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The entire world has its eyes on the US elections and it has a lot more to do than the politics and economy. People who follow environmental news will have their eyes glued to the election results.
The next occupant of the White House will play a critical role in climate change and global warming. Many scientists, policy makers, and environmental activists believe that the U.S. President’s actions for the next four years could severely impact climate change.
Scientists are worried that if Trump is reelected, it would be ‘impossible’ to curb the increasing issue of climate change.
Donald Trump has previously called climate change as ‘mythical,’ ‘nonexistent,’ and ‘an expensive hoax’. He seems to lean on the side of the manufacturing companies using fossil fuel. Many feel that, if Trump is elected as the U.S. President, he could lock in the fossil fuel usage for many more years down the line.
His famously stated in 2012 that climate change “was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive”.
In 2018, Trump took us by surprise again when he expressed doubts over the U.S. government’s National Climate Assessment. Trump had said that he didn’t believe that climate change will have a momentous impact on the nation’s economy.
However, Trump’s position on climate change seems to be fluctuating ever since. He says, “The environment is very important to me”. But again, he goes back to questioning climate change or making light of the situation.
While he seems to take a softer tone on climate change recently, his actions have made it quite clear where he stands. The three environmental news by Trump that shocked us all:
1. He withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement, which committed 187 countries, to keep the global temperatures from rising above 2-degree C.
2. He replaced the Clean Power Plan by Barack Obama with Affordable Clean Energy that had weaker carbon emissions regulations.
3. He attempted to freeze the standards of fuel energy on new vehicles.
The Paris Agreement came together in 2015 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Barack Obama was the key to calling the world leaders to join the agreement and acknowledge that the world needs to change.
The main aim of the agreement was to keep the world from becoming 2C hotter. Each of the countries in the Paris Agreement will set its own targets and come back with their progress every year.
On 4 November 2019, Trump began the process of pulling out of the agreement and had given the notice to formally withdraw on 4 November 2020. His reason was that the agreement was unfair to the U.S. and will negotiate to enter the agreement back on the terms that “are fair to the United States”.
Many believe that the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Agreement is a disaster. Since the United States is a top contributor to climate change in various aspects, their irresponsibility and failure to be held accountable would motivate other countries to follow the same.
In a report issued by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it’s said that our world has only until the year 2030 to stop the catastrophic effects of climate change. If Trump is reelected for the next four years, the world not only loses four crucial years to check climate change, but the increased global emissions can put the world far behind in their climate change efforts.
If Biden is elected as the U.S. President, he would immediately rejoin the Paris Agreement. Biden has a very detailed $1.7 trillion climate change plan to curb emissions. However, most of his plans cannot be executed if the Democrats do not take control of the Senate.
Biden has a very ambitious aim of cutting down the US emissions to net-zero by the year 2050. He plans to make the electricity system carbon-free by 2035. He will also ban drilling for oil and gas on federal lands.
On the other hand, Trump has no such plans for taking steps to control climate change. In fact, he would give more free hand to the industries that could be disastrous for the entire world.
Noticeably, Trump has earned nearly $13 million in campaign donations from individuals at oil and gas firms, while Biden earned only $976,000.
Since we only have until 2030 to tackle the climate change crisis, we need more hands than ever, especially the US, being the biggest emitter in the world.
Already, most countries in Europe and China have pledged to make progress against the climate change crisis. The wealthy countries in the Paris Agreement have agreed to mobilize $100 billion a year to fund the developing countries in their climate efforts. With the US backing out of the agreement, it’s hard for the current contributors to make up for it and this may end up with fewer funds to the developing countries.
The USA’s participation in acting on climate change can have a significant impact on the global efforts. The US can use its influence to curb its fossil fuel emissions and also encourage other countries to do the same. If the US makes it clear that climate change is on its agenda and a priority, many global companies and countries having tie-ups in the US will also be motivated to take steps to cut down their emissions.
The final verdict in the US elections can change the direction of our entire planet’s wellbeing.
A win for Trump would mean the increase of fossil fuel production, and thereby, global warming. On the other hand, Biden aims to make a significant impact on climate change, which is what our planet needs right now.
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