“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
Canadians may be feeling a bit down today after the U.S. presidential election. It’s impossible to pretend this isn’t at least a setback, given the Republican Party’s environmental positions and President-elect Donald Trump’s expressed views on the environment and climate change.
However, there is a lot of momentum – diplomatic, governmental, economic and citizen — towards climate action, environmental protection, and investment in clean technologies. This momentum is visible in Canada, globally, and…yes…even in the United States No one man can stop that momentum.
International commitments and global diplomacy march on. The UN Paris Agreement became binding international law last week. The corridors of the U.N. climate summit (COP22) going on in Marrakech right now were full of chatter about the U.S. election, but the negotiating rooms were business as usual. It takes four years for a government that has joined the global agreement to formally withdraw, and other countries realize that the alternative to taking action on climate change would be disastrous.
If the international community won’t make President Trump pause, the economic opportunities that come from clean technologies, including renewable energy, should. The new President’s advisors ought to remind him that global investment in renewable power surpassed investment in coal last year. Innovation, investment and implementation of clean energy technologies, electric vehicles, power storage, and a multitude of other environmental technologies will continue regardless of government policy, and it would be foolhardy for a world leader to turn his or her back on that. There are too many U.S. jobs at stake.
Movements in the U.S. and around the world will continue to organize and mobilize to demand strong environmental protection, a safe future for our children, and social justice for all. Social movements grow stronger during difficult times, and that will be the case for the global climate movement if President Trump attempts to act on his worse promises.
Finally, here at home the Canadian government was elected on a strong environmental platform, making commitments on the environment, clean energy, and green infrastructure that can be implemented regardless of who occupies the White House.
So let’s get up tomorrow morning and continue to work for the world and future we want to see. We can still make positive change happen. One man will not stop us from being part of a positive global movement.