Joe Biden says Donald Trump will ‘undo’ progress on tackling climate crisis

Joe Biden says Donald Trump will ‘undo’ progress on tackling climate crisis

Joe Biden warned that Donald Trump would undo all of his work on the climate crisis if he won the US presidential election even as the former president claimed to have the best “environmental numbers” when he was in office.

The first presidential debate ahead of the election in November saw little attention paid to the climate crisis, despite the US having been battered by several extreme weather events, such as heatwaves and storms in recent weeks.

Asked what he would do to deal with the climate crisis, Mr Trump initially deflected. When moderator Dana Bash asked him again, the former president said: “I want absolutely immaculate clean water and absolutely clean air.”

“And we had it. We had H2O, we had the best numbers ever, and we were using all forms of energy, everything.”

Mr Trump said his advisers told him moments before he walked onto the stage that his presidency oversaw “the best environmental numbers ever”. He did not elaborate.

Mr Biden hit back: “I don’t know where the h*** he has been.”

The sitting president said he had enacted “the most extensive climate change legislation in history”, a reference to the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, which seeks to tackle domestic inflation due to global energy crisis while tackling the climate crisis. The law is expected to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 42 per cent by 2030.

Mr Biden claimed that Mr Trump did not do “a damn thing for the environment” as president and now “wants to undo all that I’ve done”.

Mr Trump last month reportedly promised to rollback Mr Biden’s environmental regulations if oil and gas executives donated $1bn to his presidential campaign.

Mr Biden also noted that Mr Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord, which the former president then called “a rip off”.

People watch the presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump at a watch party in Los Angeles, California (Getty)

Mr Trump formally withdrew the US from the Paris Agreement, an international deal to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2C, in November 2020.

But Mr Biden officially reentered the US into the accord on his first day in office.

“The only existential threat to humanity is climate change and he didn’t do a damn thing about it,” Mr Biden said.

Mr Trump previously called the climate crisis a “hoax” and summarised his energy policy with the slogan, “Drill, baby, drill.”

The intensity and frequency of extreme weather driven by the climate crisis has been increasing across the world, including the US.

Nearly 90 per cent of Americans faced an extreme weather event in the last five years, according to a 2023 survey by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

Another Trump administration could add four billion metric tonnes to US greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to a second Biden term, according to an analysis published in March by Carbon Brief.

The analysis warned that if Mr Trump secured a second term, the US would “very likely miss its global climate pledge” by a wide margin.