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America’s Bipartisan Climate-Policy Failure

In American politics, the Republican Party's commitment to the fossil-fuel industry means that it will continue to deny climate science and favor policies that exacerbate global warming. But the Democratic Party, too, has long been in thrall to a form of climate-change denialism.

SARASOTA – US President Donald Trump’s anti-climate agenda is in full swing. His administration has already taken action 117 times to repeal or weaken climate regulations, and much more deregulation is in the works. By unraveling environmental protections on an unprecedented scale, including through executive orders, Trump is using every tool at his disposal to increase fossil-fuel extraction and the production of dirty energy. Apparently, he is hell-bent on topping his predecessor’s own fossil-fuel boom.

That’s right, former President Barack Obama presided over a fossil-fuel boom: the domestic shale-energy revolution enabled by the advent of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking). The fact is that neither major party in the United States has been the climate champion that the country – and the world – needs. While young activists around the world are stepping up to show what true climate leadership looks like, politicians are barely taking note. As Dianne Feinstein, a Democratic US senator from California, dismissively told a group of young people advocating a Green New Deal (GND): “I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I know what I’m doing.”

The longer both parties cling to a policy of “business as usual,” the more likely we are to face a climate catastrophe in which millions of people perish or have their lives upended. In reality, though, the responsibility for adopting a new paradigm ultimately rests with the Democrats. While Trump has been disastrous for the planet, his administration’s policies are in keeping with a Republican Party that won’t change anytime soon.

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  1. bildt70_SAUL LOEBAFP via Getty Images_trumpukrainezelensky Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

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