The fact that Mr. Biden seems inclined to make the climate a top priority does not stem from a longtime personal obsession.
If anything, the attention on racial injustice since George Floyd’s killing in May has put more momentum behind climate policy.
In addition to the activist energy, broader public opinion seems to be shifting, as climate change has gone from being a hypothetical future problem in many people’s minds to an everyday problem.
In a Pew Research Center poll this year, 52 percent of Americans said that dealing with global climate change should be a top priority for the president and Congress.
As Ms. Gunn-Wright said, “It’s getting harder and harder to act like climate change is a long-term issue that’s coming down the pike.”
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