‘Mission 2025’ vs. ‘Project 2025’ Offers the Tough Choice Between a Livable Climate or Hell

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‘Mission 2025’ vs. ‘Project 2025’ Offers the Tough Choice Between a Livable Climate or Hell

Climate solutions or climate sabotage? That’s more or less the choice between competing visions for the future, the most recent launched this weekend by a coalition of companies and business leaders, non-profits, and climate campaigners. “Mission 2025” wants to “unlock trillions in private investment to protect our nature, scale cheap renewable energy, support industries to compete in a low carbon economy, and safeguard living standards equitably for our people,” according to a statement released on Monday in London.

The name of the group seems to be a fairly intentional echo of Project 2025, the Heritage Foundation-authored thousand-page manifesto alternately titled How to Destroy Democracy (probably) that is now considered more or a less a roadmap for a second Trump administration. That document contains blueprints for dismantling and reshaping the entire federal government, but its assault on energy and climate policy is among its most profound and dangerous goals.

“It takes specific aim at the federal government’s ability to address the climate crisis and instead doubles down on actions to worsen it,” wrote Rachel Cleetus, policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists, in a blog post earlier this month. “Anyone sobered by the relentless rise in global average temperatures and the spate of devastating and costly extreme weather and climate disasters we’ve been experiencing, anyone who thinks policies to benefit the public should be informed by robust, independent science, should take this threat very, very seriously.”

Project 2025 supports reshaping or deleting entirely the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which was established by statute and signed by George H.W. Bush in 1990. It suggests an effort to repeal the bipartisan infrastructure law as well as the already massively successful Inflation Reduction Act, which are helping fuel an unprecedented boom in solar power and battery storage, among other things. It calls for the government to “stop the war on oil and natural gas,” an incredible phrase to say out loud without irony.

It would gut international climate finance, reshape or eliminate environmental reviews for infrastructure projects, limit agencies’ ability to even consider potential costs of climate change, and eliminate entirely the use of a social cost of carbon in government policy decisions.

Fully implemented, this is hell. This is unchecked oil and gas drilling and use, rising emissions, utter abandonment of any global leadership on the issue, crumbling infrastructure and power grids, and literal thousands of excess deaths thanks to rising localized pollution alongside the heat waves, fires, and hurricanes the policies would help juice even further. It is what a tiny group of people blessed with all the air conditioning and job security and New Zealand-based catastrophe bunkers think “independence” ought to mean. For everyone else, it is hell.

Monica Medina, a former top climate official in the State Department and elsewhere in the government, has said Trump will “weaponize” weather and climate. Prominent climate scientist Michael Mann has said Project 2025 would be “game over for climate progress in the U.S.”

On the other side, Mission 2025 offers… well, slightly different ideas. Its main goal is to push governments to align their official climate plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions, with the stated goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Countries must submit their updated NDCs by February of 2025, covering the following decade — a decade widely agreed to be critical to staving off the worst potential climate change impacts and limiting warming to somewhere around 2.0 degrees Celsius (1.5 degrees is, almost certainly, no longer a possibility; the world is still on track for somewhere between 2.5 and 3.0 degrees C under current pledges and policies).

The group says that two-thirds of the revenue of the world’s biggest companies, representing $31 trillion, are now “aligned” with a net-zero pathway. It notes that 55 companies with revenues north of $4 trillion even have transition plans in place that science says might really match those often nebulous net-zero ambitions. And it urges a tripling of global promises in general, a move that really might make 2.0 C degrees realistic.

“The launch of Mission 2025 today is a clear rebuttal to everyone claiming that moving faster on tackling the climate crisis is too difficult, too unpopular or too expensive,” said Christiana Figueres, the co-founder of one of the group’s sponsors Global Optimism and former executive secretary of the U.N.’s climate negotiations body, which oversaw the Paris Agreement’s ratification.

“The chorus of business leaders, investors and mayors calling for more ambition in economy-wide national climate plans is growing louder and clearer, as global decarbonization gathers pace,” said Simon Stiell, who currently holds that U.N. position. The coalition includes some huge companies like Unilever and Ikea, as well as well-funded non-profits like the Bezos Earth Fund.

There is plenty of reason to be skeptical of businesses in particular that claim to be pushing for genuine climate progress. The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero and its supposed $130 trillion “committed” to achieving net zero has many financial services members still merrily supporting fossil fuel use and development, just for example. But the contrast to Trump’s and the Heritage Foundation’s vision and goals could not be more stark: even if some companies and industries manage only halting stop-and-start climate progress, the alternative is a collection of psychopaths actively trying to set the world on fire.

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