Jeffrey Ball, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate

Jeffrey Ball

Jeffrey Ball, a writer whose work focuses on energy and the environment, is a scholar-in-residence at Stanford’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance and a lecturer at Stanford Law School.

He also is a nonresident senior fellow in the Energy Security and Climate Initiative at Brookings.

Ball’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Fortune, the New Republic, Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Slate, among other publications.

At the Stanford center, a joint initiative of Stanford’s law and business schools, Ball heads a project assessing comparative advantage in the globalizing clean-energy industry. Its first stage has focused on how China and the United States might deploy cleaner energy more economically efficiently if each played to its strengths.

Ball was the primary author of the Stanford report based on that research, “The New Solar System,” which was released in March 2017 and lays out a strategy to boost solar energy to a level that would contribute meaningfully to global carbon reductions. “The New Solar System” illuminates little-understood changes in the Chinese solar industry, the world’s largest, and analyzes the implications for the rise of affordable solar power in the United States and the world. It argues that the United States needs to restructure its solar policies to make them more economically efficient—including adopting a more-nuanced approach to China.

Ball came to Stanford in 2011 from The Wall Street Journal, where he was the paper’s environment editor and before that was a columnist and reporter focusing on energy and the environment. At The Journal, he covered the automotive industry from the paper’s Detroit bureau, the oil and broader energy industries from its Dallas bureau, and efforts internationally to address climate change as a strategic business issue. He has reported from five continents and more than 15 countries.

Ball won the Society of American Business Editors and Writers’ top energy-writing prize in 2015 for a story he wrote in Fortune about Mexico’s energy reform. His long-form narrative magazine writing has included pieces on Germany’s clean-energy transition, Chinese investment in U.S. clean-energy technologies, and Saudi Arabia’s solar-power efforts. His essays have addressed such topics as why carbon prices are failing to curb climate change, financing global decarbonization, the implications of an era of energy abundance, and the need for a more economically efficient approach to renewable energy.

He contributes commentary about energy issues on WSJ.com as a member of “The Experts,” a Wall Street Journal panel. He speaks frequently about energy and the environment, including at colleges as a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow.

He and his wife are resident fellows of Roble Hall, Stanford’s largest four-class undergraduate house, where he launched and directs the Roble Living Laboratory for Sustainability at Stanford, an initiative that encourages students to wrestle daily with the possibilities and difficulties of living more sustainably.

Ball graduated from Yale University, where he was editor-in-chief of the Yale Daily News.

More about his work is at jeffreyball.net

  • Areas of Expertise

    • Climate economics and policy
    • Renewable-energy business and policy
    • Energy in China
  • Current Positions

    • Scholar-in-Residence, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, Stanford University
    • Lecturer, Stanford Law School
  • Past Positions

    • Environment Editor, The Wall Street Journal (2008-2011)
    • Columnist, The Wall Street Journal (2009)
    • Staff Reporter, The Wall Street Journal (1996-2008)
  • Education

    • B.A., Yale University
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