CLIMATE CHANGE

Despite the short-term easing of petroleum reserves by the Biden administration to reduce the pressure on gas prices, climate change is an issue where there is a clear difference of opinion, policy proposals and commitment between the Democratic Party and the GOP. We only have to look at the differences between Biden's and former President Trump's track records to see this.

Over four years, Trump:

  • Weakened Obama-era limits on planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and from cars and trucks;

  • Removed protections from more than half the nation’s wetlands and withdrew the legal justification for restricting mercury emissions from power plants;

  • Worked to open up more land for oil and gas leasing through the Interior Department by limiting wildlife protections and weakening environmental requirements for projects;

  • Loosened efficiency standards through the Energy Department for a wide range of products; and

  • Withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement on global measures to tackle climate change.

 

All told, nearly 100 environmental rules were officially reversed, revoked or otherwise rolled back under Trump.

In an analysis done by the New York Times (subscription required) in association with Harvard and Columbia, they found: 

… the Trump administration’s deregulatory actions were estimated
to significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade
and lead to thousands of extra deaths from poor air quality each year.

In just his first year in office, Biden:
 

  • Signed an instrument to bring the U.S. back to the Paris Agreement;

  • Pledged to cut U.S. climate pollution by 50-52% by 2030, putting the U.S. in the top tier of global climate ambition;

  • Declared the U.S. will work with China to tackle climate challenges (including methane pollution);

  • Joined more than 100 countries in committing to end deforestation during this decade and backing the LEAF Coalition — a public-private effort to mobilize funding for large-scale forest protection;

  • Created a “climate cabinet” that includes senior officials in key leadership positions throughout the federal government who are making climate action a priority;

  • Established the first-ever White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council to raise awareness of environmental justice issues and provide guidance to government entities on how to address them;

  • Established the Justice40 initiative to commit at least 40% of the overall benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to overburdened communities;

  • Announced the largest offshore wind lease in U.S. history;

  • Developed a plan to ensure that 30% of U.S. lands and waters are designated as protected land by 2030;

  • Finalized the strongest-ever pollution standards for cars and passenger trucks;

  • Proposed historic climate and health protections to strengthen and expand limits on methane pollution from the oil and gas industry;

  • Removed rules installed by the Trump administration that censored science and distorted the economic impact of air pollution; and 

  • Signed an infrastructure bill with several critically important climate investments, including funding for electric vehicle charging stations, clean electric buses, community resilience against natural disasters, lead pipe replacement and the cleanup of polluting orphan oil and gas wells and providing a $20 billion investment in clean energy research and development.

The difference could not be starker. While there is a lot more work to be done on making sure we do not leave an unlivable planet to our children, there is no doubt that only electing more and more progressive Democrats can give us the ability to effect policy change in a country where electoral college distortions give disproportionate power to stakeholders in industries that contribute to and profit from catastrophic climate change.

The information above is aimed at helping you better understand about the progress to mitigate climate change. To better understand the issue and how to talk about it, please visit the resources below, which provide pointers on addressing the topic with friends and family. Keep checking back here for TSB activities around this issue.

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