Four major election results were announced this fortnight, which could deepen the divide between pro- and anti-climate action.
In India, the ruling government was re-elected with a thumping majority. The result’s climate implications may be largely positive, with expectations of higher chances of increased climate ambition and consolidating India’s own domestic success on renewables. India is also likely to seize key international climate moments, like the UN Secretary General’s summit on climate change, and position itself as a climate leader. While in Europe, the latest elections saw the “green” parties better their seat shares all around – especially in Germany, Finland and France. Their wins are expected to drive the EU towards stronger, more immediate action.
However, Scott Morrison’s surprise re-election as Australia’s prime minister has emboldened the country’s coal lobby to already start demanding new coalmines and coal plants – on the (deliberately) false premise that coal offers the cheapest and cleanest electricity. Joko Widodo, meanwhile, was re-elected in Indonesia and may expand the country’s palm oil fields further into its rainforests. That’s bad news again, as the pristine forests are an enormous carbon sink and influence regional weather patterns.