US Climate Commitments Abroad Thrown into Confusion

RFF scholars Billy Pizer and Marc Hafstead are quoted in an E&E News article about the international implications of the Build Back Better Act's roadblock.

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Dec. 21, 2021

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E&E News

“You can talk all you want about how we have these ambitious goals, but if other countries can see that we’re not able to deliver on the policies to help with those goals, then what are they going to be thinking when Kerry is pushing China or India for steeper reductions in coal use?” asked Marc Hafstead, a fellow at Resources for the Future...

A lot of countries are pursuing climate policies for reasons other than just reciprocity with the United States, said Billy Pizer, vice president for research and policy engagement at Resources for the Future.

Doing so may provide some countries with an economic advantage, allowing them to invest in clean energy technologies that make them more competitive, he said. For others, it may be the only way they hope to stave off rising seas that threaten to swallow coastal communities.

Pizer cautioned against making too much out of a single political event, saying other countries are used to seeing the ideological ups and downs of the United States.

“If you think about everything that happened while the U.S. was really out of the picture during the previous administration, you still saw quite a bit of progress, and the U.S. is actually making much more substantial efforts now,” he said.

“Exactly how much this slows things down is going to be something we’re not going to know for a little while.”

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