A Roundtable on the Future of Climate Policy

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I was fortunate enough to have the chance to lead a symposium on the future of climate policy back in April for the progressive periodical Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. The transcript has just been published. I had great panelists: Joe Aldy, an assistant professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School and the former White House adviser on energy and the environment under President Obama; Vicki Arroyo, the executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center; Alex Laskey, the president and founder of the energy efficiency company OPOWER; Manik Roy, the vice president of federal government outreach for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change; and Lexi Shultz, the legislative director for climate and energy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

We were tasked with looking ahead to the state of climate policy in 10 years time:

For this edition of “America 2021,” our roundtable series, we ask: Where will America be in ten years on the climate and energy front? What new problems will we be facing—and what old ones will still be plaguing us? And what policies and ideas do we need to enact in the intervening years to ensure that we’re in a much better place in 2021 than we are in 2011?

The article—a polished transcript of our 90-minute discussion at Democracy‘s office in Washington—is worth reading in full. It’s a dark, confused time for climate and energy policy—witness the zombie-like proceedings in Bonn, where the interim UN climate talks are currently taking place—but I think Shultz, in her conclusion, might be right, if only because she can’t be wrong:

Shultz: Am I optimistic about 2021? I would say I am optimistic because I don’t think I could function if I weren’t. There will be a couple of political swings by 2021, from conservative to progressive and beyond, and hopefully that will make a difference. I am hopeful that the swing will make it so that some of our forecasts here about Republicans being in the right place, or at least less in the wrong place, will actually come about. They’ll recognize that it’s much better for them to be creating jobs and be optimistic about America, rather than running away from everything, whether it’s innovation, solutions, jobs, or science.

Check out the rest here.