What US Election Results Mean For Climate Change

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Originally published on The Climate Reality Project.

Despite his campaign rhetoric, Trump should enact policies supported by an overwhelming bi-partisan majority of Americans.

For many Americans, the results of the presidential election are still sinking in. While different people are affected by this election in different ways, the divisive, often offensive rhetoric of this election season affects us all. At Climate Reality, we are committed to not only fighting climate change, but to standing with our friends and neighbors, working together in an inclusive, collaborative manner. And we will stand against efforts to divide us.

The Climate Reality Project is committed more than ever to catalyzing a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every level of society, and we will do so by participating in the diverse coalitions that will be required for us to win. As we process this new reality, for us in the climate movement, several things are crystal clear. Here’s what we know:

First, our work to solve climate change has never been easy but this week, it became harder still. We must redouble our efforts and work harder than ever.

Over the past eight years, President Obama made the US a leader once again in the global fight to stop climate change. He’s shown that we don’t have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment, creating policies that drove growth and created hundreds of thousands of jobs in clean energy while cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Many of President-elect Trump’s campaign promises – from refusing to meet US obligations under the Paris Agreement to undoing the success of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan – threaten much of this good work.

There is a very natural human temptation to give in to despair here and turn away. But this challenge is too important and too pressing to ignore, so we must face the truth in front of us and commit to fighting harder than ever before to protect our precious home.

It’s important for Americans to remember that we have been here and faced setbacks before. After the UN’s COP 15 summit in Copenhagen, it felt like the world would never come together to find a solution to climate change. And six years later, we were celebrating the Paris Agreement. We will come back.

Second, as divided as Americans are in our politics, we’re united in wanting to protect this planet and nation we share from climate change.

And we’re seeing real progress at the local and state levels as use of and support for clean energy continues to spread.

We saw it even in the election in Florida, where fossil fuel interests and utilities spent millions backing a ballot measure to stop solar. Voters rejected the measure, opening the door to a bright future for solar in the Sunshine State.

It’s just one sign of many that demand for clean energy is growing and the shift away from fossil fuels is on, regardless of what happens in the White House. Plus, the US has seen between $23-49 billion in clean energy investment each year since 2007. The result: wind and solar energy have almost quadrupled since 2008.

And at the same time clean energy is powering our lives, it’s also powering our economy, with nearly 209,000 Americans working in solar as of last year and 88,000 working in wind this year. These numbers are growing and the tide of change is stronger than any election campaign.


Third, the way forward is clear – and we cannot give up.

At the same time the election has unfolded at home, negotiators are meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, to discuss the next steps in implementing the Paris Agreement. Which is to say that the world is marching forward and work to solve the crisis continues, whatever the new president may say.

We can help, by pledging our support for leaders committed to working for climate solutions. It’s up to us to talk to our friends, neighbors, and everyone else we know about the crisis so that in every election going forward, climate is an issue no serious candidate can ignore. In the meantime, as Americans, we’ll take this fight to our state houses. To the Congress. And then to the White House. Because that’s who we are. And that’s how we’ll win.

Reprinted with permission.

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