The presidential debate highlighted Trump’s lack of knowledge on the subject as he danced around questions put to him with illogical statements.
The one time Trump was correct, was on the build-up of tinder and wood catalysing ferocious fires that doused vegetation rich land on the west coast. Unfortunately, he failed to elaborate why. Low moisture levels due to intense climatic changes have rendered forested areas so dry, that a small spark can incentivise woodland fires to the unprecedented scale we have seen over the past few years.
Trump did not seem one bit concerned about the climate crisis, even going as far as to say carbon is at its lowest.
Host and debate mediator, Chris Wallace, began the segment “I’d like to talk about climate change” to which Vice President Joe Biden responded immediately “So would I”. Trump responded to a question about the forest fires and if he believes in the science of climate change. He said: “I want crystal clean water and air. I want beautiful clean air. We have now the lowest carbon…”
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Carbon is now the highest we have ever seen.
Chris Wallace asked the president: “But sir if you believe in the science of climate change, why have you rolled back the Obama Clean Power Plan which limited carbon emissions and power plants? Why have you relaxed…?” to which the President responded: “Because it was driving energy prices through the sky.” Another point Mr Trump failed to back up. In fact, renewable energy is the most cost-effective energy source, even without subsidies.
Vice President Joe Biden responded to Trump’s remarks about the cost of renewables: “Nobody’s going to build another coal-fired plant in America. No one’s going to build another oil fire plant in America. They’re going to move to renewable energy.”
Mr Biden also stated that “…we can get to net zero, in terms of energy production, by 2035.” The target falls short of the 2027 countdown for irreversible climate change. Net-zero emissions must be achieved now and with greater funding for carbon removal technology. Without incentivisation for technologies in atmospheric GHG removal, a net-zero target is almost worthless. Both candidates failed to speak on this point.
Mr Trump falls far from an ideal green candidate for the United States, and although Biden is the better option, we must remember his fossil fuel past too.
The global conversation must centre around climate politics as it is the biggest political and humanitarian issue of our time. Post-debate discourse fell far from this, and it is dissapointing how little coverage it received