Horowitz: Progress On Climate Change is Possible Despite Trump

Tuesday, April 04, 2017
Rob Horowitz, GoLocalWorcester MINDSETTERâ„¢

President Trump’s launching of the greatest assault on our environmental protections since the early days of the Reagan Administration more than 35 years ago may slow our progress in combating climate change, but will not stop it.That is the optimistic message explicitly contained in a recent opinion piece from former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg published in The New York Times and implicitly communicated in a recent report from the Hamilton Project and The Energy Policy Institute at University of Chicago, entitled ‘12 Economic Facts on Energy and Climate Change."

Both Bloomberg and the heavily researched Energy and Climate Change report accurately assert that alternative energy is gaining market share because the price is precipitously declining.  Trump is unlikely to change this basic economic fact. As Bloomberg points out, “A week before President Trump signed the executive order to begin rolling back the Clean Power Plan, Moody’s Investor Service released a report concluding that wind power could displace up to two-thirds of coal-fired power production in 15 Midwestern states. The reason? The average cost of wind power has dropped to $20 per megawatt, compared with the more than $30 cost per megawatt for electricity from many coal plants in the region. Why would consumers pay more for a power source that may kill them.” The former mayor also reminds us that 250 coal fired power plants- almost half of the national total---have already closed and the economics makes their reopening highly unlikely.

Cities and business plan an active role in reducing greenhouse gas emission and are likely to continue to do so, according to the former Mayor. Both these entities save money through increasing energy efficiency and adopting effective low tech green technology. These positive changes are well-underway and achieving the bottom line results that means they will continue. They also enhance the brands of products and the reputations of cities for the large number of environmentally conscious consumers and residents. These actives are beyond the purview of the federal government.

The other recent positive development is that instead of using the Trump Administration’s attempts to reverse Obama Administration Climate policies as an excuse for retrenchment, China has decided to step into the void of global climate leadership and if any thing step up their proactive steps to reduce their production of carbon dioxide.  They correctly view it as a strategic advantage as well as a long-term economic advantage.

Bloomberg  persuasively argues we will meet the greenhouse gas reduction goals we pledged to achieve as part of the Paris Climate Agreement no matter what President Trump does.  But we could certainly do much better if the Administration softened its opposition-even if it never fully embraces the cause. Over time, the outcry from the public may bring this about.

Either way,  there appears to be a positive path forward. And that is good news-something in short supply these days.

 

 Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island

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