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A New Direction for US Climate Policy:

Assessing the First 100 Days of Donald Trump’s Presidency


Michael Mehling

Following his surprise election, President Trump has translated several campaign promises into a relentless progression of executive measures. This article traces the first 100 days of his presidency as they relate to climate and energy policy, assessing the impact of personnel choices, his regulatory reform agenda, and his proposed budget blueprint, as well as executive or agency orders across various sectors. It also differentiates between the expected impact of federal policy choices and fundamental trends in the energy sector as well as the activist role of states and municipalities in shaping climate policy outcomes. Finally, the article discusses procedural constraints and judicial review as moderating forces, limiting the scale and speed with which the new president can overturn the climate legacy of his predecessor. In the end, the article argues that a retrospective of recent administrations reveals a cyclical pattern which both confines and perpetuates the alternating extremes of successive presidencies.

Michael Mehling, Deputy Director, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Mass; Professor of Practice, School of Law, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. For correspondence: <>. DOI:10.21552/cclr/2017/1/4


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