2020 is shaping up to be a watershed moment for climate policy in the United States. The Green New Deal proposal has reopened the national conversation about infrastructure and climate change, and galvanized support in some important constituencies. It also raises a key dynamic for climate action, namely the interaction of local action and federal policy. If there is a new administration and congress in 2021, there will be ripe opportunities for federal, regional, and state collaboration on issues of climate policy and energy system transformation. It is vital to lay the groundwork for that now. SDSN is currently working with a team of researchers to make a unique contribution as a “knowledge network” in this area. The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) is a global collaboration of energy research teams charting practical pathways to deeply reducing greenhouse gas emissions in their own countries. It is predicated on taking seriously what is needed to limit global warming to 2°C or less. The DDPP has published national pathways for the US in 2015 but is now working on two regional studies.
This project will address three challenges to energy system transformation in the US: energy, jobs, and geospatial planning. The project will produce two regional DDPP studies for the Midwest and Southeast. Additionally, a federal white paper will highlight lessons-learned from the state level on decarbonization regulation and legislation. Initial results from the Midwest study will be presented, along with collaboration opportunities for joining the SDSN USA Network.