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The Republicans' big plan for the climate crisis in 2020 - nothing

The GOP is recycling its 2016 platform which states that 'climate change is far from this nation’s most pressing national security issue'

Louise Boyle
New York
Monday 24 August 2020 19:13 BST
A firefighter walks along a road with fire on both sides during the CZU Lightning Complex Fire in Boulder Creek, California on Friday
A firefighter walks along a road with fire on both sides during the CZU Lightning Complex Fire in Boulder Creek, California on Friday (REUTERS)
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If it ain't broke, don't fix it appears to be the Republican strategy for tackling the climate crisis after the party announced it would recycle its 2016 platform for this year's election.

The party's platform - seen as a roadmap on how they will face the country's challenges over the next four years - is unchanged from 2016, even down to references of Obama-era policies. It states that the climate crisis will be best solved by the market and tech solutions.

“We firmly believe environmental problems are best solved by giving incentives for human ingenuity and the development of new technologies, not through top-down, command-and-control regulations that stifle economic growth and cost thousands of jobs,” it reads.

The GOP platform also states that "climate change is far from this nation’s most pressing national security issue. This is the triumph of extremism over common sense, and Congress must stop it."

And there's scepticism of climate science and the United Nations. "Information concerning a changing climate, especially projections into the long-range future, must be based on dispassionate analysis of hard data. We will enforce that standard throughout the executive branch, among civil servants and presidential appointees alike," it reads.

It continues: "The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a political mechanism, not an unbiased scientific institution."

The recycled platform underlines how much President Trump has achieved in curbing plans to tackle the crisis. The platform references plans to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and roll back aspects of the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. On these, Mr Trump made good on the promises.

On Sunday, Mr Trump's re-election campaign posted his second-term agenda, titled "Fighting for You!" The brief document makes no mention of the climate or environment but notes that: "Over the coming weeks, the President will be sharing additional details about his plans through policy-focused speeches on the campaign trail."

Since 2016, the climate crisis has intensified. Earlier this month, the hottest temperature on Earth - 130F (54.4C) - was recorded in Death Valley. 2020 will be among the hottest on record and could even top the hottest year ever in 2016.

As the Republican National Convention gets underway on Monday, California is battling some of its largest ever wildfires and two tropical storm systems are looming in the Gulf. (The climate crisis has intensified wildfires and the latest federal National Climate Change Assessment found that "increases in greenhouse gases and decreases in air pollution have contributed to increases in Atlantic hurricane activity since 1970".)

The GOP defended its reused platform. Republican National Committee spokesperson, Mandi Merrit, told The Hill that President Trump has struck a balance with environmental protection and economic growth.

“Joe Biden’s energy agenda would send gas prices soaring, destroy over 10 million jobs, and lead to wealthier and more globally influential adversaries like Iran, Venezuela, and Russia,” she wrote.

The RNC said that their ability to form a new platform had been hampered by restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic but noted in their resolution that they would continue to "enthusiastically support the president’s America-first agenda”.

Recent polling by the right-leaning, American Conservation Coalition, found that young Republicans feel strongly about the climate crisis. Some 77 per cent of right-leaning voters aged 18-35 considered the climate as an important issue while more than half said the issue would impact their vote in the November election.

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