2019 was a year of gloomy climate reports and bipartisan bickering. It was also a year for hope. Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the year (and decade) was thrusting the climate crisis into center stage through relentless protest and activism. The world is talking about the future, so why not throw out a few optimistic climate predictions?
With youth leading the way, climate protest has emerged in parallel with the crisis itself. There’s no denying it’s real, there’s no denying it’s here, and there’s no denying it’s going increase its reach and intensity. As pressure mounts, those standing in the way of climate action will crack, catalyzing a domino effect.
In 2020 the first domino will fall, setting a course for a decade of action – The Roaring 20’s 2.0. Keep in mind, the following climate predictions will only become reality on a wave of widespread individual action. What can I say? I’m an optimist, and imagining a decade of meaningful climate gives me the hope and courage to keep going.
Trump will be voted out of office, making way for a climate-friendly administration
The first of three climate predictions deals the president. In so many words, the Trump administration has been a disaster for the climate. Withdrawing from the Paris climate accord and gutting the Environmental Protection Agency is infuriating enough. But claiming to be an “environmentalist” while he does so is downright maddening.
With climate emerging as a top priority for voters, one would think Trump’s anti-environmental actions will have repercussions at the polls. While there’s no doubt Trump’s base will show up in 2020, something tells me his anti-climate and other… “questionable”… actions will activate new voters and those that stayed home in 2016.
The new president, whoever he or she may be, will undoubtedly pick a more climate-friendly cabinet and reverse the current course. They certainly couldn’t do much worse…
Two or more major banks will divest from fossil fuel projects
2019 brought us Goldman Sachs and other major banks committing to not fund Arctic drilling and a roadmap to pressuring banks to divest from fossil fuel projects. With concerted efforts of activism and personal divestment, major banks like JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup will be forced to reevaluate their fossil fuel investments. And with rapidly decreasing costs, renewable energy sources will only look better and better.
I’m not quite naive or optimistic enough to predict any bank will totally divest, but more actions like Goldman Sachs’ are surely on the horizon.
Exxon will lose a climate trial, setting precedent for future trials
Exxon scored a victory in December 2019 when a Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled it did not defraud its investors by keeping two sets of books to account for varying climate scenarios. However, the New York case is just one of many against Exxon and other oil companies. For instance, Massachusetts is making a case that Exxon mislead consumers instead of investors.
As the cases play out, the public will undoubtedly get a clearer look into Exxon’s decades-long campaign to cover up and deny climate change. It might score legal victories here and there, but I optimistically predict they will take a major hit in 2020 and the tracks will be laid for additional climate justice victories.
Have an optimistic prediction of your own or care to politely eviscerate one of mine? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or send us an idea for an article you’d like to pursue.
Feature photo by Solomon Karmel.