SDSN is currently working with partners on an array of projects to contribute to a much-needed energy transformation in the United States to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and reduce emissions. Learn how to get involved today. 

Legal Pathways

Legal Pathways Study

Volunteer Lawyers Needed for Deep Decarbonization Pro Bono Implementation Project 

We are helping to launch a project for the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University arising from a new book: Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States, edited by Professors Michael Gerrard and John Dernbach. The book identifies legal options to achieving deep decarbonization in the U.S—the reduction of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. We are looking for firms and law professionals to provide pro bono legal services needed to turn the book’s recommendations into model legal documents, which will be made available through an on-line clearinghouse established and managed by the Sabin Center for use by policymakers. Firms can participate by drafting legal documents related to a book chapter or recommendation. For more information visit

Regional Energy Transformation Strategies

US Pathways

A key to localizing the energy transformation is developing a shared regional vision. It is critical for practical planning because of the need for coordination, both across jurisdictional levels issue (federal-state-local), and for coordinating action among neighboring jurisdictions (e.g. New York and New England). In the last two years, following outreach from regional stakeholders, the SDSN’s flagship project, the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) has led regional studies in the Northeast and Northwest that have now developed independent momentum. It is now politically important to conduct similar studies in regions where perceptions of being left out of long-term decision-making, deprived of jurisdictional autonomy, and coming out an economic loser in a low carbon transition have stymied progress on climate and clean energy. For this reason, the SDSN USA is supporting decarbonization studies focused on the Southeast and Midwest regions. An effort is underway to leverage the latest DDPP modeling to develop region-specific infrastructure strategies, clarify technology choices and investment options, and identify issues and uncertainties that are important for each of these regions. These studies are being conducted in concert with local partners:

Southeast: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee (Standard Federal Region IV). The Southeast region has historically lacked political ambition for reducing GHG emissions, and as a result, few studies have been conducted on a low carbon transition in the Southeast. The Southeast is perceived by some as falling behind in efforts toward deep decarbonization because of lower renewable energy endowments and a high reliance on coal in the current power mix. But it is also home to Atlanta, a city with a 100% clean energy target that will need to drive changes at the state and regional levels to achieve it. These circumstances make the Southeast ripe for a detailed analysis that will seek to change the narrative about what it means to pursue a low-carbon transition.

Midwest: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin.  The Midwest region is a critical battleground for climate action on a national level. It is an important industrial hub, is home to the U.S. auto industry, much of its coal-fired power generation, and most of its biofuels production. It is also home to a very strong regional network of NGO groups supporting climate action. Few regional deep decarbonization pathways have been conducted, leaving the space ripe for new analysis.

Initial results from the analytic aspects of this work will be presented to network members for commentary at 1:00pm ET on July 24, 2019, as an initial step towards engaging with SDSN USA members more broadly. Based on member interest, additional opportunities to contribute to and/or expand on this work will be explored following the presentation.

Tells us about your Decarbonization Work


SDSN USA is looking to more systemically understand and map the intellectual capital of our network in order to foster collaborations, scale solutions, promote research, and identify funding opportunities for members in the climate and energy space. Please complete this brief survey about the work your University is focusing on related to any of the following categories:

  • Green New Deal
  • Renewable Energy Development
  • Energy and Infrastructure Modeling
  • Climate Science Modeling
  • Climate Change Financing
  • Emission Reducing Technologies
  • Emissions Reductions on Campus
  • Other Climate & Energy Work

If you are interested to be involved in any of these streams of work, please contact Elena Crete at