The 2016 US Presidential Election and the Implications for Climate Change: Is There Potential for Cautious Optimism?


This briefing note surveys early hints and speculations regarding the Trump Administration’s possible climate policies and personnel appointments, and discusses them in the context of the surrounding domestic political context and institutional decision-making processes. A few areas for cautious optimism are identified and obstacles to the potential worst-case scenarios are highlighted. Despite the discouraging statements during the campaign and appointment of members of the transition team, it is too early to tell the precise direction of Trump administration policies, which may not be fully known even to Trump himself. Nevertheless, this briefing note concludes that even in the worst case, there are still various limitations on how far and how fast US climate policy and actions could be set back.