Civilization has reached a pivotal moment in the climate crisis. With time running out to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions before irreversible climate change becomes inevitable, the coronavirus pandemic has diverted attention from the issue and caused, among other things, a one-year postponement of the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference, known as COP26.  

On November 4, 2020, the United States is scheduled to formally leave the Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015 and aimed at limiting the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.  

One day before that, however, is the presidential election in the US. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee, announced a plan, in July, to spend $2 trillion over four years to speed a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy in the transportation, electricity, and building sectors. The plan is also aimed at a national economic recovery from the pandemic. President Trump, by contrast, has reduced or eliminated more than 130 climate mitigation and adaptation measures, according to the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law 

In the United States, efforts to implement a fee on carbon have fallen short in Washington, as did Gov. Jay Inslee’s campaign for President, which made climate change its centerpiece. But Citizens Climate Lobby’s effort to see bipartisan passage of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act continues. There are now 25 states taking part in the U.S. Climate Alliance committing them to taking real, on the ground action that urgently addresses the climate challenge. In becoming an Alliance member, states commit to: implement policies that advance the goals of the Paris Agreement, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025; track and report progress to the global community in appropriate settings, including when the world convenes to take stock of the Paris Agreement, and accelerate new and existing policies to reduce carbon pollution and promote clean energy deployment at the state and federal level. 

The first half of 2020 has been eventful. As American political campaigns heat up along with the country, future action on mitigating climate change hangs in the balance.  

More political news, key resources, and plans to accelerate renewables are explored on pages within this section: LOCAL POLITICS, NATIONAL POLITICSINTERNATIONAL and the 2020 ELECTIONYou can also go to STATES (under the LEARN MORE dropdown menu), to find more detailed information for each state.