US Policy & Politics

We develop sound policy solutions in Washington, DC and around the country

Tracking the Loss of U.S. Federal Climate Leadership

Trump Administration’s energy agenda. Today the energy conversation around the world has shifted, an there are serious questions about the United States’ ability to meet its own goals under the Paris Climate Agreement. Our “Trump Backtracker” website serves as a valuable resource for anyone who wants a policy-by-policy look at where we are, and where we’re going.

Climate Advisers conducted an analysis of all the Obama-era climate policies on the books and in the pipeline at the end of that administration, from the Clean Power Plan to the SNAP Status Change Rule 21.

We will regularly update how vulnerable they are to roll back by the Trump administration, and what that means for U.S. climate pollution trajectory. We found that the “Trump Effect” really begins to bite into the U.S. emissions trajectory in 2025 – since many of the factors influencing today’s emissions trajectory can’t be reversed quickly.

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Mobilizing the U.S. Government to Support Sustainable Energy for All

Worldwide, about 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity, while 2.7 billion lack access to clean cooking fuels. Meeting their needs is central to reducing poverty. At the same time, we need to shift toward sustainable energy to confront climate change, the impacts of which are already being felt disproportionately by the poor. That requires a mix of renewable energy sources, fossil fuels, and energy-efficiency measures.

Fortunately, the two goals of ending energy poverty and protecting the Earth’s climate are compatible: ending energy poverty with this smart mix of energy sources and policies would only increase carbon dioxide emissions by 0.7 percent in 2030.

Climate Advisers worked with the Center for Global Development to synthesize extensive data and analysis on energy poverty, and created straightforward, politically realistic recommendations for how the United States should lead. We then organized a high-level event featuring a keynote address by the Secretary-General, who together with other distinguished speakers led a thoughtful discussion of one of the world’s most pressing development issues. Finally, we organized an exclusive meeting between the Secretary-General and top administration and political decision makers. Following these efforts, the United States joined other leading nations in endorsing efforts to end energy poverty in climate friendly ways by 2030.

Advising the Senate on Global Climate Talks

Politics should stop at the water’s edge, but on climate change that is rarely the case. Yet U.S. and global interests are best served when the United States negotiates internationally from a position of strength, with the President and Congress aligned around a common foreign policy.

When President Obama took office, there was a real risk that U.S. efforts to negotiate on climate abroad would be undermined by domestic partisan – and intra-party – disagreements. There was a precedent: in 1997, President Clinton endorsed the Kyoto Protocol despite the Senate’s warnings not to do so. A resulting Sense of the Senate resolution was seen as a setback to U.S. climate leadership.

But times change. In 2009, with the Senate actively considering an ambitious climate bill approved by House of Representatives, sixteen moderate Senators sought assurances that a new international climate agreement would require action from all major emitters, including China and India. Wanting to get up to speed quickly, this group of Senators asked Climate Advisers to organize weekly briefings on key issues in global climate talks. Based on these sessions, these Senators came to the conclusion that the approach taken by President Obama made sense and avoided the pitfalls of the past.  Absent this engagement from Climate Advisers, the Senate might easily have rejected the emerging global climate agreement before it was finalized.