With Donald J. Trump about to take control of the White House, it would seem a dark time for the 2)renewable energy industry. After all, Mr. Trump has mocked the science of global warming as a Chinese 3)hoax, threatened to kill a global deal on climate change and promised to restore the coal industry to its former glory.
So consider what happened in the middle of December, after investors had had a month to absorb the implications of Mr. Trump’s victory. The federal government opened bidding on a tract of the ocean floor off New York State as a potential site for a huge wind farm.
Up, up and away soared the offers — interest from the bidders was so fevered that the auction went through 33 rounds and 4)spilled over to a second day. In the end, the winning bidder offered the federal Treasury $42 million, more than twice what the government got in August for oil leases — oil leases — in the Gulf of Mexico.
Who won the bid? None other than Statoil, the Norwegian oil company, which is 5)in the midst of a major campaign to turn itself into a big player in renewable energy.
We do not know for sure that the New York wind farm will get built, but we do know this: The energy transition is real, and Mr. Trump is not going to stop it.
On a global scale, more than half the investment in new electricity generation is going into renewable energy. That is more than $300 billion a year, a sign of how powerful the 6)momentum has become.
Wind power is booming in the United States, with the industry adding manufacturing jobs in the 7)reddest states. When Mr. Trump’s appointees examine the facts, they will learn that wind-farm technician is projected to be the fastest-growing occupation in America over the next decade.
The election of Mr. Trump left climate activists and environmental groups 8)in despair. They had pinned their hopes on a Hillary Clinton victory and a continuation of President Obama’s strong push to tackle global warming.
Now, of course, everything is in 9)flux. In the worst case, with a sufficiently 10)pliant Congress, Mr. Trump could roll back a decade of progress on climate change. 11)Barring some miraculous conversion on Mr. Trump’s part, his election cannot be interpreted as 12)anything but bad news for the climate agenda.
Yet despair might be an overreaction.
For starters, when Mr. Trump gets to the White House, he will find that the federal government actually has relatively little control over American energy policy, and particularly over electricity generation. The coal industry has been 13)ravaged in part by cheap natural gas, which is abundant because of technological changes in the way it is produced, and there is no lever in the Oval Office that Mr. Trump can pull to reverse that.
The intrinsically weak federal role was a source of frustration for Mr. Obama and his aides, but now it will work to the benefit of 14)environmental advocates. They have already persuaded more than half the states to adopt 15)mandates on renewable energy. Efforts to roll those back have largely failed, with the latest development coming only last week, when Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, a Republican, vetoed a rollback 16)bill.
The federal government does offer important 17)subsidies for renewable energy, and they will surely become a target in the new Congress. But those subsidies are already scheduled to fall drastically over five years, in a deal cut a year ago that gave the oil industry some favors and that passed Congress with many Republican votes.
If Mr. Trump pushes for an early end to the subsidies, he will find that renewable energy has friends in the Republican Party. Topping that list is Charles E. Grassley, the senior senator from Iowa. That state — all-important in presidential politics, let us remember — will soon be getting 40 percent of its electricity from wind power.
“Senator Grassley has been and continues to be an extraordinary leader and champion for the wind industry,” said Tom Kiernan, the head of the American Wind Energy Association, a trade group.
When I spoke with him last week, Mr. Kiernan did not sound like a man 18)gnashing his teeth about the 19)impending Trump era. By his group’s calculations, $80 billion of wind industry investment is 20)in the pipeline for the United States over the next few years. “We are creating jobs throughout America, good-paying jobs, and we think President-elect Trump will want that to continue,” he said.
If Mr. Trump really wanted to roll back the clock, he could try to get Congress to 21)override all the state mandates, a gross violation of the supposed conservative commitment to federalism. But it would be a titanic fight, some Republican senators would defect on principle, and Mr. Trump would almost certainly lose.
So if the damage Mr. Trump can do domestically is limited by circumstance, what about the international effort against global warming?
That is the prospect that has David G. Victor most worried. Dr. Victor, a professor at the University of California at San Diego, is one of the closest observers of global climate politics. While the nations of the world agreed a year ago to a landmark deal to tackle global warming, that 22)consensus is fragile, he pointed out.
The Paris Agreement is really an outline; more promise than reality. Mr. Trump has vowed to withdraw. Right now, other countries are saying they will go forward even if he does so, but it is not hard to imagine the thing 23)unraveling.
As part of the negotiations, the Obama administration promised billions of dollars from American taxpayers to help poor countries adjust to the devastation of global warming. “That’s a big part of the glue that held the Paris deal together,” Dr. Victor pointed out. Mr. Trump is considered likely to abandon that 24)pledge.
Perhaps the biggest threat to the climate agenda posed by the incoming administration is not anything that Mr. Trump might do, but rather what he will not do.
While the energy transition is real, it is still in its earliest stages. Iowa may soon get 40 percent of its power from wind, but for the United States as a whole, the figure is closer to 5 percent. The transition is simply not happening fast enough. The pledges countries made in Paris, even if kept, are not ambitious enough.
To meet the climate goals embodied in the Paris Agreement, the world needed an American president who would have pushed hard to accelerate the energy transition. You can debate whether Mrs. Clinton would have been that president, but it is certainly clear that Mr. Trump will not be.
So as Washington 25)goes into reverse gear on climate policy, seas will keep rising and heat waves will get worse. Later this month, global monitoring agencies are expected to report that 2016 was the hottest year in the historical record, beating out 2015, which beat out 2014.
If nothing else, the next four years may be a fascinating test of just how far politics can become divorced from physical reality.
By Justin Gillis
Source: THE NEW YORK TIMES
<Words & Expressions> < Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >
1) rollback: n. (상황, 법률 등이 과거 상태로) 역행
2) renewable energy industry: 신재생 에너지 사업
3) hoax: n. 사기, 거짓말, 장난질
4) spill over: ~으로 번지다, 넘치다
5) in the midst of something: ~하는 가운데 (중에)
6) momentum: n. 탄력, 가속도
7) reddest state (red state): 공화당 지지 주
8) in despair: 절망에 빠지다
9) flux: n. 유동, 끊임없는 변화
10) pliant: a. 얌전한, 순종적인
11) barring: prep. ~이 없다면
12) anything but: ~이 결코 아닌
13) ravage: v. 황폐하다, 파괴하다 (주로 수동태로 쓰임, 여기에선 현재완료수동태로 쓰임 has been ravaged 파괴되어왔다.)
14) environmental advocates: 환경 옹호자, 지지자
15) mandates: n. 권한
16) bill: n. 법안
17) subsidies: n. 보조금
18) gnashing his teeth: (분노로) 이를 갈다
19) impending: a. 곧 들이닥칠, 임박한
20) in the pipeline: 한창 진행중인
21) override: v. (직권을 이용하여 결정, 명령 등을) 기각하다, 무시하다
22) consensus: n. 의견 일치, 합의
23) unraveling: v. (이해하기 어려운 것 등을) 풀다
24) pledge: n. 약속, 맹세, 서약
25) go into reverse gear: 역행하다 (reverse gear 후진기어)