2020 ELECTION

It does not feel at all hyperbolic to say that the survival of humanity is threatened in the 2020 election pitting Senator Joe Biden (D-DL), former Vice President under Barack Obama, against incumbent President Donald Trump. Considering the divisiveness of this election and extreme polarization around practically every major issue — including the coronavirus pandemic — it is no surprise that these two differ wildly on the significance of climate change. In July, Biden announced he would invest $2 trillion to transition the US to a renewable energy economy that would take us to net-zero emissions before 2050. In contrast, President Trump has called climate change “a hoax” and spent his first term rolling back environmental regulations while supporting fossil fuel companies whenever possible. Biden’s response: “When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is ‘hoax.’ When I think about climate change, the word I think of is ‘jobs.

Oddly enough, President Trump’s campaign website does not list goals or make promises for the upcoming term; it simply touts “achievements,” which include allowing “financing for coal and fossil energy projects,” repealing Obama’s Clean Power Plan to replace it with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, and keeping his promise to take America out of the Paris Climate Agreement. The ACE Rule will do little to slow emissions and, by some policy analysts’ projections, potentially actually lead to increased emissions compared to a scenario with no plan at all.

Biden was been a proponent of clean energy for many years as a US Senator. As Obama’s Vice-President, he called fighting climate change, “the single most important thing” they could do in the White House and supported strongly the former President’s use of Executive Orders to achieve climate policy — including rolling out the Clean Power Plan and signing the Paris Agreement. Biden has a lengthy history of supporting measures to combat climate change including carbon pricing, introducing climate resilience plans (including the Climate Protection Act 1986, the first climate change bill in the Senate), and investing in renewable energy. However, he has resisted calling for a ban on fracking, a controversial method of extracting natural gas.

Nevertheless, Biden’s 2020 environmental platform has drawn support even from his onetime critics. His current aggressive stance towards combatting climate change, some argue, has gained strength from young activists who vehemently supported Bernie in the primaries and made clear that climate action was a condition for their vote.

Ultimately, the stakes of the 2020 election could not be higher. As the US is currently the second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, the decisions being made by voters this year have global ramifications. We will either choose tyranny and an unfettered slide into climate chaos, or we will finally start moving toward climate resilience in a strategic, holistic way. The difference is truly that stark.


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

2020 President: Consensus Electoral Map
Current as of 5/1/19
A consensus outlook for the 2020 presidential election (from 270towin.com) based on the current ratings of Sabato’s Crystal BallThe Cook Political Report and Inside Elections.  For purposes of this map, only states rated safe by all of these forecasters are shown in the darkest shade.

CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

These organizations are dedicated to bringing climate change into public policy, are watching how government does and doesn’t support measures supporting climate change, and are often with a particular emphasis on carbon taxes (or fees and dividends).

Vote Climate

2020 Climate Change Voter’s Guide

Each 2020 candidate — whether for the Presidency, the Senate or the House, whether incumbent or challenger, gets a climate score from zero to 100 for the voter to take into the voting booth. Use it to choose your candidates.

MORE NEWS

JOE BIDEN

Biden Climate Ad is a First

By Peter Sinclair     10/6/20   

Past Democratic presidential nominees have certainly acknowledged the threat of climate change in their campaigns, though the issue has never been one to run on in and of itself. In 2008, then-Senator Obama committed to an 80% emissions reduction from 1990 levels by 2050 as part of his campaign, though his messaging was confusing at times.