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I voted
BRIAN TOBIN
The Election arrives, along with a climate clock countdown
October 29, 2020

Climate voters vote

 
Early voting returns are already higher than 2016, with the US already at 53% of total 2016 voting, with at least at least 73.3 people having voted nationwide heading into the last weekend before the Election. With just days left, it’s worth noting that the majority of voters say climate change will be a very (42%) or somewhat (26%) important issue in selecting a candidate for president. As President Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden have taken vastly different positions and views on climate and environmental regulation, we’ve provided a quick summary of the most recent coverage. In Washington State, candidates’ positions on climate are at play in several races both at the congressional and state legislative levels.

Trump’s record on environmental and climate policy trumps any positive rhetoric

The Trump administration has spent much of the last four years in a “running attack on science,” including its continued denial of science and evidence-based methods during the COVID-19 pandemic. While Republicans made headlines earlier in 2020 for its “trillion trees climate solution,” much of what we’ve seen has fallen woefully short (or done the exact opposite) of addressing climate impacts and emissions reductions including: burying research on renewable energy, creating internal roadblocks for climate sciencereversing nearly 100 environmental regulations, and stacking high level positions with oil and gas lobbyists.  

Biden-Harris center environmental justice among moving targets for climate action

Candidate Joe Biden made a big splash in the final debate last week with calls to address global warming and “transition off oil”, but softened rhetoric throughout the following week. It is a fine line for Democrats who are hoping to appeal to younger voters for whom climate is a “generation-defining” issue, while also balancing between fossil fuel industry protections and the political realities of the near-future. Still, Biden’s efforts to focus on environmental justice, indigenous communities, and long-standing inequities did not go unnoticed. The campaign released a climate and environmental agenda that pledges to direct 40 percent of his administration’s investment in “a clean-energy revolution” directly toward disadvantaged communities and a plan for tribal nations that acknowledges the particular threats to indigenous communities.  

Corporate climate commitments at odds with contributions

While many corporations are making public climate commitments, hypocrisy continues with simultaneous actions to stymie climate progress. Stories spotlighted Amazon’s PAC contributions to candidates who are not “climate friendly” as well as analysis by Bloomberg looking at the largest corporations in the U.S. including ones who are part of the “Climate 100” who then gave double the amount to anti-climate action candidates.   

Pollution continues to be a multiplier for health impacts

Coverage continued to document the personal health impacts from both indoor and outdoor air pollution. New research underscores how car pollution is making COVID deaths worse as people who are more exposed to tailpipe pollution are more likely to die from COVID-19. Indoors is not necessarily safe either, with air quality monitoring inside showing pollution exposure and health risks if using gas for heating or cooking. The Atlantic reported in detail on gas stoves and appliances and why, if one can do it, it is worth switching to electric as “cooking on a gas stove unleashes some of the same fumes found in car exhaust.” All electric buildings create economic benefit too, especially in lower income neighborhoods.  

One thing you can do

Help reach voters who do not vote often! No matter folks political party, more people voting creates a stronger democracy. Contact friends and family in your community and express the importance of voting in this year’s election. There are many non-partisan efforts before Tuesday to help contact first-time and unlikely voters to make sure they also return their ballots. https://www.rockthevote.org/get-involved/relational-organizing/ 

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Author Bio

As Digital Communications Manager, Jonathan uses online tools to extend the reach of Climate Solutions programs, and to expand the community of people and organizations working together for clean energy and sustainable climate policies. He serves as managing editor of climatesolutions.org, and oversees our email list communications and social media.

Before joining Climate Solutions in 2014, Jonathan served as Executive Director of the communications rights organization Reclaim the Media, where he played a catalytic role in fueling the growth of a national movement focused on media justice and democratizing media and communications policy. He also spent more than eight years providing communications strategy, digital communications and design to statewide labor organizations including SEIU and WFSE/AFSCME, writing op-eds by day and designing giant puppets by night.

A past board member of the Washington News Council and of Seattle Improvised Music, he is also a veteran of the Independent Media Center movement, and has worked in community radio since 1986; for 19 years he produced the weekly creative music program Flotation Device on KBCS. His articles on media and communications issues have appeared in numerous northwest and national publications. Jonathan holds a masters degree in Theological Studies from Harvard University.