Tana Johnson, a political scientist and the Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Duke University’s Sanford School, spoke about international energy policy and her participation in the Global Governances Futures Program. 

On Wednesday N.C. State hosted the Triangle Institute for Security Studies Energy and Security Initiative Luncheon Series at the 1911 Building, a discussion of energy and policy on the third Wednesday of every month, usually led by local scholars.

Johnson participated in the Global Governances Futures Program from 2012 to 2013, working with a group to explore the varying issues surrounding global energy policy, particularly emphasizing the possible role foreign countries and international organizations might play in finding a solution to the upcoming energy challenges.

“One of the things that was fascinating to me was how different the focus was depending on the person,” Johnson said. “Chinese and Americans were more interested in output, contrasting greatly from the Germans, who were interested in the process of making the energy.”

Every few years, the Global Governances Futures Program calls young professionals to action from countries such the United States, Japan, and India. Professionals, such as Johnson, apply for the program, and if chosen become part of a 25 member team aimed at examining global challenges and policy.

According to Johnson, the Global Governances Futures Program had its scholars travel to Berlin, Germany in 2012 and Beijing, China in early 2013 to work within their multicultural groups, discussing process, output and the power of energy. 

Nearing the end of the year, Johnson and her group would be presenting some of the discussion points and conclusions, as well as creating a value report about international energy policy for the future. 

Participants work, discuss and plan for the future based on various scenarios that impact international policy’s climate change agenda, said Johnson. 

“Very much like China. Americans were realists, while Germans were constructivists,” Johnson said. 

Johnson said doing research in Germany helped with her factor analysis. While in Beijing, she said she was able to “realize some of the sorts of things that would have to be overcome,” such as the overuse of coal. She was in Beijing during record breaking air pollution levels.

In May, Johnson and her colleagues went to Washington D.C. to present ideas and interview people in government, such as those working in the state department. She and was able to speak to many people in various parts of the U.S. government.

According to Johnson all sectors of the government are currently involved with energy issues. 

Johnson said the visit to Washington D.C. helped her and her group write a value report concerning international energy policy.

Johnson discussed some of the key points of her value report that was completed in September.

The report includes a Venn diagram illustrating two possible 2022 worlds; one was a fragmented world and the other a world of international market integration. 

“By looking at these two [worlds] separately, we are able to see how we would handle the extremes on both sides,” Johnson said.

Johnson said it was a good idea to look backwards from the possible futures of 2022 in order so see what the game changers would be over time.

“Those kinds of turning points are the things we are trying to anticipate and look for,” Johnson said.

Following her presentation, Johnson took questions, which consisted of energy policy scholars and graduate students.

Johnson also spoke about alternative energy, calling it “one of the most protected and least economic to systematize bilateral free trade in trade agreements.”

Johnson said that the future of the Global Governances Futures Program would looking to add India and Japan to its list of country participants in order to add a more global view to the program.

She also highlighted the importance of including other countries, such as certain countries in Africa. 

According to Johnson, she is currently doing research concerning various topics such as global governance, international organizations, energy and environmental policy and U.S. foreign policy.

 Johnson said she is currently writing a book.

“The book involves looking at another overlooked actor – researching the people that work in corporations, both in the private and public sectors, to see just how they end up becoming important political actors,” Johnson said.