Biden calls climate change one of America’s four major crises
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden listed climate change among the major crises facing America as he seeks to rally Democrats heading toward the November election.
“History has delivered us to one of the most difficult moments America has ever faced. Four historic crises. All at the same time. A perfect storm,” Biden said when accepting the Democratic nomination late Thursday.
“The worst pandemic in over 100 years. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The most compelling call for racial justice since the ’60s. And the undeniable realities and accelerating threats of climate change.”
Biden’s comments at the Democratic National Convention come after environmental groups complained frequently throughout the primary that climate change was getting short shrift from campaigns. Many called for a standalone climate debate as the topic was overshadowed by discussion of health care and the economy.
But Biden has since made inroads with environmentalists who were calling for a stronger plan from the former vice president throughout the campaign. He fleshed out his initial climate plan with stronger timetables for switching to clean energy and gearing more funding toward the Black and Latino communities that face a disproportionate share of pollution and climate impacts.
Basil Smikle, a political strategist and lecturer at Columbia University, said Biden’s framing in his acceptance speech reflecting on both justice and climate change recognizes the importance of each to young voters.
“Not speaking about something like climate change, which moves so many people and inspires so many young voters, would have been glaring omission. So I’m glad the language was included and hope it portends real thorough investigation and policy decisions going forward,” he said.
“The overall environment and atmosphere is ripe for conversations around climate change and this moved the needle from a positive perspective.”
Biden’s plan lagged behind more ambitious proposals from former presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), but his plan still makes history as the boldest vision from a Democratic nominee as the urgency of addressing climate change, and outcry from activists has pushed campaigns to release detailed climate plans like never before.
The nominee received praise from past candidate Andrew Yang, who called the plan a new standard for the party.
“The magic of Joe Biden is that everything he does becomes the new reasonable. If he comes with an ambitious plan to address climate change, all of a sudden, everyone’s going to follow his lead.”
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