By David Gardiner, President and Principal

The election of Joseph Biden as the next President changes the federal landscape on climate change policy significantly. And, while there are many reasons to be pessimistic that a closely divided Congress will be gridlocked on many issues, regardless of the outcome of the elections in Georgia, I share the views of Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley who recently told reporters “I have no doubt this is going to be high on the priority list for Congress to begin addressing, and for an administration to address in different forms and fashion. It could be that it doesn’t take the form of one kind of comprehensive omnibus package. Instead … it becomes an element that is embedded in infrastructure.”

To help corporate sustainability officers understand this new landscape, David Gardiner and Associates (DGA) analyzed not only President-elect Biden’s plan, but also those that have been proposed or introduced by Democratic congressional leaders. Our new report, “Federal Climate Legislation: An Overview of Policies Beneficial to Achieving Corporate Sustainability Goals,” finds that these proposals:

  • Span all business sectors, including power, transportation, industry and buildings and, thus, have potential to assist companies in meeting their own corporate climate goals as well as the nation’s.
  • Include comprehensive proposals which aim to reduce carbon emissions across multiple sectors, as well as initiatives targeted at single sectors.
  • Use a variety of policy tools to help reduce carbon emissions, including tax incentives, emission and efficiency standards, grants and other federal spending, and direction on new planning directives or policies.
  • Focus considerably on expanding infrastructure to develop, produce, transmit and use clean energy.

Our report aims to take a first step to clarify and make sense of this dizzying array of policy proposals and the complex landscape. We would urge every corporate sustainability leader to explore this new landscape and identify the measures which could help you achieve your climate and clean energy goals.

Of course, none of us knows whether the President and Congress can come together on any of these policies. But corporate leaders should understand which ones could make a difference and push for agreement on the policies which can help corporate America reach its goals as rapidly as possible, while also helping to stimulate the economy.

And, as the Chamber’s Neil Bradley suggests, a good starting point will be to look for opportunities to help bring all political leaders together on infrastructure proposals, such as the $287 billion highway bill, S.2302, which includes climate and water provisions and was unanimously adopted by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and H.R. 2, the

House Democrats’ $1.5 trillion infrastructure package, which contains investments for renewable power, charging and fueling infrastructure, transit and much more broadband.

“It’s going to be that type of kind of compromise that reflects both resiliency, connectivity and advancing solutions on climate change, kind of wrapped together,” Bradley said. “That’s where we think the sweet spot is in divided government in the first part of next year.”

Read DGA’s new report, “Federal Climate Legislation: An Overview of Policies Beneficial to Achieving Corporate Sustainability Goals,” here.