Climate change march
Senior studying environmental and soil science Kendall Wimberley takes charge of a crowd of climate change protesters on Friday, September 20, 2019.

Going into the 2020 presidential election, one of the hottest issues is climate change. With each passing year, Earth’s situation seems to worsen. Now more than ever, people are calling on their governments and their leaders to make changes to save the planet. 

With that in mind, what do this year’s candidates for the United States presidency, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, have to say about climate change?

Donald Trump

During the past four years of his presidency, Donald Trump has been incredibly critical of climate change. Over the years, he has denied its existence in speeches, interviews and on his personal twitter account. In a tweet from 2012, he said, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

Past presidents, such as Barack Obama, have pushed to fight climate change, setting up numerous plans and signing treaties with other countries to reduce the United States’ carbon footprint. President Trump’s main issue with these plans, such as the Clean Power Plan, is the cost it would put on the county and the American people. He has spent much of his presidency repealing past climate change plans and removing the United States from climate change treaties such as the Paris Agreement.

This is not to say that President Trump’s administration is doing nothing regarding climate change. After repealing the Clean Power Plan, President Trump announced the Affordable Clean Energy rule which, according to his official campaign website, will, “reduce greenhouse gasses, empower states, promote energy independence and facilitate economic growth and job creation.”

In addition to this, he has focused heavily on expanding American energy output, putting more oil and gas production in the US, creating billions of dollars of revenue.

Though he has saved the country billions of dollars with his reforms and policy changes, it is clear that climate change is not an issue Trump puts much weight in.

Joe Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden has almost exactly the opposite view on climate change that President Trump has. In a video on his official campaign website, Biden says, “Science tells us how we act or fail to act in the next 12 years will determine the very livability of our planet.”

In the lead up to the 2020 presidential election, Biden has emphasized the importance of addressing climate change in the coming years. On his campaign website, Biden has released a detailed outline of his plan to address climate change if elected president.

The “Biden Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice” is split into five parts. The first ensures that the United States will achieve a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions by 2050. He promises that on his first day in office, he will, “use the full authority of the executive branch to make progress and significantly reduce emissions.”

The second step in Biden’s plan is to make the United States a, “stronger, more resilient nation.” By creating more ways for local governments and companies to become environmentally friendly, Biden hopes that individual states and cities will take charge and lead by example.

The third step sees America becoming a leader in the fight against climate change, inspiring other nations to follow its example. Biden promises to make treaties and deals with other nations that significantly contribute to climate change in an effort to bring down global emissions, not just the emissions of the United States.

The final two steps of Biden’s plan outline how he plans to stand up for the working class that powered decades of economic growth, as well as low income communities and communities of color, two groups and are most heavily impacted by climate change. Biden promises to, “make it a priority for all agencies to engage in community-driven approaches to develop solutions for environmental injustices affecting communities of color, low-income and indigenous communities.” In addition, he promises to protect the benefits of those working in coal and power plant industries.

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