Of the 20 years or so that I’ve been observing climate change policy, global developments over the past year have been the most hopeful I can remember, particularly as regards electricity generation
- The Paris Conference was a big success, at least relative to expectations
- Coal-fired power stations are shutting down around the world
- China has reduced its coal use for two years in a row
- India has increased its coal tax, and greatly expanded use of renewables
Whether emissions reductions will be big enough and fast enough remains to be seen, but at least we are going in the right direction.
As far as climate science is concerned, the string of temperature records broken recently has killed any idea that we are in a ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’. Even the favorite source of deniers, the satellite data from UAH, is now showing a new record. The only remaining issue is the second-order debate over whether there was a pause or perhaps slowdown at some point in the first decade of the 2000s.
At the same time, following the US election, I’ve been paying more attention than usual to rightwing blogs, most of which run climate denialist pieces fairly regularly. Given that nearly all the major US coal companies are now bankrupt, and that coal-fired electricity is declining rapidly, I’d have expected a lot of “wrecking ball” pieces on the supposed damage to the economy (in reality, the effects are small and mostly offset by the expansion of renewables) now that mitigation policies of various kinds are taking effect.
But I don’t see anything like that. Rather, most of the articles I’m reading are claims of victory in the debate over both science and policy. Here’s a fairly typical example, with the title “Is the Climate Crusade Stalling?”
We really do live in parallel universes.