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Miscellaneous

Does Trump Matter?

At first, I was so angry every time he undid a climate or energy regulation. But as time has gone on, it’s become clear to me that it really doesn’t matter what he and his cabinet of fools does. Not to mention, it’s practically a never-ending process which is still relentlessly continuing until every law is repealed. This week’s energy week (aka fossil fuel week) is a prime example.

Coal is on the way out, gas and oil are soon to follow, with renewable energy in the ascendancy. He can only slow down the transitional process, but really, when the rest of the world are so united, and he is showing himself more and more to be living in the past, he will just look increasingly delusional, even to the people who voted for him.

A huge number of cities in the US and around the world have pledged to stick to the terms of the Paris Agreement, and even step up efforts further. That is great news of course. But even beyond this, there has to be a point in the near future where the rest of the country say enough is enough and force the hand of Trump to do what’s right and keep the US competitive economically. Tesla will of course help to keep them competitive in the green economy regardless. But whether or not they can do it by themselves really depends on how quickly they can scale up both their car and solar / storage businesses.

At this point, it seems inevitable that we’re on the cusp of a huge swing towards the left in politics in major economies around the world. I could be wrong, but the tide definitely seems to finally be turning away from the right and far right. People are seeing what Trump and Brexit meant, and they fought back. They pushed back in France, The Netherlands and the UK in the general election where Theresa May didn’t lose and lost big at the same time.

Don’t get too angry about Trump like I and many others have been. Still bring attention to his moronic, trolling policies, but don’t get too stressed about it. Focus on the positives and do what you personally can to make an impact. All he can do is slow things down, and to be honest, the way things are going, I don’t think he can even do that very successfully. I take everything personally as an insult to me. But if I just remember that it’s not my fault and Trump and his team of idiots are the ones who are going to be a laughing stock in years to come (not that they aren’t already, but you know what I mean), it makes me feel a lot better.

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Miscellaneous

Every Month is a Temperature Record

After the astonishing graph we saw regarding February’s hottest ever month, and the subsequent record breaking March, I thought this run of records surely must end in April, but that hasn’t been the case.

Will this turn into a global panic situation in the next few months? Or will things just continue as they are even with routine record setting? Unfortunately, I know where my money would be going if I were a betting man.

People keep talking about immediate action, but what does immediate action actually mean? Not many people outside of climate activists seem to be open to the idea that immediately means today.

So many of us have the power to make real change in our own lives, and collectively we can force action. Not by parading onto coal mines and blocking large machines. That’s not going to get anything done except piss people off. People who are being inconvenienced are less likely to be sympathetic to the cause.

What does actually create change is for everyone to show an interest. Talk about it with people: your family, your friends, your colleagues. Many of them may not have even considered climate change before. They may realise they have an opinion on the issue that they never thought about before.

Talking is good, as long as you’re not excessively preaching to people who don’t want to be preached to. But actions are better. If¬†everyone worldwide who could afford to get solar panels on their home did so, I can only imagine that it would be an astronomical leap forward in total renewable energy capacity, and it would help to bring down the cost of solar at the same time.

If you can afford solar, or even if you can afford a green energy plan with a company like Ecotricity for example, then you can make a difference right now, today.

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Miscellaneous

Where Does Climate Policy Go Following The Election?

The conservatives have won, but what are they going to do to tackle the climate crisis? Personally, I don’t believe they are the party of choice as far as climate change is concerned. When I checked their website in the run up to the election, I couldn’t find a single policy about the subject. The only thing that had any relevance to it was about protecting the green belt. A great thing, but nothing other parties weren’t offering, and a far cry from Lib Dem, Green or Labour policies.

My feeling is that the situation will continue to be left in the hands of the people. If you want to get solar panels, go for it. But you won’t be compensated for it. If you want an electric car, great. Just don’t expect the government to extend the ¬£5k subsidy. This is especially the case now that the Liberal Democrats, the driving force for environmental policies in the coalition, are no longer in power.

I think eventually things will change through necessity. But we will have to reach a point where panic sets in for that to happen. Perhaps the Paris summit will be that point, but probably not.

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Miscellaneous

Can The Guardian’s Keep it in the Ground Campaign Work?

I really respect The Guardian and Alan Rusbridger for what they’re trying to do with this project and accompanying “The Biggest Story in the World” podcast, but how much difference can they make? And how likely is it that we’ll be able to make the necessary global switch to clean energy before we use up the ‘carbon budget’ of 565 gigatons, which will last about 13-15 years.

Personally I find it hard to believe that we can work together for that type of incredibly fast change. I think if we all did put our own individual interests aside and truly worked together, we could get close. But to do that, we need to act immediately. The Paris summit is absolutely critical. We need to get a fixed amount of the remaining oil, coal and gas reserves that can be dug up in law.

As far as The Guardian’s other tactic of trying to encourage major companies and charitable trusts to divest from fossil fuel companies. I like the idea of a type of quiet boycott. The issue is that not many companies seem to agree so far, and even the ones who do in principle, believe that as soon as they share their stakes in these companies, someone else will immediately come in and buy the shares.

A tactic like this, as with all climate change action, requires collaboration between almost everyone to have any real impact. I don’t think that will happen in the short term. Perhaps if a landmark deal is reached in Paris that causes the world to take notice and generates massive momentum, then we might see this tactic start to work. Until then, I don’t see it.

There are other tactics that the campaign can look at using, including making noise in the run up to the general election and talking to car companies about investing more in electric cars and battery tech among other things. They need to explore every possible avenue.