Hillary Clinton says: “Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time.”
Donald Trump says: “I don’t believe in climate change. … It’s a hoax.”
If you understand that climate change is real and happening and of huge importance, that doesn’t leave you much to decide. That’s a political decision, of course. I don’t usually write about politics. But the policy implications of the political outcome are just too big to ignore.
This isn’t one of those issues that gets lost in the swamp of charges and countercharges and the race to the bottom of whom you trust least. This doesn’t depend on which cable news channel you watch. Just go to the source. Go to their campaign web sites:
- Hillary Clinton’s web site lists “Environment” as a top level issue. Donald Trump’s web site has no Environment section at all. His site has an “Economic Vision” section which includes “Energy reform”, where he addresses environmental issues.
- On the Paris Agreement: Clinton’s “Environment” section begins, “Hillary’s plan will deliver on the pledge President Obama made at the Paris climate conference.” Trump’s site says: “Cancel the Paris Climate Agreement (limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius) and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.”
- On the Clean Power Plan: Clinton promises to “[d]efend, implement, and extend … the Clean Power Plan and standards for cars, trucks, and appliances that are already helping clean our air, save families money, and fight climate change.” Trump promises to: “Rescind all the job-destroying Obama executive actions including the Climate Action Plan…..”
That leaves no choice. A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote to admit climate change is real and make urgent progress to deal with it. A vote for Donald Trump is a vote for denial – denial of science, denial of reality, and denial of our responsibility to our future, our children and our world. And make no mistake. A vote for anyone else – or failure to vote – is, in effect, a vote for Trump and denial.
If this discomfits any of my clients or partners, so be it. This issue is too important to be left vague. I do want to be very clear: I am speaking for myself, and not them (please see my usual disclaimer below.)
To those clients, though, I would suggest a few moments’ reflection. I am deeply sympathetic to the challenges of stranded assets – not to mention stranded careers, pensions and egos. However, I also know that many clients in fact do understand climate change but find it politically uncomfortable – if not dangerous – to speak openly in their companies. To those clients, I would say: “Let’s talk about how to exercise responsible leadership in your company without committing suicide. Let’s talk about ‘leading from below.’ But please remember, your company won’t be in the voting booth with you.”
As a strategist, I would advise even those clients who don’t agree to think carefully. Public demands for climate change action will continue and intensify, regardless of the outcome of the election. The question is whether government will step up and play its role to lead on solving public policy issues, or step back and leave business to bear the brunt of those demands. Would you rather have rational public policy that sets clear expectations applying to all companies, creates a level playing field and spells out what should be disclosed? Or would you like intensified guerrilla warfare with your consumers, customers, investors, employees and the media?
Doesn’t seem like that hard a decision.
[Opinions in this blog are solely those of Scott Nadler and do not necessarily represent views of Nadler Strategy’s clients or partners, or those cited in the post. To share this blog, see additional posts on Scott’s blog or subscribe please go to nadlerstrategy.com.]