By John Hartman
After more than four years of waking up almost every morning to news that Trump had signed another Executive Order negatively impacting the environment or reading about another species about to go extinct, I thought you were ready for some good news on climate change. So here it is.
- Most people believe that climate change is happening.
- More governmental entities realize that the health and economic costs of doing nothing regarding the climate far outweigh the cost of climate change mitigation.
- Biden was elected — a President committed to doing something about climate change — Yea!
- Democrats took the Senate — meaning there is a chance climate change legislation will get enacted.
- Biden’s Executive Orders (13990 & 14008) on Climate were significant on many levels. From stopping the XL pipeline, to rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, to establishing a Civilian Climate Corps, to laying out a government-wide approach to climate issues.
- Industry is ahead of the curve on climate issues in many areas because they realize sustainable energy will be cheaper and cleaner than energy from fossil fuels.
- General Motors, Ford and other auto makers have made a commitment to transition to electric vehicles. Automakers are also trending away from small EVs to EVs of all sizes (Passenger Sedans, Sports Cars, SUVs, Pickups). They understand that providing a broad array of desirable EVs is the key to consumer acceptance and demand.
- Every day, we are seeing technological advances which will help us reach our climate change goals. Battery technology, battery recharging systems, vehicle recharging stations, plus much more. The scientists have been busy during the last four-plus years!
Reducing greenhouse gases by 50% by 2030 will be extremely difficult. Even if we achieve that goal, the chance of keeping the increase in the earth’s atmospheric temperature below 2 degrees Centigrade will be even more difficult. No matter what we do, the planet will not be the same. So much will be lost. Many people will suffer and most of those people will not be the ones who caused the problem.
So, there is much to do on a political, technological, and human level. However, I am encouraged that 2021 is a key year in this effort. A year we finally get serious about the task ahead, commit the necessary resources and start seeing real change.