“Government policy drives entrepreneurial investment.” Deb Markowitz, Vermont’s Secretary of Natural Resources, spoke with vigor today on the importance of state legislatures taking strong action against climate change in the next four years.
This evening’s panel, “U.S. Action at All Levels”, brought three leaders in differing sectors together to speak on the future of climate action in America. Moderated by Jennifer Layke, Global Energy Director of the World Resources Institute, the room was filled to the brim with people from across the globe, all anxious to hear how America’s current environmental leaders planned to proceed under a Trump presidency.
Alongside Markowitz sat Diane Holdorf, Chief Sustainability Officer of Kellogg, and Brian Deese, Senior Advisor to Barack Obama. Together, the three speakers spanned federal, state, and corporate interests.
Layke began by addressing the tiny-handed elephant in the room, acknowledging that there was much “uncertainty” following the Presidential election. She kicked off the discussion by asking the panelists how they thought a Trump presidency would impact the progress made in each of their respective institutions on climate adaptation and mitigation.
Deese spoke about the Clean Power Plan, which many fear will be thrown out by President elect Trump, pointing out that it hasn’t actually entered into force yet and is intended as a long-term driver for transition to renewable energy. Progress being made now (and it is significant!) is mainly due to market changes.
Sounding very cool for a man whose last eight years of work was so immediately threatened by Trump, Deese confidently explained that there is an economic transition to clean energy underway. “I know well… how slowly you can move sometimes when you’re trying to achieve your plans,” he said.
According to Deese, the shift from coal to natural gas, and natural gas to renewables in the long term, is a market-driven movement. Regulations have little to do with the loss of financial support for coal.
One audience member asked how these shifts could be continued when traditionally conservative states, such as Texas, had such a large role to play in the successful transition to clean energy.
Deese was quick to address these concerns. “It’s funny you should mention Texas,” he said. “Texas is a state that produces more wind power than any other state in the country.”
Secretary Markowitz of Vermont spoke to the role states are already taking in spearheading climate change mitigation. “Every time we’re investing money, we’re doing it for multiple benefits,” Markowitz said. She acknowledged that while the coasts were the first to jump on the green-policy bandwagon, she was hopeful that Middle America would see the effects of environmental policy. Markowitz lists these as two fold: 1) reducing emissions and 2) stimulating economic development.
And though some states are not openly in favor of climate change action, Markowitz expressed that state governments and resource secretaries “quietly moved forward” with regulations and plans to reduce emissions following the Paris Agreement.
“There are a number of my colleagues that will not use the words climate change,” said Markowitz. “That doesn’t mean they won’t protect their constituents from air pollution.”
The major takeaways from this panel?
So how can we keep action on climate change adaptation alive, even if we have four years of Trump ahead of us? Deese offers a solution--show people exactly how climate change affects them or someone they love. Says Deese: “It’s an issue that’s most impactful when it’s brought down to the local level.”
15/11/2016 07:33:30 pm
Hi Hannah, this is an intriguing post. I expected it to bash Trump and his beliefs towards climate change. As a liberal believer in climate change, I hope America is able to enforce the Clean Power Act and stay signed into the Paris Agreement. Both are crucial for slowing down the impacts of climate change on our planet. I agree with the last paragraph. Bringing everything to a local level so individuals can see how they're impacted by something and suddenly you'll have their attention. Thanks for posting!
18/11/2016 01:19:11 pm
I'm glad you liked it!
15/11/2016 10:05:30 pm
Very interesting to know the force behind climate change. I found it eye opening when discussing the idea that climate change is something that can be continued to worked upon even with Trump as our president. I'm very hopeful for the future and success of the Paris agreement if we can continue on the path towards renewable resources. Overall interesting post!
16/11/2016 07:12:41 am
Do you think our President elect will actually enact any of the deregulations he says he says he wants to? Do you think that the American people will generally oppose it if he does?
16/11/2016 07:12:49 am
Hi Hannah, I was wondering what you think would be the response from Hillary at an event like this compared to trumps, and based on that response, how what that affect the current state of the topic?
16/11/2016 07:13:33 am
Teacher: Mrs Foy
16/11/2016 07:13:53 am
Do you think Trump is bluffing this whole thing and will change his mind or do you think he is sticking to what he said?
16/11/2016 07:16:03 am
Would having a different president elect like Clinton, Johnson, Or Stein have affected what the U.S. would do to help climate change?
Maggie S. (Mrs. Foy period 3)
16/11/2016 07:18:09 am
Hi Hannah, I was wondering what actions you believe Trump will take regarding climate action and if you believe he actually will take action. How do you think Trumps action will compare to Obamas and do you think he will do as much for the climate as Obama did? Thank you.
Zach G (foy period 3
16/11/2016 08:31:35 am
Do you believe climate change is going to be a big issue Trump will address
16/11/2016 05:17:23 pm
Interesting article talking about the election since I am sure everyone was wrapped up in it head over heels. One question, if there are states that will not take major action to help with climate control and Trump does not push it at all then what can we or the rest of the world do if it ends up being the U.S. causing the most issues in regard to climate change?
17/11/2016 08:11:14 am
Chem 134 Foy. Do you think since Trump runs things like a business, he will hire and listen to only the best in that field? I am hopeful he will change his mind being around many people passionate and highly skilled in that area. After all he can't just undo everything that has been done, his proposals have to make it through house and senate.
17/11/2016 08:30:44 am
I chose to read this article because prior to, I was not thoroughly informed on Trumps beliefs on the Paris Agreement. If Trump continues with these beliefs, do they people have enough power to go against what he presents and achieve the goals we have on climate change?
18/11/2016 01:24:49 pm
17/11/2016 11:54:18 am
Its interesting to read about this, I wasn't expecting such an optimistic perspective, given the recent backlash against President elect Trump. The fact that progress is expected to be made regardless of who is president is very good to hear, as well renewable energy resources being market driven.
18/11/2016 10:35:36 am
In your opinion, do you think trump will do something about this climate change? I heard about him saying he was going to do something about it but by any chance, is it certain?
19/11/2016 05:35:26 am
Your blog posts are so insightful and upbeat, Hannah. I was especially fascinated by your post about the Trump effect (loved the "little-handed elephant in the room" reference although I thought a "little-handed Neanderthal in the room" reference might have been more apt). I expected the outlook to be much more dire given the "hoax" label he assigned to the topic during his campaign. Who knows, of course, how much of what he said he actually meant. Yet his appointees to date indicate he means to take the country back in time in so many worrisome ways. I love your hopefulness and look forward to having you sort it out for the geezers at breakfast next week in GR. We are so lucky to have you, and so many other "Hannahs," as our future.
20/11/2016 01:54:05 pm
Why do you think Trump, and so many other people still do not believe that Climate Change is a problem, or that it even exists at all when there is so much evidence to prove that it does?
21/11/2016 10:19:49 am
It's interesting to see Texas leading America in terms of wind energy especially when Texas is a deep red state. Can the federal government do anything to usurp state plans when it comes to combating climate change?
30/11/2016 01:29:21 pm
It's nice to see that even though we will have a president that does not believe in climate change, that it will still be pushed by business and private sectors. It shows hope because climate change needs acted on now. I am still hopeful that the new president will acknowledge what is happening in our world.
Leave a Reply.