President Joe Biden’s efforts to secure the support of environmentally-conscious, young voters who voted for him in the previous election are faltering due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Biden pledged to prioritize the issue of climate change when he was elected President four years ago. He is currently making efforts to appease environmental activists once again, such as putting a stop to new permits for natural gas exports. However, this message may be overshadowed as numerous young environmentalists express their disappointment with Biden’s stance on the Gaza conflict, calling for an immediate cease-fire.
The current tension surrounding Biden’s efforts to address climate change is an indication of the widening gap between the president and his progressive supporters, particularly in regards to his strong backing of Israel. This divide is also evident in other areas such as race and abortion rights. Surveys demonstrate that younger voters are more likely to prioritize both taking bold action on climate change and advocating for Palestinian rights, making it challenging for Biden to rally their support for the upcoming November election.
In recent weeks, there have been disruptions in public events featuring Biden and his team due to pro-ceasefire protests. This includes a climate speech given on Tuesday by USAID Administrator Samantha Power, during which someone in the audience called for her resignation and to speak out.
the former U.N. ambassador’s speech on “climate shocks” at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg Center in Washington. “You know what would cause a lot of climate shock — is the bombardment of Gaza.”
In recent events, attendees at a speech given by Biden at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina – where nine Black church members were killed by a white supremacist in 2015 – chanted “cease-fire now” during his talk on extremism and democracy. Similarly, at an abortion-rights rally in Virginia with Vice President Kamala Harris, Biden faced disruption from a group of over a dozen protesters shouting phrases like “genocide Joe”.
“I empathize with their enthusiasm,” stated Biden during his appearance in South Carolina. “I have been discreetly collaborating with the Israeli government in order to persuade them to decrease their presence and withdraw from Gaza substantially. I have been utilizing all the resources at my disposal to accomplish this.”
Biden’s task in handling foreign affairs will become more difficult in the near future as his team considers potential military action in response to a recent drone strike in Jordan that claimed the lives of three American soldiers. Retaliating against this attack, which has been attributed to the Iranian-supported Islamic Resistance in Iraq, could further heighten the chaos in a region already affected by the deadly October 7th attack by Hamas on Israel and the resulting conflict in Gaza.
The anger surrounding the war also became a factor during the initial days of the 2019 United Nations climate conference in Dubai.
One young leader for climate change stated that the president must pay attention to the message of progressive activists.
“It is morally imperative to have a cease-fire, and it also holds political significance, if that is the only concern of the administration,” stated Elise Joshi, the executive director of Gen Z for Change, a youth-led environmental organization.
She stated: “Your foundation is requesting a stop to fighting and the discontinuation of using fossil fuels. You successfully accomplished one of these tasks last week. Well done. It is now time to implement a cease-fire.”
Biden’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and investing in renewable energy, such as wind power and electric cars, has been met with criticism from certain young climate activists.
They have expressed deep disappointment over some of the actions taken by his administration in support of fossil fuels, such as approving the Willow oil project in Alaska and agreeing to the demands of West Virginia Senator.Joe Manchin
authorized a significantly higher number of permits for drilling for oil and natural gas
According to recent data, POLITICO reported that there is currently more federal land under the control of the government than during Donald Trump’s time as president.
Biden’s administration is trying to start fresh with its supporters who prioritize climate action. The recent announcement of a pause on gas export permits was framed by the White House as a response to the calls of “younger individuals” who are demanding a more proactive approach to transitioning away from fossil fuels, which contribute to global warming.
Repeated requests have been made for a truce and the freeing of captives. “We must expand our support beyond just being superior to our opponent. We require him to advocate for the causes that are important to us if we truly want to motivate people to participate.”
The choice made by Biden to halt gas permits was already a risky move for the election., calling it “unconstitutional”
The decision has been criticized by Republicans as “unconstitutional”.
The U.S. economy is being threatened and efforts to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian energy are being hindered by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. These are two significant factors that could impact the president’s chances of being reelected.
However, the pause does have one major potential benefit in terms of politics: it could assist Biden in regaining the support of climate advocates who had previously endorsed him during the 2020 election. This is due to his adoption of what was considered the most ambitious stance on climate change in American history.
Danielle Deiseroth, the executive director of Data for Progress, a liberal think tank and polling firm, stated that young voters are facing conflicting views on Israel and Gaza.
62% of individuals aged 18-29 were in favor.
According to the speaker, there is a restriction on exporting natural gas that was supported by 19% of the population, while the same group has strong opinions about Biden’s position on the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Poll conducted by Siena College and the New York Times
A survey of registered voters revealed that 46% of voters aged 18 to 29 strongly disapproved of Biden’s handling of the situation, while 26% somewhat disapproved. Additionally, 45% felt that Biden was too supportive of Israel. Among this age group, 49% trusted Trump to handle the situation, while only 30% trusted Biden.
