We’re Running Out of Time

This evening, Donald Trump said this election is the most important in our country’s history. For once, he wasn’t lying.

America is at a precipice. Our climate is changing so rapidly that it’s impossible to ignore the crisis. Expert after expert and scientist after scientist is sounding the alarm, warning that we cannot wait any longer to boldly put forward real solutions to the climate crisis. The consequences of waiting now mean we teeter toward irreversible damage.

“The Republicans don’t seem to get it. There were 90 speakers at the GOP convention and only one mention of climate change. The only reference to the climate crisis by the president was denial and more lies,” said Lori Lodes, executive director of Climate Power 2020. “Thoughts and prayers were offered for those in the path of Laura, but no plan or ideas on how to confront the ongoing crisis.”

This summer we’ve seen the full force of the climate crisis right before our eyes in unbelievably strong storms, deadly hurricanes, raging wildfires, and back-breaking heat. It’s not going to get better. The death toll and destruction will continue to steadily climb because climate change is transforming weather into a weapon of mass destruction.

The climate crisis is here. Whether we solve it or ignore reality is the question.

Below are the facts of what could happen if Trump’s policies are continued for another four years: 

  • Trump winning a second term is projected to delay global efforts to reach zero emissions by up to a decade.
  • Two separate reports have warned of a potential loss of as much as 10% of GDP annually from the United States economy by the end of the century due to climate change.
    • That’s more than twice the impact of the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and three times the projections for the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
    • Climate change will end up costing our economy more (3.7% of GDP per year) than the COVID-19 pandemic by as early as 2050.
  • Without significant changes in the next ten years, the world will be emitting greenhouse gases at 30% above the level needed to contain warming to the 2-degree threshold considered safe by scientists, and 58% above the level needed for the 1.5-degree target of the Paris Climate Agreement.
    • UN Environment Program Director Inger Andersen said governments “need to act now,” or “the 1.5°C goal will be out of reach before 2030.” 
    • According to distinguished climate scientist Michael Mann, “Another four years of Trump would probably render futile any efforts to limit planetary warming to 1.5 [degrees Celsius], which is necessary to avert ever-more catastrophic climate-change impacts.”
    • If warming is not contained to the 1.5°C threshold, the world will face a high risk of “cascading tipping points” that irreversibly lock in catastrophic levels of warming, including massive dieback in the Amazon, thawing boreal forests releasing gigatons of carbon and methane, and massive collapsing ice sheets that accelerates sea level rise of over 10 meters by 9,000 years.
  • A low-carbon future would save 230 million people from living in an annual flood zone, including the 40% of the U.S. population that lives in coastal counties.
  • If nothing is done, 30% of all animal and plant species on earth will go extinct by 2070.
  • Four more years would allow Trump to continue packing the courts with conservative judges  opposed to health and environmental regulations.
  • The Trump administration’s policies have caused air quality – after decades of improvement – to rapidly degrade – with Black and Latino communities paying the highest price. Continued pollution will cause an increase in asthma, cancer, and other respiratory diseases.
  • The Trump administration’s environmental policies have already contributed to a loss of more than 620,000 potential good-paying clean energy jobs.

National security experts and the Department of Defense have published reports warning that climate change puts our national security at risk by destabilizing conflict zones.