Former Deputy Secretary of Energy (2009-2014) & Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School
Daniel Poneman is a Senior Fellow with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. From 2009 to 2014, Poneman served as Deputy Secretary of Energy, in which capacity he also served as Chief Operating Officer of the Department. Between April 23, 2013, and May 21, 2013, Poneman served as Acting Secretary of Energy. Read More >
At the beginning of the 20th Century, powered flight remained a dream, coal dominated fueled transportation and horses outnumbered automobiles in the United States by a factor of more than 2500 to one. No one could have imagined the extraordinary energy transformations that shaped the history of the last century. In 2015, we once again face a changing energy landscape, as traditional fossil fuels, nuclear, renewable power and efficiency all struggle for their place in the future, even as America’s aging infrastructure leave it increasingly vulnerable to hurricanes, droughts, and cyberattack. Our national security, prosperity and environment all hang in the balance as governments, investors, inventors and private citizens all hang in the balance. More than five years as Deputy Secretary of Energy gave Daniel Poneman unique insights which he will use to reflect on America’s energy present — and future.
Only two threats are jeopardizing the survival of our species: nuclear destruction and climate change. We are not doing enough to stop either of these existential threats, but we know how to do much more to stop both. What is needed is a coherent approach integrating both challenges in a sustainable bipartisan consensus. The greatest generation of Americans faced commensurate challenges in the Cold War and prevailed, while presiding over the greatest economic surge in American history. Daniel Poneman advises in this speech that our generation can and must do the same.
Every US president from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama deplored America’s excessive dependence on foreign oil and called for urgent action to promote energy independence. After two generations, American ingenuity and determination have now produced a prodigious outpouring of oil and natural gas that have transformed the United States into the number one hydrocarbon producer in the world. Learn from Daniel Poneman what this means for the security – and prosperity – for the US and its friends and allies around the world, and for our rivals and adversaries.
From Hurricane Sandy to cyberattacks on our financial institutions to physical assaults against electrical power substations across America, we are facing an unprecedented surge of threats to our critical infrastructures that threaten our safety, security and prosperity. Untold millions of secrets and billions of dollars have been stolen, and much greater damage could be inflicted. Daniel Poneman explains to audiences what Americans must do to protect their life and property in the face of spiraling threats of increasing scale and sophistication.
"We will be forever grateful for your tremendous leadership in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and for your help in creating the valuable industry-government partnership that greatly strengthens the electric sector’s preparedness and response to storms, as well as cyber and physical security threats."