Biden Won the Presidency and Inherited a Global Emergency. There’s No Time to Waste.

To combat the most damaging long-term impact of Trump’s legacy, Biden must go big—and work fast.

John Lamparski/Zuma

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Joe Biden clinched the presidency. Now he must save the planet.

That’s not hyperbole. Biden’s supporters, along with America’s global allies, are hoping beyond hope for a quick reversal of President Trump’s most harmful policies come January 20, 2021. Even as those policies have included draconian immigration actions, catastrophic public health negligence, and extreme isolationism, perhaps no part of Trump’s agenda has posed a bigger existential threat than his denial of climate change. From a blithe disregard for basic science and scientists, crippling the EPA and rolling back environmental regulations, to pulling out of the landmark Paris Agreement, Trump did everything he could to roll back the progress of President Obama’s ambitious second-term climate agenda and wiping out America’s role as a global leader. This year, carbon dioxide levels reached the highest recorded levels in human history, bedeviling the planet with an extraordinary array of climate emergencies. The world can barely wait another moment for meaningful change—whatever that might entail. 

On this week’s episode of the Mother Jones Postcast, host Jamilah King is joined by MoJo climate and environment reporter Rebecca Leber to discuss what we can expect from Biden, who has now claimed climate action as central to his governing mandate. How much of Trump’s damage can Biden reverse? What could a Republican-controlled Senate mean for the Green New Deal? How will Kamala Harris’ barrier-breaking role in the White House influence Biden’s commitment to environmental justice?

Biden made big promises for climate action on the campaign trail, and his first 100 days as president are expected to unleash a flurry of executive orders attempting to address climate change. If the number of times Biden said “science” in his victory speech is any indication, this administration will reverse Trump’s denialism. But what can reasonably be expected when the stakes are so high: a stop to runaway global warming?

Listen below:

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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