As the end of the year approaches, perhaps it is time to make an accounting of 2016 from a climate viewpoint. The high points of the year included the stay by the Supreme Court on implementation of the EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP) on February 9. This stay remained in effect for the rest of the year despite the death on February 13 of the author of one of the five votes cast in favor of it. The second high point was the decision by one of the candidates for President to oppose climate alarmism and his subsequent election victory in November.
The low point of the year was the decision of the Democratic Party to advocate an end to the burning of fossil fuels by 2050. This could not have been achieved, of course, but the attempt to do so would have resulted in huge adverse economic and environmental effects. Since the Democratic presidential candidate lost, these policy goals are now presumably null and void. With one added vote from a Supreme Court candidate nominated by a Democratic president, the CPP would likely have gone into effect in 2017 or 2018. A number of other EPA regulations that directly or indirectly implement climate alarmism have gone into effect, however, and may or may not be withdrawn by the new Trump Administration.
So it can be said that although climate policy was not the major issue in the election, the outcome means that there is now considerable hope that the US will avoid major damage from climate alarmism. No similar statement can be made for blue states, particularly California, that have or may adopt the anti-economic, anti-science, and anti-environmental tenets of climate alarmism.
So despite a roller coaster ride all year and several very close calls, the US as a whole appears to have escaped the devastating impact from climate alarmism at least for the next four years and possibly for eight years. Although it is much too early to be sure, there may even be hope for the demise of climate alarmism in Western Europe and other developed countries, although after much more damage has been done.