2020 Cheat-Sheet: Presidential Candidate Climate Plans
It’s officially the presidential primary season in the U.S., which means that while we have the chance to choose a candidate we like best, we also have to wade through overwhelming piles of information… We know climate is an important issue to many of our readers, so we’ve created a quick cheat-sheet on the top qualifying candidates and their plans to solve this environmental crisis.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has released a climate and energy plan with the goal of achieving net-zero emissions and a 100% clean energy economy no later than 2050. The campaign claims that, if elected, “Biden will sign a series of new executive orders with unprecedented reach that go well beyond the Obama-Biden Administration platform.” Biden’s plan would also, “demand that Congress enacts legislation in the first year of his presidency that establishes an enforcement mechanism that includes milestone targets no later than the end of his first term in 2025, makes a historic investment in clean energy and climate research and innovation, incentivizes the rapid deployment of clean energy innovations across the economy, especially in communities most impacted by climate change.” Read more about Biden’s plan here.
A Green New Deal is central to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign, and his vision is based upon three ideas: transforming America’s energy system to 100% renewable energy while creating 20 million jobs, ending the “greed of the fossil fuel industry” and rebuilding the U.S. economy.
Sanders’ plan also commits to reduce global emissions, provide $200 billion to the Green Climate Fund, rejoin the Paris Agreement, ensure justice for impacted communities, a just career transition for fossil fuel workers and making investments in “weatherization, public transportation and modern infrastructure.” Read more about Sanders’ plan here.
Rolling back environmental protections has been a primary focus of President Trump’s administration. In the past three years, President Trump has dismissed or challenged reports on climate change produced by the federal government scientists, weakened the Endangered Species Act and submitted a formal request to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. In January 2020, President Trump altered clean air and water protections by proposing drastic changes to the nation’s most established environmental law, the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act.
According to the Energy and Environment page on President Trump’s campaign website, his administration will continue to focus on ramping up domestic fossil fuel energy production. Since taking office, he has rescinded President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, signed an Executive Order to expand offshore oil and gas drilling, signed legislation to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to domestic energy production, approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines and provided “the resources needed to unleash oil and gas production in the U.S.” Read more here.
Election season is a time to make sure your values are reflected in our country’s leadership. We’re living in a historic time and are all uniquely positioned to stand behind candidates who have the Earth in mind. Let’s cast our votes for our wild, living planet.