Climate change: Trump in denial, Biden promises 'transition'

The last debate of the presidential campaign in the United States allowed the candidates to discuss the climate issue, which was largely absent from their first meeting at the end of September. Two radically opposed visions clashed.

Thursday night in Nashville, Tennessee, Donald Trump did not dare to repeat that climate change was a "hoax", as he did on Twitter a few years before his election. Nor did he allude to snowfall to imply that global warming is non-existent, as he did several times during his tenure. During the dozen minutes devoted to environmental issues in the context of the last presidential debate, the Republican however clearly indicated that he considered that the climate issue was not a priority. "I like the environment. I want the most crystal clear water, the cleanest air. We have the best number, the lowest, in carbon emissions, ”he claimed to justify his lack of a plan. The United States are actually among the countries emitting the most greenhouse gases, if we take into account their population. Among the G20 countries, only Australia and Saudi Arabia do worse.

As in most of his rare speeches on the issue, Donald Trump focused Thursday night on air quality rather than greenhouse gas emissions, a vision that seems rooted in environmental policies for years. 1970, which enabled the United States to drastically reduce the dangerous “smog” which enveloped the country's major cities. It is perhaps with this comparison in mind that he proclaimed against his Democratic rival: “Look at China! How filthy! Look at Russia, look at India, it's filthy! The air is filthy. " Even as such, however, the initiatives of the Trump administration appear to be ecologically unfavorable. The Brookings Institution, which has set up a page to track the vast enterprise of deregulation carried out by the government since 2017, has identified dozens of often successful attempts to hamper the fight against pollution, including with regard to air or water quality. "We have done an incredible job on the environment," said Donald Trump.

Joe Biden, on the other hand, calls climate change an “existential threat to humanity”. “All the best scientists tell us we don't have a lot of time. We will pass the point of no return in the next eight to ten years. Four more years with this man, eliminating all the regulations that we had imposed to limit emissions, would put us in a position of real difficulties, ”he said, designating the outgoing president. The Democrat promises to create jobs thanks to his climate plan, which provides for the installation of 50,000 electric charging stations along the highways and the thermal renovation of 2 million houses and 4 million buildings. A plan that Trump has caricatured by comparing it to the ambitious “green new deal” carried by the left wing of the Democratic Party and by putting forward an astronomical cost: “Their real plan costs 100,000 billion dollars!”, Has t -he assures. "I don't know where it came from ... 100,000 billion dollars?" Stop your tank! ”Joked Joe Biden.

"Very small tiny windows"

The billionaire, who boasts of being a builder, is particularly upset against the measures concerning construction. “They want to demolish buildings because they want to turn big windows into small windows. For them, if you didn't have windows that would be a wonderful thing. It’s the craziest plan ever. It wasn’t done by smart people! ”He said, making his opponent laugh. "They want to tear down buildings and build new ones with tiny tiny windows!" And many other things. It will destroy our country, ”hammered Donald Trump.

Donald Trump took the bait when Joe Biden slipped that the Republican "thinks wind turbines cause cancer." "I know more about the wind than you do. It is extremely expensive, it kills all the birds, it is very intermittent, there are a lot of problems and they happen to manufacture wind turbines in Germany and China and the fumes that come out… If you believe in emissions from carbon… The smoke to make these huge wind turbines is more than anything we talk about with natural gas, ”said Donald Trump. "Find me a scientist who says that", retorted the Democrat.

The former vice-president appeared more in difficulty when he was summoned by his opponent to clarify his position on hydraulic fracturing. This polluting technique has allowed the exploitation of gas and oil shale fields, leading to a real production boom in the United States, which has contributed to the reduction in hydrocarbon imports during the presidency of Barack Obama. "I never said I was against hydraulic fracturing," Joe Biden replied at first. "What I will do with hydraulic fracturing is make sure that you can capture the emissions," he added. This position, although denounced by Donald Trump, is considered too timid by environmentalists.

"He's going to destroy the oil industry"

In the dying minutes of the exchange, however, Joe Biden made a clear commitment.
- "Are you going to shut down the oil industry?" Donald Trump called out.
- "I would trigger the transition of the oil industry, yes," replied Joe Biden.
- "Oh that's an important statement!" Quipped the Republican.
- "Yes, that's an important statement. The oil industry pollutes significantly. "
-"Oh I see."
- "Over time, it must be replaced by renewable energies. And I will stop giving him federal grants. "
- "What he's saying is he's going to destroy the oil industry. Do you remember Texas? Do you remember Pennsylvania? Olkahoma? ”Trump concluded, referring to three states dependent on hydrocarbon production.

If we are to believe the polls, the subject of the fight against climate change is not particularly promising for Donald Trump. Two-thirds of Americans, according to a Pew Research Center survey last spring, believe the government is not doing enough in this area. More than 6 in 10 respondents support strict environmental regulation and more than 6 in 10 say they see the effects of climate change in their community. A more recent poll, conducted for the "New York Times" and Siena College, indicates this week that 66% of those polled support a $ 2 trillion spending plan to increase the use of renewable energy and build infrastructure in Canada. low consumption. The question does not specify it but this spending plan is that of Joe Biden.

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