How can a Trump Presidency be positive? Surely this is a major setback for action on climate change, inequality, human rights and global security?
Articles by Paul Gilding
Paul is an independent writer, corporate advisor and advocate for action on climate change and sustainability. He is widely recognised as a global authority and thought leader on sustainability and business and has worked with the Chairs, CEOs and executives of many leading global companies including DuPont, Diageo, BHP Billiton and Ford. During 35 years as an activist and entrepreneur he has served as CEO of a range of innovative NGO’s and companies including Greenpeace International and two companies he owned - Ecos Corporation and Easy Being Green. He has also served on the board of many non-profit groups. His speaking and work has taken him to over 30 countries. His current roles include as a member of the Core Faculty at Cambridge University’s Program for Sustainability Leadership. His book “The Great Disruption” was published globally by Bloomsbury in 2011 and has been widely acclaimed, including in the New York Times. His blog, The Cockatoo Chronicles, can be found at www.paulgilding.com
After a more than century of domination, the global fossil fuels industry is now in terminal decline, and will be all but gone within 15-30 years. Politicians must recognise this fact, or risk making serious and damaging mistakes in climate and economic policy, investment strategy, geopolitics and defence.
Could 2015 be the year the ‘dam of denial’ blocking climate action breaks? If it is, it won’t be due to politics, but to the market waking up to the economic threat posed by climate change and the economic opportunity in the inevitable decline of fossil fuels.
If you want to know what addressing climate change will really be like for business and investors, then take a look at today’s electricity and energy markets. Creative destruction is inflicting itself upon the sector with a vengeance – and the process has only just begun.
I think it’s time to call it. Renewables and associated storage, transport and digital technologies are so rapidly disrupting whole industries’ business models they are pushing the fossil fuel industry towards inevitable collapse. It’s a carbon crash, and a solar dawn.
The thought that bushfire emergencies in spring could become more common is very uncomfortable. That’s why right now – in the middle of a scary, hard to control bushfire that threatens homes and lives in NSW – is exactly when we should talk about climate change and how Australia is actively contributing to making it worse.
In a fight between corporate responsibility and companies fighting for economic existence, the latter will always triumph. That’s why the current shift in the climate debate – from ‘environment vs business’ to ‘business vs business’ – could have a revolutionary impact on global policy and investment decisions.
How would the return to centre stage of Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull change Australia’s climate conversation? It would put us back in the camp of most countries – where both sides of politics and most of the business community accept action is an economic imperative.
It might seem ironic, but environmentalists and farmers fighting the expansion of coal mining and coal seam gas across Australia are the only thing likely to moderate the rude economic awakening we face when the global carbon bubble bursts and the fossil fuel industries start their inevitable, terminal decline.
When it comes to the shift to a low-carbon economy, many are so busy looking at politics for signs of change, they’re missing the signs in the market. Policy might be essential, but markets deliver solutions – and the signs are that this process is now well underway. Meanwhile, that carbon bubble just keeps getting bigger.
What began as a predominantly ecological question is rapidly transforming into an economic one, putting the global climate movement on the verge of a remarkable victory that would include the removal of the oil, coal and gas industries. And the greatest transfer of wealth and power the world has ever seen.