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No politician can single-handedly bring back coal – not even Donald Trump

Peter Newman writes in The Conversation (28.11.16):

‘Governments, including Trump’s, can try to stand in the way in a bid to force the economy back to a nostalgic past based on coal. But if they do, the lower levels of government, especially the cities of the world, will drive the agenda forward in tandem with businesses that are already riding high in the green economy.

‘California has driven much of the climate change agenda in the United States, since its Climate Act of 2006 required all cities to develop a climate action plan. San Francisco is moving to 100% renewable energy by 2030 and has mandated all buildings to install solar panels. The city expects paybacks within five years for everyone making the investment.

‘For all Trump’s pledges to bend trade to his will, he cannot stand in the way of market forces as strong as this. His place in history will be likened to the last Roman emperor standing on top of the wall in Constantinople as the invading horde bears down on the decaying city.

‘People in climate science and innovation, solar entrepreneurs and businesses will simply shift to those cities that want to be competitive in the 21st century. Many of them will still be in the United States – maybe even in Richlands, Virginia, assuming they don’t want to be left in the past.’

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