A few short weeks ago when President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act, he claimed that the United States has “Among the cleanest air and water on Earth” in modern history. Trump touted the law as so-called proof that his administration is “working every day to keep it that way.” More recently, he even compared himself to Teddy Roosevelt and said he would “go down as a great environmental president.”
Once again, Trump is skirting the truth to shield himself from the reality of his toxic agenda. But no amount of lying can cover up Trump’s record as the most anti-science and anti-environment president we have ever seen. Trump has gutted environmental protections by rolling back 100 regulations and silencing communities of color. Senator Cory Gardner has cheered him on all along.
As the Republican National Convention kicks off, it is clear that the party is once again playing a dangerous game of follow-the-leader, falling in line with Trump’s anti-nature agenda. With a ticket headlined by two climate deniers, it should come as no surprise that the few speakers who have been announced share these anti-environment views. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem praised Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and his gutting of the National Environmental Protection Act. Pennsylvania Congressional candidate Sean Parnell, another outspoken, albeit uninformed, critic of the Paris Agreement is also slated to speak.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of the growing climate crisis, the RNC will largely ignore the urgent threat. The RNC is reusing its 2016 platform, which downplays the climate crisis, denies it is a key national security threat, calls environmentalists “extremists,” and makes no mention of humans’ role in the changing climate.
In stark contrast, climate played a major role at last week’s Democratic National Convention. Climate was mentioned by more than 60 speakers, from the “Roll Call Across America” to former First Lady Michelle Obama to high-ranking officials like Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretaries of State John Kerry and Colin Powell. A new generation of leaders and delegates from across the country also spoke up about the need for bold action. Vice President Biden and Senator Harris have heard these calls from around the country and they understand the urgent needs to address the climate crisis. Their plan calls for a bold $2 trillion investment to modernize our infrastructure that would create over 10 million good-paying clean energy jobs in the process.
Tackling climate change isn’t only necessary for our planet — it’s good politics, especially in an election that will be decided by narrow margins. Three in five Coloradans believe the president and Congress should do more to address climate change. Even moderate Republicans are far less likely to vote for presidential candidates who oppose climate action. A Yale Program on Climate Change Communication survey from April found that voters are 55 percent less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who opposes taking action on climate — liberal/moderate Republicans are 35 percentage points less likely to vote for a candidate opposing action.
Despite voters’ call for our leaders to take bold, bipartisan steps to combat climate change, Republicans still insist on putting the needs of the fossil fuel industry ahead of the health and well-being of their constituents and the public lands we hold so dear. Safeguarding our environment and protecting families from pollution should not be a partisan issue. This November, we need leaders who will listen to science and make decisions based on facts.
Kristopher Larsen is the mayor of Nederland, CO and was trained as a planetary scientist at the University of Colorado.