The world stands at a crossroad: one path keeps the global 2C goal and net zero hopes within reach, the other could deal a perhaps mortal blow to global climate efforts
What follows is possibly the most predictable editorial ever written.
If you have a vote in the US election vote for Joe Biden. If you don't have a vote in the US election then pray to whatever you believe in that Donald Trump not only loses, but loses so badly he cannot bolt the doors on the Oval Office and his Party is finally forced to reckon with what it has done to the lives of its fellow Americans, to trust in democracy itself, and to the planet we all inhabit.
It is a cliche to say that every election is the most important in history, but surely this time it is true. A Trump victory would not only be a reward for venality and corruption on such a scale that it would threaten the foundations of US democracy itself, it would also deal a near-mortal blow to chances of keeping temperature increases below 2C that are already on life-support.
The good news is that all the polling suggests Trump is heading for defeat and there is even a credible hope that the Republicans could face a landslide that finally forces them to acknowledge the demographic shifts and escalating climate concerns that could see them sidelined for a generation, regardless of how much blatant gerrymandering they indulge in.
By the end of the week the US could join the EU and China in being on track to have a viable net zero target and strategy in place. Myriad challenges would remain, but that 2C goal, that vision of a prosperous, resilient, and sustainable 21st century, would remain within reach.
As Michael Holder's assessment of the two campaigns made clear yesterday, the prospects for green businesses and the net zero transition is at a crossroads.
There is a strangely upbeat argument that even if Trump wins, market, technological, and generational forces means he cannot derail the net zero transition. This is true and it provides some succour to green businesses and investors everywhere. But the fact is that it is the coldest of comfort. Trump cannot stop the clean tech revolution, but he can disrupt and slow it. Worse still he can provide cover for other leaders in emerging economies and petrostates who can arguably do even more damage. And he would encourage the GOP to double down on ecocidal policies that would extend climate denialist policies and rhetoric deep into the 2030s.
Moreover, he would throw a lifeline to a form of kleptocractic, racketeering, exploitative, toxic capitalism that would otherwise be eclipsed by emerging models for purpose-led, sustainable and responsible business.
In contrast, Biden's platform may be less than perfect, but it is by a distance the greenest policy package ever adopted by a US presidential candidate. Moreover, the coalition he has built will pressure him to go further, faster. And he would provide a rallying point for those purpose-led businesses that may just hold the key to averting climate catastrophe.
The stakes could not be higher. Pretty much everything is on the ballot and yet there is nothing anyone without a vote can do but wait.
A version of this article originally appeared in the BusinessGreen Overnight Briefing newsletter, which is available to all BusinessGreen subscribers.
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