The recent climb in gasoline prices to $4 per gallon is the latest headwind facing the U.S. economy. In addition to this threat to economic growth, America’s current energy system poses long-term threats to national security, health, and the environment. On May 18, The Hamilton Project hosted a forum on America’s energy future, focusing on strategies to give all energy sources equal footing in the marketplace and expand America’s opportunities to utilize cleaner, low-cost sources of energy.
A panel of economic experts, moderated by Hamilton Project Director and Brookings Senior Fellow Michael Greenstone, presented three new proposals to improve the regulations governing energy consumption and environmental quality, create a new clean energy standard and improve the federal government’s efforts to deploy new energy technologies. The Hamilton Project also released a new paper outlining principles to help level the playing field for all energy sources—moving away from a system that favors energy sources with low prices at the pump but higher costs to society through health impacts and our ongoing reliance on foreign oil.
A second panel, moderated by former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, discussed the future of energy and climate change policy in the United States. Participants included Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers; Farallon Capital Management Founder Tom Steyer, co-chair of Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs; The Nature Conservancy President and CEO Mark Tercek; and former U.S. Senator John Warner (R-Va), currently an adviser to the Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate. Following each panel, the participants took questions from the audience.
The forum concluded with keynote remarks by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) on “Bipartisan Solutions to America’s Energy Challenges.”
A Strategy for America’s Energy Future: Illuminating Energy’s Full Costs, by Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney
- A Better Approach to Environmental Regulation: Getting the Costs and Benefits Right, by Ted Gayer
- Promoting Clean Energy in the American Power Sector, by Joseph E. Aldy
- An Energy Technology Corporation Will Improve the Federal Government’s Efforts to Accelerate Energy Innovation, by John M. Deutch
Assistant Professor of Public Policy
Distinguished Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
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[On the role of the United States at the COP 24 U.N. climate negotiations] They don’t have credibility and leadership capacity and leverage, of course, the way they used to.
[On the role of the United States in the COP 24 U.N. climate negotiations] In Paris there were a lot of countries who took a deep breath and went beyond their comfort zone. [At COP24 at the] political level, there’s no U.S. leverage. The absence of the U.S. hurts for sure, but I think there are plenty of grownups who can get us there ... It would be a different deal if the U.S. were here.