Can we take on the climate disaster and the Trump disaster simultaneously?
Bill, this is brilliant, urgent and nothing is more important… you are raising the questions that are haunting so many of us. How to convince young climate activists to turn out and vote for Biden?! They can make all the difference. Bravo and brava to them for leading the way on so much vital climate work, but if Biden loses in 24, we are truly doomed. So onward with one hand tied behind us… or better yet, untie those hands and let’s all knock on doors together ! And a fervent prayer that young people once again will lead that fight!
No need to apologize for this, yet another of your well written and reasoned newsletters. If trump regains the white house it is game over the climate fight. Biden and a fully Democratic congress is our only hope for getting off fossil fuels. I say this as someone who supported green/progressive candidates, third party and otherwise, in the past.
Bill, I understand the younger generation's frustration, but Biden is light years better than the criminal, sociopath Trump. Biden is in the horrible position of trying to save Democracy and the climate. We must help him save Democracy, or saving the planet will become nearly impossible. Everyone needs to wake up to this reality and get to work supporting Biden. I will be.
I sure hope that Biden's circles of advisors read your Substack, Bill.
If not, please find someone who does and send them the Cliff's Notes to pass along. This sounds like a winning strategy, and we could use more of those right now.
This response is to the political section of today's post. You wrote "Still, I think you can make at least a muted case for the moral worth of [Biden's] presidency."
C'mon, Bill! Biden deserves much stronger support than that. He's the best president of my lifetime--which began during the first summer of the Eisenhower Administration. He's IMO the second coming of FDR. he's put the wind at our backs for the first time since FDR. He's a good man who wants good things for America, and like Nancy Pelosi, he also has long experience, and unlike Cornel West and Jill Stein, and a lot of professional politicians, Biden LEARNS from experience! The things that he's done for us--despite having the narrowest possible margins in Capitol Hill--are amazing! Not to mention what he did for NATO and Ukraine, by bringing the NATO countries together in the fight against Dictator Putin! Democracy is contagious, but so is autocracy and the loss of Ukraine to Putin would be a blow for autocracy.
Which makes me even more upset that you're not coming down hard on Cornel West for running in this most critical election. West may be smart in some senses, but he is failing to learn from the examples of Jill Stein and Ralph Nader, which is a type of stupidity, as well as likely a manifestation of West's self centeredness. Who does he think he is, that he can be anything but a spoiler?
RFK jr. at least has the excuses that his uncle and his father were assassinated, and his mother was sorely lacking in the maternal department. Nonetheless, He's certainly a nutcase, and he's probably a greater threat to Biden's election than West, because of his name.
As for what to tell the young climate activists to get them to turn out and vote, tell them how voting for some third party candidate virtually dooms the Democrat to lose, leading to places they don't want to go! I voted for John Anderson in 1980--stupid--but I did learn. Reagan, who among much else abolished the Fairness Doctrine, did the most of any president in my lifetime to fuck up our country until Trump.
Tell the young climate activists that without Democracy, their hands will be tied behind their backs on climate change. And if Trump, or some other nutcase GOPer wins, the GOPers will see to it that climate change gets a lot worse. Tell them that all Nader did in 2000 and all Jill Stein did in 2016 was to give the election to Republicans, in the first case putting Sam Alito and John Roberts (Justice Citizens United) on the Supreme Court, and in the second adding Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, sealing the fate of Dobbs, and the end of abortion rights.
And we probably would have been fighting climate change two decades ago, under Al Gore, had Nader's candidacy not thrown the election to Bush2.
"But if the president blocked fracked gas export, he could argue quite powerfully that he was doing it to protect American consumers; after all, the price to run a gas furnace, for those still waiting to convert to cheaper electric heat pumps, will go up as we export more gas."
Reading this passage gave me so much hope, because this is brilliant. This is the argument. I hope climate groups hammer this home like a broken record from now until election day.
One minor correction - we just need NY's Governor Hochul to sign the Birds and Bees Protection Act into law. It already passed both houses of our State Legislature. Call Governor Hochul here and urge here to sign it: 518-474-8390
Bill, I am about 10 years ahead of you...I participated in my first election (pre-26th Amendment) to cast a vote for George McGovern. I voted Democrat through 2020 and will continue until I die. Thank you for the heads up on the LNG export terminal. I wrote to President Biden and asked my tiny Substack audience to do the same. Asking to tell DoE to not issue a certificate to any more LNG terminals. I will write to Granholm, too. Thank you for your excellent post. I cringed when I noted a few months ago that Cornel West is considering a presidential run. I am certain that we got W and Cheney and Iraq and Afghanistan because of Nader in Florida. RFK Jr is an obvious flake, but I fear that Dr. West can do some damage. I think what we need to do is the best we can: ourselves and everyone who we can influence to vote in 2024.
