Meet Minji Jeong! Transferring from a Research Fellow to a staffer, Minji is the EFI research team’s newest Analyst. A seasoned researcher and wannabe archer, Minji holds hope for the future having witnessed people’s changing attitudes towards climate change first-hand.
1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a little girl, I said that I wanted to be a teacher because it was the only profession that the women around me had other than being a stay-at-home mom. I didn’t know that I could be someone other than a teacher. I used to get angry when I watched TV because men had all the cool jobs that I wanted to have. When I got tired of being angry, I decided to try to pursue the coolest job in the world that I thought: being the CEO of a multinational company. At the time, I didn’t know of any women CEOs.
2. What was your most rewarding experience prior to working at EFI?
It was to finish my doctoral dissertation. I learned everything about research through this experience. I read tons of literature, learned new research methods and data analysis software, participated in conferences and meetings, interviewed people in the United States and South Korea, analyzed different kinds of data sets, and wrote and revised chapters again and again. Other than research skills, I also learned how to change my plans quickly when things are not going as planned, how to be persistent when I want to give up, and how powerful kind words can be. In addition, I am very glad that I was able to contribute to the discussion on international trade disputes on renewable energy through my dissertation, which I believe is a very important agenda for the future of renewable energy.
3. What are you the proudest of since working at EFI
I am proud of my research on how to leverage existing infrastructure rights-of-way for clean energy deployment. This research was not published but was greatly used for the EFI’s recent report, “Building to Net-Zero.” I believe that using existing rights-of-way can provide many opportunities to expedite building infrastructure for the clean energy transition.
4. What’s the best thing about working at EFI?
The best thing about working at EFI is that I keep learning new things. It’s been less than a year since I joined EFI, but I’ve already learned a lot about carbon mineralization, carbon offset programs for carbon removal technologies, the global future of natural gas, CO2 storage and transport infrastructure, and bioenergy. I believe that EFI is one of the best places to learn about the most important issues at the intersections of energy and climate.
5. What gives you hope for the future?
The progress that we have made so far. When I started working on climate change in 2006, my presentation always started with “What is global warming?” and I spent most of the time for my presentation helping my bosses understand why this is important. My big boss, the company’s VP of Government Relations, had doubts about climate change and sent me to Alaska to see if the glaciers were really melting and to discuss climate change with U.S. oil and gas companies and D.C. think tanks. Through this trip, I gained evidence of the impacts of climate change, corporate actions to address climate change, and most importantly, old and current pictures of the glaciers in Alaska and some documents describing that the glaciers were (and still are) retreating in Alaska; my bosses were convinced. Also at the time, the Kyoto Protocol was not working, and I didn’t believe that there would be any impactful international agreement for climate mitigation.
Now, I see that almost every country in the world joined the Paris Agreement and so many people are working hard to develop and implement solutions to tackle climate change. We should definitely accelerate our efforts since time is not on our side, but I believe that we are on the right track and will be able to move forward much faster.
6. What’s your favorite song at the moment?
Butter by BTS.
7. Special Edition Olympics Season Question: If you could do any sport, which event would you compete in if you were in the Olympics?
I would compete in archery. It would be the best feeling if my arrow hit the center of the target. I also like how archers look calm and confident.
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