The presidential candidates will debate for the first time on September 29, 2020. Two other debates will follow soon thereafter. Citizens will be watching to better understand where the candidates are on current issues and their plans. There are many criteria which can be considered when deciding whether to vote for the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, or the Republican candidate, Donald Trump. I plan to vote for the one who promises to save our planet.
Why am I voting to save our planet? Currently, as a result of the way we live and pollute our planet, the climate is changing significantly and is endangering more and more human lives. We are routinely setting new records as evidence of these disastrous changes. While we as individuals can make choices to better protect our planet, the policies our elected officials implement will make the difference in our world.
How important is it? We are witnessing continuing increases in the earth’s average temperature. Baghdad, a “far away city” is experiencing in excess of 120 degrees for multiple days in a row – but, because of climate change, experts say Phoenix will look like that by 2050. Hurricanes are growing in number and intensity as a result of climate change. We recently, for the first time in history, begin naming new ones using the Greek alphabet – 26 letters is now not enough for a season. These hurricanes are causing devastating human and financial impacts. We are experiencing the worst wildfires in our history and we are not alone in the world. Greenland’s melting ice sheet has passed the point of no return. And a new federal report warns of financial havoc associated with climate change. All of these changes are affecting human migration both world wide and within the United States. It’s not a pretty picture. And these trends will continue until we, the human race, embrace changes to reduce our greenhouse emissions and allow our planet to begin healing.
Against this backdrop, consider what each presidential candidate, and their political party, plans to do to address this global challenge.
The Democratic Party has adopted and set forward in their party platform, a detailed and comprehensive set of initiatives and goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more than 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. And, within a decade, will ensure that 50 percent of our electricity will come from clean energy sources. These goals can be achieved through accelerating our use of renewable energy, modernizing our electric grid; implementing efficiency improvements in our buildings and homes; reducing our oil consumption with improved efficiencies and by using cleaner fuels. The details in the platform, are worth a read; click the link above to learn more.
In contrast, the Republicans, at their convention, decided not to adopt a platform this year and instead, chose to embrace President Trump’s “America First” initiatives. So, if President Trump is re-elected, we can expect a continuation of the policies he has initiated during his first term.
President Trump, during his first term, has aggressively rolled back or weakened over 100 environmental regulations. These regulations addressed policies such as fuel efficiency standards; methane leaks from oil and gas operations and landfills; regulations on hydro-fluorocarbons, or HFCs. The New York Times recently published an article detailing the impacts of these rollbacks.
President Trump has also moved to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate change agreement, an international accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and has pushed to open up new federal lands for oil and gas development. President Trump has also repealed and replaced the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which aimed to push states to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants and shift to cleaner alternatives like natural gas or renewable energy.
Bottom line: The Democratic and Republican conventions are now history; the campaigns for both parties are now moving into the final stages before the elections in November. I cannot over emphasize how these two candidates, and their party’s positions on virtually everything related to saving our planet, is different. It is my hope that votes to save our planet will prevail. It is critical to sustaining a habitable planet for ourselves and future generations. If we don’t, we have a pretty good idea of what will happen and it will affect everyone, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents! It is not a pretty picture for our planet! Please vote.
A footnote regarding the first presidential debate. Six topics, selected by the debate moderator, Chris Wallace, will be addressed. Unfortunately these six topics do not include Climate Change, or Health Care, or Immigration, or Foreign Policy. Hopefully these topics will be addressed in one of the other two scheduled debates.