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Questions to Ask Candidates for Elected Office Regarding Climate Action

One of the key issues to consider when voting for someone to be in office is climate change. So naturally, you want a leader who will do an excellent job in solving this urgent crisis. It might not be the most appealing issue, but it requires immediate attention. We’re heading into an unprecedented disaster if we continue to ignore problems brought by global warming.

Start by organizing and finding someone who can do an excellent job. You want a leader who understands the need for changes in climate policies and will advocate on your behalf. However, it might also be easy for some politicians to pretend they care about the environment. The truth is they only want to score political points. Once elected, they won’t do what people voted them for. Hence, it pays to ask tough questions. You want to hold them accountable once in office. Here are some questions to ask before supporting someone running for an elected post.

What specific steps will you take to solve the climate crisis?

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It’s easy to create slogans and one-liners to show concern for the environment. As always, the key is in the details. Ask questions about the specific steps to take regarding climate change. You may also view the policies online if you wish to scrutinize them. You want these leaders to outline every action that makes sense. You will know if these promises are sincere enough or are only for winning votes. You can also recommend strategies to stop the crisis. For example, you can suggest to your leaders to try similar tactics or implement what you’re already doing on a larger scale like working with langleyrecyclingkc.com for trash disposal.

How do you intend to deal with people who don’t believe in this crisis?

Once elected, these leaders will govern for everyone. They would have to deal with individuals who won’t cooperate because they don’t believe in the environmental crisis — people who probably consumed too much conspiracy theory and won’t listen to science. It helps if you understand what these politicians intend to do with those who will constantly bother them to go the other way because of their beliefs.

Will you prioritize the concerns of powerful corporations?

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Another roadblock to the implementation of sensible climate policies is the presence of powerful corporations. They have a vested interest and will prevent any change in the status quo that could hurt their chances of making profits. You should ask these politicians how they will respond to threats coming from prominent business leaders. The answers will tell you how tough and reliable they are. You can also see the sincerity in their responses. Move away from politicians who can’t give a straight response since they have to be careful about their messaging.

What will you do with other leaders to pursue your plans?

Solving environmental concerns takes collaboration. Even an entire country’s efforts wouldn’t be enough without cooperation from leaders in other parts of the world. Hence, treaties like the Paris climate accord are excellent news. It shows that leaders can agree on matters that affect everyone. Try to interrogate your leaders about plans of working with other officials. The results are more significant and far-reaching if the policies involve several communities.

How do you intend to fund these projects?

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Some people may also feel concerned about the economic impact of climate change policies. Sure, many voters want to deal with the climate crisis, but they’re not single-issue voters. They want to know if there are no terrible repercussions in other areas. For instance, an increase in taxes due to climate change policies might be a bad idea. Ask questions on how to pay for these changes and expect an excellent and reasonable reply. It also tells you that these promises aren’t only for lip service. It’s easy to say that climate policies are effective, but there’s no detailed budget to show as evidence.

How will you work with your political opponents to pursue changes?

Another potential problem is the presence of politicians who will block every step to solve the climate crisis. Not all leaders can do whatever they want since they have to win over other elected officials. They have to work across the aisle to pursue changes. Hence, it makes sense if you ask how it would work once the governance begins. If there is blockage until the end, it will lead to the retention of the status quo.

What is your timeline?

If the politician outlined specific steps to solve climate issues, ask for a timeline. It doesn’t have to be accurate. As long as you can get a range, it would suffice. But, again, climate issues are time-sensitive. You can’t afford to wait for too long, or else it would be too late. So asking for a timeline is a fair question.

Make everyone accountable

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You work hard to help compassionate people get into power and pursue the environment’s changes you wish to see. If you’re already working with companies to help with recycling efforts, you also want government leaders to do the same. If more people share in these actions, it can lead to better results.

However, it’s also critical that you make your government officials accountable. Let them know that you’re watching and you want them to fulfill their promises. These people will also be up for re-election. They can’t be complacent with power and think you no longer care once your preferred leaders are in office. If they fail to do what they tell everyone, these leaders are replaceable. You can have better leaders who will do everything to guarantee results.

Give these officials a chance and see how far they will take to pursue their promises. Cooperate whenever possible and lend a helping hand. Environmental preservation will only happen if everyone does something. Until then, we’re heading into a disaster that we might be unable to get out of.


Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignpolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com

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