Are young voters concerned about climate change in the Biden vs. Trump election?

Are young voters concerned about climate change in the Biden vs. Trump election?

Environmental advocates are pressuring President Joe Biden to take more aggressive action against climate change, but they are faced with a difficult dilemma: How far can they push him without potentially helping Donald Trump win the election?

Although Biden and his appointees have allocated a significant amount of funds towards climate initiatives, including wind power and electric vehicles, their efforts have been met with criticism from activists who are disappointed by the administration’s support for oil and gas production. This dissatisfaction is particularly prevalent among young voters who prioritize climate issues, causing concern for Democrats that they may choose not to vote or support a third-party candidate in the upcoming election.

Biden has taken actions in order to strengthen his backing from the environmentally-minded faction of the Democratic party. This includes temporarily halting the approval of new projects for exporting natural gas. However, leaders in the environmental community are questioning how far they can push Biden without risking harm to his campaign. They are concerned that putting pressure on him to take more extreme stances could fuel Trump’s claims that his environmental policies are harming the economy.

Demonstrations condemning the government’s support for fossil fuels also have the potential to dishearten activists who view any concessions as a death sentence for the planet.

Erich Pica, the president of Friends of the Earth Action, expressed concerns about bringing back climate activists. Pica’s organization has strongly criticized Biden’s support for fossil fuel infrastructure projects. Pica believes the campaign needs to address activists’ doubts about Biden.

Lauren Hitt, spokesperson for the Biden campaign, refused to comment on the reactions from activists regarding the president’s actions towards fossil fuels. In an email, she stated that the administration’s climate policy is guided by rational thinking.

However, Biden faced a difficult task on Monday as 100 members of the youth-led organization Sunrise Movement gathered at his campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware. 20 protesters were taken into custody by the police after entering the office with signs urging Biden to prioritize climate action and invest in climate initiatives instead of providing funds to Israel.

The activists insisted that the president declare a state of “climate emergency.” They argued that this action would enable Biden to utilize executive powers to halt fossil fuel development on government-owned land and instruct manufacturers to produce renewable energy goods.

Stevie O’Hanlon, a representative for Sunrise, stated that young individuals have established the standard for motivating our generation and getting them to vote at the same level as in 2020. However, Joe Biden’s campaign appears to be unaware of the steep expectations.

Biden trailing Trump in several
national polls, one of the last things the president needs is part of his base visibly causing confrontation, said Mark Longabaugh, a Democratic strategist who had advised Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign.

Longabaugh stated that the current protest being held by the group could cause trouble and negatively impact the situation.

According to Stanley Greenberg, a Democratic strategist who has conducted climate polling in various countries, protests provide Biden with a chance to clarify how his administration is tackling climate and clean energy.

However, Greenberg advised Biden to avoid strong stances due to voters’ susceptibility to fluctuations in energy prices, which could result in him being marginalized. Instead, he recommended that Biden highlight his administration’s efforts to invest in more environmentally friendly sources of energy, which has widespread public support.

He stated that the key starting point is the desire for change among individuals, and that we are actively spearheading the movement towards addressing climate change and achieving net-zero emissions.

The president’s decisions regarding climate change have been met with disapproval from young protesters, who have continuously disrupted events attended by Biden officials and Democratic lawmakers. They are demanding that the administration reject projects that were ultimately approved by the president’s appointees, such as the 600-million-barrel Willow oil project in Alaska and the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would transport gas from Appalachia to the East Coast. Despite these protests, oil production in the U.S. has reached record levels during Biden’s presidency and the country has become the leading exporter of natural gas globally.

However, O’Hanlon recognized a legitimate possibility that activities like Sunrise’s demonstration at headquarters could portray Biden as feeble and further decrease his popularity. This would ultimately play into Trump’s hands, as he has vowed to aggressively attack Biden’s environmental initiatives.

According to O’Hanlon, Sunrise is currently in the process of determining the appropriate level of intensity for its actions. It is challenging to determine at this time how they will navigate this balance.

The surveys indicate the disappointment among this particularly engaged demographic towards Biden, fueled by their perception of his insufficient efforts and unfulfilled commitments regarding climate change.

