It's All About Building A Clean Energy Economy
Last week, while U.S. voters were casting their ballots, Walmartannounced plans to double its renewable energy goals – to 50 percent, by 2025 – and to buy half of its electricity from a Texas wind farm. On Wednesday, one day after the election, General Mills, Staples and a half-dozen other companies sent a letter to Michiganlawmakers urging them to boost the state’s renewable portfolio standard, which has already attracted $3 billion in clean energy investment in the state.
These examples are important reminders that, no matter who the president is, business leaders are committed to a clean energy future. While this week’s U.S. election is creating legitimate distress, we should refrain from thinking it will completely thwart climate action and the clean energy economy in the U.S. and around the world.
But we should also learn from the election. The voting results are a clear signal that we must do a better job communicating with the American public and others around the world about complex issues like climate change. We need to find more common ground and inclusiveness in tackling this global threat and its far-reaching job and technology-related implications.
With the economy at stake and the facts on our side, I remain optimistic.
As it relates to building a clean energy economy – there is no confusion. It is now cheaper to cut carbon emissions and use renewable energy than it is to continue to rely on fossil fuels. It is true in Minnesota and Colorado, where wind power is out-competing fossil fuel power plants. It is also true in Morocco and Kenya, where solar and wind power is far cheaper than importing oil.
What is especially important now is that leading investors, businesses and world leaders continue seizing on these enormous opportunities by following the visionary path forged by COP21.
The drive to decarbonize the U.S. energy economy will continue regardless of the actions that our next president takes – or doesn’t take – because of the rapidly expanding deployment of clean energy solutions by states, cities, and businesses across the country.
While there are divisions between Democrats and Republicans on climate policy, there has been bipartisan support for investments in clean energy as well as in climate resilience. Working with investors and companies in our networks, we will be moving swiftly to make the case for such investments to the new administration and Congress, including support for new infrastructure initiatives that President-elect Donald Trump has already pledged to put forward.
We will also work with our bipartisan allies in Washington to protect key measures, such as the Clean Power Plan and vehicle fuel economy standards, which are up for review early next year.
The business case for climate action will always hold and climate science will remain incontrovertible — regardless of who is in the White House. Short-term political and economic changes can detract from our momentum, but the low carbon transition is irreversible, irresistible and inevitable.
There is no turning back.