Energy Policy

Policy Drivers: Summary


In this lesson, we've talked about the factors influencing the development and change of energy and climate policy. 

Important Concepts to take away from this lesson

Hopefully this content has you thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of industry's involvement in the development of policy. Without their expertise and insight, it might be difficult to construct policies that are realistic, feasible, and achieve the desired results. The other side of that coin, however, is that industry stakeholders bring to the table their own agendas and motives, many of which are (understandably) self-serving, not altruistic. So, where and how we draw the line on industry's policy influence is a real challenge.

A picture of ferns growing near where lava used to be
Ferns growing in hardened lava
Credit: Anthony Robinson

I like to think of energy and climate policy formation in terms of the image shown above (taken by my husband, on a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii). When lava oozes from a volcano, and blankets out across the landscape with no regard for what was there before, it covers everything in a crunchy, challenging, and rocky landscape. I feel like this is where we were starting a few years ago in terms of addressing our energy and climate challenges. The federal political environment, much like this lava field, seemed totally inhospitable and wholly incompatible with our climate goals. But, despite that seemingly impenetrable layer of political stalemate, some positive possibilities have found their way, just like these ferns have found a way (are those vertically diffusing ferns?!?). You can think of the IRA, and to a lesser extent the IIJA as the little fronds poking through the desolation. (Hopefully they continue to grow then spread across the entire field until the lava is completely concealed!) We've also seen how inaction on the lava-covered national stage hasn't stopped smaller-scale efforts from sprouting up. I wanted to end the lesson on a hopeful note, recognizing that very quickly these topics can seem a bit hopeless or too big to address. So - chin up! There are so many folks just like you who are working hard to make sure the ferns of climate policy are able to sprout and thrive.

Reminder - Complete all tasks!

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