Climate Change

Climate Change is so critical to our survival as the human species and such a large subject to tackle that it is difficult to comprehend. The American Elections should be of significant importance to all people on this planet because, like it or not, they lead the world (not just the Western World BUT the whole world – by influence and example if not by regulation!! ) and this extract from The Lucretia Report’s actually puts Climate Change into perspective as related to these Elections and the absolute danger that trump presents. Thank you Ian Stephens :

On Super Tuesday, 2020, I walked into my polling place and cast my vote for Bernie Sanders to be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. I believe that the policies he was running on would be the best for America. I believe that healthcare is a human right, that college should be free, and that we need a Green New Deal. I walked into that polling place to cast my vote for Bernie Sanders confident, after the Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada Primaries, that Bernie Sanders was on the path to becoming the next President. But Pretty soon I was proven wrong as Joe Biden would rake in states that night and even more in subsequent weeks.

I wish that Bernie Sanders had won, and obviously he didn’t. I know that many are quite upset about that, but there’s a reason that Bernie Sanders endorsed Joe Biden. I wish that Bernie had won, but I’m going to vote for Joe Biden, and here are the top three reasons why.

1. The Climate

Climate change is a really big problem. It’s set to cause trillions of dollars of economic losses, thousands or millions of deaths, and irreversible changes to the natural landscape of our planet and how we live our lives. If anything this year has only shown how big a problem climate change is and how rapidly it is escalating as fires rip through the West Coast and hurricanes batter the East Coast on a scale that we’ve never seen before. What’s shocking though is that all of this is happening with only 1°C of warming. We are almost certain to reach 2°C, quite possibly 3°, and if we take no action to reduce our emissions some models project that upwards of 5°of warming is possible. Looking at how bad the climate-change related disasters we face now are, I shiver to think how bad they will be and how bad they could be. The simple fact is that in order to avoid the worst of this we need to take action now. We need to begin reducing our emissions now. Not four years from now, now.

With the United States representing about 1/7thof global emissions this cannot be successful without the United States committing to massive changes or without the United States making changes as soon as possible. We currently have a president however who not only does not recognize the urgency of climate change, he thinks that it’s a hoax. And not only has he taken no action to address climate change, he has actively made the problem worse, encouraging the extraction of fossil fuels, rolling back environmental regulations, and preventing states from implementing their own climate regulations. We would be fools to think that he will do anything differently if he is elected for another four years.

If our current president is re-elected, we will fail to address climate change. Four more years of backward progress will mean that there will no longer be enough time to successfully address the climate crisis before we are hit in the face with it like a ton of bricks.

Joe Biden, meanwhile, does not offer everything I want in terms of climate. I do believe that we need a Green New Deal, and Joe Biden has not gotten on board with that. But the fact of the matter is that he will not stand idly by and do nothing. He will not do everything I want but he will do something, and in fact he has committed to do quite a bit. Joe Biden’s climate plan calls for $1.7 trillion to be invested in Green Energy, $400 billion invested into low-carbon trucking, shipping, and aviation, for the massive expansion and electrification of passenger rail, for the construction of public transit in any city with over 100,000 people, and for the construction of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations (there are only 115,000 gas stations in the United States).

Joe Biden’s climate plan will be a significant step forward in the fight against climate change. Our current president’s will be a step back. We need to do something, and we can not wait four years for it.

2. The Courts

The Senate is currently attempting to ram through the President’s third appointment to the Supreme Court, which will fundamentally shift the balance of power of the court in a much more conservative direction. This president has also appointed hundreds of judges to federal courts, often classified as ‘unqualified’ chosen only for their youth and adherence to a conservative purity test which requires them to disdain the rights of American citizens. During the last four years three Federal Circuit Courts, the 11th, 2nd, and 3rd, have flipped to control by conservative zealots, joining the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8thwhich were already in a state of conservative control. This has profound impacts on our politics and has led to decisions from the courts in recent years that have struck down the voting rights act, preserved voter suppression, ruled that partisan gerrymandering is legal, and more.

What’s perhaps even scarier though is that this could be just the beginning. If this president is elected for another four years he will, without doubt, be successful in appointing Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. But it is also likely that he will have the opportunity to replace Steven Breyer, who is currently 82 years old. In order to make it through another four year term Steven Breyer would have to remain on the court until age 86, only one year younger than Ruth Bader Ginsburg was at her death and seven years older than Antonin Scalia was at his death. This would give the Supreme Court a 7-2 conservative majority which would be virtually impossible to overcome.

More than that, another four years would mean hundreds more federal judges being appointed. It could easily mean the 4th, 9th, and 10th Circuit Courts being seized by Republican judges, leaving only the 1st Circuit and the DC Circuit standing defiantly. This would pull the balance of power in this country away from progressives for decades and it would be a disaster. With the confirmation of Justice Barrett there will be a majority on the court willing to overturn Roe V. Wade, and to strike down the Affordable Care Act. Justices Alito and Thomas have already called for overturning marriage equality. What other consequences will we face from such a drastic shift in the make-up of our courts?

In all likelihood, it will mean that any progress in progressive policymaking will be all but impossible. Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and more, will all be pipe dreams, not because of logistics or cost or political willingness, but because they will surely be struck down by this President’s courts. This cannot be allowed to happen.

3. Don’t Let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good

Joe Biden is not everything you may want in a President. But as with climate, he is some of it. Our current President represents the antithesis of the progressive movement, intent on destroying all of the principles of justice and equality that our movement is built around. With him, we get nothing. But the reality is that Howie Hawkins simply will not be the President of the United States. Either the current President will win re-election, or Joe Biden will win. While Joe Biden may not go far enough, he certainly goes further than the current president. Eliminating cash bail and mandatory minimum sentences, ending the use of private prisons, the decriminalization of marijuana and expungement of records, raising the minimum wage, raising taxes on the wealthy, some free college and student loan forgiveness, and a healthcare program which, while less than Medicare for All, is far more progressive than our current system, are all things that are endorsed by Joe Biden and possible under a Biden presidency. Joe Biden will not give you everything you want, but he will give you some of it, while the alternative will give you the opposite.

They say that you shouldn’t have to pick between ‘the lesser of two evils.’ But that saying fails to consider that the alternative to the lesser of two evils is the greater of two evils. This is especially true when the choice is in reality not two evils but one evil and one slightly underwhelming candidate. The choice is between getting some of what you want and getting none of it. It is between Joe Biden, and the death of the progressive movement. I urge you, as a progressive, do not let our movement die. It should be obvious that Joe Biden is the clear choice for anyone who is actually interested in advancing progressive priorities.