What It Means for Wisconsin: Trump vs. Biden on Climate Change

What It Means for Wisconsin: Trump vs. Biden on Climate Change


By Jonathon Sadowski

October 22, 2020

Wisconsin’s climate is expected to warm by 4 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit and see 5% more precipitation by 2060, unless current trends are reversed.

Climate change threatens to collapse the US economy if the federal government does not take drastic action to reverse the course set by President Donald Trump in his first term in office, and Wisconsin would not be spared.

Trump’s record on climate change includes pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord and rolling back or trying to roll back almost 100 environmental regulations. The trajectory Trump put the country on endangers both Wisconsin’s tourism industry as winters shorten and warm weather reduces water quality in summer, and public health as severe weather events change the physical environment and higher temperatures lead to more tick-borne illnesses and drought.

And Trump is completely ignoring climate change. His official re-election platform does not mention the environment or climate change whatsoever. Last month he said “I don’t think science knows” humans contribute to climate change, despite the overwhelming body of scientific evidence that human activity has worsened the climate crisis.

The president, who has referred to climate change as a hoax, called himself “the great environmentalist” last month when he backpedaled on a decision to allow offshore drilling in waters near Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Offshore drilling was banned under President Barack Obama; Trump lifted the ban in 2018 until his reversal in September.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, whose campaign calls him a “pioneer” in fighting climate change, proposes the most progressive climate plan by a major-party candidate in history, a reflection of the growing urgency to address the climate crisis. He supports ending fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks, achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and rejoining the Paris Climate Accord. 

The former vice president’s platform promises he would bring world leaders together for a climate summit and sign an executive order on his first day in office to take a number of actions from implementing “aggressive” efficiency standards for buildings and appliances to “permanently protecting” various federal lands.

Biden says his policies would create 10 million clean energy jobs nationally.

Since 1950, Wisconsin’s climate has become 3 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit hotter and the southern half of the state has gotten 15-20% more precipitation, according to the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts, or WICCI. 

That trend will continue for the foreseeable future, according to WICCI projections. Average year-round temperatures are projected to rise another 4 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit and precipitation is predicted to increase by 5% by 2060.

“What It Means” is a series on how President Donald Trump and former Vice President and Democratic challenger Joe Biden differ on the big issues impacting Wisconsin.


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