The world is warming, and climate predictions are growing more dire by the day. It can seem like time is slipping away for concrete solutions to a long-term, existential problem.
What is your best bet for tackling climate change? Voting for climate action.
Elections matter. In 2018, the Colorado electorate selected pro-conservation champions that took historic strides to address climate change, passing legislation to reduce carbon pollution in Colorado by 90 percent by 2050.
If we want federal action, we are going to have to choose a presidential candidate who makes a clean energy economy a top priority and not a sideline issue.
Looking ahead to Colorado’s 2020 presidential primary on Super Tuesday, a day when more than a dozen states will hold primary elections, voters will be able to send a powerful message with their ballots about the country’s and Colorado’s climate priorities.
Consider how far we have come on this issue. Climate movements are surging like never before, and climate platforms have become a primary factor for voters when selecting a candidate. The sense of urgency arises from the impacts we see all around us. Coloradans are already dealing with worse air quality, more erratic storms, dying forests, and catastrophic wildfires.
Yet, all of these effects are being made even worse by the current administration. Climate denialism and special interests from the fossil fuel industry are propelling rollbacks of bedrock environment policies. The administration has fought against clean air safeguards and leased millions of acres of public lands for oil and gas development, which could produce billions of tons of carbon pollution and impact our ability to fight climate change.
These rollbacks are very unpopular among voters in Colorado, and politicians know that voters will bring that sentiment to the ballot. Winning candidates in Colorado lead with protecting the Colorado we love. Voters expect leaders to create a national renewable energy portfolio, protect more public lands, and rein in corporate polluters to address the root causes of climate change.
We have a basic responsibility to leave a better and more just world for our children and grandchildren, but unchecked pollution from dirty energy sources is putting the climate, health and future of our children at risk. By encouraging a clean economy, we can dramatically reduce the carbon pollution that is disrupting our climate, and also the sulfur and arsenic pollution that cause asthma, heart and lung disease, and even cancer – especially in children and seniors.
Leadership is coming from the states, but we need action and political will in Washington. We the voters need to ensure our leaders implement a winning agenda to shift to renewable energy and move to a carbon-neutral economy.
Support for candidates with a clean energy agenda is not only intensifying but has become a winning issue. Ignoring climate on the campaign trail is a mistake for any candidate. The winning presidential candidate will be one that leads on climate action.
Now, making your voice heard is easier than ever. For the first time, Colorado ballots have been mailed to registered voters as part of an open presidential primary voting system instead of holding closed caucus events. The final day to submit a ballot is March 3rd at 7 pm. The 2018 Colorado primary election had record voter turnout, and this year’s election is vitally important.
Coloradans are voting on climate.
Kelly Nordini is executive director of Conservation Colorado, the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization.