Yesterday Happened. Now What?

I began writing this post yesterday morning, when it became apparent that the Democrats will take control of the Senate. Then we all witnessed the afternoon’s events. I can assume most of us – regardless of political party- sat there astonished and saddened. I have many personal thoughts on this president, election and current political atmosphere. There is also much to be said on the role of racism in yesterday’s rioting, plus the connection between climate change and social justice. (We have plans to explore the latter in a future post. ) However, if I’m going to be honest, I try to avoid getting too partisan on here, because I truly believe that the environment is not a political issue. The Earth’s well-being affects us all and should be prioritized by both sides. Plus, I don’t want to dissuade people from checking and learning from GreenLifeNH, because we need a large number of people to make a difference. You can believe in small government, low taxes and still reduce your paper towel consumption for the planet’s greater good.

That said, regardless of one’s political leanings, the Trump and Biden administrations offer differing environmental viewpoints. That is an objective fact. Trump wanted to focus on rebuilding coal, supporting the oil industry and leaving the Paris Climate Accord. Biden and the Democrats plan to re-enter the Paris Accord immediately and focus their attention on alternative energies and thwarting climate change. We now know that the Democrats will lead this country for the next two years. What are their environmental plans?

Below are a few of the take-aways from the Paris Climate Accord. If you are looking for economic reasons, “75 CEOS signed a statement that argued it would strengthen their competitiveness in global markets and allow the U.S. to be a leader in developing [the] technology that curbs carbon emissions.”

  • President-elect Joe Biden will reenter the U.S. into the Paris Climate Agreement, the global pact forged five years ago among nearly 200 nations to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
  • Upon rejoining, the U.S. will likely be expected to provide a climate target that is updated from the Obama administration’s goal and a plan to reduce domestic emissions from the power and energy sector.
  • The U.S. is the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China, and is seen as key in the global effort to reduce the effects of climate change.

Here are some more specific ways that Biden plans to plans to achieve these goals, in addition to other issues that are more specific to the United States:

“Biden is proposing to make US electricity production carbon-free by 2035 and to have the country achieve net zero emissions by the middle of the century.” He also wants to “phase out fossil fuel-powered electricity and move to solar, wind and other renewable fuel sources.” Other ideas include “building 1.5 million new energy-efficient homes and pushing aggressively for provisions to promote trains and high-speed rail.”

The Biden website also lists saving consumers money and reducing emissions through new, aggressive appliance- and building-efficiency standards, protecting biodiversity, slowing extinction rates and helping leverage natural climate solutions by conserving 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030. He also wants to target airline emissions.

That is a short summary of the Democrats’ plans and goals. Now let’s get to work, make some change and save this planet. We can move away from yesterday’s horror, come together and go forward. I can’t wait to see what we accomplish. – Rachel

PS If you are looking for some additional climate change ideas, here’s a synopsis of the Green New Deal

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