Climate Change and the 2020 Presidential Candidates: Where Do They Stand?

Climate Change and the 2020 Presidential Candidates: Where Do They Stand?

Climate change is getting unprecedented attention from the growing field of 2020 presidential candidates.  These candidates are responding to the threats posed by a rapidly warming climate, the many economic opportunities in switching to clean energy and the increasing concern of the American people: according to the Yale Program for Climate Change Communication, a record 69 percent of voting-age Americans say they are worried about climate change. Almost a third say they are “very worried,” by far the highest percentage ever recorded.

This blog is designed to collect the candidates’ comments and positions on climate change and clean energy to highlight the issue’s growing salience and to provide a resource for the public. We’ll be regularly updating this post to capture additional comments as they occur and candidates as they declare.

(This post was last updated on April 30, 2019.)

Announced Candidates for President (in alphabetical order):

  1. Joe Biden
  2. Sen. Cory Booker
  3. Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  4. Sec. Julian Castro
  5. Rep. John Delaney
  6. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
  7. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
  8. Sen. Kamala Harris
  9. Gov. John Hickenlooper
  10. Gov. Jay Inslee
  11. Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  12. Rep. Seth Moulton
  13. Rep. Beto O’Rourke
  14. Rep. Tim Ryan
  15. Sen. Bernie Sanders
  16. Rep. Eric Swalwell
  17. Pres. Donald Trump
  18. Sen. Elizabeth Warren
  19. Gov. William Weld

Announced Candidates

Joe Biden

Bio:

Former Vice President Biden represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 2009.

Rollout:

  • Biden’s rollout video did not mention climate change.

History:

  • Biden introduced a bill in 1986 that would have established a presidential task force on climate change.
  • He has yet to comment publicly on the Green New Deal resolution offered by Sen. Markey and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.
  • In a January 24 address to the US Conference of Mayors, Biden said:“The threat posed by climate change is existential…. EPA has spoken, they’ve laid all this out. Our scientists have spoken, there’s no dispute about this among scientists. Since when did we become science deniers? The United Nations told us, whether you agree with the exact number, that we have 12 years to act before it’s irreversible. So say it’s 10 years or 20 years. Nobody is disputing if we fail to act we’re going to have a more serious problem… The point is this is really important, and it’s within our power… We need leaders who understand this is the most urgent priority facing the nation and we’ll be judged by our children and grandchildren on what we do today. You deserve a strong federal partner. This nation cannot continue down this blind path. We cannot ignore science, we cannot abdicate our duty to lead the world. We can’t stand alone in ignorance while every other country in the world signs onto the Agreement.”“Look folks, the fact of the matter is this is all within our wheelhouse. We went out there and more than tripled wind generation. Today we generate wind power for 24 million homes. There’s no reason why we can’t quadruple that virtually overnight. This is no longer rocket science!… 
  • He continued on, saying that

“Ten years ago we knew we needed a green revolution. We understood the urgency in terms of people’s health, in terms of economic growth, in terms of people’s lives. And with you all we put the country on a path! We reduced carbon emissions from power plants by ⅓, that was the goal in 10 years. Increased renewable energy by 30%, with a goal of being able to do 50% and then 90% within the near term…. We figured out how to have solar energy as cheap per kilowatt produced as gas! We helped install 16 million meters in your cities and towns to make it easier for people to save energy, weatherized millions of homes saving $3000 a year for people…. $3000 a year means the difference between paying your insurance, keeping your kid in community college, whether or not you’ll be able to get that new sink, put four new tires on your car… very practical things.

There’s no reason that by 2025 all of North America can’t get half its electricity from non-polluting sources. It’s within our grasp, but for special interests! We need to reset these goals, for our children and our grandchildren. The administration has walked away, but there’s no reason we can’t pull ourselves back on the path.”

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Sen. Cory Booker

Bio

Booker is the former mayor of Newark, N.J., and the state’s junior senator.

Rollout

  • Booker’s announcement video did not include any references to climate, opting instead to focus on civil rights and economic justice messaging.
  • Booker co-sponsored Sen. Ed Markey’s Green New Deal resolution, saying:

“Climate change is a pressing and serious environmental and economic crisis that threatens the way of life for our kids and grandkids. This challenge must be met with a commitment from the federal government that is commensurate with the level of commitment we saw in this country during the original New Deal. And that’s exactly the type of determination this proposal brings. Communities of color, low-income communities, indigenous communities and our family farmers are on the front lines of climate change, and I’m particularly encouraged that this blueprint addresses climate change in a way that promotes both economic and environmental justice.”

