Everything is Climate Now: New Directions for Industrial Policy from Biden’s Supply Chain Reports

May 17, 2022

Russia invading Ukraine was not the only thing that happened on February 24. Attracting barely any notice, just hours before, the White House published over 1,300 pages of reports from a yearlong and unprecedented investigation into the economic vulnerabilities brought on by global supply chains. In light of Putin’s carnage, these reports received almost no press attention. Yet they were eerily prescient about the challenges policymakers were about to face—namely, the disruptions wrought by attempting to economically decouple the US and its allies from authoritarian states.

This issue brief is the first-of-its-kind read-along to these supply chain reports. It documents their three main contributions: 

  • First, the reports demonstrate that everything is related to climate now. From green hydrogen to semiconductors to vaccines, government must now of necessity assess how economic resilience will be harmed by the climate crisis, and how each industry can contribute to decarbonization.
  • Second, the supply chain reports show that policy in Washington is increasingly oriented toward a broader conception of the role of the state in the economy that goes beyond remedying narrow market failures.
  • The final—and crucial—point these reports demonstrate is that policymakers have still not settled on a fully fledged paradigm for what precisely this broader role for the state could or should look like, nor what governance institutions should be formed to support that new role. This presents an opportunity to double down on how the reshoring and onshoring enterprise can help advance goals like worker power and racial equity.

Read the rest of the “All Economic Policy Is Climate Policy” series.