Biden could face political challenges if he steers too far in the opposite direction. On January 6th.Harvard Harris poll
The research revealed that 80% of voters supported Israel over Hamas, with 57% of 18 to 24-year-olds and 70% of 25 to 34-year-olds favoring Israel.
Lauren Hitt, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, stated that they will address climate issues through various means of communication. However, she did not provide any statement regarding the president’s stance on the conflict in the Middle East.
The president requires the support of these youthful voters in a general election battle against any Republican candidate, specifically Trump. Trump is currently leading in important states and has stated that he would reverse the export pause if he wins reelection. (Trump has not provided specific solutions for addressing the Israel-Hamas conflict, other than stating on Truth Social that it would not have occurred if he were still in office.)
Despite winning the popular vote by 7 million votes, Biden’s 2020 margins over Trump were thin enough in the crucial swing states that he will need to bring those voters back into the fold — his victory amounted to a 44,000-vote advantage in Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin. A January Economist/YouGov said they were likely to vote for
A survey revealed that 93% of individuals who voted for Biden in the 2020 election stated they were highly probable to vote for him again.
A higher percentage of Clinton voters, 63 percent, deemed climate change as a significant issue, while only 37 percent of Trump supporters shared the same view.
Deiseroth stated that the recent decision by the Energy Department to temporarily suspend new gas export permits is not likely to significantly influence voters. However, it may encourage climate activists to move away from their confrontational approach. She also mentioned that it could redirect their attention towards opposing the potential alternative, which is Trump and his support for fossil fuels.
Deiseroth stated that Biden’s success in the 2024 election hinges on maintaining the coalition of young, highly motivated and educated climate advocates from the 2020 election. This presents a delicate challenge.
Prior to last week, activists advocating for climate change had been pressuring Biden to reject any new permits for exporting liquefied natural gas. These permits are believed to contribute to prolonged use of fossil fuels, which goes against the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, Biden’s recent change in stance has deterred planned sit-ins at the Energy Department by groups focused on climate and environmental justice, as they hope for more assertive measures from the administration.
historic nomination of Deb Haaland to lead the Interior Department
Despite Biden’s undeniable achievements, including the monumental selection of Deb Haaland to lead the Department of the Interior, climate activists continue to express their concerns.Inflation Reduction Act
The legislation, which allocates a minimum of $369 billion for the implementation of renewable energy and electric vehicles, surpasses any previous law in American history. However, numerous voters are not informed about these accomplishments.
In a 2021 survey, it was found that only 31% of voters under 30 years old were content with Biden’s efforts towards tackling climate change.
A survey conducted in November by the public opinion research company Hart Research Associates.
However, it was discovered that by using effective messaging, the percentage could potentially increase to 48%, for example by promoting the idea that Biden’s policies will lower the cost of clean energy and make it accessible for all. In the autumn of last year, Climate Power, an advocacy organization, initiated an $80 million campaign to inform the public about Biden’s accomplishments in regards to climate action.
Heather Hargreaves, the deputy executive director of Climate Power’s campaigns, stated that Biden’s stance on climate change is drastically different from Trump’s, which could serve as a major incentive for young voters at the polls, even if they do not support all of the administration’s other policies.
She stated that there has been a significant increase in voter participation during recent elections, attributing it to the extreme nature of Donald Trump.
According to Michele Weindling, the political director of the activist organization the Sunrise Movement, while Biden accomplished some climate goals, his approval of the Willow oil project and Mountain Valley Pipeline last year received more attention. These projects involve extracting 600 million barrels of oil and transporting gas through Appalachia and the East Coast.
Although the decisions were disappointing for young voters, Weindling noted that the gas export initiative provided some encouragement. However, according to her, the Biden administration is not meeting her peers’ expectations on other matters, such as its management of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
According to Weindling, it is important for us to have a clearer understanding in order to ensure that young individuals do not feel excluded during this election period. Initiatives such as the pause show that the government recognizes the importance of gaining trust and support from our generation, and motivating us to vote. The next course of action should focus on addressing the situation in Gaza.
Alex Haraus, an environmental activist who gained attention for his TikTok videos raising awareness about the environmental impact of the Willow project, suggested that the White House may have been influenced to temporarily halt new export terminal permits due to the consequences of the project.
The administration’s management of environmental issues is experiencing a decline in approval ratings.
Willow was approved after participating in a White House-led discussion with activists prior to the recent decision. The influencer, who is 25 and based in Colorado, was involved in the dialogue.
Haraus expressed his encouragement that there is growing support for more assertive measures to address climate change across different beliefs. However, he also acknowledged that people are concerned about various other issues besides climate change.
“I understand that people are still angry about the ongoing genocide in Gaza. I can’t blame them for feeling that way and I don’t believe this decision will affect those who are passionate about this issue,” stated Haraus. “However, I do believe it will gain support from those who are concerned about the environment.”