Presidential election seen as a turning point for climate due to record levels of CO2 emissions

WASHINGTON – Despite the policies the Biden administration has championed to combat climate change, recent findings show atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are at an all-time high, raising the stakes in the November presidential election among supporters of aggressive climate action.

Last data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicate that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have remained at record high levels for the past two years. The jump from 2022 to 2024 is the largest two-year raise NOAA has seen in the agency’s 50 years of data collection.

As the presidential election approaches, key policies to curb climate change are at a tipping point, advocates say, with a second Donald Trump presidency likely to sideline fossil fuel interests and reverse much of the environmental progress made under the Biden administration.

The record rise in carbon dioxide levels came despite President Joe Biden’s focus on environmental and climate issues. According to Biden, the Biden administration has taken more action on climate – issuing executive orders, proposing and supporting ambitious regulations, and setting targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – than any of his predecessors. analysis by the liberal think tank Center for American Progress.

Biden on the 2019 campaign trail he said voters: “We will end fossil fuels.”

Then in July 2020, his campaign announced his plan eliminate energy production from fossil fuels by 2035

And at the beginning of his presidency, Biden he promissed to halve 2005 emissions by 2030.

Biden’s climate record

According to the World Resources Institute, a research organization based in Washington, D.C., the United States does on the track to achieve this goal.

Survey conducted in January 2024 revealed that greenhouse gas emissions — which include many types of gases along with carbon dioxide — fell 2% in 2023 compared to the previous year and fell more than 17% compared to 2005 levels. At the same time, U.S. gross domestic product, a value approximate to total economic output, increased by more than 2%.

“This suggests that the Biden administration’s climate policies are starting to work and that we are bending the emissions curve downward,” said Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, executive director of the environmental group Western Environmental Law Center.

Biden has also put the U.S. economy on a path away from “fossil fuels and high-carbon economic sectors,” Schlenker-Goodrich added.

He pointed to the Inflation Reduction Act – a sweeping climate, health and tax bill passed by Congress in 2022 with only Democratic votes and sturdy support from the Biden White House – as a significant investment in fighting climate change and building the U.S. economy based on a climate-friendly practice climate.

Biden signed the bill in August 2022. This only if $369 billion in tax breaks and spending for renewable energy programs, including tax breaks for electric vehicles, as well as incentives for climate-friendly agriculture.

Climate and infrastructure

By 2030, the IRA will do the same create more than 1.5 million spotless energy jobs and will contribute $250 billion to the economy, according to projections by the Labor Energy Partnership, a collaboration between organized labor giant AFL-CIO and the Energy Future Initiative, a DC-based nonprofit. dealing with spotless energy policy.

Climate law AND Schlenker-Goodrich said the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Biden signed into law in 2021 provides vital resources to advance climate-friendly practices.

“The key is to build the foundations of American infrastructure,” he said.

The administration continues to pursue climate initiatives.

Following NOAA’s announcement of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, the Department of Energy and NOAA signed a memorandum of understanding on future cooperation on climate initiatives related to marine carbon dioxide removal and research. This effort is an “important pathway” to meeting the 2050 emissions target, according to NOAA press release.

“Assuming the Biden administration has a second term, the second term should be devoted to considering how we can facilitate a just transition away from our dependence on oil and gas,” Schlenker-Goodrich said.

The American Petroleum Institute, a leading oil and gas industry group, did not respond to a message seeking comment.

By contrast, Trump

Trump has criticized Biden’s position on climate and energy and vowed to continue to push back on the oil and gas industry.

In April meeting at Mar-a-Lago, the former president’s South Florida club and residence, Trump told the nation’s top oil executives that if elected, he would reverse Biden’s environmental policies and halt all future ones, according to the Washington Post. In return, Trump asked them to donate $1 billion to his campaign.

Following the meeting, Democratic Senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Ron Wyden of Oregon fired investigation and questioned the reported quid pro quo fundraising tactics.

“Whether it’s Donald Trump’s promises to roll back climate policy in exchange for $1 billion in campaign cash or the fossil fuel industry’s collusion to raise prices at the gas station, Trump and Big Oil have proven they’re willing to sell Americans to make money out of their own pockets,” Whitehouse said in a written statement to States Newsroom.

“Let me be clear: a Trump presidency would be disastrous for climate progress and our efforts to strengthen our economy against climate damage.”

Biden’s campaign team also noted Trump’s ties to the fossil fuel industry, writing in a statement that Trump intends to act to their advantage.

“Donald Trump calls climate change a ‘hoax’ and promises oil and gas executives they’ll get what they want behind closed doors if they donate to his campaign,” a campaign spokesman wrote. “Our planet needs a president who will fight the climate crisis, not someone who will pretend it doesn’t exist.”

When asked what a Trump presidency would look like in the context of climate change, Schlenker-Goodrich of the Western Environmental Law Center replied that “it would be catastrophic.”

“When it comes to climate action, they will do everything they can, in their power, and probably go beyond those legal boundaries, to support the fossil fuel industry at the expense of our country’s energy transition,” he said.

First condition

During Trump’s term, his administration was “largely successful “weakening existing environmental regulations” that were put in place during Barack Obama’s presidency, according to the Brookings Institution.

As of August 2020, the Trump administration has taken 74 actions according to a Brookings analysis, it weakens environmental protection.

Trump’s 2024 campaign has already outlined the former president’s plans to overhaul environmental and energy policy if elected in November. That includes drilling for natural gas and oil, what Trump often calls “liquid gold.”

Trump plans too withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreements, as it was done in 2019 and fighting Democrats’ efforts to implement the Green New Deal, an ambitious climate platform backed by members of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, according to his campaign website. He also plans to reverse Biden’s efforts to produce cheaper electric vehicles in the US

His priorities include ensuring Americans have the lowest energy prices, reducing inflation and providing more jobs for American workers through the fossil fuel industry, a campaign spokesman said, adding that the Biden administration has done the opposite.

“No one has done more damage to the U.S. oil and gas industry than Joe Biden,” the spokesman wrote.

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