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Seb Kennedy's picture
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I am professional energy journalist, writer and editor who has been chronicling the renewables and fossil fuel energy sectors since 2008.  I am passionate about the energy transition, so much so...

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  • Nov 17, 2020
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With control of the US Senate, the Republican party can derail much of US president-elect Joe Biden's transformative USD 2 trillion climate and energy plan. They might succeed in slowing the pace of the energy transition in the US, but less so beyond US borders - and the direction of travel is now irreversible. 

Energy transition evangelists argue that the US can either lead from the front and reap the rewards, or lose further ground to global rivals in the race to control the green recovery. The Republicans will almost certainly thwart the most radical elements of Biden’s climate agenda and use his failings to portray him as a weak and ineffectual leader, as they plot their return to power.

If this plan works and Trumpists are victorious in 2024, they will inherit a nation that failed to fully reintegrate with the global ‘net zero’ consensus; one with outmoded energy infrastructure that is falling behind in the unstoppable global transition to a clean energy economy.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Nov 17, 2020

Energy transition evangelists argue that the US can either lead from the front and reap the rewards, or lose further ground to global rivals in the race to control the green recovery. The Republicans will almost certainly thwart the most radical elements of Biden’s climate agenda and use his failings to portray him as a weak and ineffectual leader, as they plot their return to power.

Wash, rinse, repeat-- what will it take to break out of the gridlock an small steps forward then big steps back? Do you have any insights into what other countries are doing that is working better, politically speaking, than the U.S.? Is it our entrapment of the two party system? 

Seb Kennedy's picture
Seb Kennedy on Nov 18, 2020

I’m no expert Matt, but this is how I see it. The US suffers from an extreme case of political dysfunction, due in no small part to the sheer volume of money needed to compete in an election. Vested interests are running the show inside the GOP and the Senate. Democrats have their own different paymasters, with whom they compete in the narrow pursuit of power and influence.

 

While I am loathe to hold up my own country as a paragon of anything remotely virtuous, it is interesting to observe the ruling Conservative party here in the UK embracing the net zero agenda. They too have very strong vested corporate interests but the rhetoric is markedly different to the standard GOP hostility towards meaningful climate action. 

 

I don’t know how to account for the disparity in rhetoric. We haven’t endured the ‘war on science’ in quite the same way as US federal agencies have under Trump. But this largely predates him, so I am at a loss.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Nov 19, 2020

The money in politics point is a great one, Sebastian-- you don't always know who a particular elected official is speaking for until you see who's bankrolling them. Maybe that's one of the critical ways to root out the disease of the war on science that you point out. 

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