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FACT CHECK

“Environmental safeguards are bad for the economy.”

 

Globally, the cost of air pollution due to burning of fossil fuels is estimated at $8 billion per day -- a number that includes healthcare, work absences, and other impacts. The Trump administration hired polluting industry lobbyists to cabinet positions across the federal government - including a former coal lobbyist at the EPA - who looked to line their corporate friends' pocketbooks at the expense of the climate at every turn. A clean energy transition promises to limit pollution and would revive the economy with millions of secure, well-paying jobs, and could save Americans billions -- a win-win for workers and the environment. 

 

“Reining in polluting industries is socialism.” 

 

Protecting the environment and public health by fighting pollution and ensuring the government doesn’t prioritize corporate profits over people is foundational to American democracy. The EPA is tasked with protecting public health and the environment, and was created under a Republican president. Ensuring that industry doesn’t devastate the environment is crucial for a thriving economy and industry itself. 

 

“Climate action is too expensive.” 

 

The climate plan Joe Biden’s team rolled out during the presidential race invests $2 trillion in renewable energy and infrastructure over a period of 4 years -- not a particularly hefty price tag when one considers the United States’ annual defense budget of around $750 billion. In addition, the cost of not addressing the climate crisis will mount to $1.9 trillion annually by 2100. Investing to prevent the worst impacts of climate change now saves us from an insurmountable bill (not to mention a lot of devastation and suffering) in the long run. The bottom line is that the cost of inaction is tremendous. 

 

“It doesn’t matter what the United States does to combat climate change, because other countries will keep emitting fossil fuels.” 

 

The world needs America’s leadership when it comes to fighting the climate crisis, and without our participation in the Paris Climate Agreement there’s the risk of global negotiations falling through. We have been the only country to withdraw from the international accord. As one of the world’s largest emitters of fossil fuels, meaningful international climate action can’t take place without the United States at the table.

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