Presidential Election Viewed as Pivotal Moment for Climate as CO2 Levels Reach Record High: Minnesota Reformer Reports



Recent data indicates that despite Biden administration’s focus on environmental issues and ambitious climate actions, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has hit an all-time high. The Biden administration has initiated several measures including executive orders, legislation and setting carbon-reduction goals to counter climate change and transition the U.S. away from fossil fuels. Contrarily, former President Trump, intending to re-run for presidency, vows to defer more to the oil and gas industry, threatening to roll back Biden’s environmental policies.

Climate Change and American Politics

Despite the Biden administration’s concerted efforts to combat climate change, recent findings from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show record-high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. This development raises climate action stakes as the presidential election approaches, with a potential second Trump term likely favoring fossil fuel interests.

Despite this surge in carbon dioxide, analysis by the Center for American Progress suggests that the Biden administration has taken more climate action than any of its predecessors. Biden’s campaign had announced ambitious plans to eliminate energy production through fossil fuels by 2035 and cut 2005-level emissions in half by 2030.

Biden’s Climate Record

According to the World Resources Institute, Biden’s climate policies are moving the U.S. towards the 2030 goal. A 2024 study revealed that greenhouse gas emissions were down 2% from the previous year and 17% from 2005 levels. Concurrently, the US GDP grew over 2%, indicating the potential for economic growth alongside reduced emissions.

The Biden administration’s key legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act, passed in 2022, provided $369 billion in tax credits and spending for renewable energy programs, encouraging a climate-friendly economy. By 2030, the act is expected to create over 1.5 million clean energy jobs and add $250 billion to the economy.

Climate and Infrastructure

In addition to the climate-focused law, the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law signed by Biden in 2021 offers critical resources for developing climate-friendly practices. The administration has also pursued climate initiatives such as a collaboration with NOAA for marine carbon dioxide removal and research, a crucial step towards their 2050 emissions goal.

Contrast with Trump

Former President Trump, on the other hand, has pledged to defer to the oil and gas industry. He has criticized Biden’s climate record and promised to reverse Biden’s environmental policies if elected. Trump’s promises to the fossil fuel industry have spurred controversy, with Democratic Senators launching an inquiry into potential quid-pro-quo fundraising tactics.

First Term

During Trump’s first term, his administration successfully weakened existing environmental regulations established during Barack Obama’s presidency. The Brookings Institution reported 74 instances where Trump took actions to weaken environmental protections. His future plans, as outlined by his 2024 campaign, include drilling for natural gas and oil, withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords, and reversing Biden’s efforts to increase electric vehicle production in the U.S.

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