US election 2020: Does climate change impact the vote?


Climate change is one of the many issues driving voters to the polls - especially young people.

We asked members of our voter panel how climate change impacts how they will vote.

Here's what they said.

A scientist by training, Annie Passarello is a teacher and tour guide who sees the impact of climate change first-hand in her state. Concerned by the divisiveness in the country, she is voting for Joe Biden this November.

How does the issue of climate change impact your vote?

As an Alaskan, climate change is on my front doorstep. But it's not just the loss of wildlife and fish habitat and the growing number of forest fires that concern us. It's the loss of a way of life, it's the loss of culture.

Many Alaskans engage in subsistence hunting and fishing to some extent and have for thousands of years, which is being lost as a result of the impacts of climate change. Those losses impact our economy as the land and waters of Alaska have always provided so much life for us, and when they are diminished the quality of our life is diminished.

Tell us about your plan to vote.

I plan to walk the two blocks down my dirt road and vote at the fire station.

Jim Hurson is a Vietnam veteran and semi-retired small business owner who is unhappy the two major parties cannot work together for the good of the country. His home was destroyed in 2017 in the Great Tubbs Fire.

He is concerned about the impact of climate change, but says neither party has viable ideas to address the problem. He plans to vote for President Trump.

How does the issue of climate change impact your vote?

I find it hard to grasp how anyone can fail to comprehend the dangers of climate change, which I consider to be one facet of our national security issue. That said, none of the viable political parties will properly acknowledge the fundamental environmental problem which is population. The Republicans are in deep denial but the Democrats want to throw the borders open and make the problem much worse. Mr Biden said in the last debate that he wants to amnesty 11 million people now in the country illegally. Ms Harris wants to go well beyond that. It's an insane basis for any environmental policy!

Tell us about your plan to vote.

I will deliver my ballot in person on election day.

Deanna Lusk is a legal assistant and moderate voter from the Midwest. After twice voting for Barack Obama, she voted for Donald Trump in 2016. Although she is not a fan of his style, she believes he has made decisions that have been beneficial to the country and plans to vote for him again on election day.

How does the issue of climate change impact your vote?

Biden's latest comments on climate change are pivotal. He laid out a plan with regard to changes on fracking and the oil sector, and that was a big deal to a lot of people. The changes he's going to try and make right away are going to negatively impact the economy. It's probably going to take more than twenty years to make it right if he does make these changes.

For me, I feel like we now have a peek through the curtain that hides the circus. Kamala Harris wants the Green New Deal, which contains a lot of huge changes. I think Biden is just going to go along with other people's decisions.

Tell us about your plan to vote.

I plan to vote as I have always voted, at the polling station. I don't understand what the panic is all about. I will never change the way I vote, it should be protected.

Chris Badillo is a progressive first-time voter who is extremely concerned by the lack of action on climate change. Angered by President Trump's actions on immigration and the environment, he supports Joe Biden.

How does the issue of climate change impact your vote?

President Trump believes that man-made climate change is a hoax. He has cut funding to the Environmental Protection Agency and has utilised his administration to deregulate industries, putting the profits of fossil fuel CEOs above our country's future.

Living in Miami, I know that my community will be the first to feel the effects of climate change. Joe Biden has committed to signing executive orders that will help move us to net-zero emissions and make an unprecedented federal investment in combating climate change, which Donald Trump actively opposes.

Climate change is an existential threat to the future of my generation, and Joe Biden's policies take some of the necessary steps to mitigate its effects.

Tell us about your plan to vote.

I voted by mail in Miami, Florida, and the online system from my local election department confirmed that my vote has already been counted.

Reporting by Sam Cabral and Silvia Martelli

image copyrightAFP

All voters featured here are members of our US election voter panel. You'll hear more from them, and many of our other voters, throughout the next week.

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