MEMO: The Climate Stakes of 2024
To: Interested Parties
From: Lori Lodes, Executive Director of Climate Power
Date: November 9, 2023
RE: The Climate Stakes of 2024
The results of this week’s election were nearly a best case scenario for Democrats. In states across the country, Republicans ran against clean energy and lost. That shows promise for what happens over the next year. A year from today, the country will be in the midst of another drawn out election day. With the country so divided and Donald Trump once again denying the legitimacy of elections, it is likely that we will not know the results of the 2024 presidential election on election night.
Here’s what we do know: The 2024 election is going to be an inflection point in our fight against climate change. Can we build on the progress made by Joe Biden who has done more than any president in history to address the climate crisis or will we revert back to the head-in-the sand climate denial and pro-polluter agenda of the Trump years?
The most important thing that anyone can do to advance the effort to combat climate change is to reelect President Joe Biden. Biden passed the most significant climate legislation in history in the Inflation Reduction Act. With the rest of Biden’s Clean Energy Plan, we are creating hundreds of thousands of clean energy jobs while moving the world closer to achieving the climate goals necessary to save our planet. But the work is far from done. Not only does implementation of the climate plan require a continued all of government approach, it also requires a climate champion like Biden in the White House and allies in congress.
While the progress made under Biden has been real, the future is very much uncertain.
The Republican nominee for president will be Donald Trump. Lest we forget, this is the same Donald Trump who calls climate change a hoax and who, in his first term, withdrew America from the Paris Climate Agreement, eliminated protections for clean air and clean water, and has a “drill baby drill” approach to energy that makes Big Oil CEOs empty their pocketbooks on his behalf. He has the full support from a Republican majority in the House and new Speaker of the House Mike Johnson who just made his legislative priorities abundantly clear by attaching cuts to the Inflation Reduction Act to a foreign aid package with otherwise broad bipartisan support. If you want to look at what a second term Trump agenda looks like, just read the Heritage Foundation’s extreme Project 2025.
What It Means for the Work Ahead
If we want to make sure the climate progress we’ve made over the last couple of years is durable so we have the opportunity to build on it, we have to put in the work to secure that better future. Right now, that means making sure people see how President Biden has delivered on climate progress and clean energy.
You may have heard some things about presidential polling recently. While much of the horse race coverage is severely over torqued, it is true that there are significant challenges that must be overcome. Although specific provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act are very popular, not enough people know just how much has happened already – and even fewer know how it will benefit their lives. This is a problem, but one with a solution.
That’s why Climate Power is using every lever we have to tell the story of what has been achieved. It’s not a secret that the national media won’t spend much time focused on informing voters about the merits of President Biden’s economic agenda. It’s why we have to pay for ads to tell that story; but there is so much more to our work. A states program that connects our progress to the everyday conversation, an influencer program that reaches young people where they are, and a relentless earned media operation to combat disinformation and share the facts of Biden’s climate progress with the world. Our strategy is consistently calibrated by our polling and research—and driven by a rapid-response communications program that sets the tone for the climate conversation.
We will wake up every day for the next year knowing that Republicans and their Big Oil allies will be working to undo the climate progress we’ve made and actually worsen the climate crises for their own short term political or financial gain. Every day, we will need to use every tool at our disposal to communicate not only the stakes of the fight, but the greatest climate accomplishments ever to be achieved by an American president and how that improves the lives of every American today and into the future.
There is a clear threat. There is a clear champion with a clear record of progress. It is on all of us to work every day for the next year to communicate through every channel we have in order to make that progress durable and keep this country moving forward in the fight against climate change.