Picture a near-term future in which politicized and partisan shifts wither away and disparate parties come together to celebrate a victory over climate change threats, backing free-market principles supported by many. And picture too widespread middle-class and working-class populations strongly backing climate initiatives in part because of the abundant job opportunities they provide.
Want to do more than just picture it? Watch the latest original Yale Climate Connections “This Is Not Cool” video.
“We will win this fight on a classical American libertarian individual-rights victory that will be bipartisan,” says MacArthur Foundation ‘genius’ award winner Saul Griffith, CEO of Otherlab, an independent research and design firm. Republicans “will find religion in the next few years because finally they will be able to declare that the free market has won.” As examples, he points to the experiences with solar energy, batteries, electric vehicles, HVAC systems, and heat pumps – “all have matured because of the power of capitalism and the free market.”
Griffith says he’s convinced that there’s “no jobs program in history that’s as big as the jobs program that will be decarbonizing America.”
Newly confirmed Secretary of Energy and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm advises that in the energy marketplace, “our economic competitors and other nations are in the game and are eating us for lunch. We can either be at the table, or we can be on the table.”
The video points to Biden administration hopes of having new renewable energy job opportunities in workers’ “own communities,” and also to General Motors CEO Mary Barra’s recent commitment to having the company produce only fully electric-powered cars and light trucks by 2035. It quotes experts pointing to insurance interests’, banks’, and asset management firms’ saying they will cut back or eliminate funding for oil pipelines. Underwriters’ supportive positions on renewable vs. fossil fuel energy activities, according to Andrew Hoffman of the University of Michigan, are especially notable in that insurers “don’t have a political dog in the fight.”
“Maybe government isn’t going to get their act together and do this,” Hoffman says, “and insurance companies may do it for them.”