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Let’s prepare for a climate referendum in 2024

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MELANIE WU | STAFF

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FEBRUARY 13, 2023

What’s the most important problem facing humanity? Climate change. Caused by the burning of fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil, climate change is intensifying droughts, storms and heat waves all over the globe. As we emit more and more carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, the climate crisis is getting increasingly serious and will, over time, worsen the current climate impacts.  

But what can you personally do about climate change? Make sure Biden and the Democrats prevail in the 2024 election.

In the 2020 presidential election, Biden ran on making climate change a major focus for his presidency and has since delivered on his campaign promises. On day 1 he returned the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement, which was signed by most of the world’s nations in 2016 and which former president Donald Trump had exited. After signing the United States back onto the agreement, Biden has worked with other countries to strengthen it. Making the agreement more robust is important because climate change is a global issue and therefore, countries need to work together to lessen climate impacts. After all, the United States only emits 14 percent of global emissions right now, so if the United States cuts emissions it won’t be enough to solve the problem.  The United States must leverage its emissions cuts with other countries, like China and India, the other two largest contributors, so we see a true global reduction in emissions.

But before Biden can marshal global resources to solve climate change, he needs to build credibility with other nations, which is why three major bills he passed through Congress over the past two years are so important. The first is the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, which expands electric transmission capacity to accommodate the clean energy transition and builds out a robust vehicle charging network. The second and third are the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes $369 billion in clean energy subsidies and tax credits, and the Chips and Science Act, which will target $67 billion toward growing zero-carbon industries. The three bills total more than $1 trillion of public investment in microchips, infrastructure and clean energy tax credits. Together, these bills add up to an industrial policy rooted in climate action that could reduce emissions by 40 percent. Biden is also tasking the Environmental Protection Agency with writing new pollution rules for both methane and carbon that will further ratchet down emissions.

So, Biden has delivered on climate both domestically and internationally and next year, he will potentially be facing former president Trump again as his opponent as he runs for another four-year term. Trump dedicated his first term to doing everything he could to worsen the climate crisis from sabotaging the Paris Agreement to trying to resuscitate the coal industry, to suing the state of California for mandating car companies to manufacture fuel-efficient vehicles. While Biden has aggressively tackled the climate crisis, Trump focused heavily on making the problem worse.

If you compare Biden’s climate change record with Trump’s, voters have never faced such a stark choice on climate. Biden has been one of the best presidents on climate; Trump was far worse, and this will make the 2024 election a climate referendum. Every American will have a choice on Election Day: Are we going to ignore climate change or work with the rest of the world to tackle it head-on?

We need to preserve a livable climate for future generations and the most strategic thing young people can do right now for the climate is register to vote as Democrats, vote for Democrats and make sure everyone they know also votes for Democrats. If enough people vote for Democrats and against Trump or another Republican, we’ll have a shot at solving this climate crisis. So if you know anyone in Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia or North Carolina, make sure they turn out and vote for Biden because those are the states which will determine the winner of the presidential election.

If Biden wins reelection, he will most probably have a mandate for climate action and will focus his second term on reducing emissions, both nationally and globally. But we need all hands on deck to ensure Biden’s reelection and a sustainable future because this is a critical time for the world to mitigate against future climate catastrophe.

Contact Christian Ettinger at 

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FEBRUARY 13, 2023