Highlighting an Authentic Climatier; Let’s Talk Jesse Jenkins

Flat World Partners
6 min readApr 10, 2023

About | Mission | Blog

When a space is as hot as climate (pun intended), political, social, and monetary agendas can create biased storytelling. Sometimes these stories, such as the recent debate around offshore wind turbines killing whales, lack the data and evidence to support their reality but still get picked up by news networks. Why does this happen? In part, it is because the space is new. People have little exposure and visibility into these prospective climate technologies and are therefore more easily swayed. However, a bigger reason for this bias is that the people or outlets that introduce a certain climate phenomenon likely have skin in the game already. Climate tech investors and founders, who see a large potential for wealth creation in the space, are quick to dub their technologies as vital and effective, while oil and gas investors and companies pile on criticism and doubt. These narratives can often be difficult to parse through, with objectivity obscured by competing interests. For this reason I find it helpful to turn to technological and scientific experts who operate within the parameters of research, observation, and hard evidence, a favorite example of mine being Jesse Jenkins.

Dr. Jesse Jenkins is a faculty member at Princeton University where he is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and at the Andlinger Center for Energy & Environment. His research focuses on improving and applying optimization-based macro-energy systems models to evaluate and optimize low-carbon energy technologies, guide energy innovation and resource allocation decisions, and provide decision support to accelerate transitions to net-zero emissions energy systems. Jenkins also leads the Net Zero Lab, a research group which focuses on developing and implementing strategies to achieve a net-zero carbon energy system in the United States and globally. By utilizing advanced modeling techniques to study the most effective pathways for transitioning to a clean energy economy, including the deployment of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency improvements, and the development of new technologies like energy storage, they can provide valuable analysis for interested individuals, politicians writing bills, and corporations looking to capitalize on the energy transition. His work also analyzes the economic and social implications of these pathways, with a focus on equity and justice, which we appreciate at FWP.

This comprehensive approach has led to many informative studies based on data driven research. One such study is called “Net Zero America,” which outlines five distinct technological pathways for the US to achieve net zero by 2050. This unique work does not give an opinion on which track is best but rather gives all interested parties a deep technical analysis demonstrating and detailing all the ways our nation can meet one of our climate goals. If readers are intrigued by certain climate technologies, this study can help demonstrate how impactful they can be. Furthermore, studies like these are helping in guide government policy.

Much of Jesse’s work is also timely. Shortly after significant events such as the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Jesse and his team produced reports detailing the IRA’s effect on emissions reductions and how quickly the continent of Europe can drop their dependence on Russian gas while continuing to meet energy needs, which would have a great effect on ending the war faster.

It is my hope that personal conversations, policy recommendations, and corporate initiatives surrounding these all-important topics are informed and based in truth. So next time there is an event surrounding climate change, I am certain that one person we can lean on for insight is Jesse Jenkins.

Isaac Eskind, Analyst

As stated above, Jesse and his team studied how the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) would decrease emissions and help our country meet our climate goals. To detail some of his findings, the popular podcast “Volts” brought on Jesse and fellow academic Dr. Leah Stokes, in an episode that aired last August.

While on the subject of academia and sustainability, last year Stanford announced the opening of the Doerr School of Sustainability, the first new school the University has opened in 70 years. The school “… draws on a deep understanding of Earth, climate, and society to create solutions at a global scale, in collaboration with partners worldwide. Together, we strive to create a future where humans and nature thrive in concert and in perpetuity.” Learn more about the Doerr School of Sustainability here.

There are many questions about industrial decarbonization, and since many technologies will require greater energy resources and alternative ideas for heat, there are concerns about how our macro-energy systems will hold up. Luckily, Jesse is on top of this and will be featured in a Macro-Energy Systems panel on April 14th at 12pm ET. Sign up for the webinar here.

This newsletter is intended solely for informational purposes, and should not be construed as investment/trading advice and are not meant to be a solicitation or recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any securities mentioned. Any reproduction or distribution of this document, in whole or in part, or the disclosure of its contents, without the prior written consent of Flat World Partners is prohibited

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