The scoop: The world witnessed the first ever climate change question in a US presidential debate. They spent 10 minutes on the topic.
Why it matters: Recent polls revealed 12% of likely voters considered climate change to be their #1 issue behind the economy and coronavirus.
Stuff to know: Biden suggested that foreign countries should give Brazil $20 billion to stop Amazon deforestation. The Amazon rainforest is made up of 300 billion trees and 1/5 of the world's species. Trump acknowledge anthropogenic climate change (sort of) for the first time.
Bottom line: The world is suffering from a public health disaster that has leaked into the global economy, yet voters still consider climate change a centerpiece issue. That is a sign of things to come.
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The scoop: China made an announcement to the UN with plans to go carbon neutral by 2060.
What to know:
- China is the number one carbon emitter in the world, with more carbon emissions thn the US and Europe combined.
- China is still investing heavily in coal-powered plants through 2020, de-legitimizing the carbon pledge.
- The UN took the pledge very seriously, indicating its unwillingness to criticize Chinese climate policy.
Bottom line: China’s carbon pledge is smoke and mirrors. The announcement comes weeks before a major US election when voters are antsy. The United Nations needs to focus on human rights efforts, not tweeting celebration emojis for empty words.
Dig deeper → 3 min
Veep nominee Harris Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate this week. She is the first woman of color to sit on a national ticket.
What to know After dropping out before the first primary, Kamala Harris has been working with other prominent Democrats to push several new climate bills with a concentration on matters of justice.
Call it what you want, but most political pundits point to Kamala's identity as a woman of color as the main reason for the Democratic Party's, I mean, Biden's strategic selection.
One big thing One of the more interesting prospects of a Biden-Harris ticket is the reemergence of 2015 Paris Agreement. As it stands today, the US will formally quit the Paris Agreement on 4 November, 2020, the day after the election.
My take on Paris I'm not convinced (and neither are some experts) that an international agreement is the answer to climate action without true compliance. What holds nations accountable for these commitments?
As the US-China economic race continues, the Paris Agreement would become more of a cat-and-mouse due to the associated costs of energy reduction than an actual solution.
A Biden-Harris ticket through the lens of climate:
- New legislation committed to environmental justice
- A series of executive orders designed to build a clean economy; there will be ambitious targets for 2025.
- A proposal to make a $1.7 trillion federal investment into climate resilience over the next 10 years.
- New efforts toward climate diplomacy/increased cooperation with other nations, traditional allies.
- More stringent environmental regulation, increase environmental standards for infrastructure projects.
Bottom line Neither Biden or Harris are climate experts. Their careers were not built on climate activism. However, they are concerned about these critical issues and will hire a team of dedicated experts.
Americans want purpose not perfection. In a candidate, I think everyday voters are looking for public consideration, personal accountability, and the ability to get shit done.
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- The GND was founded on the belief that environmental issues are overlooked and underfunded
- The GND gained traction in 2018, when the Democratic Party took control of the house.
- Biden offered support to the GND, but differs on some policies like an immediate ban on all fracking activities.
Between the lines Biden has been urged to beef up his climate policy platform by climate advocacy groups to deal with the challenges global warming presents.
- Theodore Roosevelt’s Square Deal prioritized conservation of natural resources, control of corporations and consumer protection.
- Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal prioritised relief for poor, economic recovery and financial reform.
- Johnson’s Great Society aimed at alleviating social justice and education reform.
Key talking points
- It helps secure a sustainable future.
- Our society needs a paradigm shift towards the clean energy sector, this legislation could be among the last chances to make that happen.
- The GND is perhaps the encouragement voters need to mitigate the effects of global warming by utilizing the power of voting.
Dig deeper → 4 min