Hello. David Meyer here in Berlin, replacing Alan.
I am a dual South African-British citizen living in Germany. So while I have been saddened by the grudge that has infected American politics in recent years, and although I understandably have personal views on the issues that divide the country, I am not an American voter, and my family and I don’t have choices that American voters make.
Except when it comes to a particular problem: the climate emergency.
The world is heating up due to human actions, and there is a strong scientific consensus that this will have dire consequences if not mitigated. We see them already, in United States, in Germany, in Great Britain, in South Africa-all over. We all share this world, we all suffer from its degradation, and we must all act to save it.
This responsibility lies with all countries, but it is impossible to get around the fact that the biggest burden of reducing carbon emissions falls on the biggest emitters, namely China, US, EU, India. and Russia. The fifth entry in this list is drag his heels– and shame on the Putin regime for it. But China, EU and India all take this challenge seriously, and it is of the utmost importance that the United States, the second largest emitter, do the same.
On this basis, I can only applaud the one from yesterday inauguration of President Joe Biden. I would do the same for a Republican president who took the climate emergency seriously – on this side of the pond it’s much less of a partisan issue, and hopefully that will soon become true in the United States as well. .
From the moment he took office, Biden was a whirlwind of climate action. More importantly, he re-committed the United States to the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius. The significance of this is enormous.
The day before yesterday, countries producing half of all global carbon emissions committed to carbon neutrality or net zero emissions. “President Biden’s commitment today brings that figure to two-thirds,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, welcoming the move.
But, Guterres warned, “there is a very long way to go. The climate crisis continues to worsen and time is running out to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius and build more climate-resilient societies that help protect the most vulnerable. “
I have no doubt that the United States will be rewarded for bringing its considerable weight to this fight, not only in terms of national security – climate change is a much more fundamental threat than terrorism – but also with regard to international reputation. The country will find it easier to achieve its foreign policy goals when others see it as a partner rather than as a resistance fighter.
It also goes without saying that clean energy investors will find the new administration’s policies rewarding. Solar stocks are on a tear, thanks to the prospect of more stimulus measures and subsidies, and the likely persistence of low interest rates which favor the financing of new projects. Unsurprisingly, with a green-colored infrastructural push in the way, a note from BofA this morning highlights that fund managers are investing money in energy and materials.
Overall, yesterday’s transition provides a foundation for climate optimism around the world. But now there is work to be done. More news below.