Updated: Nov 1, 2020
By now, you have most definitely heard about the upcoming election. The race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden has been highly publicized, and whoever gets elected will determine the future of our country (and the planet) for at least the next 4 years.
Why is this relevant to climate change?
As a group focused on educating people on climate change and the environment, this election is vital in fighting for change and improvement for our environment. We need to elect leaders that will take further measures in making changes to our country’s impact on the climate and the environment. Donald Trump and Joe Biden have vastly different plans for the environment and climate change. Here is an outline of each candidate’s plan.
Climate change is one of the topics that Joe Biden has been very vocal about ever since he announced his presidential candidacy. While, originally, his climate plan was not the strongest, since his nomination, he has outlined a much more comprehensive 1.7 trillion dollar plan. On his website, he explains what his plans and goals for his response to Climate Change are; the basis of them are these five:
- Have 100% clean energy by 2050
- Build a stronger country/nation
- Help communities who are disproportionately affected by pollution
- Support the workers who have powered our industrial revolution
- Unite other countries to fight against climate change
To achieve funds for his plans, Biden wants to reverse the tax cuts on wealthy corporations and cut money for fossil fuels.
For his first goal, Biden plans to set harsh limits on oil and gas companies. He wants to ensure more US government buildings and facilities have access to and use clean energy, and reduce the greenhouse gases generated from public and private transportation, etc.
To achieve his second goal, Biden wants to recruit more people to help communities who’ve been hit by natural disasters, and create future agendas and plans to prevent/prepare for them. He plans to create more jobs that have to do with climate resilience and natural or technological climate solutions.
On his website, Biden acknowledges that many of the communities disproportionately affected by climate change and pollution are typically low-income or communities of color, and to help them, he plans to hold polluters accountable and direct power into pursuing cases of pollution in these communities. Biden wants to make sure every community has access to clean water and plans to make water infrastructure a priority within his climate plans.
Because of Biden’s plan to decrease carbon emissions and limit coal and oil production, many people may go without jobs. For his last goal, Biden says that he will make sure coal and oil workers will get the benefits and pay that they need and will redirect many coal/oil jobs to more climate-based careers.
Lastly, for his final goal, Biden has repeatedly explained how he plans to rally other countries and make plans with them on combating climate change. One of the major aspects of this goal is Biden’s plan to re-enter the Paris Accords. The Paris Accords (or Paris Agreement) was created and written in the summer of 2016 when Obama was still president. He and 176 other leaders from different countries signed the agreement on November 4th, 2016.
When Trump was elected president, he vowed to withdraw from the Paris Accord. But because of one of the articles within the Paris Accord, a country could not withdraw from the agreement for at least 3 years. So once the agreement reached 3 years, on November 4th, 2019, Trump officially gave the notice to withdraw from the Paris Accords. This withdrawal, however, takes 12 months to register, so the official withdrawal will not take place until November 4th, 2020, the day after the election. If Biden is elected as President he intends to re-enter the Paris Accords and follow the articles and agreements written within.
What is the Paris Agreement?
The Paris Accord is an environmental agreement between 197 countries (currently) on decreasing carbon emissions and addressing climate issues within each of these countries. The main goal of the Paris Agreement is to decrease the world’s carbon emissions so the global temperature would not continue to increase at such a fast rate.
The accord included agreements for each major polluting country to cut their pollution and continue to strengthen those cuts and limits over time. The accord also had an agreement for each country to report their carbon emissions and implementation of climate policies regularly.
To learn more about the Paris Agreement, visit: https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/
To learn more about Biden’s climate plan and his previous actions in combating climate change, visit: https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/
Recently, in the presidential debates, whenever the environment and climate change are discussed, Trump mentions how he thinks the US has the “cleanest air and cleanest water on earth.” (Washington Post) And although the US has indeed had its cleanest air for a while, Trump is not all responsible for that fact. On the other hand, Trump has also been very vocal about boosting oil and gas production, which goes against his claims of wanting the cleanest air for the country.
Previously, Trump has supported regulations on trash in the ocean, and also put lots of money towards clean water infrastructure, along with national parks. He signed the One Trillion Trees Executive Order, which is a plan to protect and maintain one trillion trees within the United States’ forests by 2030.
At the same time, Trump also has backed multiple policies that benefited the coal industry. Along with that, as mentioned before, Trump left the Paris Accord and also reversed a lot of Obama's previous climate policies and legislations. He has also said on many occasions how he doesn't believe that climate change even exists, and blames many large natural disasters (i.e. California Fires) on the state's incompetence at maintaining proper care of their land.
As the election creeps closer, learning more about each candidate’s plans for our country is vital in choosing who to support. Especially since the environment and climate change is such a current and crucial issue in the world today, making sure our country will have a leader that is willing to organize and create goals/plans to improve and change our environment, as well as our economy, is key.
To read more on the elections & climate change, visit: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/10/14/climate/biden-trump-climate-change-questions
Take a look at our slideshow for even more information on Climate & the Election as well as CA’s propositions and policies! Click here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Z7KBKiOG7S
Plan for Climate Change and Environmental Justice: Joe Biden. (2020, October 02). Retrieved October 25, 2020, from https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/
United States withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. (2020, October 21). Retrieved October 25, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_withdrawal_from_the_Paris_Agreement
December 12, 2. (2020, April 29). Paris Climate Agreement: Everything You Need to Know. Retrieved October 25, 2020, from https://www.nrdc.org/stories/paris-climate-agreement
(n.d.). Retrieved October 25, 2020, from https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/what-is-the-paris-agreement
Brady, J., Rott, N., & Ludden, J. (2020, October 22). There's A Lot At Stake For The Climate In The 2020 Election. Retrieved October 25, 2020, from https://www.npr.org/2020/10/22/925468716/theres-a-lot-at-stake-for-the-climate-in-the-2020-election
Moore, E. (2020, October 16). Trump's And Biden's Plans For The Environment. Retrieved October 25, 2020, from https://www.npr.org/2020/10/16/920484187/trumps-and-biden-s-plans-for-the-environment
Trump: U.S. water, air is 'the cleanest we've ever had'. (n.d.). Retrieved October 25, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/climate-environment/trump-us-water-air-is-the-cleanest-weve-ever-had/2020/07/15/
Neumayr, M. B. (2020, October 16). President Trump Signs One Trillion Trees Executive Order, Promoting Conservation and Regeneration of Our Nation's Forests. Retrieved October 25, 2020, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/articles/president-trump-signs-one-trillion-trees-executive-order-promoting-conservation-regeneration-nations-forests/