Thanks to the SCOTUS leak of the draft decision on Roe v. Wade this week, social media is all in a tizzy about the abortion issue. I worry that people’s passions over this issue will once again entirely eclipse everything else we need to worry about when it comes to electing government officials. As you know if you’re reading this newsletter, we need decisive action on climate policy now. Dealing with the climate crisis is, after all, the ultimate pro-life issue: pro-future for life on the planet.
As the article by Marianne Lavelle (linked below) puts it, the results of the US midterm election this fall “will, in a real sense, determine whether the U.S. can fulfill its pledge to be a leader in the drive to stave off the most catastrophic consequences of global warming.”
The shared global project here is to get greenhouse gas emissions to peak no later than 2025 and then start a steep decline downward. That’s the fundamental goal we must achieve in order to have any hope of keeping warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Keep in mind, we’re already at 1.1C above.
To help us vote wisely in primaries and in the fall, this Inside Climate News article offers a number of suggestions:
Watch what candidates say
Just using phrases like “net zero carbon” or “carbon neutral” doesn’t mean much. That can be rhetorical greenwashing that signals continuing support for burning fossil fuels, perhaps imagining that carbon capture technology is some sort of panacea, which it is not
. Look for candidates committed to phasing out fossil fuels quickly. To find out more about what candidates’ positions are, check out Vote Climate USA
Study candidates’ voting records
Follow the money
Obviously. Party affiliation is less important on this one than where candidates’ money comes from.
Give careful attention to state and local candidates
It’s not all about the federal level. Effective climate action depends a lot on states, cities, and municipalities. In fact, that’s where a great deal of climate leadership is coming from already. In many ways, federal lawmakers lag behind what localities want and are already doing. Local can lead.