DNC Night 4: Joe Biden’s Acceptance Speech Is Infused With the Climate Crisis and Possibilities

The last night of the Democratic National Convention began with climate change front and center.  California Governor Gavin Newsom literally jumped out of his car and gave his remarks from the California woods on his way to a wildfire evacuation center — he spoke with passion and conviction about the jarring reality of climate change. He said that anyone who thinks climate change is a hoax should visit California.  And he criticized President Trump for denying Californians fire suppression assistance during one of the worse fire seasons in the history of the state.  Newsom ended with a stirring call to action —  he said the future is not inside of us it’s in front of us, and we have to do everything in our power to save it for our children and grandchildren.

Vice President Joe Biden did not disappoint –  he infused climate change in his acceptance speech — sometimes explicitly and other times as an allusion in his vision for the future.  At the outset of the speech, he said that no generation ever knows what history will ask of it, harkening to the unpredictable nature of wildfires and hurricanes and other climate disasters.  He noted that we face “four historic crises at the same time;” the pandemic, the economic collapse, racism, and “the undeniable realities and accelerating threats of climate change.”  He alluded to climate change when he talked about this as a “time of real peril but also extraordinary possibilities.”    He said this is a life-changing election — it will determine what America will look like for a long long time — another obvious allusion to the climate impacts looming that will undeniably alter our future.  He said “science is on the ballot,” making the stark contrast with President Trump’s climate denial.

Looking ahead, Biden referred to climate when he described his vision of “an America we can rebuild together” and with climate change in mind, he vowed that “we will build back better.” As a specific example, he promised to rebuild our crumbling water infrastructure with “pipes that transport clean water to every community.”   He said, “we can and we will deal with climate change” — that it is not only a crisis, but it is also an opportunity. He promised, having just mentioned young people who are demanding environmental justice, that he “will restore the promise of America to everyone.”  He ended with his favorite hopeful refrain that “everything is possible in America,” which also speaks to our ability to deal with the challenges of climate change. He said, “this is our moment to make hope and history rhyme.”   Yes, it is.

Why This Matters: Climate change and systemic environmental injustice and degradation are on the ballot and only one candidate will take them on — Joe Biden.  

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