Image courtesy of Tumisu/Pixabay.

Okay, he’s finally in the Oval Office. But what should Joe Biden do first on climate?

By Bill McKibben, January 12, 2021

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Not an easy job, being Joe Biden. The new president has an almost infinitely difficult job ahead of him, simply to repair the gratuitous damage that Donald Trump and his wrecking crew of lobbyists and ideologues have spent the last four years inflicting. But wait, there’s also a global pandemic underway, with Americans essentially abandoned by their federal government! And it’s cratered the economy! And he has the burden of huge expectations, especially from groups that have desperate need of the government to help them right now. And he’s got a problematic Senate, many of whose members will do all they can to block him. And a country that’s riven, and a world with far too many autocrats and mini-Trumps.

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And hovering above it all, the greatest crisis the world has ever faced: a rapidly heating planet. This was, until fairly recently, hard to focus on: the effects were fairly diffuse at first. But now, it’s hard to miss. In 2020, the world saw record hurricanes, record fires, record temperatures. The overarching question is not “Do we have to act now?” It’s “Have we already waited too long?”

As the coronavirus crisis shows, we need science now more than ever.

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