“We are at a really difficult point in human history. Scientists now are coming to a consensus around the planet that if we allow temperatures to rise to a certain level it could have catastrophic impact – literally trillions of dollars hits to our economy, the most vulnerable people suffering. And doing nothing is not an option right now because our planet is in peril. And so the question now is what is the United States of America going to do? Is it going to lead the planet, in terms of dealing with this crisis? Or is it going to pull back from global leadership when we are the biggest economy on planet earth? I believe that America should lead and it should lead boldly. And so the Green New Deal is this bold idea that we need to lean in to do something about climate change and we need to start taking dramatic efforts to invest in green energy and not let other countries beat us to the jobs of the future and the green technology. We should make sure that our communities get jobs doing those things, and make sure that the federal government… make sure that there’s job opportunities for folks.

  • At his campaign launch rally in Newark on April 13, Booker told the crowd that “We won’t wait to meet the challenge and the crisis of climate change. We don’t have any other choice! We will build a clean energy economy, we will hold big polluters accountable, and ensure that every child can drink the water from their sink and breath the air in their neighborhood without getting sick.”

History:

  • Booker was one of the first prospective candidates to support a Green New Deal, tweeting his support on December 14, 2018: “We must take bold action on climate change & create a green economy that benefits all Americans…. Excited to support a #GreenNewDeal.”
  • He was one of three co-sponsors on Jeff Merkley’s 100 by 50 Act in 2017.
  • Booker has argued in the past for expanding nuclear power (nuclear power provides over a third of New Jersey’s energy). NRDC experts Dale Bryk and Jackson Morris wrote about why nuclear is the wrong approach to reducing emissions and how best to approach transitioning away from it here.

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Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Bio:

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is the first millennial (he’s 37) and openly gay candidate for president in history. He made his foray into national politics by running for Chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2017.

Rollout:

  • In his presidential rollout, he told The Atlantic that “If you’re my age or younger… you’re going to be dealing with climate change for most of your adult life in specific, noticeable ways.” He went on, saying that “It just gives you a very different relationship to political decision makers and decision making.”
  • On February 10th, Buttigieg told Jake Tapper that he endorsed the Ocasio-Cortez/Markey Green New Deal resolution. “I think it’s the right beginning,” he said. “The idea that we need to race toward that goal and that we should do it in a way that enhances the economic justice and level of opportunity in our country, I believe that is exactly the right direction to be going in.”
  • When a student at Northeastern asked him on April 3 why he supported the Green New Deal, arguing that it would ban cows, destroy and rebuild all buildings, and cost $93 trillion dollars, Buttigieg replied:“This is important, just because of some of the literature that came out around the Green New Deal. Just for the record, I don’t believe in abolishing cows. The Green New Deal is a few pages of a framework. It’s not a fully designed plan.” He continued:

Here’s why I consider it important though to defend this framework, even though it’s more a set of goals than a set of answers as of now: when you think about can we get to zero carbon, or net-zero carbon, which is more realistic, by 2030 or not I don’t view that as a decision that’s going to be made in Congress, in terms of whether that timeline is appropriate. I view it as a decision that’s already been made by science. In other words, the right year to achieve those carbon goals is yesterday. The only question is how fast can we do it. And part of that is a question of will! How far will we go? Will we increase R&D to make renewable energy more practical? Are we willing to implement a carbon tax that will force us to deal with the long term cost of carbon that we’re putting into the atmosphere? And I think retrofitting buildings is a great idea. I’m not saying we need to blow them all up and build them back, I do think we will create a lot of jobs while we’re at it in the building trades.

