President Donald Trump has urged voters to treat the 2018 midterms as a referendum on his presidency, and climate action advocates on Monday made a similar call—asking Americans to remember the vast damage the president and the Republican Party have done to previous efforts to curb the climate crisis in the past two years, and to vote accordingly.
Tuesday's elections are providing voters with a chance to stop Trump's anti-climate, pro-fossil fuels agenda in its tracks, Greenpeace said.
"If you're a climate voter, get out there and VOTE—but if you can, don't stop there. Make calls. Knock doors. Talk to friends. Take action like the planet depends on it. Because it does." —350 Action "We have 10 years to save the world from climate catastrophe," said Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA. "We can start by voting on November 6th for candidates who believe in the urgency of climate change and have solid plans for keeping fossil fuels in the ground, accelerating a just transition to a clean energy economy, and increasing democratic participation. The more people in politics who are committed to swift and meaningful climate action and reject new fossil fuel infrastructure, the better."
The midterms come less than a month after the United Nations released an urgent new report stating that a 40 to 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions is needed by 2030 in order to keep the planet from warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
The study stoked fresf fears among progressives who have watched with outrage as Trump turned his anti-science, pro-fossil fuel agenda into public policy—rolling back the Clean Power Plan, withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, and introducing numerous other deregulatory measures affecting Americans' drinking water and the environment.
Greenpeace and other groups say voters should go to the polls with the new research in mind, with 350.org and Defend Our Future encouraging followers via the hashtags #VoteClimate and #ClimateVoter.
— Defend Our Future | #VoteClimate (@DefendOurFuture) November 5, 2018
Climate change can be an overwhelming issue to tackle, but there are some practical steps you can take, like reducing meat consumption, recycling and, yes, voting, to help build a healthier world for all. #ActOnClimate #VoteClimate #BeAVoter https://t.co/uQLd0YxoHw
— Defend Our Future | #VoteClimate (@DefendOurFuture) November 4, 2018
Are you a #ClimateVoter? Do you think it’s past time we had real climate leaders & just solutions that work for people and the planet?
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— 350 Action (@350action) October 24, 2018
Greenpeace expressed optimism that a united effort among progressives to vote for candidates who will support renewable energy over fossil fuel dependence, as well as ballot initiatives aimed at strengthening environmental regulations, will help to usher in a new era in which the U.S. becomes a true leader in combating the climate crisis.
"People in this country have been working nonstop for the past two years to resist Trump's destructive agenda and build a better democracy," said Leonard. "Now is the time to elect new leaders who will join the people and get to work fighting for climate, racial, and economic justice."
The group has supported a number of ballot measures in several states. In Washington, Greenpeace is urging voters to support Initiative 1631, the Carbon Emissions Fee Measure. The initiative would charge carbon emitters $15 per metric ton of carbon beginning in 2020, with fees going up each year after that. The fees would fund a number of clean air and other climate-related projects.
Greenpeace also supports Proposition 112 in Colorado, which would ban fracking within 2,500 feet of occupied buildings, and Measure 26-201 in Portland, Oregon. The city measure would collect a one percent surcharge from businesses with annual revenues of at least $1 billion in order to fund green initiatives.
"There's too much at stake in this year's elections to NOT do everything we can," said 350 Action, the U.S. political advocacy arm of the global climate group. "If you're a climate voter, get out there and VOTE—but if you can, don't stop there. Make calls. Knock doors. Talk to friends. Take action like the planet depends on it. Because it does."