The Earth is on the ballot, worldwide

Source: Washington Latest


All eyes in the U.S. are already focused on November’s presidential election. But for global climate action, America’s vote is not the only one that matters.

Countries home to nearly half the global population will choose leaders during the next year who could determine whether the world avoids increasingly dangerous levels of warming.

That’s particularly true in countries with growing economies and populations, such as India, Indonesia and South Africa, as I outlined in a story today. Those three nations have seen their greenhouse gas emissions increase as they rely on coal — the world’s most polluting fuel — to meet growing demands for energy.

While all three have indicated they support a transition to clean energy, they have also pursued nationalist agendas that have placed a priority on energy security over pollution reductions.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose government is doubling down on both coal and renewables, is expected to be reelected. In Indonesia, President Joko Widodo’s successor — who could be chosen as soon as next week — will probably continue Widodo’s energy and climate policies, which critics say contain loopholes that would prevent a coal phase-out and an end to deforestation and exploitative mining practices.

South Africa’s governing party, meanwhile, could lose its majority after badly managing an ongoing power crisis — resulting in a coalition government that could have a harder time passing climate policies.

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