This article by Tilak Doshi in Forbes is totally off the mark. It argues that a Warren win in 2020 would be terrible for Asia, whereas a Trump victory would ensure continued low prices for the imported oil and gas on which their economies depend. Doshi’s career in the oil and gas sector blinds him to the reality that the world is in the middle of a climate crisis, and that it is undergoing a transition from a fossil fuel-based energy system to a low carbon one.
That transition is essential and irreversible. Asian countries must rapidly reduce their dependency on fossil fuels, not only for economic reasons but also for public health, productivity, and sustainability ones. Asian cities are already among the most polluted in the world. Rising temperatures reduce worker productivity and raise death rates for the elderly, the very young, and the immuno-compromised. Droughts, floods, and heat waves are increasing, and cyclones are fiercer and more frequent.
The old order is changing, and Asia must change with it. Disruption is inevitable, and never easy. But Asian countries, as oil and gas importers, can transition to wind, solar, and hydro energy sources easier than countries with large production sectors. There will be some displacements, retraining and job creation required, but they shouldn’t impede rapid decarbonization. Asia should hope that a supporter of a Green New Deal, either Warren or Sanders, wins the US presidency, because that way lies a sustainable future. Ignoring the climate crisis condemns Asia and the world to an increasingly scary roller-coaster ride into a life severely constrained at best, deadly at worst.