I understand why Joe Romm and Brad Plumer are deeply disappointed about the election. Even if HRC had become President, the global carbon mitigation efforts would have been unlikely to have significantly bent this curve. Stare at this time trend. Despite all sorts of “green economy” investments over the last 25 years, I see a linear rising curve. Do you see a dip during the Great Recession? No, there is just a linear rise.
While Trump may laugh off the climate change challenge, he is the owner of a large amount of coastal real estate in the UK, Manhattan and Florida. A theme of my 2010 Climatopolis is that environmentalists should not forget about the power of self interest. Home owners and land owners are a powerful interest group. You won't hear President Trump talk about climate change but I bet that he will speak in code and talk about urban resilience and natural disaster risk without attributing its causes to climate change. A national dialogue on protecting urban places and urban people against new risks is about to begin. Just as the police and Homeland Security protect us from external threats, there will be increased private and public investment aiming to protect citizens from risks. Environmentalists such as Joe Romm and Brad Plummer should now focus their attention on the adaptation challenge. Who is unaware of the risks they face in their city and neighborhood? Will capitalism devise solutions to these problems? For the last 8 years, I have argued that capitalism is up to the challenge. After all, Trumps hotels and towers will be much less valuable if they are under-water. He has a strong stake in protecting his investments. This is a case where self interest provides strong incentives for self-protection.