US Election 2020: Scientists Weigh in On Climate Change

US Election 2020: Scientists Weigh in On Climate Change

Climate change is an issue of worldwide importance, and the outcomes of elections – such as the upcoming U.S. 2020 presidential election – have significant effects on the policies that are adopted to combat it.
Accordingly, SciLine asked experts for their scientific considerations about climate change that American voters should consider in light of the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
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Climate Change and Health
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The effects of climate change on health have long been well-understood. Scientific journal The Lancet publishes an annual report, The Lancet Countdown | #The Lancet Countdown |, that tracks the effects of climate change on health.
According to that report, climate change raises the transmission of infectious diseases, including dengue fever, diarrhea caused by cholera (Vibrio cholerae), and West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.
Climate change also contributes to severe storms, floods, and wildfires, which in turn lead to food insecurity and intensify poverty. Climate change also exacerbates pollution, and heat waves disproportionately affect the health of adults age 65 and older.
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Can We Avoid the Worst?
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SciLine asked its scientific experts about the most important scientific considerations for voters to understand as they compare candidates’ approaches to climate change.
Assistant Professor Angel Hsu, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says that the science on climate change “is clear – we need to halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and fully decarbonize by 2050 if we have any hope of avoiding the most dangerous effects.”
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Climate Mitigation and Adaptation
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Chandana Mitra, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Geosciences at Auburn University in Alabama, said that it is time to act – and that means greener, alternative choices | Learn more on Commonshare | for resource use.
She mentioned renewable energy, reducing deforestation | Learn more on Commonshare |, “creating more green spaces,” electric vehicles, and climate change education and awareness.
Linda Shi, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, says the government has shown a lack of accountability. “As with COVID-19, what we do not have is any semblance of a plan that is coherent, cohesive, collective, and commensurate to the scale of climate risks and impacts,” she says.
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Renewable Energy   
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Some researchers pointed to specific policies for renewable energy | Learn more on Commonshare | as a particularly important area in which it is essential to make progress.
Hsu explains that the number one thing candidates’ plans should provide for “is having a clear plan for how they’re going to shift the U.S. energy system away from fossil fuels.”
Hsu explains that this is the only way to reach the goal of decarbonization: we cannot get there, she says, “if we’re still burning fossil fuels, including natural gas.”
Lexicon:
The Lancet Countdown website | https://www.lancetcountdown.org/ | 

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