Welcome to the Climate Policy Menu
The intent of the menu is to help policymakers navigate the universe of policy solutions that can be used to reduce or remove carbon emissions, as well as mitigate the impacts of climate change in the United States, while protecting U.S. competitiveness and leadership into the next century.
The website is organized without preference to policy mechanism and is meant as an educational tool to provide objective information that will allow policymakers to create a mix of policies that they can support and will achieve the goal of getting the U.S. to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.
The Menu is broadly divided into three categories of steps the U.S. can take to address climate change and its impacts: Reduce, Remove and Adapt.
Navigating the Menu
One can navigate through the Climate Policy Menu in several ways: by segment (Reduce, Remove, Adapt), by sector of the economy (electricity, transportation, industry, residential and commercial buildings, agriculture and forestry, and cross-cutting), and by Congressional Committee of Jurisdiction. Since many policies have diverse applications, one can learn about them through several points of entry. Within each segment, the Menu provides summaries of the major policy options, including a brief description, design considerations, U.S. experience, additional resources, and related policies.
Use the menu below, and sub-menus on other pages on this site, to see an array of policy tools. Policy options are displayed alphabetically by default, but you can also search or apply one or more filters to narrow your results.
Core Policy Mechanisms
Climate policy can take a variety of forms, and core policy instruments can and should be tailored to address different dynamics across geographies and U.S. economic sectors. They include:
Innovation refers to a variety of activities that drive the development and commercialization of emerging technologies, whether through government labs, enterprising start-ups, small businesses, or the marketplace. The federal government has long played a role in energy innovation – whether for improving domestic energy security, reducing consumer costs, or mitigating climate change – and there is a lot the government can do to induce innovation beyond basic research.
Standards seek a specific action or outcome, providing policymakers more certainty. Standards can take a variety of forms, including: command and control regulations that specify technologies and processes, and performance-based standards that require the regulated entity to meet a specific performance goal. Standards can be implemented at a variety of levels, including at a specific pollution source or across an entire economic sector.
Market-based approaches such as carbon pricing and emissions trading are meant to create market signals that encourage shifts in long-term investment decisions and accelerate the deployment of technologies that can reduce emissions. Market-based policy can be designed to be sector-specific or economy-wide, with cost, stringency, and distributional considerations around revenue and impacts among pertinent considerations.
Information, Coordination and Capacity-Building
One of the biggest challenges to addressing climate change preparedness and responses is limited access to information and expertise at all levels of decision making — from America’s communities to the halls of Congress. Information, coordination, and capacity building refers to a myriad of opportunities to get technical support to local government, provide training for federal agency and congressional staff on adaptation practice, and support research to enhance our national understanding of what is effective adaptation so it can be deployed from coast to coast.
Gaps and Feedback
The intent of the Menu is to answer policy makers’ key questions in a user-friendly manner. This is a current snapshot of the climate policy landscape, but we will continue to update the Menu over time, and we welcome user input to make it as comprehensive and easy to use as possible.