with Alexandra Ellerbeck

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With less than a week until Election Day, Joe Bidens presidential campaign is looking to bolster turnout among young people concerned about climate change. And its doing so with a new ad running on Adult Swim.

The animated, 30-second spot during the nighttime programming block on Cartoon Network mocked President Trump, who has called climate change “a hoax,” for his more outlandish claims about global warming. The ad says young people can “silence him” by voting for the Democratic nominee. 

The ad is part of an October push by the Biden campaign to reach out to young people on climate change.

Adult Swim, better known for its absurdist cartoons than its political programming, caters to an 18- to 34-year-old bracket. The ad is also airing on Comedy Central, home to “The Daily Show” and other political satire that attracts a younger audience, according to the Biden campaign. 

The former vice president is also running an ad on MSNBC featuring a young forest firefighter. “The Earth is changing,” she says. “Our forests are changing. We have the science, we have the technology, but if we dont have the leadership that believes in it, then theres no funding. Theres no support.”

The candidate shared that spot on Twitter.

And at the beginning of the month, the campaign put out its first general election climate-themed ad, featuring a family of cherry farmers in Michigan.

The climate-focused messaging comes as Biden walks a fine political line. 

In July, Biden bolstered his climate plan with a commitment to eliminate climate-warming emissions from the power sector by 2035. He did so in part to convince the liberal wing of the party — including skeptical young people — that he should be their candidate. 

Across all battleground states, Biden needs younger voters, many of whom see global warming as their generations defining issue and backed Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in the primaries, to turn out for him.

In an acknowledgement it needs to do more to reach out to young people, the 77-year-old candidate's campaign put together a climate committee aimed at getting teens and 20-somethings to vote for someone their grandfather’s age.

“This is a turnout election,” billionaire activist Tom Steyer said during an Oct. 8 meeting of the campaign’s Climate Engagement Advisory Council. “When young people vote, when you vote, you change everything for the better.”

Polling shows young people are more eager to go to the polls than in 2016. A nationwide survey from the Harvard Institute of Politics found nearly two-thirds of 18-to-29 year olds said they will “definitely be voting" — significantly more than the 47 percent who said the same in 2016.

At the same time, Biden has taken pains to say he will not ban fracking on state or private lands. 

That's in order to appeal to blue-collar workers in the western half of Pennsylvania, which according to some political analysts is the most important swing state of the 2020 election. “I do rule out banning fracking,” he said during the last presidential debate, taking the opposite position of many climate activists.

Over the past week, President Trump has repeatedly criticized Biden for calling for a “transition” away from oil, claiming it was “perhaps the most shocking admission ever uttered in the history of presidential debates.”

But Evan Weber, a co-founder of the youth-led Sunrise Movement, was glad to see such strong anti-oil rhetoric. “I was very happy to see the vice president be honest and go on offense,” he told our colleagues Sean Sullivan, Darryl Fears and Juliet Eilperin.

Still, Biden backtracked right after the debate. Biden told reporters that what he meant was that he wants to end federal subsidies to oil companies. “We’re not going to get rid of fossil fuels,” Biden said. “We’re going to get rid of subsidies for fossil fuels.” 

Power plays

Trump will strip protections from Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.

“As of Thursday, it will be legal for logging companies to build roads and cut and remove timber throughout more than 9.3 million acres of forest — featuring old-growth stands of red and yellow cedar, Sitka spruce and Western hemlock,” our colleague Juliet Eilperin reports. “The decision, which will be published in the Federal Register, reverses protections President Bill Clinton put in place in 2001 and is one of the most sweeping public lands rollbacks Trump has enacted.”

At nearly 17 million acres, the Tongass National Forest is one of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforests. It provides habitat to wild Pacific salmon, Sitka black-tailed deer and the highest density of brown bears in North America. The forest is also a major carbon sink, absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

“Alaska Republicans — including Gov. Mike Dunleavy and Sen. Dan Sullivan, who is locked in a tight reelection race — lobbied the president to exempt the state from the roadless rule on the grounds that it could help the economy in Alaska’s southeast,” Eilperin writes.

