Jose W. Fernandez

United States Department of State

Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment

Jose W. Fernandez was confirmed by the Senate as Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment on August 6, 2021.  He leads the State Department’s bureaus and offices that stand at the center of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts on climate change, clean energy, health, supply chain security, and other economic priorities. Under Secretary Fernandez is also the United States Alternate Governor to the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Inter-American Development Bank.  From 2009 to 2013, he served as the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs, one of the bureaus he now oversees. Prior to his most recent appointment at the Department of State, Under Secretary Fernandez was a partner at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP in New York. His practice focused on mergers, acquisitions, and finance in Europe and emerging markets, advising U.S. and foreign clients in the telecommunications, energy, water, banking, and consumer industries. He was named one of the “World’s Leading Lawyers” by Chambers Global for his M&A and corporate work, a “Highly Regarded” practitioner by the International Financial Law Review, and one of the “World’s Leading Privatization Lawyers” by Euromoney Publications.  He has been chair of the Inter-American law committees of both the American Bar Association and The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, as well as of the Cross-Border M&A and Joint Venture Committee of the New York State Bar Association.  Most recently, Fernandez was an adjunct professor at Rutgers Law School, where he taught the course on international business transactions. A life-long supporter of the arts and education, Under Secretary Fernandez has served as a trustee of  Dartmouth College and NPR-station WBGO-FM, and on the Board of Directors of Acción International, the Council of the Americas, Ballet Hispanico of New York, the Middle East Institute, and the Partnership for Inner City Education. The Under Secretary graduated from Dartmouth College and received an honorary degree from the College. He earned a Juris Doctor from Columbia University School of Law, where he was awarded the Charles Evans Hughes Prize and a Parker School Certificate of International Law with honors.

Sessions With Jose W. Fernandez

Monday, 7 March

  • 01:25pm - 02:05pm (CST) / 07/mar/2022 07:25 pm - 07/mar/2022 08:05 pm

    The Dual Challenge: Economic growth & energy transition

    Panel Energy Transition/Climate & Sustainability

    The next 20 years will be critical to provide clean, reliable, and affordable energy to the growing world population. United Nations’ estimates suggest that per capita energy consumption at approximately 100 Gigajoules is associated with substantial human development. Today, 80% of the world’s population live in countries with energy consumption below this level. Reducing that number to one-third of the population by 2040 would require around 65% more energy. The United States, Europe, and China have been the major emitters while developing Asia and Africa per capita energy use and GHG emissions are very low. In order to meet their citizens’ economic aspirations, these countries require a bigger share of the remaining carbon budget. While the phrase “just transition” is currently in vogue, what does it mean to you? Multilateral development banks have stopped or will soon stop lending for hydrocarbon projects; will this approach reduce emissions? There was renewed commitment at Glasgow to provide $100 billion climate finance annually. Many have called this a floor, not a ceiling. What is needed to fast track climate finance? While coal is the single largest source of emissions and a major fuel in many developing countries, how can we accelerate phasing out coal? Globally, renewables are now cost competitive, however, borrowing costs for clean energy projects are significantly higher in emerging economies than OECD. How could this risk premium be reduced to attract investment in developing countries? How should the global energy industry meet this dual challenge?

  • 07:30pm - 09:00pm (CST) / 08/mar/2022 01:30 am - 08/mar/2022 03:00 am

    The Great Supply Chain Disruption

    Lunch/Dinner Discussion Energy Infrastructure/Supply Chain

    What is unfolding in supply chains is not only disruptive, it is also historic. This is the first major disjunction in the highly integrated supply chain system that has developed over the last three decades of globalization. The intense new debate on inflation adds to the urgency to understand what is ahead for supply chains in 2022. Supply chains used to be something that only supply chain managers talked about. Now they are of deep concern to everyone from consumers waiting for their deliveries to retailers, major manufacturers, prime ministers, and presidents. And they have profound implications for energy production as well as demand. What are the prospects for delays and disruptions for manufacturers and deliveries? Will constraints persist—on container shipping networks, computer chips, and more? What are the implications for labor shortages and the push to automation? What are the operational and strategic responses?