A handmade sign stressing the importance of climate change as a political issue is senn outside a polling station on the last day of early in-person voting for the general elections in Cornelius, North Carolina, U.S., October 31, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Regardless of which candidate wins the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday, the country is slated to formally leave the Paris Agreement at midnight. The timing is coincidental, but advocates say the country’s exit from the international climate accord will determine whether communities across the globe are willing or able to address the climate crisis.

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden hold starkly different views on climate change. Trump notified the United Nations last year that the U.S. would renounce the 2015 Paris Agreement. If elected, Biden pledged to rejoin the accord “on day one” and become a global leader on climate action. Foreign environmental officials argue that U.S. support is crucial to the Paris Agreement because the U.S. is the world’s second-largest polluter after China and the world’s largest economy. The agreement seeks to limit climate change with net-zero emissions by 2050.

During his presidency, Trump questioned climate science and cut back on what he said were restrictive environmental measures on power plants and cars. Experts predict that a win for Biden would significantly accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, with speculations that electric vehicle tax credits for major automakers could be restored. Biden has also promised to restore funding for the Endangered Species Act to protect animals from extinction. 

Local races for energy districts and oil and gas commissions across the country could also determine a great deal of local action. Advocates say those regulatory bodies have a direct say on whether their communities reach local targets for clean emissions through the approval of public utility projects and the enforcement of regulations.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Why 2020 Is a Climate Election – Vogue – 10/26/2020
If Biden comes away from Election Day victorious, it’s clear that climate policy would benefit. He has proposed plans to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, invest in green energy and infrastructure, and—most ambitiously—make the U.S. economy carbon neutral by 2050. Biden’s environmental policy doesn’t go far enough for everyone: Despite Trump’s jeers at the first debate, Biden has not signed on to support the Green New Deal resolution introduced by Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in 2019.

What Voters in Battleground States Think About Climate Change – The New York Times – 11/1/2020
Nationwide, 58 percent of Americans said they were either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about their communities being harmed by climate change, according to a survey conducted in mid-October, with 39 percent saying they were “not too concerned” or “not at all concerned.”

Gen Zers unite on social issues but split over Trump vs. Biden – Los Angeles Times – 11/1/2020
Despite their differences, these Gen Z voters agree that, for their many in their age group, certain issues — climate change, support for LGBTQ rights — transcend partisan politics. They may not agree on the solutions to the forest fires plaguing California or the bleaching of coral reefs, but most believe that these problems must be solved within their lifetimes.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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