Listening Sessions

In the spring of 2018, the Partnership for Responsible Growth began organizing a series of high-level dialogues between senior staff at major national environmental organizations and those who would be key stakeholders in any future climate policy debate. The purpose of these “listening sessions” was to present briefings from economists and other policy analysts on up-to-date information about the impact of different climate measures that might be adopted at the national level, and to share points of view about those impacts. The meetings were designed to further understanding of what approaches to climate policy could command broader political and social support, not to negotiate, debate, or develop consensus among participants.

In 2019, we’ve also begun a series of “field listening sessions” focused on bridging the gap between local coal community leaders and federal policymakers. Below are details about each of these efforts.

Washington Program

The National Wildlife Federation and Pew Charitable Trusts were our partners for a series of half-day listening sessions for 14 national environmental organizations to discuss with other stakeholders the potential components of future comprehensive national climate policy and the impact those measures would have in lowering emissions and on the economy, on families, and on various industries. We designed the dialogues to foster education and understanding of all stakeholders’ views about approaches to carbon pricing policy after almost a decade of no legislative progress on climate change and significant shifts in our energy mix. We steered clear of negotiating, debating, or developing consensus. Session topics were:

  • Carbon price levels and trajectories that could significantly reduce emissions

  • Options for imposing a border carbon adjustment on energy-intensive and trade-exposed industries to maintain the competitiveness of U.S. industry

  • Achieving equitable carbon pricing by using a portion of revenue raised to protect low-income families and invest in coal communities and environmental-justice priorities

  • Perspectives from the oil, gas and power industries

  • Policies to reduce transportation sector emissions

  • Overlapping policies and state-federal policy harmonization

  • The post-2018 political environment for climate policy and the Green New Deal

Field Listening Sessions

In April 2019 we began organizing listening sessions with local groups to build a network of communication between national environmental NGOs and community leaders working in coal producing places. Another goal was to learn more about the programs local advocates believe are needed to ensure a just energy transition and community investment where they live. Our Washington listening sessions made it clear that such communications are lacking and that there has been too little examination of actual experience in just transition policy to date. By building field listening sessions in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation and community economic development organizations in central Appalachia and western coal-producing states, we will help bring local voices into the federal policy conversation.