COVERAGE AREA and macrothesis

As President Donald Trump’s deregulatory agenda continues, so do tensions between those in his Administration who favor “rip-it-up” rescissions of Obama-era energy and environmental policies and those who prefer “write-it-again” revisions that could deflect stricter rules from a future, greener White House. The Administration appears to be leaning towards revisions facilitated by a lower (domestic-only) social cost of carbon. With tax cuts behind him, we believe the President is likely to ramp up trade and sanctions pressure this year, especially during 2H2018, as mid-term Congressional elections approach; the expected departure of White House advisors with internationalist leanings could accelerate these efforts. The Congress enacted its tax cuts in December using filibuster-proof Congressional Budget Act reconciliation rules, but an even more narrowly divided (51-49) Senate leaves little room for Republicans on the Hill to enact contentious (which is to say: far-reaching) energy bills under “regular order.” Amid current partisan division, a major infrastructure package seems unlikely (by their nature, such packages already pit “net donor” states against “net recipient” states, another dimension of conflict).

A comprehensive understanding of energy market dynamics requires a view beyond supply and demand. The U.S. may not have any state-owned energy companies, but political leaders and regulators influence economic outcomes all the way from the mine mouth to the smokestack and from the wellhead to the gas pump. Our coverage looks at everything from macro-level political trends to politician-specific economic incentives. Our annual Energy Policy by the Numbers survey provides clients with our analytical tool set, including comprehensive, economic and political dashboards with state- and district-level granularity. We incorporate these tools into all of our research, including as-needed notes, reports and flash blasts regarding key U.S. policy or political issues. In addition, our soon-to-be-released, new quarterly product, Themes, Trends and Discontinuities, will contextualize recent developments and outline our forward-looking projections of relevant economic and policy outcomes.

Updated: January 8, 2018.