February 15, 2017

Climate Change 2017 – 2025

The narrative surrounding an aggressive U.S. policy and technology response to climate change — based until November 8th on the assumption of a Hillary Clinton Presidency — has to be reset. Now the national climate policy narrative will turn to 2021 . . . and perhaps then to 2025.

What happens between now and then? We see several potential outcomes being commonly discussed:

  • The Trump Administration will indeed reverse a decade of modest domestic and international progress on climate change and significantly slow a low-carbon transition.
  • Notwithstanding the Trump Administration’s hostility to climate action, the business and investment communities now “get it” and thus will step in to advance climate progress.
  • The low-carbon transition is so far along (given falling wind and solar prices) that it will proceed on its own steam.
  • City, state, and local actions will continue forward movement on climate change.
  • As a result of the Trump Administration’s hostility to climate, change climate advocates will finally get their act together and emerge stronger than before.

We can’t know which of these scenarios — if any — will play out over the next 12-48 (or even 96) months. The bottom line, however, is that the 2016 election significantly increased business uncertainties about where we’re headed on climate change. More uncertainty leads to more risk when it comes to companies having to prepare for potential carbon pricing and carbon markets, consumer responses, climate activism, state and local policies and measures, and climate litigation, among other factors.

As we enter 4 or 8 years of a Trump Administration, what should decision-makers know about relevant climate variables? We have put together one take at the answer in Anticipating Climate 2017 – 2025, a briefing series based on 17 topical modules. That may seem like rather a detailed briefing series, but climate change is a “wicked problem.” When it comes to playing Climate Chess, there are a lot of players and pieces on the chessboard.

Have feedback on the modules or the approach our briefing series represents? We’d love to hear it!


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Laura Kosloff

Laura Kosloff is an attorney with more than 30 years of environmental and natural resources experience. She has worked on numerous topics including hazardous waste, environmental justice, water law, and climate change. Currently she focuses on legal and policy issues relating to energy, climate, and other resource issues facing companies and organizations, with a growing focus on risk communication. She has worked extensively on the design of greenhouse gas mitigation and offset policies, and participated in carbon offset negotiations and due diligence.

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