‘This is not a partisan moment. This must be an American moment.’
Washington, D.C. – Tonight, Joe Biden said, “This is not a partisan moment. This must be an American moment,” when accepting the Democratic nomination for president. He was talking about the larger time our country is living through. He could have just as easily been discussing the climate crisis.
For decades, we’ve heard about rising oceans, warming summers, and shrinking glaciers. Then, climate change was described as a long-off problem — something we could get to next year. Next election. But the politics of climate have changed. Not only is this a top-tier, day 1 issue for a broad cross-section of American voters, it is also no longer a secondary or niche issue for political debate.
It’s because the moment has found us. We see how extreme heat is beating down on communities across this country — worsening the racial and socioeconomic injustices of the coronavirus pandemic. We hear from our neighbors who question how they’ve lived through multiple “once-in-a-generation” storms that took everything from them. We feel the pain of Black, Brown, and Indigenous Americans crying out that they can’t breathe.
Over the past four days, the everyday Americans, elected leaders, and advocates who spoke at the Democratic convention have made it extremely clear: 2020 must be the moment we act on the climate crisis. More than 60 speakers — all in primetime — used their moment addressing America to demand climate action. The Democratic nominee for president talked about the existential threat climate change poses to our country multiple times (and even Fox News praised the speech). Both were record-breaking for a political convention. The conversation was driven by young activists who’ve revolutionized the climate movement — forcing elected officials to account for their futures with no apologies.
As Biden said, this isn’t partisan. Voters no longer see climate change as a partisan issue, but as something that is impacting them right now. More voters than ever have said the climate crisis is a top issue they’re looking at when deciding who to vote for in November. A Climate Power 2020 survey found that 62 percent of Republican-leaning persuadable voters disapprove of Trump’s handling of climate, and 72 percent think that strong climate action will be good for the economy. A Yale survey found that moderate Republicans are 35 percentage points less likely to vote for a candidate opposing action.
With that much broad support, 2020 may just yet be the year that we begin solving the climate crisis and securing our future.
Vice President Joe Biden: “And now, history has delivered us to one of the most difficult moments America’s ever faced. Four, four historic crises all at the same time, a perfect storm, the worst pandemic in over a hundred years, the worst economic crisis since the great depression, the most compelling call for racial justice since the 60s’ and the undeniable realities and just the accelerating threats of climate change […] One of the most powerful voices we hear in the country today is from our young people. They’re speaking to the inequity and injustice that is growing up in America, economic injustice, racial injustice, environmental injustice. I hear their voices. If you listen, you can hear them, too.”
President Barack Obama: “Joe knows the world, and the world knows him. He knows that our true strength comes from setting an example that the world wants to follow, a nation that stands with democracy, not dictators, a nation that can inspire and mobilize others to overcome threats like climate change and terrorism, poverty, and disease.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom: “Climate change is real. If you are in denial about climate change, come to California. Eleven-thousand dry lightning strikes we had over a 72-hour period, leading to this unprecedented challenge with these wildfires. This is an extraordinary moment in our history. Mother Nature has now joined this conversation around climate change, and so we too, need to advance that conversation anew.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: “We will take strong decisive action to combat climate change and save the planet.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Our great nation is now living in an unprecedented moment. We’re facing the worst public health crisis in 100 years and the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. We are confronting systemic racism and the enormous threat to our planet of climate change.”
First Lady Michelle Obama: “Joe Biden wants all of our kids to go to a good school, see a doctor when they’re sick, live on a healthy planet, and he’s got plans to make all of that happen.”
Alaska Delegate Chuck Degnan: “The waters we rely on to feed our families and make a living are threatened by climate change. When Joe Biden was vice president, he and President Obama made sure Alaska’s tribes had a say in how these waters were managed. Donald Trump took it away.”
President Bill Clinton: “He’s given us smart detailed plans to invest in areas vital to our future: innovative financing for factories and small businesses; good jobs in green energy and conservation to combat climate change; a modern infrastructure that brings small town and rural America the connectivity and investment others take for granted; and a plan to ensure that Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, women, immigrants, and other communities left behind are full participants in the economy and our society.”
Congresswoman Barbara Lee: “Climate change is not a hoax, it’s real, and communities of color have been bearing the brunt of this reality for generations.”
Former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis: “Joe Biden’s plan to crack down on polluters, to protect our air and water is about environmental justice and economic justice. He’ll prioritize equity and bring new clean energy jobs to Black and Brown neighborhoods because that is how we build back better.”
Sandia Pueblo Tribal Member and State Rep. Derrick Lente of New Mexico: “New Mexico is a diverse state, home to 23 Indigenous Sovereign Nations, with a rich, multicultural history. We are all united with love of this beautiful place that we call home. And we believe that we owe it to the next generation to protect the natural and cultural resources that are their inheritance.”
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham: “We know time is running out to save our planet. We have the chance…to attack the climate crisis, invest in green 21st Century jobs, and embrace the clean energy revolution in our country.”
Michelle Deatrick: “The climate crisis is here, and we must act.”