Why we must elect a Climate Leader in 2020

by Charlie Jiang

February 19, 2020

If millions of people like you and me rise up in the streets and at the ballot box in 2020, we can help bring about a world beyond fossil fuels more quickly, leaving no one behind.

© Stephanie Keith / Greenpeace

The U.S. political landscape is incredibly chaotic right now. The race for president is close and unpredictable — anything (truly anything) could happen. News of the brewing climate emergency is crossing our feeds.  We have a president whose policies are fueling the climate crisis at the expense of black and brown communities, and the literal future of the planet. 

But now is not the time to give into the anxiety and confusion — even though I, for one, am certainly feeling it. In moments like this, I like to remind myself of our collective goals, and of the more just, green, and connected society beyond fossil fuels that we’re fighting for.

Here’s what’s the future would look like: 

  • A society that guarantees affordable, high-quality healthcare, housing, and education for all. 
  • That respects and protects workers with family-sustaining, union jobs in a new economy. 
  • That’s powered by 100% renewable, community-owned energy. 
  • With speedy, affordable, and reliable public transit.
  • With walkable towns and tree-lined public spaces that make it easier to build community with our friends and neighbors. 

My parents immigrated to the U.S. over 30 years ago believing in this country’s promise that everyone — no matter who they are or where they come from — could live a dignified life. They worked hard so I could be here sharing this with you. In times like this, where our democracy and communities are under threat from the biggest crises in generations, I try to remind myself of the belief that sustained my parents through long nights in class, at work, on the road: The belief that we can come together, achieve real change, and create a better life for all our communities and children.

If millions of people like you and me rise up in the streets and at the ballot box in 2020, we can help bring about a world beyond fossil fuels more quickly, leaving no one behind. 

Our current president has filled his Cabinet with fossil fuel lobbyists. He’s sought to roll back essential environmental policies that are meant to protect our air, water, and climate. He’s seeking to undermine the historic Paris Agreement, while trying to expand fossil fuel production.

That’s why Trump has an “F” on our #Climate2020 Scorecard — the only candidate in the 2020 field to earn a flat ZERO of 100 points.

No matter what happens in the 2020 primary races to come, we have to organize, vote, and keep up the pressure to ensure our next president will tackle the climate crisis as a top priority in office.

We can achieve this by first electing leaders who will champion a Green New Deal and take on the fossil fuel companies standing in our way. Then, we must keep showing up in the streets and in the halls of power to hold our leaders accountable to choose us, not the fossil fuel CEOs fueling the climate crisis.

I truly have hope that we can win the bold, transformative action we need to protect the millions of people facing fires, floods, failed crops, toxic pollution, and disappearing jobs — if we fight for it.

So I’ll say it again: ensuring our next president will champion a Green New Deal is a must. We’ve been preparing for this for months — pressuring candidates to release more ambitious climate platforms, pushing to get climate questions featured in debates, and spreading the word about the Green New Deal and the just, renewable future we want to live in.

Going forward, we must keep up the pressure on the 2020 candidates and push our families, friends, and neighbors to show up to VOTE in their state’s primary, and again in the November 3 general election. 

Right now, you can join us as we do everything in our power to get a climate leader in the Oval Office.

Every vote and every action counts. We need you.

Charlie Jiang

By Charlie Jiang

Charlie Jiang is a climate campaigner fighting for a Green New Deal that brings justice for communities and workers most impacted by the climate crisis and fossil fuel extraction. He has a background in clean energy engineering and organizing with youth climate movements. From Chicago, he’s currently based on unceded Piscataway lands in Washington, DC.

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