The final fight over climate change is here. Don’t bring a power point to a knife fight.
It’s become clearer and clearer that liberals and progressives try to win by laying out the facts, and believing their opponents will come around to the obvious truth. And it’s equally clear that on climate change, big oil and big coal intend to win by any means necessary, and the facts (and the future!) be damned.
By Jeremy Bloom
Trump has confirmed what an increasingly large section of the climate movement has been saying for a while now: don’t bring a spreadsheet to a knife fight.
These people in Washington now do not want to talk about carbon budgets, stranded assets, the percentage of fracked gas that is leaking, the economic viability of carbon-sucking unicorns, or a million other aspects of climate policy. Which is good, because few of us want to have those debates with them either. Don’t get me wrong, our people power will still be data-driven. We will model transparent, data-driven energy and climate policy, and we will make sure our power builds on that – rather than skipping the facts overall, as is the current fashion.
The question for us – as climate and democracy and justice advocates – is not primarily which policy path leads to how many degrees of warming using what assumptions under whose scenarios. The critical question right now is this: How do we build more political power, and how do we win? Less PowerPoint. More power.
From the office of New York Attorney General Schneiderman to courtrooms all over the country, we’ve been taking on the fossil fuel barons. But we’ve got to get smarter.
It’s time, in short, to fight. There is no way to solve climate without confronting – and defeating – the fossil fuel industry. We are in a battle with oil, gas, and coal, and we’re going to have to win. There is no way to solve climate without having this battle, and the faster we can win, the faster we can get on with the important work of managing the decline of the industry, while taking care of communities and workers and even investors in the transition.
… And yet still, many leaders who talk a big game on climate are conflicted at best over new fossil fuel supply projects, particularly in their districts. Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, for example, happily adds his name to the #WeAreStillIn petition for Paris, but is in favor of new gas pipelines and offshore drilling that are incompatible with the Paris goals.
In the wake of Trump’s Paris pullout, what is climate leadership? Is our bar simply better than Trump? Are we only asking for belief in climate science without the courage to confront the industry? Or will we demand new leaders who are not beholden to the fossil fuel industry, and who understand that for energy policy to align with climate science, we must stop the expansion of the fossil fuel industry and begin to manage its decline as soon as possible?
Who is leading the charge in your community? Are you getting involved?