The 2020 US elections: A local weather for change? | US & Canada Information
In just two days, millions of American voters will be voting to decide where the United States stands in the fight against climate change.
While presidential candidate Joe Biden has declared climate change “humanity’s major problem” and announced a $ 2 trillion clean energy plan to deal with the crisis, many fear that another four years under President Donald Trump – who repeatedly denied climate science and has announced has shunned global climate efforts – will mean a death knell for the environment.
Ahead of the US elections, let’s take a look at the past five years of United Nations climate negotiations and what is at stake for the health of the planet.
November 2016: United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP22, Marrakech, Morocco
Donald Trump, who called global warming a joke, has just been elected President of the United States.
Shock, contempt and disbelief echoed through the halls of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Marrakech. Some younger activists are even in tears.
“My heart was absolutely broken when Trump was elected,” said Becky Chung, a delegate for SustainU’s youth organization in California, a journalist.
She continues to predict correctly: “We will see an increase in the movements of people who work to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”
November 2017: UN climate negotiations, COP23, Bonn, Germany
Trump has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement and is tearing apart the Obama-era environmental regulations. But defiance is in the air at this year’s conference.
A growing coalition of US states, cities and organizations called We Are Still In is setting up camp, even if Trump resolutely refrains from fighting the climate crisis.
I interviewed Todd Stern, Obama’s chief climate negotiator. He told me the Trump presidency would be a slip-up, a setback for sure, but only temporary. The feeling was that the world would march on in the fight against climate change with or without Trump.
December 2018: UN climate negotiations, COP24, Katowice, Poland
White House officials come to this year’s climate negotiations to promote coal and other fossil fuels. They’re obviously not in line with sentiment as a key group of investors managing $ 32 trillion in assets calls for an end to coal as an energy source.
15-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg takes the stage to punish world leaders for their lack of concerted action.
December 2019: UN climate negotiations, COP25, Madrid, Spain
Speaking at the opening ceremony, naturalist Sir David Attenborough says climate change has been the greatest threat to humanity for thousands of years.
Trump, meanwhile, continues his tenure of resetting auto emission standards, opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, and opposing stricter air pollution standards.
November 2020: UN climate negotiations, COP26, planned for Glasgow, Scotland
The 2020 conference is canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It should now take place in November 2021.
Record temperatures and sustained forest fires from California to Brazil as well as hurricanes and cyclones, floods and landslides as well as sustained melting of ice repeatedly show the urgency of measures. However, all over the world there is a feeling that we could be on the verge of a major change in the way we live as renewable energies become more popular and the pressure on fossil fuel consumption increases.
However, the outcome of the US election is crucial.
The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University has counted 159 measures since Trump took office to “reduce or eliminate climate protection and adaptation measures”. The words “climate change” have also been removed from government reports, while other reports have been buried.
A month ago, Trump said it will soon be getting cooler as climate researchers’ expertise is being laid off.
As our world burns, the US President denies science at every opportunity. And on November 4th, the day after the elections, the US will step out of the Paris Climate Agreement, a global pact that has faltered but not yet collapsed.
Democratic candidate Joe Biden has since vowed to rejoin the Paris Deal immediately if it wins, and unveiled a $ 2 trillion clean economy job program. He still has a long way to go to put the US on its way to a carbon-free future, but as a former Obama advisor on climate change, John Podesta said:
“It would be pretty much a game over for the international system if [Donal Trump is] re-elected … we would be missing out on the chance to avoid catastrophic warming. “
The world holds its breath.
Summary of your environment
1. La Nina weather event: According to the World Meteorological Organization, a “moderate to severe” La Nina event is developing in the Pacific. The phenomenon leads to a cooling of the sea surface temperatures. Even so, experts say this won’t change the fact that 2020 will be one of the warmest years ever.
2. “Oldest city” in the USA threatened by flooding: St. Augustine, Florida, which was founded by Spanish explorers in 1565, is threatened by the rapidly rising sea levels. While climate change is not the direct cause, it does increase the severity and frequency of flooding.
3. Everything in the tentacles: Scientists have figured out how the sensors in octopus suction cups work and how they help the animal touch, taste, and identify whether an object is prey.
4th Used cars drive pollution: Developed nations export millions of used vehicles each year to lower-income countries, mainly Africa. However, a new UN report warns that these old cars add significantly to the world’s air pollution.
The last word
There is about as much scientific consensus on man-made climate change as there is on gravity.