Biden has acknowledged climate change as an “existential threat,” while Trump has wrongly called it a “hoax.”
As the U.S. struggles through the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has another crisis looming: climate change, and its resulting extreme weather events.
From dangerous hurricanes, to Iowa’s derecho, to historic flooding, to millions of acres destroyed by wildfires, parts of the country can’t seem to get any relief.
And as climate change continues to occur largely unchecked, Arizona will be one of the states hit the hardest.
But the time is always ripe for the U.S. to start doing something about it. While President Donald Trump does not mention climate change in his second-term agenda, Democratic candidate Joe Biden has released an extensive plan listing what his administration would do to combat the trend.
Help for Arizona
While Arizona has been spared the dangers of hurricanes, it has been plagued this summer by record-breaking wildfires and heat waves.
July of this year was Phoenix’s hottest month ever, and earlier this month the city broke its record for most days in one year at or above 115 degrees – and there’s still plenty of summertime left.
Maricopa County has broken multiple records for heat-related deaths in the past decade and is on track this year to once again top its highest count, with 272 under investigation and 40 already confirmed.
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And the state as a whole has seen wildfires burn more acres this year than the past two years combined.
Biden’s plan acknowledges climate change as an “existential threat” and proposes several ideas for scaling back the extent of the damage.
Those proposals include:
- Moving the U.S. to a 100% clean-energy economy and zero net emissions by 2050;
- Recommitting the U.S. to the Paris Climate Accord, which former President Barack Obama signed but Trump reversed;
- Strengthen methane pollution limits;
- Developing new fuel economy standards;
- And requiring public companies to disclose emissions and “climate risks.”
On the other hand, the Trump administration has flat-out denied the existence of the problem and rolled back 68 environmental protections with 32 others in the process of reversal.
Desire For Change
While climate change hasn’t been on the forefront of the 2020 campaigns, it remains an issue important to voters.
A majority of Arizonans believe climate change is happening, that it is human-caused, and that it is affecting the weather.
And those beliefs extend into fears for the future – 60% of Arizonans say they’re worried about climate change and 58% say it will harm their fellow citizens.
RELATED: 7 Million Reasons to Conserve Water in Arizona
For most of the state, it’s not acceptable to let things continue as is. A majority say they want to see the president, Congress, the governor, local officials, and citizens themselves should do more to address climate change.
But despite the consensus that this is a serious issue that must be dealt with, climate change is not on the Republican National Convention’s agenda.
A Positive Side
Fighting back against climate change doesn’t just mean defensive measures – it also opens up room for more jobs and economic growth in the clean energy sector.
While Biden’s plan doesn’t include metrics specific to solar, the Democratic party platform calls for building 500 million solar panels within the next five years to achieve climate change goals.
Arizona, which has been ranked the third-best state for solar energy, stands to benefit from this boom, considering it’s home to four of the nation’s top 10 sunniest cities.
Nicole LaSlavic, executive director of the Arizona Solar Energies Industry Association, called Biden’s goal to be a 100% clean-energy economy in 30 years a “positive step in the right direction.”
“The plan briefly speaks of breakthroughs in technologies, such as batteries that can more
efficiently store energy for use at moments of peak demand, which as an association looking into the future, AriSEIA supports,” LaSlavic wrote in an email to The Copper Courier.
Arizona has more than 62,000 jobs within the larger clean energy industry – which also includes wind, electric vehicles, and more.