Oh my, what a long web you report! I appreciate your personal history with all factors election 2024 and climate addressed in a very long rant. Read quickly and it’s easier to digest the big picture which is as I see it, we must endorse Biden even though his climate record has not been as aggressive as we would wish because he has the strategic ability to make change as he moves along if more slowly than younger candidates THINK he should. He has been handicapped by the MAGA extremists who must be removed going forward. Dealing with multiple crises at the same time requires his experience and calm demeanor, his foreign relations expertise as we cannot salvage the planet 🌎 alone nor escape Fascism without engagement with partners on many levels. Thank you for your extra long piece to be digested again and again. I go on record (my vote is about all I have) as agreeing in full with every thing you have identified. Good luck with Third Act. ❤️🇺🇸🌎🕊️
"We can demand that the DOE let Biden be Biden." Great line, Bill. Today''s post was a very cogent strategy analysis, not a "screed" at all. About letting Joe be Joe, can we put some pressure on Granholm to step up and "take the heat" to advocate stopping fracked gas exports? How do we do that?
Biden is terrible, even though he is infinitely better than Trump. Instead of just rolling over and accepting the corrupt DNC’s decision to avoid a primary and install Biden despite all his failings, I think we should fight that decision. There is absolutely no reason for Biden to run again—he’s got a terrible record (think Iraq War, Anita Hill,…), he’s obviously impaired (age and/or illness), neither Dems nor Independents like him, he’s uninspiring, and he’s losing to Trump! All he’s got is “not Trump,” and that’s not enough. Although the IRA is a good win, it’s far far short of the $2-3 Trillion it needed to be—from the candidate who touted his ability to work across the aisle. There needs to be a primary to allow we the people to decide the next candidate. The current situation is impossible—this is THE critical time for the earth and we need a strong transformative candidate to take up the fight. Four more years of Biden, even if he he better than Trump, will waste another 4 years that we don’t have.
I cannot support the DNC’s absurd I democratic tactics to protect their flawed candidate.
Bill, my sister arrived at Bradley Oct 1 and I showed her around my neck of the woods on Routes 4, 5, 11, 12, 100 and 123 —she is sitting-in-the-car-averse—where we enjoyed lots of color—and she returned to SFO yesterday.
Sent you an email last night before reading this post, but it is apropos, especially the last 4 minutes. Now, I’ll add only two added thoughts: JUDO and TURN THE OTHER CHEEK!
“Everybody” understands the absolute need to “abandon our reliance on fossil fuels” as George Woodwell succinctly explained to me in 2009, but our collective focus is exclusively on the least plausible means to achieve the most urgent goal of reducing atmospheric and oceanic heat, oceanic acidification, abnormal jetstream and Arctic vortex high-pressure ridges and low-pressure troughs and tipping points in the Arctic, Antarctic and Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current (AMOC).
Achieving Net Zero will accomplish none of the above. Even Net Negative will not accomplish the needed drawdown and cooling quickly enough to save billions from decades of suffering and death.
My California-born sons (one in Austin) know their future lies in VT, given the heat trajectory vis-a-vis their life expectancy. But “heading for the hills” is not the answer, nor is putting all our eggs in only the one basket labeled “reduce emissions.”
The resistance and the inertia are too great (not to mention the debatable atmosphere-ocean-CO2 equilibrium) to get the job done in the human-relevant time scale.
I believe we need to incorporate JUDO and TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK into our strategy and use the opposition’s energy against them, to focus on all means to reduce demand and create over-supply to drive down the consumption and price so low so as to put oil, gas and coal out of business. Admittedly it will take too long.
And while that is happening (over decades) we need to double down on nature-mimicking cooling measures to buy time and minimize suffering and death in the near term.
You get the JUDO and TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK metaphors, surely. I hope you read between the lines of the Climate Overshoot Commission report and explore some of the options.
No apologies needed, I’ll always read your posts. Good notes about the Green Party - their habit of appearing every four years with a completely unworkable candidate makes them impossible for me to back - Cornell West, really? - although I would like to, and local races might well be the way to go. To me it’s obvious that we must re-elect Biden to keep what momentum we have going. A GOP win, TFG or someone else, will mean an immediate return to hopelessness.
Your rant was worth reading Dear Bill, every word! Love Catherine, East Middlebury
Thanks, Mr McKibben, for sharing these thoughts. The choices are tough, though, for me there's really no choice. Biden's climate record is one step forward, two steps back, and that's infuriating at this critical juncture. But Trump's policy is to go ten steps back without even a glance forward, and I'm not ready to embrace extinction just yet. Hardly a ringing endorsement, I know, but in this corporate-dominated polity we inhabit, I'll take what I can get.