Voices on the US Elections

Here are a few of the most interesting commentaries and analyses we found on the outcome of the US elections and its impact on workers and the Green New Deal.

MIT Technology Review has an extensive analysis on ‘what Biden will and won’t be able to achieve on climate change’ (6 November).

Dani Rodrik, Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University tries to draw some social conclusions of the Biden win and warns of the “rude awakening” awaiting the Democratic Party in 2024 if the Left does not balance its cultural identity policies with its traditional issues of social justice and good jobs for all.

An interesting quote from Dan Rodrik:

“… parties of the left have increasingly become the parties of educated, metropolitan elites. As their traditional working-class base has eroded, the influence of globalised professionals, the financial industry, and corporate interests has risen. The problem is not just that these elites often favor economic policies that leave middle and lower-middle classes and lagging regions behind. It is also that their cultural, social, and spatial isolation renders them incapable of understanding and empathising with the worldviews of the less fortunate. A telling symptom is how easily the cultural elite dismiss the 70-plus million Americans who backed Trump in this election by portraying them as benighted people who vote against their own interests.”

A few days after the media reported that Biden would be the new President-Elect, the internal struggles in the Democratic Party were revived. Several centrist Democrats and media pundits blamed the more progressive representatives (the Sanders – Warren - Ocasio-Cortez wing of the party) of being responsible for undermining the Big Blue Wave. Some other analysis of the results contradicted this narrative. The CommonDreams website has a good article on this issue: ‘99% of Green Deal co-sponsors won their races’

Covid recovery efforts’ impact on climate change policies

According to a study undertaken by the British  think thank VividEconomics, the stimulus efforts of world governments to deal with the Covid crisis could be a risk for the world’s fight against climate change. This is because a large part of emergency money is flowing into fossil-fuel projects or polluting industries (e.g. support for airlines). The study also underlines that the ‘Next Generation EU’ package is the most environmentally friendly stimulus package with 37% of the 750 billion euro package foreseen for green initiatives.

IEA report on Renewables 2020

The latest International Energy Agency’s Renewables 2020 report, demonstrates that clean energy from wind and solar is on track to be the largest source of electricity in the next five years, despite the difficulties of the pandemic.

Is zero-carbon possible with zero job loss? 

An upcoming ETUI research project in co-operation with the European Climate Foundation will examine how the decarbonisation of road transport (critical for achieving a net-zero carbon economy) will affect the European automobile industry and in particular the 14 million European jobs depending on it. The stakes in the automobile industry are particularly high and the transformation is also more complex than in other sectors, as beside decarbonisation, the digitalisation of both the production and the product and a reconfiguration of the global supply chains of the industry are proceeding simultaneously. How to minimize employment impact of a 2050 transition to zero emissions vehicles? To what extent would slower electrification by European manufacturers jeopardise European technological leadership and undermine their global market positions? These are the key questions that will be investigated.