Today’s guest is Nat Keohane, Senior Vice President of Climate at Environmental Defense Fund, where he leads EDF’s Climate program and helps to shape the organizations advocacy for environmentally effective and economically sound climate policy.
EDF is one of the world's largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of 700 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. Guided by science and economics, they tackle urgent threats with practical solutions.
An economist with expertise in energy and environmental policy, Nat also holds a position as Adjunct Professor of Law at New York University, where he teaches a seminar on climate change policy.
Previously, Nat served in the Obama Administration as Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Environment in the National Economic Council and Domestic Policy Council, where he helped to develop and coordinate administration policy on a wide range of energy and environmental issues. Before joining the Administration, he directed economic policy and analysis at EDF, playing a lead role in the efforts to enact comprehensive cap-and-trade legislation in Congress.
Prior to EDF, Nat was an Associate Professor of Economics at the Yale School of Management. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2001, and his B.A. from Yale College in 1993.
In today’s episode, we cover:
Nat’s history, what led him to care about climate change, and what led him to EDF
What EDF does, and how Nat’s responsibilities have evolved at EDF since 1994 when he joined to today
Nat’s time teaching at Yale, what he liked about it, and what ultimately led him back to the advocacy world at EDF
His time at the White House in 2011/2012 as Special Assistant to President Obama for Energy and Environment in the National Economic Council and Domestic Policy Council
The role of markets vs policy
The importance of striking the right balance between urgency and hopefulness
EDF’s focus on pragmatism and getting stuff done, not just what the right answer is in theory
EDF’s bipartisan approach and the importance of that for any meaningful policy initiatives to be durable over the long term
Importance of the 2020 US presidential election, and the stakes
The role of China, and of geography in general when determining climate impacts and strategy
Some reasons for optimism
How Nat would allocate $100B to maximize its impact in the climate fight
Nat’s advice for you and I on how to help
Links to topics discussed in this episode:
Nat Keohane’s Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nathaniel-keohane-00809988/
Nat Keohane’s twitter: https://twitter.com/natkeohane?lang=en
Yale School of Management: https://som.yale.edu/
Waxman-Markey bill: https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/glossary/1805110/waxman-markey-bill
National Economic Council: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/administration/eop/nec
Cap and trade: https://www.edf.org/climate/how-cap-and-trade-works
You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at firstname.lastname@example.org, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.
Enjoy the show!