  • He concluded his remarks on the subject by stating “[I]n the same way that that President Kennedy hadn’t mastered all of the rocket trajectories in 1960 when he wanted us to get to the moon by 1970 I still think we commit to it precisely because we’re not sure how to get there, but we’ve got to tie ourselves to that goal and then do everything we can as a country to get there, because I simply don’t believe we can afford to wait. This country has shown that we can do it. When the western world faced the existential threat of Nazi Germany more than 80 years ago, this country harnessed the political will of hundreds of millions here, of the western democracies to win that war…. And lift millions in this country into the middle class. This is our opportunity right now to do something for a far greater existential threat. To do more not just for the people here with us today, but for the people in the future, kids and grandkids and every generation that succeeds them. We have to once again reassert our role on the world stage in order to do this.”
  • In his announcement speech in South Bend, Indiana on April 15, Buttigieg said this about climate:“Let’s pick our heads up to face what might be the greatest security issue of our time: climate change and climate disruption. No region of our country is immune to that threat. We’ve seen it in the floods in Nebraska, the tornadoes in Alabama, the hurricane in Puerto Rico and the fires in California…. Something is changing around us, and we’re not even having a contest over whose climate plan is better because only one side brought forth any plans at all! If you don’t like our plans on climate, fine! Show us yours! Our economy is on the line, our future is on the line, our lives are on the line, so let’s call it what it is: climate security, a life and death issue for our generation.”

History:

  • In 2018, Buttigieg committed South Bend to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. “We are already seeing the effects of climate change on our residents and businesses,” Buttigieg said about the announcement. “We joined the Covenant because we are serious about ensuring South Bend is a healthy, prosperous place for the next several generations, and because we want South Bend to contribute to the global effort to protect the climate.”

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Sec. Julian Castro

Bio

Castro is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as Housing and Urban Development Secretary under President Obama

Rollout

  • When Castro announced his candidacy on January 12, he made addressing climate change a key point in his speech:

“The biggest threat to our prosperity in the 21st century is climate change. Don’t let anybody tell you that we have to choose between growing our economy and protecting our planet. We can fight climate change and create great jobs in America. And here’s the thing: we don’t have a moment to waste. Scientists say that if we don’t get serious about this right now the consequences will be tragic.

So we won’t wait. As president, my first executive order will recommit the United States to the Paris Climate Accord. We’re going to say no to subsidizing big oil and say yes to passing a Green New Deal.”

History:

  • As mayor of San Antonio, Castro pushed the local utility to shut down a 900-megawatt coal-fired power plant and to adopt a 20 percent renewable energy benchmark by 2020.

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Rep. John Delaney

Bio

The former U.S. representative for Maryland’s 6th congressional district, Delaney was the first Democrat to announce his candidacy for president. He is a wealthy businessman who was one of the richest members of Congress during his tenure.

Rollout:

  • Delaney has made his support of a carbon tax one of his key platforms. After announcing his run for president he was one of the original co-sponsors of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2018, which NRDC experts David Doniger and Derek Murrow profiled here. In November he appeared on MSNBC to promote the bill, and upon being asked how climate change will feature in his presidential bid, he said “It’s a huge focus…. When I’m president I’m going to make sure we [pass a bill] just like this.”
  • “Putting a price on carbon is the most effective tool we have to tackle the massive threat of climate change,” he said in a press release in January. “A carbon tax will change behavior, spur massive new innovation in clean energy, and produce dividends that can be returned directly back to people.”
  • In a recent visit to New Hampshire, Delaney poured cold water on the Green New Deal Resolution:

“I actually don’t think the Green New Deal is the way to go. The reason is that I want to do something about fixing climate change tomorrow. I don’t want to tie it to fixing health care…. If you tie climate change to universal healthcare then you’re actually making it five times harder to do anything on climate change!”

History:

  • Delaney twice introduced the Tax Pollution, Not Profits Act (2015, 2017), a carbon tax bill that would have invested revenue in assisting displaced coal workers and lowering the corporate tax rate. In 2016, Delaney filed a resolution alongside Senator Ben Cardin calling for the US to produce 50% of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2030.

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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Bio

Gabbard is an Iraq War veteran and former vice chair of the Democratic National Committee who currently serves as the representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional distric

Rollout:

  • Gabbard’s rollout focused almost exclusively on an anti-interventionist foreign policy, though at one point during her announcement video she says “We have people in positions of power who are not thinking about the wellbeing of our people and the planet.” In her kickoff speech she mentioned the need to “stand up against those that pollute our land, our water, and our air.”

