Climate Change notes for simulation

Climate Change notes for simulation
Chief of Staff


Use the role description to shape your perspective for research and the role-play. List the concepts, ideas, and policy options that come to mind. Draft a short response for each issue for consideration. Investigate the research leads by looking at the Additional Reading throughout the case and the Reading List in section 3.3.

Consider using the drop-down notepad on the right to take notes, since you will be able to print and consult these notes during the discussion. Research your departmental role within the executive branch and advocate strongly for your interests.

Description of Role:

The chief of staff oversees the Executive Office of the President, which provides the president with support to govern effectively. This post has traditionally been home to many of the president’s closest advisors. In National Security Council (NSC) meetings, the chief of staff ensures that the president has the necessary analysis on the full range of factors relevant to the case, including the U.S. political situation. He or she also guides the process of implementing and communicating presidential decisions.

The chief of staff’s goals are to

highlight the domestic implications of U.S. foreign policy choices; and
develop strategies to carry out the president’s policy and communicate it to U.S. and international audiences.

Issues for Consideration:

In what ways does climate change affect U.S. national security and economic growth? What interest does the United States have in mitigating the effects of climate change? How does climate change compare in importance to other domestic policy priorities?
What are the attitudes of Congress and the American public on various climate change policies, whether domestic or contained in an international agreement? Do these attitudes vary by age, geographic region, income, or other demographic indicators? What views have businesses and business associations expressed on climate change and on proposed mitigation policies? How should these attitudes and opinions shape U.S. climate policy and the U.S. negotiating posture internationally?
The Kyoto Protocol failed to gain congressional support because it did not place demands on developing countries and, according to opponents, could have made U.S. businesses less competitive. What specific lessons should negotiators draw from that outcome?
What steps would be required by the U.S. government, including the executive branch and Congress, to implement various policy options agreed upon at an international summit? How can the president best articulate his or her decision and communicate it to the American people and the world?
What are the most important factors for the president to balance when making a decision? What types of analysis would be most useful for other members of the National Security Council to present?

Research Leads:

Investigate the opinions of important members of Congress on the dispute. What are the major fault lines in beliefs about the existence and origins of climate change and about potential policy responses? Are there any particular members, especially on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, the House Committee on Natural Resources, and the foreign policy and armed services committees in both houses, whose positions the president should know?
Research U.S. public opinion about climate change and potential mitigation and adaptation measures. How do various U.S. constituencies advocate that the United States respond to climate change, if at all? Which populations, such as coastal residents, farmers, and American Indians, might be particularly vulnerable to climate-related developments, and what are their views?
Seek historical insights on the implementation of U.S. environmental policy, such as the Clean Air Act. What bureaucratic and societal factors have influenced the effectiveness of laws and regulations? What lessons can be learned from those examples?
What makes for a rollout that builds understanding of and support for the president’s chosen policy, especially on an issue such as climate change that is subject to vehement disagreement? Research historical examples of notable foreign policy communications, including speeches, media appearances, written directives, and other efforts by presidents and senior officials.
Examine the latest Synthesis Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Be sure to understand its main conclusions about the state of climate science and the projected effects of climate change. Also understand the range of views among scientists, political leaders, and the American public about the IPCC and its work.

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