“This is the first election ever that really may determine whether we can prevent runaway climate change.”
Climate scientists have warned that efforts to tackle the looming climate crisis would be “essentially impossible” if Donald Trump is re-elected to remain in office for another term.
According to the scientists, four more years of Trump’s administration would give the ruling party more time to lock in place many of the environmental rollbacks it has already enacted or is pursuing.
Researchers at Columbia University in New York have highlighted that more than 160 significant environmental regulations meant for cleaning up the air, protecting waterways from industrial pollution, and addressing climate change, have been reversed in Trump’s first tenure.
Other significant anti-climate moves implemented by Trump include introducing new fuel-efficiency rules for vehicles that nullify the previous stricter rules mandated in 2012, as well as lifting the 2015 ban put in place at National Parks in Alaska to safeguard wildlife and its habitat.
The impact of Trump’s four years of anti-environment, pro-corporate agenda is projected to add 1.8 gigatons, or 1.8 billion metric tons, of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2030, according to a study published last month by the independent energy research firm Rhodium Group.
‘Second Trump term is game over for the climate’
“If we are going to avert ever more catastrophic climate change impacts, we need to limit warming below a degree and a half Celsius, a little less than three degrees Fahrenheit,” Mann said.
“Another four years of what we’ve seen under Trump, which is to outsource environmental and energy policy to the polluters and dismantle protections put in place by the previous administration … would make that essentially impossible.”
Conservationists and other nature activists voiced similar opinions: “A second Trump term would mean more attacks on our air, water, and health with no national leadership on climate change and the cost of inaction continuing to increase,” EDF Action Communications Manager, Hannah Blatt, told Mic.
She added that re-electing Trump would be “another four years of spewing emissions, [putting] us on a dangerous path,” and said that would “just be more time wasted making the climate crisis worse.”
Trump withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement
In addition to reversing many of the domestic policies initiated by former administrations, Trump also announced that the US would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement – an international accord that had the support of 197 countries – jeopardizing the country’s position as a leader on the global platform.
The president’s decision to pull the US out of the agreement takes effect on 4th November – the day after the election.
However, commentators note this withdrawal on implementation would have a domino effect on other participating countries.
French diplomat, Laurence Tubiana, who is a key architect of the Paris Accord, told The Guardian: “It’s a decision of great consequence, to both the US and the world.
“The rest of the world is moving to a low-carbon future, but we need to collectively start moving even faster, and the US still has a significant global role to play in marshaling this effort.”
She added that the “Trump administration’s dangerous anti-climate stance has had a negative impact on international climate efforts”, citing that post US changing its stance, Australia and Brazil’s right-wing governments are slackening their efforts by trying to downplay the urgency of reducing emissions.
Joe Biden and climate change
While Trump’s furthers his agenda with a campaign trail that avoids ‘making specific energy or environment pledges during this election’, his rival competitor, Democrat, Joe Biden, has published a climate plan, in which he has vowed to ‘ensure the US achieves a 100 percent clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions [by] 2050’.
According to BBC, “achieving net zero means that any carbon emitted by industry, transport or other sources is balanced out by removing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere, through, for example, planting forests.”
Biden’s sustainable plans also include revolutionising US’s transport by including electric vehicles and trains. Additionally, he wants to build 1.5 million sustainable homes and housing units.
‘The choice of Biden or Trump in the White House is huge’
“This is the first election ever that really may determine whether we can prevent runaway climate change,” Paul Bledsoe, an adviser to the Democrat think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute, said.
“Joe Biden is proposing that the US adopt climate change tariffs on nations who do not reduce their emissions. Biden’s international climate plan, if anything, is even more ambitious than his domestic plan. So the contrast could not be starker.”
Todd Stern, US’s chief negotiator when the Paris Agreement was sealed in 2015, said: “The choice of Biden or Trump in the White House is huge. Not just for the US but for the world generally to deal with climate change. If Biden wins, November 4 is a blip, like a bad dream is over.
“If Trump wins, he seals the deal. The US becomes a non-player and the goals of Paris become very, very difficult. Without the US in the long term, they certainly aren’t realistic.”
Even John Podesta, who advised Barack Obama on climate policy, said: “It would be pretty much game over for the international system if [Donald Trump is] re-elected … We’d miss the chance to avoid warming at a catastrophic level.”
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