WASHINGTON – A new analysis of national and state endorsements from major editorial boards shows climate change has emerged this year as an often cited reason media outlets opted to endorse in the 2020 presidential election. The politics of climate change are driving voting behavior and influencing the political debate.
Across the country and in key battleground states, 51 editorial boards and outlets put climate change alongside COVID-19, the economy, and health care, as the most important issues facing the country.
This increased focus on the climate crisis follows voters’ changing attitude toward the issue — as now a majority of voters, including Republican-leaning women, voters of color, and younger voters view climate change as a priority for both the next administration and Congress. An Economist/YouGov poll, also released last week, found that climate is the number three issue among all voters and is the number two issue for Democrats and young voters age 18-29.
This attention to the climate crisis comes as the country has been gripped with extreme weather that has cost our economy millions and put the lives and health of Americans at risk. This year alone, more than 8.5 million acres have burned on the West Coast and the Gulf Coast have been hit with back-to-back supercharged hurricanes — including the recent Hurricane Zeta, which has left millions without power and three dead.
A clear underlying theme in these endorsements is the threat to our climate and how Trump and his anti-climate agenda can cause irreparable damage to our air, water, and public lands. The Trump administration has already rolled back more than 125 critical environmental protections — all of which disproportionately affect Black and Latino communities.
Since mid-October, when Climate Power 2020 released its initial analysis, close to 30 media outlets, both nationally and in key battleground states, have cited clean energy, environmental racism, climate, and conservation issues as a major factor in their endorsement decision. In total, Climate Power 2020 identified 51 outlets that referenced climate change as a reason for their endorsements during the general election. The most recent endorsements are below:
The Atlantic: “Trump has brought our country low; he has divided our people; he has pitted race against race; he has corrupted our democracy; he has shown contempt for American ideals; he has made cruelty a sacrament; he has provided comfort to propagators of hate; he has abandoned America’s allies; he has aligned himself with dictators; he has encouraged terrorism and mob violence; he has undermined the agencies and departments of government; he has despoiled the environment; he has opposed free speech; he has lied frenetically and evangelized for conspiracism; he has stolen children from their parents.”
The Guardian: “It’s not just Americans for whom Mr. Biden is a better bet. The world could breathe easier with Mr. Trump gone…On climate change, Mr. Biden would return the United States to the Paris agreement and give the world a fighting chance to keep global temperatures in check. With a President Biden there would be a glimmer of hope that the US would return as a guarantor of a rules-based international order.”
La Opinion: “A vote for Biden and against Trump is a vote to fight the coronavirus with the guidance of scientists and it is their most urgent task. It is a vote to respond urgently and without delay to the imminent disaster of climate change based on international cooperation. It is a vote to save health coverage from the damage caused by Trump by making a public insurance plan like Medicare, with subsidies for low- and moderate-income people, available to the uninsured.”
Rolling Stone: “Biden, by contrast, believes in science, and names the “existential threat” we are facing in global warming. He has embraced the spirit of the Green New Deal, outlining a path to limit the catastrophic heating of the planet by achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This would be realized through a $2 trillion investment in America — including clean-energy plants, solarized and weatherized homes, and carbon-free transportation networks — that would create millions of sustainable jobs. “When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is ‘hoax,’ ” Biden has said. “When I think about climate change, the word I think of is ‘jobs.’”
USA Today: “Beset by disease, economic suffering, a racial reckoning and natural disasters fueled by a changing climate, the nation is dangerously off course. We spoke to dozens of people in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, battleground states that helped propel Trump into the White House in 2016. Many declined to comment, citing a general disgust with the election or fear of speaking out publicly.”
Washington Jewish Week: “As a senator, Biden led from the center, across party lines, and was universally liked and respected. As vice president to the first African American president, he demonstrated an ability to lead effectively in an increasingly multicultural America. And as president, we believe he will bring integrity, civility and compassion to the White House. He will listen to scientists and other experts when it comes to fighting the coronavirus and climate change. He will use taxation and government spending to address serious domestic policy issues. And we hope that he will use his bully pulpit in today’s times of uncertainty as a platform to unite our fractured country and reform and reconstruct our civic institutions.”
NY Daily News: “Still, Biden has outlined bold plans to confront major American challenges. He would strengthen, not undermine, the health-care foundation that is the Affordable Care Act. He respects what immigrants contribute to the national fabric and wants to improve gun-safety laws. He would combat climate change and ramp up renewable energy production. He has urgent, coherent plans to beat back the coronavirus.”
Endorsements in States
- The Times-Herald: “It’s time to heal and work to unite the country. To stem the spread of the coronavirus, rebuild the economy, honestly confront racial and economic inequality, aggressively address climate change and reestablish the nation as a respected world leader.”
- Tribune-Star: “Biden has focused on issues most important to Americans, issues such as health care, economic justice and climate change. His values of decency, civility, inclusion, fairness and equality for all closely reflect what America can be and should be.”
- The Herald Bulletin: “But Biden also has strong convictions. His proposal to wean America off polluting fossil fuels would mitigate climate change and create millions of jobs. His promise to confront, not ignore, systemic racism would dig at the deep roots of a pervasive problem that has plagued the country for hundreds of years.”
