TRUTH BE TOLD: Whole story behind ad that says Joe Biden will prevent global warming

Biden ad calls for 'Fresh Start'
Posted at 4:01 PM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 17:47:40-04

TAMPA, Fla. — There's no doubt you've seen the steady stream of political ads every time you watch tv or go online. But how do you make sense of it all?

In our new Truth be Told series, we're cutting through the rhetoric and helping you read between the lines.

This time, we're taking on an ad about a topic that affects us all — the environment.

"This is our chance to put the darkness of the past four years behind us," says the narrator in a new ad launched by Joe Biden's campaign called "Fresh Start."

"We can stop focusing on a president who thinks it's all about him and start focusing on what's best for us," the ad says.

Biden's campaign is now focusing on the environment.

"The damage from climate change is already here," Biden said during a press conference last week.

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He's hoping to win over voters like Sarah Edwards, who says the environment is among her top issues.

"You just need to look at the news and California's on fire, and the Amazon is burning. And it all feels pretty apocalyptic," Edwards said.

Edwards lives in Tampa, Florida, where she enjoys cycling and kayaking.

She volunteers at her children's school on Earth Day and belongs to conservation groups, including Food & Water Action, Sierra Club and World Wildlife Fund.

"When I'm thinking about voting, I'm not necessarily thinking about red or blue. I'm looking for who's ready to stand up and be a leader and take bold action to really tackle this problem head-on," Edwards said.

Joe Biden promises in his ad that he will fix things.

"We need to take on climate change," his ad says.

But truth be told, Biden is not the only candidate claiming to protect the environment.

Last year toxic algae killed fish and threatened Florida's water quality.

At the request of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, President Trump approved $200 million for Everglades restoration, after initially cutting the Army Corps of Engineers' budget.

That was the agency that oversaw the project.

In August, the president signed the "Great American Outdoors Act," which will send $9 billion over the next five years to improvements at U.S. National Parks facilities, including sewage system improvements in Colorado, Campground improvements in Montana and new water pipelines in Arizona.

And in September, President Trump made another announcement in his new home state of Florida.

He extended a moratorium on offshore drilling in Florida until 2022 and expanded the ban to include Georgia and South Carolina.
Edwards supports that measure.

"It's a dangerous, dirty practice. There are so many methane leaks from this practice," she said.

That ban led Trump to proclaim himself as an environmentalist.

"Number one since Teddy Roosevelt. Who would have thought? Trump is the great environmentalist. Did you hear that? Did you hear that? That's good. And I am. I am I believe strongly in it," Trump said at the moratorium announcement in Florida.

But during his first term, environmental groups say President Trump also took some steps backward.

Trump relaxed fuel efficiency standards on vehicles, pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement and fast-tracked the Keystone X-L Pipeline project, which critics say continued America's dependence on fossil fuels.

Biden says those practices led to global warming, creating stronger hurricanes and intense wildfires.

"If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze?" Biden said.

Trump recently declined to answer a reporter's question in California about whether climate change played any role in the wildfires.

Truth be told, the EPA says greenhouse gas emissions were lower in Trump's first two years than during the Obama/Biden administration, thanks largely to the continuing transition from coal to natural gas in electricity production.

But Sarah Edwards says environmental voters would like to see more renewable energy.

"These are issues that our kids and future generations will have to deal with. And I feel like if we don't deal with them now, they're only gonna get worse," Edwards said.

So next time you see the "Fresh Start" ad, you'll know, truth be told, defining who's worst and who's best depends on what you measure and who you ask.