Image text reads, "La Follette Forum: Climate Policy"

National & International Policy

Illustration of a capitol rotunda.

Varsity Hall III
1 – 2:15 p.m.  |  Breakout Session 2B

Nearly all countries have signed the Paris Climate Agreement, and most emitters have pledged to reduce emissions to net zero by mid-century. Panelists in this session shared a variety of perspectives on implementing national climate policies.

Key Takeaways

  • Free markets and profit must be part of the argument for renewable energy. If renewable energy is not profitable and able to operate freely, it is unlikely bipartisan political support for renewables would occur.  
  • How can international conferences, agreements, and frameworks lead to concrete action on climate change? Oftentimes international agreements are made but not ratified in individual countries. There must be tangible benefits from these frameworks and agreements. 
  • Mitigating climate change offers the greatest public health opportunity of our lifetime. Climate change, increased temperatures, increasing emissions, and other climate impacts lead to a multitude of health issues and deaths globally. We need ambitious and health-focused climate policy to combat chronic disease and create a healthier society. 
  • Political differences need to be put aside, all arguments must be heard, and significant outreach must occur. Bipartisan solutions will lead to concrete action on climate change.


Scott Coenen

Executive Director, Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum

Russ Feingold

President, American Constitution Society; former U.S. Senator

Jonathan Patz

Professor and Director, Global Health Institute, UW–Madison


Kathleen Falk

Former Dane County Executive