We need an environmental champion in the White House in 2020

We need an environmental champion in the White House in 2020
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The COVID-19 crisis has exposed a number of vital truths about the preparedness of our country to deal with such disasters and the absolute imperative that we elect leaders who will listen to experts and scientists and act accordingly.

I’ve worked for both of our last two Democratic presidents to advance environmental policies that protect our health and planet — as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from 1993 to 2001 under President Clinton and as the director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy under President Obama. I’m immensely proud of what we accomplished over those years to achieve safeguards for clean air, safe drinking water and the health of our communities.

But, over the last three years, I’ve watched in horror as President TrumpDonald John TrumpProtesters tear down statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore 'Independence Day' star Bill Pullman urges Americans to wear a 'freedom mask' in July 4 PSA Protesters burn American flag outside White House after Trump's July Fourth address MORE and his pro-polluter allies destroyed those protections. Big Polluter handouts, climate denial and environmental destruction have defined President Trump’s policy agenda. The Trump administration has repeatedly undermined protections and exposed communities across the country — especially communities of color and low-wealth communities — to dirtier air, more polluted water and, even worse, devastating climate impacts.

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Climate-related natural disasters have already cost thousands of lives and more than $450 billion in the past three years and could cost $54 trillion worldwide by 2040. The U.S. economy could shrink by as much as 10 percent or upward of $500 billion a year in crop damage, lost labor and extreme weather damages. This is almost double the economic blow of the Great Recession of 2009. The list of costs due to inaction on climate is long.

To put it simply, our families and our planet cannot survive another four years of Donald Trump — there is far too much at stake.

That’s why it is imperative we elect Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump hits 'radical left,' news media, China in Independence Day address Kaepernick on July Fourth: 'We reject your celebration of white supremacy' Jaime Harrison seeks to convince Democrats he can take down Lindsey Graham MORE to be the next president of the United States.

The choice we make this November will define the world our children will inherit. The 2020 elections are our last, best chance to elect leaders at all levels of government who will advance racially just and equitable solutions to the climate crisis. The stakes have never been higher and 

Joe Biden has been a champion for environmental issues since he first was elected to the New Castle County Council in Delaware and was one of the earliest leaders in Congress to draw attention to the impacts of climate change. We worked together in the Obama-Biden administration, including making historic investments in clean energy as part of the 2009 stimulus, the Clean Car Standards and championing the Paris Climate Agreement. Those investments paid off. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the clean energy industry was the fastest growing job creator in our economy.

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Now, Joe Biden has a plan to make an equitable, clean energy economy a reality for all. His Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice outlines a path to reach 100 percent clean energy economy, invest in climate-smart infrastructure, center racial justice and equity in our environmental and climate policies and support the workers and communities who have powered our country.

We need a president like Joe Biden who is committed to advancing solutions to solve the climate crisis by reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, recommitting the U.S. to the Paris Climate Agreement and holding Big Polluters accountable for exacerbating the climate crisis and pollution — including addressing the burden of toxic waste in communities of color. We need environmental leadership in the White House. Period.

There’s no doubt about it, Joe Biden is the only candidate in the race for president who will put people ahead of the polluters and fight to save our planet.

So now we have a choice, we can stand by or stand down and watch the continued devastation of our health and environment and let the most anti-environmental president in history be reelected. Or we can fight for our fate and elect Joe Biden, a strong environmental champion, for president. I believe our Earth is worth voting for. We must vote for Joe Biden and protect our air, water, public lands, democracy and planet. 

Carol M. Browner is currently the board chair of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator. The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund has endorsed Joe Biden for president.