Despite the outrage in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, a new study from Morgan Stanley — one of many major corporate firms to denounce Trump’s decision to leave the Paris agreement in early June — suggests the U.S. will be just fine without the ‘historic’ Paris Climate Accord.
The Morgan Stanley report forecasts that the United States will exceed carbon-emission reduction goals not because of government prodding and planning, but because of the burgeoning market reality regarding renewable sources of energy.
Put simply, renewable energy sources are becoming cheaper through innovation and market competition. By golly, it seems people pursuing their self-interest can actually end up serving the greater good!
According to the analysts, as quoted by Quartz:
“By our forecasts, in most cases favorable renewables economics rather than government policy will be the primary driver of changes to utilities’ carbon emissions levels. For example, notwithstanding president Trump’s stated intention to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord, we expect the US to exceed the Paris commitment of a 26-28% reduction in its 2005-level carbon emissions by 2020.”
Will this process carry on as quickly as many people would like? Will every renewable product be an optimal solution to the wicked issue of climate change? Will every new innovation be hailed as the salvation of the human race from our own decadence just as, say, government climate accords are so lionized?
No, of course not. But that’s how market solutions and innovation work. Markets tend to do the dirty work of taking us onward and upward, step by step, rung by rung, without the fanfare that usually accompanies political solutions that aren’t really solutions in the first place.
Maybe that should change. Maybe it is high time we gave our fellows working through the market process their due. Maybe it is time we recognize that the freedom to trade and compete absent government sanctions (in the renewable energy sector or any other) allows us to pick and choose and eventually see which paths are worth the journey, i.e. which production processes are productive and profitable for society.
I say “maybe” because we must remember that the future is incredibly uncertain and subject to change, especially in regard to immensely complex problems such as climate change. With that in mind, I would rather we allow people to freely pursue their own solutions to society’s many problems than continue to impose one singular government solution on people against their will.
As I’ve said before, we do not need the trappings of central planning to solve our collective problems. Society can run itself, thank you very much; it needs no single creator or director.
Society already has great gifts for solving complex human issues — individual liberty, initiative, and ingenuity, along with the free and open exchange of goods and ideas — and we need not sacrifice these liberal benefactors of the modern world to dream impossible dreams and fight unbeatable foes. The greatest achievements of the human race have not come from government committees and accords, but from intrepid yet everyday individuals working in concert to tackle the unknown and implacable through innovation and persuasion.
Maybe, just maybe, freedom works!