Reasons to remain hopeful for the climate

Further to the election in the United States, a lot of people are fearing that this may be a death blow to global climate change mitigation efforts.

While there is ample evidence that:

1. Donald Trump is indeed denying global warming;

2. he will appoint fellow climate change deniers in key positions,

3. these people will enact laws to promote fossil fuels and hinder renewables;

There is still Hope that the United States as a whole could cut carbon emissions in the next four years.

It is simply a matter of Economics. Wind and solar are making more and more sense every month and as thus, savvy businesses and progressive communities and households will work on ditching their utilities in favor of cheaper and cleaner energy sources. The clean energy revolution that was barely starting under President George W Bush is now a reality.

Solar has reached grid parity in many Southern States and wind power is a major economic sector behind 88,000 jobs, with double digit growth. This is to the point that even oil-rich Texas is witnessing a boom in this renewable energy source as it has 18 GW of installed capacity with a massive 10,000 wind turbines.

Additionally, more and more businesses in the United States – and beyond – are picking the low hanging fruits on energy and water efficiency. The often stunning returns on these investments are also prompting communities and households to do the same.

On the other side of the energy spectrum, coal is just getting less competitive, and any attempts at cleaning it will just not work as it would increase even more the price of the energy source. Why take something dirty and make it clean when Mankind already has at its disposal a clean energy source ?

Another reason to be hopeful, Transport. Big public transportation bills were passed last week in the Puget Sound (Seattle) area and in Los Angeles While these bills will take decades to come to fruition, they will ultimately slash emissions from cars, a major emitter in cities.

And even if the head of the country and several States do not believe in climate change, cities and companies are still moving forward and just won’t stop. Granted, they may be slowed down for a while but as French author Victor Hugo said: ” Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come “ and time has come for cleantech to reign supreme.

Otherwise, everywhere else around the world, action is picking up on climate change. China has an holistic approach to the problem. India is pushing renewable energy sources and energy efficiency hard to slow down the growth of coal. The European Union will perhaps one day get back to being a leader on the issue.

Regarding the Paris Agreements, even if Donald Trump wanted to leave the United Nations or just this agreement, backing away from it would take four years as explained by Climate Progress.

And even this would still not mean the death blow as even if the country left, there would still be enough signatories to represent over 55 percent of global emissions, thus ensuring it stays a reality. It’s simple, even Australia will ratify the Agreement. With this, signatories will represent over 75 percent of global emissions !

So, now is not the time for Americans to despair and weep but to hope and roll up their sleeves to act. To protest. To make sustainability a reality !

Image credits : Flickr, Mike Mozart

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