The impacts of climate change have long crossed the line of plausible deniability and we are now deep into a period that has all the hallmarks of a world war in terms of human suffering and the destruction of infrastructure and resources. So, if you were to ask us something like “what are the policies that governments should take to encourage public-private partnership and enable the private sector to develop the goods and services necessary for a global transition to a low-carbon economy by 2030,” we would say that government should require itself to speak with a unified voice on climate change, just as it would answer any other human threat to its existence.
Is that so hard?
Public-Private Partnerships For Climate Change Action
The aforementioned question comes to us from the Masdar 2016 Engage Blogging Contest. The topic of public-private partnerships is of critical interest to Masdar, which is a subsidiary of the company Mubadala, which is this:
In 2002, Mubadala – the Arabic word for ‘exchange’ – was established by the Government of Abu Dhabi as a principal agent in the diversification of Abu Dhabi’s economy.
Mubadala was established to strengthen Abu Dhabi’s growth potential, and to help the government meet its socioeconomic targets…
While Mubadala’s first major venture involved natural gas production and transportation, in 2006 it created Masdar as a subsidiary, which quickly went to work and formed a partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007 to create the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.
The Masdar Institute should ring plenty of bells with CleanTechnica readers. We’ve been following Masdar’s work on solar energy, including last summer’s opening of the new “Masdar Solar Hub” R&D facility.
Masdar has also been active in the field of aviation biofuel, focusing on salt-loving plants that can thrive in arid conditions, including a “closed loop” system that integrates biofuel crops with food production.
One For All, All For Climate Change Action…Or Not
In an early piece on Masdar back in 2011, CleanTechnica referenced the institute’s work on the energy-nexus in an article titled “U.S. Fiddles While Others Work For New Energy Future,” and that brings us to the point.
The U.S. stacks up pretty well when it comes to developing strategies for transitioning to a low carbon economy by forming public-private partnerships, but there is one key difference. The economic value of the sustainability policies being pursued by the Obama Administration has been drowned out by an aggressive public relations effort in support of the fossil fuel industry, spearheaded by powerful federal legislators such as Senator James Inhofe and Senator Ted Cruz, who is currently running for the Republican nomination for president under a platform that includes abolishing the Department of Energy, and abetted by state legislators and executives such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (yes, this guy), who is also running for the Republican nomination.
The problem is that the experience of climate change has already crossed the barrier from theory to reality, so while government policy has enabled the development of the necessary technology, the pace of progress has been slowed artificially, by the fossil lobby.
In a “free” market nation like the U.S., the missing piece needed to accelerate the pace of change is the engagement and enthusiasm of consumers at every level, as individuals, businesses, institutions and government agencies.
The last time that happened was during World War II under a unified government campaign in support of the war effort, which was coincidentally the last time that the U.S. was attacked on its own shores by another sovereign nation.
Image: via Masdar.
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