There was some good news last week for those of us who worry about the future of the planet,. Both inside and outside of Congress, Pope Francis spoke about the need to protect the environment and address climate change. Some conservative Catholics are eager to dismiss this as simply another misguided opinion by a left-learning Pope. But his predecessor, Pope Benedict, also spoke out on climate change, as we reported a couple of years ago.
There were other notable developments. China announced plans for an ambitious national carbon trading system. This announcement helps build momentum toward the Paris talks. It also makes the current Republican talking point — that America “can’t do it alone” — look increasingly feeble. Also last week, the NY Times reported that some major multinationals, including Walmart and Johnson & Johnson, have established plans to shift entirely to renewable energy. And in California, the CARB announced plans for major cuts in petroleum use under the state’s pathbreaking Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
Climate policy always has its up and downs, and one good week doth not a trend make. But amidst the short-term fluctuations, we do seem to be seeing a longer-term progressive trend. Let’s hope the trend continues and gathers force.