Fighting Climate Change and Inequality in the Trump Era

Depending on what state you live, talking climate change may work. Generally, the term “boosting clean energy” is remarkably more popular than “fighting climate change”. Clean energy is popular among both Democrats and Republicans. Fighting climate change isn’t. That’s why, in the current environment, where Republicans control the White House, the Congress, and the majority of state legislatures, the framing has to shift to “clean energy” if we want to see progress.

Trump and Congress could accelerate the end of solar and wind tax credits, but purported insiders claim that those bipartisan tax credits will remain. What’s very likely is that the US will stop leading on international climate negotiations. And Trump is highly unlikely to push for a massive acceleration of clean energy as Hilary Clinton proposed to.

This isn’t good news. At best, a Trump administration represents a status quo in climate policy in the US, even at a time that US policy wasn’t ambitious enough. More realistically, we’ll see a weakening of clean energy and climate policy both at home and abroad. Meanwhile, 2016 will be a record hot year and we’re already not taking climate change seriously enough.

While federal progress is unlikely, we have tools to drive more deployment of clean energy at the state and sometimes city levels.  We have to understand that state legislators hear tremendously less from their constituents than members of Congress. Each state legislators represents fewer people than each federal Representative or Senator. Voters have a way of fixating on national politics and ignoring the local and state level.

Climate deniers may be in charge of the Federal government. But that’s no reason to give up. Many of the most effective policies in the US exist at a state level. Climate change is a divisive topic, but clean energy is loved across the political spectrum. If you want to get involved, contact your state politicians, and tell them you want more clean energy in your state.

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