Earlier, when I wrote about 13 US companies making a gigantic $140bn pledge to help fight climate change, I said I was tempted to argue that our business leaders were out in front of our political leaders. And yet that's not entirely fair.
The White House, after all, was a leading player in coordinating the aforementioned pledge. And that pledge came one day after Hillary Clinton—the current front runner in the race to be the Democratic presidential nominee—made a huge climate commitment of her own. Clinton has previously faced fierce criticism for accepting money from fossil fuel interests, not to mention her support of Keystone XL and other fossil fuel projects. Still, the undeniable ambition of Clinton's climate plan came to many environmentalists as a pleasant surprise.
As detailed over at Politico, the pledge includes a near-term commitment to bring solar capacity up to 140GW by the end of 2020—a move that marks a 700% increase on current capacity. By 2027, Clinton says, she would work to ensure that the US would be producing 33% of its energy from renewables like wind, solar and geothermal—a significant increase compared to President Obama's current goal of 25%. She also suggested that the long-term goal must be a 100% clean energy economy by 2050.True to form, Clinton also wasted no time in dinging her Republican opponents who are fond of saying they are "not scientists", noting in a video—called Stand for Reality—that accompanied the announcement:
"I am just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain. And I know that what's happening in the world will have a big impact on the world, on my daughter, and especially my granddaughter."
Of course the anti-environmentalist crowd will decry this as even more alarmism. Yet with even Big Energy beginning to warm to decarbonization, you've got to wonder how long denial can remain sustainable, politically speaking. Now we just have to make sure our leaders don't just pledge bold action, but actually make it happen.