Condemning President Donald Trump's demonstrated hostility toward environmental protections and agenda actively exacerbating the climate emergency, the political action arms of both 350 and Friends of the Earth on Thursday endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
"The stakes are clear and present. The planet cannot withstand four more years of Trump."
—Tamara Toles O'Laughlin, 350 Action
Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), "are running on the strongest climate platform of any presidential ticket, ever," 350 Action North America director Tamara Toles O'Laughlin said in a statement. "We are confident that they will meet the scale of the climate crisis, and respond to the compounding crises of Covid-19, a failed economy, and systemic racism."
"The stakes are clear and present. The planet cannot withstand four more years of Trump," declared Toles O'Laughlin. "For the sake of our democracy, we must seize this moment to make every vote count and elect leaders who will rebuild a framework that is accountable to science and justice."
Friends of the Earth Action president Erich Pica recognized in a statement Thursday that his group declined to fully endorse former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee in 2016. "We underestimated Donald Trump's ability to win the Electoral College," he explained. "We will not make this mistake again."
"After four years of chaos, tragedy, and absolute corruption, the choice we face in November could not be any clearer or more important," Pica said. "That is why Friends of the Earth Action is endorsing Vice President Biden for President. We must elect him in November, and we need every progressive voter to join us."
While the climate groups know full well that a Biden-Harris administration will need to be aggressively challenged to go further on the issue once in office, they say grassroots pressure at least has a chance of moving them toward the kind of solutions scientists say are necessary.
"In the primaries, we pushed the Biden campaign hard for people and the planet. And with time and relentless pressure, we have seen the campaign take up the demands of our movement," said Toles O'Laughlin. "The fingerprints of long standing environmental justice, community leaders, energy justice advocates, and youth pushing for change are all over Biden's climate plan."
"Together we will continue to demand a swift end to fossil fuel subsidies; hold fossil fuel companies accountable; transition to a 100% clean energy economy, and achieve real gains on net zero emissions by 2035," she added.
“We are excited to announce our support and endorsement of candidates Biden and Harris for holding down the strongest climate presidential platform in history.” @tamaraity on 350 Action’s latest endorsement. pic.twitter.com/0Ko0PD1tUw
— 350 Action (@350action) September 24, 2020
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Pica specifically pointed to the $2 trillion green energy and environmental justice proposal that Biden unveiled in July as evidence that he "clearly listened to community members, activists, and scientific experts and adjusted his plan so it more closely matches the scale of the crisis we face."
"While there is no doubt that we will continue to have deep disagreements with Vice President Biden over policy, personnel, and ambition, he has already shown willingness to shift his approach," Pica said. "He heeded progressive calls to center environmental justice and overhauled his climate and energy plans to match the scale of the crisis we face."
Friends of the Earth Action's endorsement "is a clarion call to all progressive environmentalists," he added, including those who supported Biden's progressive primary rivals, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)—who both now back the nominee—as well as those who may not have voted in 2016, or those who voted third party.
As early in-person and absentee voting has kicked off in some states this month, the Biden-Harris ticket has continued to stack up support from climate experts and advocates who believe, as the editors of Scientific American put it in their historic endorsement of the former vice president last week, "the 2020 election is literally a matter of life and death."
350 Action executive director May Boeve echoed that message Thursday, emphasizing the importance of electing political leaders who are willing to "show up on the international stage to tackle the climate breakdown we face, and seize opportunities to build a world rooted in just recovery and real action."
"We are faced with the election of our lifetime and the outcome will have considerable impacts for the United States and the world," Boeve said. "With scientists saying we have eight years to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis, we are endorsing Biden and Harris because they are best positioned to make the United States a global leader on climate action."
"In the last four years, we've seen the intensification of climate impacts across the U.S., including devastating wildfires, hurricanes, floods, and droughts," she noted. "This crisis has been further exacerbated by four years of federal climate rollbacks that have set us back significantly. Biden and Harris must reverse the current administration's dismantling of climate policies and set in place a robust climate agenda that phases us off fossil fuels."