Nancy C. Loeb Director, Environmental Advocacy Clinic assistant clinical professor of lawNorthwestern Pritzker School of Law Email: [email protected]Phone: 312-503-0052 (office, preferred); 773-569-6050 (mobile)Expert topics: Energy law and policy; the intersection between economics and environmental law; regulatory strategies; environmental justice
Calls to scrap the Clean Power Plan and “cancel” the Paris climate accord
“The most dramatic effects of the Trump administration’s environmental policies will almost certainly be a dramatic pullback from the Obama administration’s focus on climate change. Even if Trump does not pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, plans by the incoming administration to kill the Clean Power Plan and promote fossil fuels will make it nearly impossible for the U.S. to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. U.S. efforts on climate change will have to be driven at the state level and by private industries with a stake in the outcome — like wind, solar and possibly nuclear.”
“The Trump administration may have less ability to affect change in energy markets through changes in regulatory policies than it expects. Killing the Clean Power Plan will not bring back coal. The costs of building expensive new coal-fired power plants in the face of low-priced natural gas is a risky economic bet, especially considering coal plants take years to build and the coal-friendly policies of the new administration can only be guaranteed for four years. Investments in oil may also be largely out of the Trump administration’s control. Counter to arguments made leading up to the election, regulations are not the reason drilling for oil has been down. Oil competes in a global market where other countries can readily add supply to keep prices down, just as Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing countries have done over the past two years. Most newly drilled or fracked U.S. oil is unlikely to be competitive at prices below $50 per gallon, which global players can force on the market fairly quickly.”
Clean air and water rules
“The Trump administration can probably pull back on federal clean air and clean water rules without changing existing regulations. The EPA is a major enforcer of the Clean Air and Water Acts, so softening compliance efforts could have a significant effect on how clean U.S. air and water will be. This might be an area that Trump decides to leave to the states, which would decide for themselves how rigorously to enforce existing laws."
Michael R. Wasielewski Executive Director, Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN)professor of chemistryWeinberg College of Arts and SciencesEmail: [email protected]Phone: 847-331-1478 (mobile); 847-467-1423 (office)Expert topics: Solar electricity and fuels; renewable energy; the importance of funding basic science
How renewable energy development might be affected “Significant progress has been made over the last 20 years to shift toward clean, renewable energy sources that provide the U.S. increased energy security and significantly reduce the negative impacts of energy production on the environment. Research and development in these areas continue to produce new technologies that translate to new industries and job opportunities. It remains to be seen whether the new administration will continue this forward progress, especially in view of its campaign rhetoric. Renewable energy and its related industries are already making a significant positive impact on the U.S. economy. It would be short-sighted to place the U.S. at a disadvantage in this area relative to our global competitors.”
Jamie Druckman Associate Director, Northwestern University Institute for Policy Research (IPR) professor of political scienceWeinberg College of Arts and SciencesPlease direct interview requests to Joe Popely at 847-491-4871 or [email protected].Expert topics: How citizens make political, economic and social decisions in various contexts; the relationship between citizens' preferences and public policy; how political elites make decisions under varying institutional conditions
Political capital and Trump’s campaign promises
“Trump may move against even what the Bush administration did. Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which included such items as requiring automakers to boost gas mileage to 35 miles per gallon for all passenger cars by 2020, a 40 percent increase; funding for research and development of solar and geothermal energy and for the increased production of biofuels; and providing small businesses loans toward energy-efficiency improvements.
“How can he do this? Most Americans do not consider climate change to be a top concern. Moreover, many prominent Republicans have expressed skepticism, including Marco Rubio, who, in 2014, questioned a consensus report, “Climate Change Impacts in the United States.” The report, which was produced by 300 expert scientists and was reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences, as well as agencies with representatives from oil companies, puts much of the uncertainty to rest by stating that climate change ‘is primarily due to human activities.’ “Additionally, many Republicans who may see climate change as a serious threat still often do not support mitigation policies, given economic tradeoffs. Finally, Trump got strong support from those in the Rust Belt who lost their jobs in the coal industry. In short, the public is polarized on the general issue.”