Press Perspective: Climate change defines 2020 election and our future


Narrowing it down

It’s that time of year again in the world of politics—each week, the race for the presidency in 2020 is becoming more crowded, and the U.S. public is becoming more overwhelmed with the vast selection. So far, 18 notable Congresspeople, governors, and entrepreneurs have officially added their names to the growing list of candidates running for the 2020 presidential election. With a surplus of candidates this year, it is common to attempt to narrow down the selection by determining which candidates’ agendas contain a position on a certain issue that adheres to one’s own values. This process to identify presidential candidates with specific political positions can be helpful and stress relieving to the voter—the only difficulty is determining what all-defining key issue is most significant in 2020.

The numerous key issues

There are many notable issues that any presidential candidate should have an opinion on: immigration, healthcare, the opioid epidemic, education, gun control, criminal justice, and unemployment, to name a few. However, identifying a single key issue is not asserting that it should be the sole issue on a candidate’s agenda, as it is important to be well educated on many topics. The same is true for the voter, who should find a candidate who agrees with his or her positions on a variety of issues—not just a single one.
That being said, there is one key issue that emerges above all others when considering its importance in 2020 and the future—in order to ensure the continuation of all life on Earth, it is necessary that we fight climate change. Whether a presidential candidate supports climate reform and lists climate change as one of his or her top issues or not should be the deciding factor in determining who is an acceptable candidate.

The significance of climate change

Climate change should be an issue that concerns all U.S. citizens, as it affects all inhabitants of the Earth. Recently, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that one effect of climate change is the inevitable 2.7 degree Fahrenheit temperature increase from pre-industrial levels. But by no means is that where the effects end. Climate change also results in rising sea levels, melting Arctic sea ice, animal extinction, longer wildfire seasons, air pollution-related health problems, and more extreme and frequent weather events—like intensified hurricanes and the recent historic flooding in the midwest.
To make significant change, the climate may need to be prioritized over other issues for the time being: but the economy can always recover. After a certain point, the climate cannot. We have already passed that point, and irreversible damage has already been made. Harming the climate further will only have detrimental impacts on the United States and the globe, resulting in an incapability to solve any of our nation’s future problems. In essence, the fate of the United States and the Earth relies on finding a solution to reduce the impact of climate change and eliminate any future damage.

Going forward

In the meantime, it is essential that we all acknowledge the truth about climate change and its many consequences, despite President Trump’s frequent denials of its existence and the research of climate scientists. It is not simply a luxury issue of the upper class, as some might believe, and it will have devastating effects on all socioeconomic classes if allowed to persist.
When exploring ways to combat climate change, scientists can also identify reform policies that will not hurt lower class individuals or industrial regions. It will also be necessary to look into foreign climate reform policies to ensure that all nations are doing their part to protect our planet.
The effects of climate change can be reduced, but we have to act now and choose presidential candidates who are willing to address climate change as the disaster it is.