New Paper Highlights What New U.S. Administration Would Mean for Global Climate Fight
NEW YORK CITY, April 7, 2020 — In a new issue paper published today by the Asia Society Policy Institute, two climate experts analyze what a potential new U.S. Administration would mean for the global fight against climate change and lay out a series of recommendations for a new administration to consider.
The paper, titled Climate Diplomacy under a New U.S. Administration, is co-authored by Thom Woodroofe, Senior Advisor on Multilateral Affairs to the President of the Asia Society Policy Institute and a former climate diplomat; and Brendan Guy, the Manager of International Policy at the National Resources Defense Council (writing in a personal capacity).
The paper is the first in a series of policy products that the Asia Society Policy Institute will publish as part of a new project exploring the possibilities around U.S.-China climate cooperation.
In the report, the authors assess the international climate policies of both Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders across six areas, including their proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; engage with other major emitters, including China; use trade policy as a lever for climate action; increase climate finance and remove fossil fuel subsidies; take action across other sectors; and embed climate action as a core national security priority.
With President Trump in the process of formally withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change at a time when increased global ambition is required, the authors conclude that the United States has the potential to either be a catalytic force for climate action going into 2021 or an even stronger spoiler of the Agreement’s ongoing effectiveness at a crucial juncture.
“While the Paris Agreement’s five-year ratchet mechanism requires countries to update or confirm the level of their 2030 ambition, it is already clear that a number of countries are hedging based on the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. This is the case despite a targeted and systematic diplomatic effort by the UN Secretary-General and the United Kingdom as the incoming president of COP26. With COP26 now delayed until 2021, this hedging is likely to intensify, including in light of the radically changed economic circumstances the world finds itself in as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, a clearer understanding of the likely policies of a future Democratic president can help provide a greater degree of reassurance to the international community throughout this period.”
The authors also lay out three cross-cutting considerations for a potential new Democratic administration to maximize their efforts in the global fight against climate change, including how they can best structure their administration; engage other major emitters most strategically; and use all tools in the toolkit to reduce emissions. This includes a number of specific recommendations for how the candidates’ existing policies can best be elaborated, including with regard to China, plans to host a world leaders summit early in a new administration, and the tabling of a new 2030 emissions reduction target. The likely constraints and choices that will confront a potential new U.S. administration as they determine their approach to climate action are also highlighted in the paper.
About the Asia Society Policy Institute
With a solution-oriented mandate, the Asia Society Policy Institute tackles major policy challenges confronting the Asia-Pacific in security, prosperity, sustainability, and the development of common norms and values for the region. The Asia Society Policy Institute is a think-and-do tank designed to bring forth policy ideas that incorporate the best thinking from top experts in Asia and to work with policymakers to integrate these ideas and put them into practice.