2020 Presidential Candidates' Environmental Views

With massive climate change protests occurring all over the world this past week, the environment is a topic on everyone’s minds, as is the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Scientists have stated that we have until 2030 to reduce our emissions by 50% before environmental damage becomes irreversible. In this article, I will outline the specific environmental views of a few candidates running for office. 

Joe Biden (D):

Joe Biden has plans for a $1.7 trillion "Clean Energy Revolution" climate plan. This plan has the following goals:

  • Ensure that the United States reaches a 100% clean energy economy and net zero emissions by 2050.
  • Invest $400 billion over 10 years in energy and climate research.
  • Aid the United States in rejoining the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Kamala Harris (D):

Kamala Harris has written and released her "Climate Plan for the People." This plan revolves around these goals:

  • Creation of a Foundation for Justice that empowers marginalized communities.
  • Building a clean economy.
  • Protecting national resources.
  • Achieving a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030.
  • Creating a clean economy for the United States by 2045.

Bernie Sanders (D):

Bernie Sanders has released his plan for a Green New Deal. This deal aims to reduce U.S. emissions by 71% by 2030, as well as reduce the emissions of other nations by 36% in this time frame. This plan has three parts:

  • (1) Creation of a 100% Renewable Energy Source.
  • (2) Hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for their impact on the environment.
  • (3) Ensure a clean and fair transition for workers.

Donald Trump (R):

Trump has not yet released any climate plans, and has instead dismissed scientific findings about climate change. Despite this, his campaign website hits a few key points about the environment:

  • Removal of the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Signing an Executive Order to expand offshore oil and natural gas drilling.
  • Approval of the Dakota Access pipeline.

William Weld (R):

William Weld has also not released any climate plans and his campaign website does not reference climate change at all. There are a few things that he has said publicly in regard to climate change, though:

  • "With respect to the environment and climate change, the approach of the current administration is antithetical to every principle of conservation and conservatism."
  • Weld has also stated that climate change is one of the many reasons he has decided to run against Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

Mark Sanford (R):

Mark Sanford is another Republican candidate that has taken on a view of climate change that differs from the overall view of their party. Sanford has done the following in regard to climate change:

  • He was part of a group of Republicans from the House of Representative that put together a resolution in 2017 urging other members to focus on climate change.
  • Sanford does not support the United States entering into international agreements regarding climate change due to the fear that they will give unfair treatment to countries with higher greenhouse gas emissions.