- The Daily Iowan: “Keeping with science, Biden knows climate change is not a hoax. While he wasn’t the first choice of environmental activists or ourselves, his plan to cut net carbon emissions down to zero puts us on the right track instead of running backward. While Biden must become more aggressive, the planet cannot wait another four years of Trump’s do-nothing policy on the climate crisis.”
- The Daily Nonpareil: “Biden will, again, listen to scientists when it comes to climate change and environmental policy.—- Rolling back environmental protections — a USA Today report noted nearly 100 environmental rollbacks the Trump administration has pursued over the past four years to loosen regulations on everything from air and water quality to wildlife.”
- The Times Record: “Biden’s 36 years as senator and nine years as vice president have produced a track record showing him capable of handling a vast array of foreign and domestic issues. Today, what makes Biden most appealing to us is his willingness to listen to scientists and experts, such Dr. Anthony Fauci, in addressing our current medical and environmental crises. That’s in stark contrast to the current administration, which forms policies at the whim of the president’s fragile ego.”
- Eagle-Tribune: “We also expect Biden to refocus the United States on addressing climate change and its contributors. Apart from public health policy, no issue controlled by the White House has a more significant bearing on our coastal region north of Boston. Having quit the global effort to combat and deal with climate change, the U.S. desperately needs to return to the table.”
- Gloucester Times: “We also expect Biden to refocus the United States on addressing climate change and its contributors. Apart from public health policy, no issue controlled by the White House has a more significant bearing on our coastal region north of Boston. Having quit the global effort to combat and deal with climate change, the U.S. desperately needs to return to the table.”
- The Salem News: “We also expect Biden to refocus the United States on addressing climate change and its contributors. Apart from public health policy, no issue controlled by the White House has a more significant bearing on our coastal region north of Boston. Having quit the global effort to combat and deal with climate change, the U.S. desperately needs to return to the table.”
- The Recorder: “Biden has plans based on science in place to help the nation heal itself from COVID-19 and to bring stronger attention to our environment.”
- Omaha World-Herald: “The list of issues Biden has seen debated, and helped address, in the Senate is impressively long and notable. Here is a small sampling: Renewals of the federal Voting Rights Act. The extent of presidential war powers. Strategies for strengthening U.S. military effectiveness. Details of environmental regulation. Restructuring the nation’s intelligence community. Support for disabled Americans.”
- Valley News: “Biden will need all of his empathy and grace, and all of his knowledge and experience, to build America back better, especially its pandemic-shattered economy, and also to unite and mobilize the majority of Americans who recognize the urgent need to address climate change, establish social, economic and racial justice, fix our warped and cruel immigration policies, provide all Americans with access to affordable health care, and enact common-sense measures to reduce gun violence.”
- The Record: “We believe all Americans deserve a healthy natural environment. We believe we must acknowledge and work to slow the devastating impacts of climate change.”
- Albuquerque Journal: “Regarding climate change, Biden has a plan similar to New Mexico’s Energy Transition Act. Trump has rolled back some Obama-era climate initiatives and has in the past called climate change a “hoax.” He recently acknowledged a human role.”
- New York Carib News: “His climate change denial is more of a threat to the people on the planet than earth itself; the earth will survive, the inhabitants will not. His blatant interference in the politics of the Region, increasing the unnecessary embargo on Cuba, trying to install his hand-picked president in Venezuela and tipping the scale in Guyana.”
- The Post Standard: “Biden, who will be 78 in a few weeks, has a long list of tasks ahead should he prevail. He must get the coronavirus pandemic under control, kick-start the economy, fix or replace Obamacare, tackle the climate crisis, restore key environmental protections, address systemic racism, repair international alliances and be prepared to meet the next crisis.”
- Staten Island Advance: “They’ll argue he was right to play tough guy with world leaders by pulling out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which ironically takes effect the day after the election. Never mind that scientists across the globe say warming is a threat. The president labels it a hoax.”
- The Patriot Press: “Not only does Biden plan to adhere to the guidance of expert scientists in regards to the coronavirus, but he also believes in the severity of climate change. The environment is in extreme danger: ice sheets are shrinking, the global temperature is rising, and hurricanes are becoming stronger and more frequent. With an increasing amount of damage from natural disasters, climate change also hurts the economy. If the president elected this November does not recognize climate change as a serious threat, the future of our country will be at stake.”
- The Tribune-Democrat: “Leadership also means building for the future, ensuring a strong America for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Biden’s understanding of that responsibility is embedded in his climate policies. They include installing electric vehicle refueling stations along highways, reducing carbon emissions from fossil fuel plants, developing affordable alternative energies such as solar and wind power, protecting our eroding coastal shores. We ignore the need to address these economic and environmental realities at our peril.”
- The Charleston Gazette-Mail: “The federal level, Trump’s moves to roll back environmental regulations haven’t done anything to improve the coal industry. One after another, many of the nation’s largest coal companies have filed for bankruptcy.”