For the first time in many decades, the world has entered a period of major energy transition, driven by deep-seated concerns about climate change, health impacts of carbon fuels, and geopolitics of energy trade. At the center of this transition stands the United States, both as a key contributor to its advance and a major hurdle for progress. Such a dual, seemingly contradictory role is made possible by the complexities of the transition itself and by the historical inability of U.S. administrations to forge a true energy policy. This means a coherent set of measures and actions informed by science, by a commitment to public health and welfare, and by political and geopolitical savvy.
As the Trump regime has proven itself unwilling in all of the mentioned areas of responsibility, particularly regarding climate change as a direct threat to public health—a threat whose impact is now understood to be costing American lives and communities to an ever-increasing degree–it will be left to the following administrations to reverse course and begin to transform the United States into a global leader in the realm of energy and climate change. With its unmatched scientific and technological capabilities, the U.S. by any reckoning should have taken such a role from the beginning. It is not too late for it to do so now. This will require intelligent, well-informed policies that are flexible and that support prosperity, as well as welfare and environmental goals. It is the aim of this Task Force to create a frame for such policies and to propose the most among them.