Only a few more hours until the US presidential begins – easily the most consequential for climate and energy. Both candidates have their own attitudes towards climate. Trump is an old-school denialist, insisting that climate is a hoax. Biden began as a centrist-moderate, but was pushed by youth activist groups in the US to take a position closer to what the science demands (with plenty left to be desired).
These two stories are nicely represented in the Twitter archives of Trump and Biden. I’ve downloaded both, and tagged each tweet for keywords relating to climate. Here’s Trump’s monthly frequency of mentions of key issues:
As you can see, Trump’s major concerns around climate (mostly referred to as ‘global warming’ by him) occurred in 2013, during a flurry of climate denialism. That also aligned with his incredible opposition to wind power, sparked mostly by the spectre of a distant, barely-visible offshore wind project near one of his Scottish golf course developments – also, funnily enough, the reason why he blocked me on Twitter.
Interesting — studies show that wind farms have a warming effect on the climate
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2012
Biden’s tweets are different:
I believe climate change is an existential threat to humanity.
Donald Trump doesn’t even think it exists.
It’s that simple, folks.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 1, 2020
In late 2019, particularly after the school strike movements, Biden’s campaign was engaged directly by youth climate groups in the US, particularly the Sunrise Movement. It has not always been smooth, but the increase in Biden’s remarks about climate, particularly in the closing days of the election campaign, has been telling.
Oddly enough, Trump has, since 2007, cumulatively tweeted far more than Biden about these topics – but purely in a negative, denialist sense, and of course, Trump tweets more often anyway. Trump is also skewed far more towards talking about wind farms and turbines specifically, whereas Biden mostly refers to ‘clean energy’. Biden has certainly gone all-in on climate in the final weeks, and chances are that will be a good choice both politically and ethically.