Time is running out to act on global heating. Electing Donald Trump the first time cost us dearly; a second term would be catastrophic

All American elections determine the character of the country for the next four years. And they have a lot to say about what the world will feel like too – that’s what it means to be a superpower.

But this election may determine the flavor of the next four millennia – maybe the next 40.

That’s because time is the one thing we can’t recover, and time is the one thing we’ve just about run out of in the climate fight. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its 2018 report made it clear that we had until 2030 to make fundamental transformations in our energy system – which they defined as cutting by half the amount of carbon that we pour into the atmosphere.

Read that sentence again. Because it carries deep political implications. Very few of the problems that government deals with are time limited in quite the same fashion. Issues like housing or education or healthcare last throughout our lifetimes, and we take bites out of them when we can, hopefully moving two steps forward for every one we retreat.

Related: Six steps we are taking to confront the climate crisis

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