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It's just about Earth Day in an election year and Earth is again on the ballot. And there is much grumbling among climate voters over the performance of President Joe Biden and the Democrats as the climate crisis hurtles upon us at frightening speed. So let me clarify what choices are good, green votes this November.

First, let no Minnesotan question the climate crisis after yet another non-winter and last summer's smoke as northern forests burn, permafrost is no longer permanent, and lake and Arctic ice continue to disappear. The evidence before us is irrefutable and frightening, never mind blaring international headlines like "Code Red for Climate!"

And yet no Republican officials seem to have noticed, not to mention speak up.

Whatever happed to the state and national Republican Party? Its current anti-science, pro-Putin stance is a far cry from its recent history. Not so long ago, science and its implications were a bipartisan reality. Watch the 1985 testimony on YouTube by renowned planetary scientist Dr. Carl Sagan describing for Congress and the world the straightforward fact that ongoing carbon pollution is dangerously heating the planet. Sagan testified then: "If we don't do the right thing now, our children and grandchildren will face serious problems." That hearing was presided over by Republican U.S. Sen. David Durenberger of Minnesota.

Minnesotans once proudly elected Republicans like Sen. Durenberger, U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad, and Govs. Elmer L. Andersen and Arne Carlson, who embraced both budget literacy and scientific literacy, fiscal restraint and environmental protection.

What happened? A major factor is the takeover of the party top to bottom by wealthy national fossil-fuel interests, funding not only anti-climate science (and anti-science) candidates but faux think tanks like the Heartland Institute to derail climate progress. Along the way, any Republican candidate who dared stray from the anti-climate science message could face a well-funded primary challenger, the fate in 2010 of popular six-term Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis of South Carolina. He dared note rising coastal sea levels and supported a carbon tax, and his resounding primary defeat sent waves of panic through Republican elected officials nationwide. Today ask any of Minnesota's four Republican congressional representatives their program to address the climate crisis. The answer is silence.

Meanwhile, the DFL Party in Minnesota and Democratic Party nationally hold the climate crisis front and center, with historic achievements to turn our fossil-fueled battleship around before it hits the melting icecaps, highlighted by the historic Inflation Reduction Act.

Then there is Jill Stein's successor in the Green Party. An avowed Marxist and forever loser, the 1.4 million votes she received in 2016 probably helped hand the presidency to Donald Trump given the closely divided electorate.

There is also 70-year-old Robert Kennedy Jr., a "youth" candidate with a strong history of near-lunatic attraction to conspiracy theories, including toxic disinformation on the effectiveness of vaccines. If for Kennedy supporters that fact does not disqualify him, they should listen to members of the Kennedy family who have warned the electorate against him. No one knows for sure which major party will lose more votes to Kennedy in the general election, but if you care about the climate crisis, this is a wasted vote.

The other guy, former President Trump, is crystal-clear on the "hoax" of climate science, loudly praising coal and oil and gas. Meanwhile, some green voters despair over Biden because under his presidency American oil and gas production reached historic highs. What happened? Ukraine happened, and with that horrific invasion the commitment of our European allies to end dependence on Russian oil and gas. Germany and others rapidly built ports to receive shipments of liquid natural gas from the U.S. to keep their economies running while they accelerate their transition to green energy and nuclear in the case of France. The world is complicated, and Biden understands the world.

So, green voters, you are stuck with two old men repeating their quests for the White House. One falls asleep in the dock at the beginning of the first of a series of trials due to four indictments (not allegations, indictments) and 88 felony charges. The other is wide awake dealing with a world gone mad due in part to Trump's pal Putin inflicting incalculable damage on Ukraine and his own country while continuing a shameless cyberassault on democracies worldwide, including the United States.

There are your choices. President Biden, alert to the climate crisis and to other crises in the real world that imperil freedom and the environment. Or former President Trump, who lauds coal and oil and dictators with plenty of gas. Or a Green Party candidate or Robert Kennedy Jr., who stand in whatever reflected political limelight can reach them. Every vote matters. Choose carefully.

James P. Lenfestey is a former editorial writer for the Star Tribune. The 54th annual observation of Earth Day is Monday, April 22.