The answer is a clear yes. Voting for the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket — and rejecting President Donald Trump — can be expected to yield actual-tangible results on climate change.
There are limits to those results, to be sure — which is why American voters must also seek out Senate, House and local candidates who support swift action on the climate crisis.
Biden has a $2 trillion plan to try deal with it.
Linda asked me about Biden’s plans, and I’ll get to that. But I think it’s important to evaluate those plans against the alternative to fully understand them in context.
In short, Trump’s anti-climate policies are disastrous and retrograde.
They further destabilize the atmosphere.
I don’t consider myself a partisan or ideologue but the gap between Trump’s and Biden’s positions on climate is so stark that it must be stated: Your vote is a choice between the potential of doing something substantive on climate and a track record of doing more-than-nothing.
Biden’s climate goals
He proposes two overarching goals that, if achieved, would mean the United States was doing its part to try to limit catastrophic warming that makes storms more dangerous, lengthens the wildfire season, drives mass extinction and displaces people around the world.
How he’d get there
Biden has tangible plans for how to work toward those goals.
His $2 trillion proposal calls for creation of millions of jobs in clean energy. (I mention the Green New Deal because David in Ohio asked me about that in the context of Biden’s plans; the details differ but the aims and broad-brush methods are quite similar).
It’s a jobs-plus-climate stimulus plan.
And those are just a few examples.
Voting for Biden can make a difference beyond his climate policy goals.
There’s only so much one administration in one country can do. But, as someone who covered the Paris talks, I can tell you that it’s difficult to overstate US leadership on this issue.
Biden also will need to win support in Congress if he hopes to make lasting change. Executive orders can move policy in a certain direction, but they’re subject to reversal and legal challenge. There are ways in which climate must be dealt with outside of the four-year horse race that is US politics. Electing climate-hawks in the House and Senate could help ensure success.
Those races matter. As does the presidential race — hugely so.
Emissions today stay in the atmosphere for generations to come.
Our actions today, then, matter for hundreds of years.
This election is a chance for Americans to send the signal that they’re voting because they’re tired of climate-fueled disasters today; and because they care about that future.