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 The 2020 election is just around the corner. Where do Biden and Trump stand on sustainability?
Biden's campaign website highlights that he plans to implement the key foundational elements for building a sustainable future –
- Comprehensive climate plan w/ emphasis on clean energy and international cooperation.
- Racial equity as a centerpiece for environmental justice.
Trump's campaign focuses on a short-term growth mindset of maximizing existing industries and economic growth.
- The decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, slashing federal funding for environmental initiatives, and weakening environmental protection acts to prop up corporations.
- America-first policy
- Lower corporate/individual taxes
Bottom line Biden’s plan for a sustainable future is pretty on point – better/more affordable housing plans, a massive Green Deal, and of course working on racial reform. Trump’s plan is to “go, go, go!”.
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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.
Dig deeper → 5 min