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Whither US federal climate policy in the age of Trump, Pelosi, and defiant US states?
February 15, 2019

NCAER Conference Room

NCAER hosted a seminar on “Whither US federal climate policy in the age of Trump, Pelosi, and defiant US states?” with Nathaniel Keohane, Environmental Defense Fund. Shreekant Gupta, Professor, Delhi School of Economics, and Coordinating Lead Author, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (5th Assessment report), was the discussant . The seminar was attended by NCAER research team and invited guests from institutions across the city.


The United States is the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter on an annual basis, and remains the largest historical emitter.  The Trump Administration, however, has sought to roll back climate regulations and threatened to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement.  Recently, there has been renewed interest in the U.S. Congress in climate policy, including proposals for an economy-wide carbon tax.  States like California and New York, meanwhile, have responded to the vacuum in Washington by putting in place aggressive climate policies of their own. With a new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, and a presidential election coming up in 2020, what are the prospects for climate policy in the United States? And how much can be accomplished by states in the absence of federal action?  In his presentation at NCAER, Nathaniel Keohane, head of the Climate Program at the Environmental Defense Fund, deliberated these very pertinent questions at length as he discussed the prospects for U.S. climate policy in the Trump era and under a future administration.


Nathaniel Keohane is an economist, advocate, and expert on climate, environment, and energy issues in the United States and globally.  Keohane is Senior Vice President for Climate at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a leading nonprofit advocacy organization based in New York.  In 2011-2012, he served in the Obama Administration as Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Environment in the National Economic Council and Domestic Policy Council, where he helped to develop and coordinate administration policy on a wide range of energy and environmental issues.  Prior to joining the Administration, Keohane was Director of Economic Policy and Analysis and then Chief Economist at EDF, playing a lead role in efforts to enact comprehensive cap-and-trade legislation in Congress.  He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York University, and a past Senior Fellow and Lecturer in Global Affairs at Yale University’s Jackson Institute, and was an Associate Professor of Economics at the Yale School of Management.  His research in environmental economics has been published in prominent academic journals, and he is the co-author of Markets and the Environment (2nd ed., Island Press, 2015), and co-editor of Economics of Environmental Law (Edward Elgar, 2009).  Keohane received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, and his B.A. from Yale College.