But the proposed rule was widely unpopular among those who weighed in during the public comment period — more than 96 percent of the comments opposed lifting the protections. Meanwhile, all five Alaska Native tribal nations withdrew as cooperating agencies involved in the planning process after the U.S. Forest Service published its blueprint for opening up the Tongass.

Investors are offering debt relief and bonds to countries that work to clean up their oceans.

Four years ago, an investment team at the Nature Conservancy, a U.S.-based environmental group, threw a lifeline to the Seychelles, a string of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean. It offered the country, which owed millions to creditors and was bracing for a gloomy future in which climate change decimated its tourism and fishing industries, a chance to refinance $21 million of its debt. In exchange, the government had to spend the money on ocean conservation and designate at least 30 percent of its waters as protected areas, Saqib Rahim reports for The Post. Now that deal may be part of a growing trend.

“Historically, ocean protection has been funded by governments, charities and a few ethically minded investors. Today, financial heavyweights like the World Bank, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and the Asian Development Bank are actively pursuing ‘blue bonds,’ a tool that could raise vast pools of private capital for the oceans,” Rahim writes. “Last year, the Nordic Investment Bank issued a $220 million bond to address pollution in the Baltic Sea. Morgan Stanley helped the World Bank sell a $10 million bond for cleaning up plastic waste in oceans — an admittedly small offering that the company saw as a trial balloon”


Hurricane Zeta slams into Louisiana.

“As the latest overachieving storm in an unforgiving and record-setting season, Hurricane Zeta roared ashore southeast Louisiana Wednesday afternoon. The powerful Category 2 hurricane, which struck near Cocodrie, La., intensified right up until landfall, defying earlier forecasts for a substantially weaker storm,” our colleagues Andrew Freedman, Matthew Cappucci, Paulina Villegas and Jason Samenow report.

Zeta’s eye passed over New Orleans, with the hurricane cutting power to over 80 percent of residents. It set a record as the 11th named storm to hit the continental United States this year, and it also mimicked a pattern of rapid intensification seen in strong hurricanes this season. Scientists have linked this intensification, which often occurs just before the storms make landfall, to climate change.

A radical proposal to combat climate change through geoengineering is gaining traction.

Plans to artificially cool the planet to combat the effects of climate change have long been dismissed as impractical or dangerous, but as the devastating effects of global warming become clear, some researchers are calling for another look at solar geoengineering, climate interventions that seek to reflect the sun’s energy back into space, the New York Times reports.

“On Wednesday, a nonprofit organization called SilverLining announced $3 million in research grants to Cornell University, the University of Washington, Rutgers University, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and others. The work will focus on practical questions, such as how high in the atmosphere to inject sunlight-reflecting aerosols, how to shoot the right size particles into clouds to make them brighter, and the effect on the world’s food supply,” The New York Times writes.

That investment adds to research already being conducted. In December, Congress gave the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration $4 million to research climate geoengineering. Meanwhile, the Australian government is funding research into marine cloud brightening, an alternative to sun-reflective aerosols that involves spraying saltwater into the air to make clouds more reflective.

Scientists fly a drone over the North Pole for the first time to better understand climate change.

The goal of the mission was to measure how much sunlight is reflected from the ice. The measurement, known as surface albedo, is crucial for predicting rates of sea ice melt. While it can be recorded by airplanes and helicopters, drones are cheaper and can fly below clouds, Bloomberg News reports.

“But flying a drone over the planet’s northernmost reaches is no simple feat,” Bloomberg News writes. Scientists have to deal with strong winds, and fog that turns into ice on the blades, and “drones and helicopters have trouble near the North Pole because global positioning satellites suffer small uncertainties at extreme northern latitudes.”