Change in the politics of climate change


presidential seal In: Change in the politics of climate change | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River

According to the polls, Americans are increasingly viewing the environment as needing more protection.  The politics of the two men competing to gain a seat where something can be done about it are opposites:  For the past 3 1/2 years, Trump has done all he can to weaken environmental protection under the guise of new jobs, and Biden’s platform contains protections.

Read the complete article here in the New York Times.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum

Climate change has been a tricky political issue for the Democratic Party for a long time. The party doesn’t seem to have won over many swing voters in recent years with its promise to slow global warming. Instead, some working-class voters — worried about higher energy costs or losing fossil-fuel jobs — have flipped to the Republicans.
The clearest sign of the difficulties came early in Barack Obama’s presidency. On other issues — health care, economic stimulus and Wall Street reform — congressional Democrats stayed largely united. On climate policy, they did not.
But the politics of climate may be shifting.
Gallup’s polls have shown a gradually rising share of Americans concerned about the environment since the early 2000s. Roughly 60 percent now say that the quality of the environment is poor or only fair; that it is getting worse; and that the federal government is doing too little to protect it. And more than 70 percent favor tougher restrictions for power plants and vehicle emissions, as well as a push to develop clean-energy alternatives, according to Pew.
This week, President Trump and Joe Biden have staked out dueling positions on the climate. Biden proposed a $2 trillion plan to attack climate change. Trump has continued weakening environmental rules and said Biden’s plan would “kill our energy totally” and force 25 percent of U.S. companies to close.
In past campaigns, this contrast would have made some Democrats nervous, especially during an economic downturn. Today, though, party leaders increasingly believe that the climate is politically helpful to them. John Podesta, the longtime Democratic official, told me he thought Trump was walking into a trap by continuing to highlight the issue.
A coalition of progressive groups released a poll yesterday that asked if people supported “spending trillions of dollars to invest in clean energy infrastructure.” About 55 percent of voters said yes. Even larger majorities of Hispanic and younger voters said so — and Podesta said he thought that emphasizing climate issues could lift turnout among those groups (which is below average).
There is still one big political risk for Democrats on the issue: the possibility that addressing climate change will raise energy costs. But the party seems to have learned some lessons there.
While Democrats in the past have emphasized measures to increase the cost of dirty energy — like a cap-and-trade system — Biden is not. He is instead largely ignoring the potential cost increases and focusing on more popular consequences, like cleaner air and an increase in green-energy jobs….

1 Comment

  1. As one glib (Democrat) politician so rightly stated, “It’s the economy, Stupid!” And I agree, as political reality and environmental idealism aren’t compatible with a declining standard of living. Socialism is a “Robin Hood” economic philosophy that has hitched a ride on the environmental movement, BUT IT’S NOT GOING OUR WAY! Too often environmentalists develop political tunnel vision and hurt their own causes, and it is about to happen again!
    Look behind the Joe Biden “curtain” and see who’s manipulating the political machinery.

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