New Energy Transition Series Reflects on Challenges, Opportunities for Sustainable Climate Solutions
- View more photos on Flickr.
HOUSTON, July 7, 2023 — In partnership with ExxonMobil, Asia Society Texas kicked off its new Energy Transition Series to highlight the work being done across the energy industry to improve climate outcomes. The first program in the series featured speakers Mike Cousins, ExxonMobil's Director of Greenhouse Gas and Climate Change; Loan K. Tran, ExxonMobil's Advocacy & External Interfaces Manager; and Deborah Byers, a nonresident fellow at the Baker Institute Center for Energy Studies, in conversation with moderator Edward R. Allen, co-founder and Senior Partner of Eagle Global Advisors. Before an audience of distinguished energy sector leaders, academics, professionals, and students, the speakers covered a wide range of topics including issues around energy supply and demand, energy security, net zero scenarios, and government energy policies.
Help Us Build a More Inclusive World
The panelists began the discussion with statistics on projected energy demands, indicating population growth as the primary factor for the largest demand increase, especially in the developing world. According to Cousins, economic growth is an additional driving force in the demand for energy. He also reflected on the viability of different net zero scenarios, actions taken in that direction, and challenges for the future.
On the topic of potential ways to support the demand for energy, Tran spoke on the role of internationalization with cost-effective solutions, reducing emissions, and delivering products that are lower in carbon intensity. She further underlined the essential role technology will have in these solutions.
Noting the versatility of natural gas as a fuel and feedstock, Byers commented on the contrast between the countries who are a part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and non-OECD countries in the energy transition and decarbonization debates. She highlighted the relevance of energy security, the relationship between energy demand and development, and the importance of finding solutions for energy poverty, adding that 750 million people don't have access to electricity on a daily basis.
The speakers also emphasized the need for policymakers to support energy transition efforts and adequate regulatory frameworks to promote innovation, speaking on different countries’ disparities while considering the U.S. policy as “relatively very supportive.”
The panel also reflected on the importance of diversity in the energy sector. Tran and Byers recalled their relationships with colleagues and mentors who helped them in their career paths, while also noting the general meritocratic nature of the energy industry and the growth in the number of Asian American professionals they have seen over time.
- View more photos on Flickr.
About Asia Society Texas
Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diverse perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating the vibrant diversity of Asia, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Spanning the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community — trusting in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to combat bias and build a more inclusive society.