Trump cannot change economic reality

People have been asking me about the impact of Donald Trump’s election on the new energy age. Despite panic in many parts of the environmental movement, not much is likely to change.

The bottom line on Donald Trump is that about 60 million people voted for him so that America could serve notice to the world that they are no longer going to pay to police the globe or keep shipping all their low wage jobs out of the country. Instead they will ship brown and black people out. But the Trump administration cannot change what is essentially an economic shift to cheaper, better, energy technology. There are now more Republicans benefitting from clean tech than any other political sector. One quarter of the country’s wind turbines are found in Texas. Republicans recently voted to extend the 30% tax credit on renewables for another 5 years.

Despite his claims to the contrary, Trump is a politician, while clean tech growth is moving beyond the political arena and is increasingly dependent on a very favourable and unstoppable economic wind.

Trump is 72 and has thrown in with some even older, still wealthy and powerful oil and gas people, so due to their actions the move into electric vehicles might be slower in the rural areas and in the least progressive states. Even the Detroit carmakers are going to realize that Trump can’t change the regulatory approach of progressive states and the progress of their European, Asian, and Californian competitors

The talk about coal is nothing but bluster and/or wasted subsidies. Coal is economically and technologically obsolete. And the fate of the oil and gas market is similarly sealed. It will dramatically shrink over the next few decades.

There is nothing Trump can do to prevent renewables winning in the power sector or clean tech pervading the building sector. And in the long run he may slow the electrification of transportation, but probably not by much.

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