No one knows for sure.
But there are a few telling signs.
Take, for example, President-elect Trump’s desire to pull out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Although this international treaty will move forward with or without America’s help, not having the world’s largest superpower on board could limit the impact of this historic agreement. Worse still, if the United States backs out of the treaty, it’s possible that China, Russia, and others could do the same.
Needless to say, the planet might not be able to weather the above. Global warming is very real, and we are dangerously close to the point of no return.
So should environmental advocates be concerned?
But the potential damage may not be as bad as you think.
Let’s take a look.
Can a Single Elected Leader Really Impact Global Solar Power?
The American presidency is arguably the most powerful position on the planet. But there are limits to how much influence this post has.
For example, the Paris Climate Change Agreement is truly an international coalition. Just last week, more than 200 countries met in Marrakesh, Morocco to hammer out some of the finer details.
Having the United States on board is definitely a major plus. But even if you remove us from the equation, there are still 199 countries working to heal the planet.
Moreover, global investment in solar power, wind energy, sustainability, and clean energy storage is actually speeding up – not slowing down. In 2015, global green investment approach $350 billion. This year is expected to set a new record.
Add to this the fact that photovoltaic (PV) prices continue to fall year after year. Since 2009, for example, panel costs have dropped nearly 80%.
In other words, America can double down on coal and Arctic drilling if it really wants to. These decisions won’t actually stop the international renewable energy industry. All over the world, countries are waking up to the undeniable benefits of sunshine and wind. Why generate electricity from dirty, finite sources when you can tap into clean and limitless reservoirs of energy?
Protecting the planet will be much easier if all hands are on deck. But if America decides to sit this one out, the global green movement will likely continue unabated.