US Climate Policy: What happens when Obama's gone?

Date & time: 3.30–4.45am 9 June 2016, AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time)
Location: Molonglo Theatre, Level 2, JG Crawford Building (#132), Lennox Crossing, Australian National University, Acton ACT 2601
Speakers: Elliot Diringer, Luke Kemp, Eliza Murray

Through strong use of his executive powers, President Barack Obama has repositioned the US as a global leader in the fight against climate change. 

With the Republican majority in Congress steadfastly opposing climate legislation, the President has used existing authorities to significantly strengthen domestic greenhouse gas reduction policies.  His negotiators have persuaded other countries to fashion the Paris Agreement so that the US could join without going to Congress.

With presumptive presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump striking sharply divergent positions on climate change, the outcome of the upcoming election could reinforce or unravel Obama’s climate legacy, with significant ramifications for the rising global effort. 

What are the scenarios?  And what are the stakes?

This presentation by Elliot Diringer will be followed by commentary by Dr Luke Kemp and Eliza Murray on the lessons and implications for the Paris Agreement, Australia and the world, culminating in a Q&A session with the audience.

About the speakers

Elliot Diringer is Executive Vice President of the U.S. based Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), regularly ranked among the world’s top environmental think tanks.  In 2014-15, he led an informal dialogue among key governments that sketched out the essential contours of the Paris Agreement.  

Mr. Diringer began his career in journalism, serving from 1983 to 1997 as a reporter and editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he authored several award-winning environmental series and covered the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

From 1997 to 2000, he served as Director of Communications and Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where he helped develop major policy initiatives, led White House press and communications strategy on the environment, and was a member of U.S. delegations to international climate change negotiations. He was later Deputy White House Press Secretary, serving as a principal spokesman for President Clinton.

Luke Kemp is a lecturer at the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society. His research and consultancy work has covered international environmental policy as well as domestic and local climate policy. He has been a regular participant in both the climate negotiations and other international environmental negotiations (including the Rio+20 Earth Summit) since 2009.

Eliza Murray is a Sir Roland Wilson Foundation Scholar at the Crawford School of Public Policy, and is on leave from the Department of the Environment.