Saying “Green New Deal” over and over in a stump speech is not enough. These tools and scorecards will help you find candidates truly committed to environmental issues.
For U.S. voters who care deeply about climate change, the 2022 elections are about more than control of Congress and leadership of most states.
The results will, in a real sense, determine whether the U.S. can fulfill its pledge to be a leader in the drive to stave off the most catastrophic consequences of global warming.
Candidates elected this year will steer the direction of U.S. policy in the lead-up to 2025—a significant deadline set out in this month’s report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That’s when the IPCC said greenhouse gas emissions need to peak if the world hopes to meet the Paris climate accord goal of holding the post-industrial temperature increase close to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).
President Joe Biden’s first year in office has made clear that the world’s No. 1 oil and gas producer won’t be able to curb its reliance on fossil fuels without more climate leadership in Congress and at every level of government. Despite the ambitious climate goals Biden has embraced, much of his climate agenda is stalled in the closely divided Senate. And he faces mounting pressure to maintain and expand fossil fuel production, both to rein in inflation and to address energy security concerns amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.
“I think people are really scared,” said RL Miller, co-founder and political director of the advocacy group Climate Hawks Vote. “People see that if we lose the House, as the pundits are telling us we will, and we are unable to pick up more seats in the Senate, then everything is just going to slip away. There’s going to be no more chance for climate action in a generation, and I don’t know how many more generations we’ve got left.”
But with redistricting shaking up the political landscape, and leadership of 36 states as well as Congressional seats on the ballot, voters will be faced with long and sometimes bewildering lineups of candidates in the primary elections that begin in earnest in May. How can voters increase their odds of selecting climate champions? It’s a question that Americans from across the political spectrum should be asking, with 69 percent of adults favoring steps to become carbon-neutral by 2050, including 66 percent of self-described moderate or liberal Republicans and 33 percent of conservative Republicans, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center. For liberal Democrats, 94 percent are in favor of such steps; for moderate Democrats, 88 percent.
We asked groups focused on climate-vetting of candidates how they make their choices, and how best to discern whether office-seekers will put promises into action on climate. Here’s their advice for ordinary voters who will make the difference in determining U.S. climate leadership in 2022: