ELEEP Network, please contact Young Atlanticist Program Assistant Director Daniel Bennett.