According to a December poll from the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, President Biden’s approval rating among individuals aged 18-29 is at 39%. Within this group, only 39% have confidence in his approach to addressing climate change. In comparison, only 19% trust Trump on the issue while 41% chose “neither” as their preferred option.

Past elections offer Democrats reason to fear this unhappiness could hurt Biden’s campaign. During the 2000 race,
anger among many South Florida environmentalists over a proposed Air Force base redevelopment near the Everglades
helped drive voters to Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, and even prompted Vice President Al Gore to
cut back on planned campaign appearances in the state for fear of being met by embarrassing protests. Nader grabbed more than 97,000 votes in the deciding swing state state, which Gore lost to George W. Bush by 537 votes.

Currently and in the past, those who oppose the Democratic candidate on the liberal side are resistant to being told to accept the existing state of affairs.

According to Jamie Henn, director of advocacy group Fossil Free Media and a seasoned climate organizer, using the line “Look at all we’ve done. You should be satisfied” is not effective when dealing with people.

Biden’s backers for environmental causes have conflicting opinions on how to encourage voters who are worried about climate change to support the president. Some members of the environmental movement believe that highlighting Biden’s achievements will convince voters that his track record on climate issues is unmatched. However, the more progressive wing believes that publicly confronting and constantly pressuring Biden will push him to take even bolder actions that will energize those who have yet to get involved.

All the groups are in consensus about one aspect: Choosing Trump as president would have a detrimental effect on achieving U.S. climate objectives. However, this viewpoint does not seem to be influencing voters who view it as simply choosing the lesser of two undesirable options – and this includes those who are also driven by Biden’s stances on other issues, such as his support for Israel.

According to Tiernan Sittenfeld, the senior vice president of government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters, there may be disagreement with certain decisions made. The organization’s political action committee, LCV Action Fund, endorsed Biden for reelection in the previous year.

According to her, when it comes to defeating Trump, the decision is straightforward: either the president who has taken significant action on climate change compared to any other, or the most environmentally hostile president in history.

However, Pica stated that attempts to educate voters about Biden’s environmental successes are not likely to persuade disillusioned activists. These individuals are already deeply involved in politics and are pushing for more significant measures from Biden to limit fossil fuel infrastructure.

He stated that simply discussing clean energy or regulatory aspects will not be sufficient to gain the support of those individuals. Additionally, many of these individuals reside in swing states that hold significance.

However, there have been instances where Biden’s decisions have been favorably received by environmental advocates. For example, when he declared a halt on issuing new permits for gas exports, several organizations called off a planned sit-in at the Energy Department. The pause is intended to allow his agencies to evaluate the environmental and economic consequences of the exports.

Approximately 300 individuals, including those who had traveled specifically for the protest, as well as representatives such as Members of Congress, were present instead.Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Sen. Ed Markey

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of Massachusetts met at a bar near Capitol Hill to mark the fifth year since the Green New Deal resolution was introduced. Despite not being passed by Congress, some of the environmental concepts in the proposal were later incorporated into legislation.Inflation Reduction Act

Biden’s landmark legislation on climate change. (Trump has mistakenly equated the two, criticizing Biden’s actions as the “Green New Scam.”)

Hitt, the spokesperson for Biden, stated that these investments have the potential to reduce energy expenses, generate employment opportunities, enhance energy self-sufficiency, and preserve our natural resources for future generations to benefit from.

According to David Kieve, president of the Environmental Defense Fund Action, President Biden has surpassed the predictions of the climate community with his Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and the 2021 infrastructure legislation. This legislation allocates over $40 billion for addressing the challenges of rising sea levels, wildfires, and drought. Additionally, the administration is in the process of finalizing regulations to limit climate pollution from vehicles and power plants.

Kieve, who served in Biden’s Council on Environmental Quality after leading environmental outreach on the president’s 2020 campaign, said his organization plans to underscore that Biden’s “motive” is clear: He wants to do more on climate, which is the opposite of Trump.

Kieve believes that Biden has shown a greater dedication to addressing climate change than any other president in history, and that there is a need for more recognition of this achievement.