What We Do

Super-storms, wildfires, flooding, droughts, forest degradation, heat waves. Every day, somewhere in the United States, Americans are learning how climate change threatens our health and our prosperity. As a result, debate about the need to take action to address these risks is increasing dramatically. Public concern is reflected across the political and demographic spectrum.

The Partnership for Responsible Growth has sought to foster honest, effective dialogue and learning among the full range of stakeholders and interests that are affected by climate change. In 2019, we seek to advance that work primarily in four ways: 

First, we continue a dialogue initiated in 2018 with a broad range of interests, including 15 major national research and advocacy organizations and diverse industry and place-based stakeholders, to determine the most promising design for a carbon fee program. Lessons learned from that process--which continue to be refined by work with these constituencies—will inform climate policy debate and future legislation. PRG has established a leadership position in this dialogue with the Pew Charitable Trusts, the National Wildlife Federation, and leading think tanks such as the Brookings Institution and Resources for the Future. We will continue that effort. 

Second, we have initiated a series of listening sessions with local leaders and economic development organizations in regions that have been or will be hit hardest by coal’s decline and evolution in fossil fuel markets to identify issues and the most effective solutions. Our goal is to ensure that local voices have a significant role in designing any federal action to help build a sound economic foundation for these workers and communities. We are working closely with the Brookings Institution, the National Wildlife Federation, and other Washington-based organizations and many local organizations.

Third, we will be bringing government officials, senior policy analysts and business leaders from Germany, the UK, the EU, Canada and California to Washington, DC, to conduct briefings and seminars this fall, winter and spring for congressional staff and members, media, and the U.S. policy community. Our premise is simple: Our legislators should learn first-hand what is working and not working from those in major industrial economies who have had at least a decade of experience managing national or state climate policies. (These are the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 10th-largest economies in the world, and all are way ahead of the U.S. in shaping a response to climate change.) Our lead partner and principal co-convener is The Atlantic Council; the Aspen Institute will also convene events with us. Other partners include a group of NGOs in the EU and Canada that conduct extensive economic and legal analysis of climate policy and carbon-pricing opportunities.

PRG co-founder George Frampton spent the first three months of 2019 in Europe, based at the American Academy of Berlin, talking with leaders on that continent’s front lines. In late May he organized a two-day seminar in Berlin featuring climate leaders from the German and UK governments as well as leading European climate policy experts. This seminar will provide a template for the planned briefings in Washington.

Fourth, from the very beginning, PRG has been committed to providing Congress with the best information on how a carbon fee would work. In addition to our briefings on climate policy and carbon pricing in other economies we will continue to bring objective advice and counsel to key committee members and staff on Capitol Hill, and to leaders in the business community and media who are participants in the U.S. policy dialogue.

For example, how would various carbon pricing regimes affect climate change and the U.S. economy? Experts have carried out extensive modeling and economic analysis over the past few years. This rich inventory of data includes: 1) estimates of emissions reductions in diverse sectors of the economy at different prices and tax rates, 2) details on how to adjust pricing over time, 3) the impact on energy prices from various tax levels, 4) distributional impacts on families and regions, and 5) competitive pressures on carbon-intensive industries. PRG will continue to bring this data to bear in discussions of real-life policy scenarios to help assess what combinations of policies would work best to reduce emissions, minimize costs, drive investment in new technologies, promote equity across all income groups and geographic regions, and attract political support.

To summarize, PRG is striving to be an honest broker. An overwhelming majority of economists and many policy experts believe that a carbon fee or tax must be a component of climate policy if we are to create incentives for innovation and new investment in lower-carbon technologies—and thus accelerate the transition to clean energy. Transforming an economy that has grown and flourished for more than a century overwhelmingly on fossil fuels will require powerful market signals. But it is also generally acknowledged that “pricing” alone will not be sufficient. To succeed, we also will need a medley of other measures, including mandates, standards and other requirements, particularly to reduce emissions from transportation, agriculture, and buildings.

In spite of the existing rich lode of useful information and policy expertise, the development of promising policy and programs remains a national challenge. We believe that by promoting a thorough and thoughtful discussion of these issues at a time when serious policy development is only beginning, PRG can make an important contribution to the eventual enactment of carbon pricing and complementary policies that will enable our country once again to be a leader in solving this fundamental global problem.