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.
Former New York City mayor and businessman Micheal Bloomberg’s plans to tackle the climate crisis commit to “restore American leadership in the fight against climate change by slashing U.S. carbon emissions and investing in clean-energy projects that not only minimize rising temperatures, but also lead to new jobs, cleaner air and water, cheaper power, more transportation options, and less congested roads.” His plans to address climate change are centered around five priorities: cutting economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030, reducing pollution from buildings and transportation, rejoining the Paris Agreement, helping communities cope with climate change and prioritizing the fight to prevent wildfires. Read more about Bloomberg’s plan here.
To address the climate crisis, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s goal is “to make our society a net-zero emissions one no later than 2050.” Buttigieg’s climate plan is based on three platforms: building a clean economy, investing in resilience and demonstrating leadership. To do this, Buttigieg hopes to create millions of clean energy jobs and to invest in green technology research and development. A Buttigieg administration would also tackle the issue by investing in disaster relief and prevention in vulnerable communities, while building America’s role on the international stage in combating climate change. Read more about Buttigieg’s plan here.
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal and if elected, Klobuchar claims that, “she will get us back into the International Climate Change Agreement… will bring back and strengthen clean power rules and gas mileage standards that the Obama Administration put into place.” Klobuchar’s plans include putting forward “sweeping legislation that provides a landmark investment in clean-energy jobs and infrastructure, provides incentives for tougher building codes, promotes rural renewable energy and development, supports a landmark carbon pricing system that does not have a regressive impact on Americans, promotes ‘buy clean’ policies, and puts our country on a path to achieving 100 percent net-zero emissions no later than 2050.” Read more about Klobuchar’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.
Billionaire and environmental activist Tom Steyer aims to “provide clean air and water, honor the contributions and sacrifice of workers in fossil fuel industries, and prioritize justice for communities that have been treated as environmental dumping grounds for far too long.” His plan wants to “put people and communities before polluting corporations through a truly inclusive planning process.” Steyer’s plan to fight climate change highlights creating community-led civilian climate corps, a regenerative economy, investing in climate-smart infrastructure and restoring America’s global leadership. Read more about Steyer’s plan here.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is an original cosponsor of the Green New Deal resolution, which commits the U.S. to a 10-year mobilization to achieve domestic net-zero emissions by 2030. Details of Warren’s own comprehensive plan to tackle the climate crisis include “investing in sustainable, resilient infrastructure to meet the energy demands of the 21st century. Setting aggressive sector-specific standards to rapidly decarbonize across every sector of our economy. Encouraging our farmers to adopt climate-friendly sustainable agriculture practices. Conserving our public lands and making them part of the climate solution. Crafting international economic policies that encourage countries around the world to reduce emissions. Creating solutions that are just and sustainable for all Americans.” Read more about Warren’s 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.