The EPA administrator spoke about the agency’s 50th anniversary from his office, despite being exposed to the coronavirus.
Last week, we published a piece musing about what the election meant for us and the environment. We invited readers to offer their thoughts.
JPMyers photo<p>Congrats to President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris!</p><p>I am asked how I feel after the election. The giant sigh of relief is already over and I am looking at you two. Do you really have what it takes to steer America in healthy and inspiring directions? And if so, will they let you?</p><p>Our biggest challenges are political monsters. A grotesque lack of charity in health care, rising wealth and income inequity, and unaddressed racial injustice are smothering the sublime American spirit. </p><p>But even more deadly demons are herding us toward oblivion: </p><ul><li>The low dose adverse effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals are making us sick and sterile. Do you understand this fastest-acting of existential threats to our civilization? If you don't, Europe's leaders are starting to get it right, and you can join them. </li><li>Worsening climate change is wreaking havoc on us. Our apparent lack of concern for poor, badly impacted countries is foul and loathsome. Your green energy ideas bring optimism. </li><li>Self-inflicted trade imbalances are making us paupers—that "buy American" idea you floated looks to have major corrective potential.</li></ul><p>For now, you make me happy! But as reality sets in, only brilliant follow-though manifested by you both and allowed by all can free my spirit from its present internment so well captured in the closing lines of Robert Burns great poem, "To a mouse:"</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">But, Oh! I backward cast my eye.<br>On prospects drear!<br>And forward, though I cannot see,<br>I guess and fear!</p><p>At the end of the day, I am comforted by knowing you want to get it. You referenced Josh Groban's hymn, "On Eagle's Wings," in your address to the nation Saturday, Mr. Biden. He has words for you and the Vice President-Elect, too:</p><p>"May God make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of His Hand."</p><p><em>–Terrence J. Collins, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa.</em></p><p><br></p><p>At least the election results kept alive a small hope that civilization might avoid a collapse – or at least the United States might eventually start working in the right direction. </p><p>But we can't help wondering how we're going to get existential problems like climate disruption solved when a big portion of the population seems ready to take up arms against those who would ask us to surrender our liberty by wearing masks. Next thing you know they'll be removing our freedom to drive 100 mph in school zones! </p><p>In any case we can now imagine our socio-ecological complex adaptive system can drop into an unforeseen basin of attraction. 'Growthmania' will fade, 'stop at one' child will become the norm, equity will increase, and humanity might have a chance.</p><p><em>– Anne and Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.</em></p><p><br></p><p>How could ANYONE do a worse job than President Donald Trump?? Thanks FOX News for providing a never-lower bar on a simple CON MAN!</p><p>What else can explain the total lack of moral judgement in this country? Fox News Owner Rupert Murdoch smiles all the way to whatever bank he owns by now.</p><p>Sickened by the lack of morality in the masses.</p><p><em>- Diane Birmingham</em></p><p><em><br></em></p>
(Needpix)<p>Assuming Joe Biden wins the Presidential election, we will be back in the Paris Accord and participate more fully in other international initiatives on climate science, biodiversity, environmental justice, and so on. Biden will reverse many of Trump's executive orders, and the EPA policies, that did tremendous damage to the environment. Of course if Trump wins, we are in for four more years of devastation.</p><p>Locally, on Maine's Blue Hill Peninsula where I live, conservation groups are strong and growing. The elections will have no effect on that. What will have more effect is the influx of people fleeing cities to live in sparsely populated rural areas like this one, with its attractive natural resources and active conservation infrastructure, on account of the pandemic. Most of the newcomers are college-educated, able to work from home, and supportive of environmentalist and conservation efforts. The major environmental problem for this area will be what to do after the lobster fishery (the major industry) moves further down east and into Canada. </p><p><em>- Jeff Todd Titon, Professor of Music, Emeritus, Brown University</em></p><p><em><br></em></p><p>The enormous disappointment of the outcome of Senate and House races in many places is tempered by the knowledge that President Biden will reverse many of the policies imposed by Trump. We can remain in the Paris Accord and lead new efforts to bring the world to act. We can incentivize the transition to renewable energy and efficient transportation. There is at least some hope that, if we stay the course, we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change and avoid a cataclysmic outcome for our fragile civilization.</p><p><em>- Robert Connors, Lake Wales, Fla.</em></p><p><em><br></em></p><p>The climate change and environmental impacts we currently face and the outcome of the 2020 election is on the forefront of my mind.</p><p>A responsible president, who believes in science-based data about the world of hurt our nation and globe are in, is the only way to start the slow arduous process of correcting some of the wrongs we have done. I believe Joe Biden, with Kamala Harris working beside him, will choose environmentally-minded and responsible individuals to lead sorely needed organizations to start the process. I believe a Biden-Harris administration will get the USA back in the Paris Climate Accord ASAP.</p><p>The election has shown how divided our America has become, not only politically but environmentally. The act of beginning to close some of these divides, through education, empathy and hard work (often at the grassroots level), can begin to help and heal Mother Earth.</p><p>I believe the leadership of an American president is the only way to tackle the pollution and scores of environmental problems we must tackle, and I believe the outcome of this 2020 Election will provide us with that badly needed leadership.</p><p><em>- Barbara Turpin, Waterford, N.Y.</em></p><p><em><br></em></p><p>To answer your question about my optimism regarding the 2020 presidential election, I'm ecstatic. Science will once again prevail. It's been a rough four years, to say the least. I look forward to an aggressive environmental agenda from the Biden administration. </p><p><em> - Gabe R., Houston, Texas</em></p><p><em><br></em></p>
Anyone witnessing record-breaking fires, unprecedented floods, and droughts can see we are facing a climate crisis.
Strengthening partnerships with like-minded countries will be critical to bring about a transition to cleaner energy as well as sustainability in agriculture, forestry, water and other sectors of the global economy.
A key transition document is largely blind to the significant health threats related to climate change.
It would be wrong to underestimate either Biden's experience or the difficulties he faces—but harnessing increasing public support for climate action could help him advance his energy goals.