Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Greens have requested that Private Businesses step in and top up an anticipated funding shortfall of in excess of ten billion dollars per annum, when Trump cancels US government funding of climate programmes.
The Private Sector May Lead the Charge Against Climate Change During the Trump Administration
Why? Because it makes economic sense. No matter what Trump and his cabinet do, the private sector will likely forge ahead, argues Shayle Kann.
by Shayle Kann
December 15, 2016
As the inauguration of President Donald Trump approaches, the future of federal action on energy and climate change remains highly uncertain. And while nothing is set in stone, there is mounting evidence that the new administration will drastically change course from the path set out by President Obama.
While no outcome is preordained, it is probably safe to assume that the U.S. will not take significant federal action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next four years. And it is possible that the federal government will begin to roll back many of the R&D and investment programs that have supported the recent domestic boom in clean energy. Initiatives already underway in a few states may act as a limited countervailing force, but the absence of federal action will be strongly felt.
Large companies are already taking action
If the federal government steps back, the private sector may leap forward. The U.S. business community has already become an increasingly emphatic voice in the chorus of calls for greater action on climate change. Just after the U.S. election, during the Marrakech climate talks, over 300 businesses signed an open letter to the incoming president in support of the Paris climate accord and continuation of low-carbon policies. Ninety-one of these companies have annual revenue over $100 million, including DuPont, General Mills and Intel Corporation.
Corporate action cannot entirely make up for intransigence at the federal level, but it may just be enough to allow the global decarbonization trend to continue apace.
While there is no doubt some CEOs are as rabidly committed to renewables as any Greenpeace protestor, this assumption that private businesses will step into the breach, that they will somehow be able to keep the party going, verges on delusional.
I’m sure private businesses run by hardline greens be able to stump up a few hundred million, maybe even every year. But in my opinion green groups are about to experience a very hard landing. Nobody will be able to cover the multi-billion dollar cash shortfall they are all about to experience.