What’s at Stake in 2020: International Cooperation on Climate

by Daniel Brindis

November 1, 2020

Climate justice will require global unity on an unprecedented scale, but we have the power to demand a better future.

Greenpeace Hungary displayed a burning Earth at Heroes’ Square, in Budapest, to call for immediate action in a state of climate emergency. Greenpeace demands the Hungarian government in a petition to act immediately to defend its people.

© Bence Jardany / Greenpeace

Climate justice will require global unity on an unprecedented scale, but Donald Trump is literally building walls to tear us apart. We the people have the power and it is time for us to rise up, vote him out, and demand a better future.

As an international campaigning organization, all of us at Greenpeace know that we are living in a climate emergency and that a safe future requires global, coordinated action. Instead, Trump has set out to reward oil and coal companies and challenge efforts to address the crisis. I’ll never forget the day when Trump announced that the US would pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, effective after this upcoming election. It was yet another cynical move to reward polluters at a great cost to us and future generations, but this fight isn’t finished. If anything, this should make us more determined, provide greater motivation and momentum for everyone to join together to make sure everyone turns out to the polls and that every vote counts.

The Paris Agreement has been agreed to by 197 countries — every nation on earth. It ushered in pledges to reduce carbon pollution, switch to clean energy, and protect forests. But despite the alarm bells from scientists, and the increasing fires, hurricanes, droughts, and other climate fueled natural disasters, Trump, as he typically does, chose chaos over any semblance of progress.

This is how Trump operates, and it harms all of us. We cannot allow our leaders to bring havoc, destruction, and mistrust across the globe — ignoring human rights and trashing international agreements — all at great cost to people and planet. From Congress, to the Senate, to the White House, the path forward to a better future for the entire planet is at stake in this election. We must join together across all backgrounds to vote in record numbers, ensure every vote is counted, and swear in a government elected by and for us. Take a minute to make sure you (and share with your friends) are registered and set to vote climate leaders into office before the election ends tomorrow night.

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Not only is Trump disparaging the Paris Climate Treaty, he also continues to cozy up to authoritarians with anti-environmental agendas. Trump (and many Republican senators) defend the far-right wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose primary agenda seems to be dismantling the rights of Indigenous Peoples and burning the Amazon Rainforest and Pantanal Wetlands at record pace. We need a president that will show solidarity to Brazilians — not  just shrug at the destruction of the Amazon before this critical rainforest reaches a dangerous tipping point in which it could fail as an ecosystem.

Here’s the thing: each threat facing vital ecosystems is a threat to the people who live in them. I see the injustice of our plastic pollution swamping communities treated like landfills. I’ve watched as the plastic industry has pushed to get the Trump administration to expand plastics into Kenya at the expense of the people who are impacted. A global treaty to protect 30% of the world’s oceans would protect millions who depend on the sea for their lives and livelihoods, but this administration refuses to take the necessary action to support it.

The environmental crises we face are global. What happens abroad impacts us and what happens in the U.S. impacts the world. Trump’s assault on the environment at home has been unprecedented — but setting a tone of support for more oil, more plastic pollution, and forest destruction and tearing up any advances like the Paris Climate Accord raises the stakes of this critical election for the entire global community. The U.S. must do better on the world stage and it starts with voting Trump out of office. Get those ballots in now — voting ends tomorrow. We cannot wait.

make a plan to vote

The world is waiting, watching, and hoping for a change.

As the deadline for voting approaches, we’re pulling out all the stops to make sure that you, your friends, family, neighbors, and every environmental voter has their voice heard before the polls close. Our “What’s at Stake” series highlights a key issue that’s on the ballot. If you haven’t voted yet, now is the time. If people in your circle are on the fence, please share this post or have a conversation with them today.

Daniel Brindis

By Daniel Brindis

Daniel is the Forests Campaign Director, based in San Francisco. His portfolio includes the Amazon, the Canadian Boreal, and environmental certification schemes like the Forest Stewardship Council. He splits his time between the San Francisco and Manaus offices.

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