Is Elon Musk a climate hero the climate movement and its allies should embrace, or will his libertarian (or conservative) politics make him an object of contempt? Musk raises the deeper questions the movement must face. Should climate politics be included in the broader liberal versus conservative conflict, or should it be led by nonpartisans?
There is no easy answer, as both factions and nonpartisans have political logic. Many climate activists are frustrated by the slow pace of progress on the climate issue and blame it on Republicans and conservative Democrats. They believe that “the other party” does not act in good faith and cannot trust political compromises.
Besides, the internal dynamics of the movement favor partisanity. Social media shaping the political discourse of young climate activists sees nonpartisans as sold out. In fact, both House and Senators will worry about being “commended” if they’re too receptive.
A delayed $2 trillion Build Back Better (BBB) bill demonstrates the difficulty of finding a bipartisan solution. Senator Manchin, a swing voter willing to support smaller bills (Approximately $550 billion) The focus is on climate, prescription drugs and deficit reduction. But many Democrats, including the most vocal climate advocates, have taken an all-or-nothing approach. This means a climate-focused BBB won’t happen, but the window for climate legislation will close after the midterm elections in November.
Is climate bipartisan impossible?
In 2020, Congress enacted the Great American Outdoors Act, a bipartisan act providing $20 billion to national parks and other federal lands. Both Republicans and Democrats credited it in the November 2020 elections. Interestingly, many Republicans have historically opposed national parks and monuments because they viewed them as federal violations of national rights and obstacles to economic development. However, the view of national parks seems to be changing. They are now politically popular because they generate tourism income that benefits the local economy.
State governments are also making progress on climate policy in divided states (where different parties control the state legislature and governor) and even in Republican-controlled states. all recent articles Republican-controlled states report enacting about a third of statewide renewable energy legislation. In states with divided governments, bipartisan efforts have led to renewable energy policies.
This begs the question: What promotes climate duality?
First, the problem frame is important. Bipartisan supporters argue that these phrases should not be used because “climate change” or “global warming” policies are polarized. Instead, they use phrases like “clean energy” for climate mitigation and “disaster management” for climate adaptation. Even under the Great American Outdoors Act, national parks are not designated as conservation measures to combat climate change. Of course, non-climate framing can keep the Twitter star from winning, but it will probably help push the climate agenda.
Second, bipartisan climate initiatives tend to emphasize the local benefits of climate policy rather than the moral obligation to combat climate change. Indiana (where Trump wins 57% of the vote in 2020 election) is building Mammoth Solar, a 440 MW solar facility spread over 13,000 acres. At the opening ceremony, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said:It’s an incredibly exciting day for Indiana, celebrating the future of energy generation and Doral Renewables’ significant investment in Indiana..”
It can be argued that many BBB factors generate regional benefits. But why didn’t it win support from one Republican senator? This brings us to the third point, perhaps the most difficult. Non-partisan parties may need to separate climate policy from non-climate issues. This is complicated if you believe that climate change requires structural changes in the economy and society. However, as climate policy begins to cover other policy areas, new opponents (and sometimes supporters) emerge. This is where the ongoing debate over the possibility of Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter comes from.
Musk: A climate hero or a libertarian reactionary?
The climate movement and its allies Praise Musk as a Hero Perhaps the most important role in the electrification of the automotive industry (in the United States, the transportation sector is 25% of greenhouse gas emissions)? Or should we criticize him because his political views do not align with those of mainstream movements, especially young activists?
musk electric car launched (EV) During the 2007-2010 recession, when the US auto industry went bankrupt. By demonstrating a business case for EVs, Musk paved the way for the transition from internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEs) to EVs. Announced by countries and states ICE Ban. Almost every major automaker is committed to the transition from ICE to EV. So shouldn’t Musk be inducted into the Climate Hall of Fame?
Obviously not. As far as we know, Musk has not won a major climate award of the type given to Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s not a climate summit star (if invited). Acclaimed podcaster Brandon Farmahini was praised. Twitter Because they canceled Tesla’s Cybertruck reservation. He wrote: “I want to say it felt good to cancel my #cybertruck from #Tesla, but it was really depressing. It’s an amazing piece of engineering, but I’m not going to fund Musk’s efforts to rebuild Russian disinformation on #twitter under the guise of “freedom of the press.”
Another reviewer Molly TaftI wrote this: “Building a livable planet for me means following all types of science, from climate science to the healthy science behind gender identity and transition, as well as doing incredibly easy things that respect people’s pronouns. It means supporting the same basic human rights. Or just not putting the staff at risk to maintain the boy wizard’s public image.”
Some talked about Chinese connections. Jeff Bezos (Musk’s billionaire competitor at a company that wants Amazon to be a climate leader) Tweet “Has the Chinese government gained some influence over the town square?” – China is Tesla’s second-largest market, suggesting Musk has a major plant in Shanghai. But doesn’t Amazon have a commercial relationship with China? What about the renewable energy industry or the main mineral supply chain dominated by China? Should solar and wind power be avoided, as most of their equipment is imported from China?
The World Meteorological Organization suggests that the 1.5 C temperature rise threshold may be violated. as early as 2024 instead of the end of the century. In addition, Republicans are likely to win the House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm elections. Urgent policy action is needed, but this will require separating climate issues from other political and social debates (called the BBB effect). There are strong arguments against decoupling because the climate crisis reflects and contributes to deeper social and political problems. But without separation, climate development will be difficult. This is the dilemma facing the climate movement and its allies.