The US Presidential election is not only an important event for the Americans but also for the world, as any changes in the White House impact all the countries around the world. Since climate change has emerged as a major factor in this election along with healthcare, the decision what the Americans have made will also impact the environmental factors in the country.
Even though neither President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have a remarkable reputation when it comes to the environment, the Democratic presidential candidate put forward a clear plan to take action against the environmental crisis.
Trump doesn't believe that climate change is manmade and over the past few years, since his election as the president of the US, he has denied the effects of global warming. He also criticized global environmental goals as being unfair to the country's economy. During this year's World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting that took place in January, he clearly stated that people should not listen to "perennial prophets of doom".
But Democratic candidate Biden put forward a $2 trillion plan to fight the environmental crisis, while Trump during the last presidential debate claimed that "We have the cleanest air in the world in the United States, and it's gotten better since I'm president. We have the cleanest water. It's crystal clear and I always say I want crystal clean water and air. ... We're setting records environmentally." But the fact is the US doesn't have the cleanest air and the situation has not gotten better under the Trump-Pence administration. The US' carbon footprint is a point of contention globally.
How US Election Results and the Climate Are Inextricably Linked?
Paris Climate Agreement:
Under the United Nations rules, as of Wednesday, November 4, 2020, the US is officially out of the global climate accord. In 2017, after becoming the US President, Trump announced that the country would cease all participation in the agreement that deals with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance. The Trump administration believes that the environmental security agreement disadvantages the US, leaving workers and taxpayers to absorb the cost of climate action.
If Biden wins the 2020 election, he promised the US to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement early on in his presidency. But it would take almost 30 days, and any such policy that is introduced as a result would first have to be passed through the House, as well as the Senate.
His climate plan says that the Biden-Harris administration will not only "recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement on climate change," they will go "much further than that". He plans to lead an effort to get every major nation to ramp up the ambition of their domestic climate targets.
During the election campaign Biden said he would "transition away from the oil industry," and his climate plans involve boosting investment in order to reach zero carbon emissions, along with a goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050. According to him, this transition will create employment in the US at a critical time for the country's economy. Biden has refused funding from fossil fuel corporations and executives during his election campaign. It is a clear sign that he is quite serious to take on the issue. However, he said won't ban fracking which is a key election issue.
Under the Trump administration the regulations on the fossil fuel industry have been rolled back quite dramatically and now it is quite easier for the public to lease for oil, as well as gas drilling, oil pipeline projects, sidelined by previous governments. Under the Republican presidency, run under Trump, the US became one of the biggest oil producers in the world. He believes that any regulation on fossil fuel production will pass the cost on to the country's citizens.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is an environmental law from the 1970s. It has helped to bring back the grizzly bears and grey whales from the brink of extinction, but the Act was revised by the Trump administration in 2019, weakening protections for threatened species. The changes allow federal government agencies to look at the economic impact while deciding whether a species should be protected or not.
But Biden opposes the revision to ESA and promised better funding. He said at a time when "climate change is pushing our planet to the brink", protecting the species should be strengthened not weakened.