Climate change is key for one of the world’s largest economies

Published 29th February 2016 by Rachel Hunter

President Obama’s eighth and final State of the Union address firmly focused on climate change. The president has been committed to action on climate change throughout his second term. By including climate change in his speech, he cements his legacy as that of a leader committed to mitigating as much as possible the risks from rising global temperatures. Furthermore, Obama called upon the nation to not “pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future”, citing investments in renewable energy such as wind and solar reducing energy costs, and stimulating the green economy.


 

 

 

Obama said: “Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating [with] our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”

Although Obama dwelt on domestic challenges, the underlying point rings true for many developed nations: it is crucial that there is an accelerated transition away from fossil fuels. Obama explained that through continued investment and taxes we can better reflect the future costs of energy decisions. But crucial to the sustainable adoption of clean energy is ensuring that those areas of the economy built around fossil fuels are bought into moving towards a fossil fuel free future.

David Cameron has also been talking about climate change this week as he was quizzed by MPs on the British Government’s future plans for energy and carbon reduction. He has faced criticism for the Government’s approach to climate policies, commitment to roll out new gas-fired power stations and subsidy cuts for wind and solar power.

In the wake of the Paris Agreement, which commits countries to delivering net zero emissions during the second half of the century, the expectation of political leaders is that they deliver on the pledges made at COP. Mixed signals on climate and energy policies threatens investment and can create inertia. It’s vital for the business community that political messages are transparent and 2016 will be a pivotal year to get those messages crystal clear.


In the wake of the Paris Agreement, which commits countries to delivering net zero emissions during the second half of the century, the expectation of political leaders is that they deliver on the pledges made at COP. Mixed signals on climate and energy policies threatens investment and can create inertia. It’s vital for the business community that political messages are clear and 2016 will be a pivotal year to get those messages crystal clear.


 

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