By MICHAEL FLOSSER
The headline of this article has been changed to more accurately reflect the opinion presented.
The environment is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and the upcoming election could have a significant impact on environmental preservation.
Whose policies are better for the environment? The short answer is Joe Biden. His policies include using more renewable energy, and his goal of “net zero greenhouse admission” by 2050 could help save the environment as a whole if done properly. President Trump, on the other hand, has done away with most of the environmental policies set in place by President Obama and Vice President Biden from 2008-2016. Biden has made reinstating and even strengthening these regulations part of his platform, including re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement.
President Trump’s administration has been focusing on the short term, continuing to use fossil fuels to maximize profits also stated in the NY Times piece. This is good for the economy right now but could be quite detrimental for the future of the world.
“The Trump administration has pursued an aggressive agenda of regulatory rollbacks focusing on our core environmental laws that ensure clean air and water and protect sensitive species and their habitats,” said John Tippett, a professor of Environmental Science at UMW. “They have also consistently denied the reality of climate change while simultaneously supporting the fossil fuel industry and attacking renewables. The effects of these efforts have played out beyond our borders, as worldwide commitment to the CO2 reductions, goals of the Paris Climate Agreement has faltered in the absence of US leadership.”
Tippett further compared the Trump administration to that of Ronald Reagan, who held a bonfire on the lawn of the White House for reams of terminated federal regulations. Tippett believes the last four years have exceeded even that period of time in terms of focused desire to disassemble the federal regulatory apparatus, especially in terms of environmental laws.
“While their actions may win the short-term kudos of the regulated community, they undermine the social contract between government and citizens that says ‘we will keep you safe,’” said Tippett. “Deregulating poisons and turning a blind eye to climate change is an abrogation of the government’s basic responsibility to its citizens.”
Most of these elected officials will most likely be dead when their actions begin to really impact the environment, so they seem to not care., Not everyone has this approach and in the age group of 18-24, our future should be a key factor in our decision making.
“This election will have a significant impact on the future of our environment,” said Melanie Szulczewski, another professor of Environmental Science at UMW. “President Trump has already rolled back over 100 environmental rules (I am not exaggerating), some that even the industry didn’t want repealed. He also started the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, the most important international effort to mitigate the increase in the world’s average temperature. The League of Conservation Voters gave him an F for his environmental track record—and it would be lower if there were any lower grades!”
Szulczewski said that the Democratic party goes further in seeking to combat climate change.
“Currently the Republican platform for 2020 regarding the environment endorses only planting trees and supporting technological solutions,” said Szulczewski. “The Democratic platform, on the other hand, discusses the climate crisis and supports renewable energy, protecting natural resources, and improving the quality of our air, water, and land. Joe Biden has a detailed plan to address climate change and environmental justice. The two candidates are like night and day on this issue.”
You should take this into account when you cast your ballot in the next few weeks. This can greatly impact our lives and the future of our beautiful Earth depends on it, so this topic should not be taken lightly. This is the only planet we can live on currently and we should take care of it, not just for you or I but the future of this world, so that the people and other creatures who come after us are able to live, grow and survive.