Climate Change and the 2020 Vote
In just over a year from now the U.S. will hold its 59th presidential election on November 3, 2020. Incumbent President Donald Trump (R) is running for re-election. The winner of the 2020 presidential election will be sworn into office on January 20, 2021. Did you know the candidates have already had to lay out their plans for environmental preservation and climate change?
The 2020 Democratic candidates discussed the environment for nearly 43 minutes while on the debate stage this presidential election cycle. In the 2016 presidential debates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spent less than six minutes discussing climate change. (1)
For the 2016 Presidential election, climate change was an issue but not as important as it is with the 2020 race. Back in 2016, voters had a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and their view on U.S. climate policy could not have been more different. Clinton supported the climate policies built up during the Obama administration and live up to the tenants of the Paris accord whereas Trump said he would “eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency and "cancel" the Paris agreement (2)
Fast forward to October 2019 and MSNBC hosted a dozen 2020 presidential contenders for a climate change forum and that follows a seven-hour CNN climate town hall earlier this month. (3) (4) (5)
- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) – proposes the Green New Deal for a climate resilience fund, deploying renewable energy, and supporting the United Nations Green Climate Fund.
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) – has a vision for reaching 100 percent clean energy.
- Andrew Yang - aims to power the US completely by renewable energy by 2035 and climate change mitigation approaches like geoengineering (e.g., mirrors in space to reflect sunlight away).
- Julián Castro - Castro is framing climate change as an issue of civil rights and calls for $10 trillion over 10 years for clean energy and resilience to get to net-zero emissions by 2045.
- Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) - as California’s attorney general, she is leaning on prosecuting polluters in her plan to fight climate change and switching to clean energy
- Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke – proposes setting a target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the US economy by 2050.
- South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg - plans to create instruments to limit greenhouse gases like a clean energy bank, tax credits for carbon capture, a transition fund for workers who might see their jobs disappear.
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) - published a climate agenda with executive actions to rejoin the Paris climate agreement, restore the Clean Power Plan, and sign legislation to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
- Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) - plans to invest $3 trillion over ten years with the aim of reaching zero-carbon electricity production by 2030 and making the US economy carbon neutral by 2045.
- Former Vice President Joe Biden - introduced the first climate change bill in the Senate, way back in 1986 and currently has a proposal to roughly in line with those from other candidates, pegged to the 2050 deadline.
- Tom Steyer - calls for $2 trillion in federal investment over 10 years and net-zero emissions by 2045.
- Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) – building on the net-zero by 2050 goal, wants to have a global climate summit in his first 100 days to set even more ambitious goals.