On Friday, 18 December 2020, the RIAS hosted an online lecture on the future of energy and climate policies in the US after the election of Joe Biden. The lecture was given by Dr. Gaetano Di Tommaso, researcher at SciencePo-Paris and an expert on US environmental and energy security policy.

Biden arrives at the White House at a moment of unprecedented pressure for climate action. After four years of an administration that worked to expand fossil fuel production and indulged in climate science denialism, the hopes and expectations are sky-high for a profound transformation of US energy production, use, and infrastructure. Yet President Biden will face a series of structural and contingent challenges, both at the domestic and international level, that risk greatly limiting his administration’s impact.

All indicators of environmental degradation have worsened in recent years, and Europe has struggled to take the lead on the issue at the global level. But from January on, the White House will need to choose its priorities and carefully pick its battles amid a devastating pandemic and strong internal opposition.

Di Tommaso spoke about the economic and political obstacles ahead, identifying patterns of continuity and change in US energy and climate policy.

The lecture was recorded, and will soon be available at the RIAS YouTube channel.

Gaetano Di Tommaso was a 2019 Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC, where he worked on his project “Petro-Modernity and Statecraft: The U.S. Energy-National Security Nexus Reconsidered (1890s-1920s).” Dr. Di Tommaso has also been teaching at SciencesPo – Paris.