The left’s belated, and bittersweet, victory on climate change

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Fear-mongering is understandably in fashion this year, with prophets of doom having no shortage of new material to draw upon. But amid the endlessly bleak portents of our collective future – birds falling out of the sky in the United States, hundreds of whales washing up on Australia’s shores, a succession of “worst-ever” natural disasters, set against a “worst-ever” US presidential election and a once-in-a-generation pandemic – there is at least one silver lining: the urgency of tackling climate change seems, finally, to be sinking in.Joe Biden, a stalwart of the status quo and favourite to win in November, is campaigning on the most ambitious climate change package in history. Totalling $2 trillion, and injecting some much-needed vitality into his veteran candidacy, the plan promises a complete transition to clean electricity by 2035 and net zero emissions by 2050.
China, currently the world’s biggest emitter, has announced it will phase out fossil fuels by 2060. Much of Europe is on the same path. Boris Johnson, who has spent much of his career ridiculing wind energy, has now re-branded himself as a champion of the cause. The leaders who still refuse to follow suit – blindly clinging to the fantasy that free-market capitalism will correct …

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