History:

  • Gabbard has been one of the most outspoken voices for climate action in the House, sponsoring the “Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act” in 2017 which aimed to transition the country to 100 percent clean energy by 2035. In a press release when the bill was introduced, Gabbard said, “We must do all we can to end our addiction to fossil fuels and deploy the technologies that will put America on the path toward a clean, sustainable energy future today and in the years to come…. If the federal government does not act now and bring people together to solve this challenge, we will fail to protect future generations of Americans from the devastating economic and environmental consequences of climate change.”

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand:

Bio:

Gillibrand is the junior senator from New York and was formerly the representative from New York’s 20th congressional district.

Rollout:

  • Gillibrand has positioned herself as an environmental champion. In her announcement video, after flashing video of Donald Trump calling climate change “a hoax”, she shows photos of Sunrise Movement youth activists and says “We launched ourselves into space and landed on the moon. If we can do that we can definitely… pass a Green New Deal.”
  • In an interview with Jon Favreau on “Pod Save America” several days after announcing her exploratory committee, she said she supported a Green New Deal. “I think we need a moonshot,” she explained. “We need to tell the American people we are going to have a green economy in the next 10 years not because it’s easy but because it’s hard…. If you actually invest in wind turbines, in solar panels, in geothermal, in hydropower, in biofuels, if you use our ability to innovate and invent you will solve the problem of moving into a green energy economy. And by doing that you’re going to create a lot of jobs.”
  • She also added “I think you should put a price on carbon if you really want to attack global climate change effectively. You should put a price on carbon because what you’re doing is you’re incentivizing good behavior. You’re saying “If you want to be a polluter – fair enough, but you’re going to pay a lot more because you’re harming the rest of us and we’re going to have to pay all those hospital bills.”… you don’t get the benefit of being a big polluter unless you’re gonna pay for it. But if you’re going to be the inventor and the innovator who’s going to create the new energy efficient processes you get the benefit.”
  • Several days after that interview, Gillibrand sent a letter asking Environment and Public Works Committee chair John Barasso (R-WY) to hold hearings and consider legislation “designed [to] decarbonize our economy and get us to net-zero emissions by as close to 2050 as possible. This should include a mix of innovative solutions in transportation policy, climate-smart infrastructure and high-performance energy efficiency.”
  • Gillibrand co-sponsored Senator Markey’s Green New Deal resolution, saying:

“Climate change is real, it threatens us, and the evidence is now irrefutable that if we don’t act immediately to stop it, then our land, our water, our air, and our lives will all be upended in potentially catastrophic ways. There will be no going back. I urge my colleagues: Rise to this challenge, prevent the catastrophe, and pass a Green New Deal that protects and strengthens our country in this new, uncertain era. We can end the climate change crisis, we can dramatically modernize our economy, and we can create countless new jobs across the entire country that can’t be shipped overseas – but we can only do it if Congress seizes this opportunity and acts now, instead of wasting more time arguing about whether or not the problem is even real. We cannot wait another day. I urge all of my colleagues to fight with me for a Green New Deal that puts Americans to work to solve this extraordinary challenge.”

  • In her speech on March 24 outside of Trump Tower formally announcing her candidacy, Kirsten Gillibrand had this to say about climate change:“We need to treat global climate change like the existential threat that it is. We need to pass the Green New Deal! Let’s make this our generation’s moonshot. Addressing a global challenge of this urgency will take massive effort and transformational vision. Which is exactly why we should do it. Let’s invest in our crumbling infrastructure, create sustainable green jobs, and protect clean air and clean water as a human universal right.And I’d like to go further than others who support this plan. I’d also put a price on carbon to use market forces to steer companies away from fossil fuels towards clean, renewable energy. We can’t afford not to do this. We don’t have time to waste!John F. Kennedy said he wanted to put a man on the moon in the next 10 years not because it’s easy but because it’s hard. I believe we should look at global climate change exactly the same way. We should aspire to net zero carbon emissions in the next ten years not because it is easy but because it’s hard! And it is a challenge that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one that we will win.”

History:

 

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Sen. Kamala Harris

Bio

Harris, the former district attorney for San Francisco, served as California’s attorney general before being elected to the US Senate.

Rollout:

  • Harris made little mention of climate change in her announcement speech in Oakland. However, the next day at a CNN Town Hall in Iowa, when asked whether she supported the Green New Deal sheresponded by saying:

“I support a Green New Deal and I will tell you why. Climate change is an existential threat to us and we’ve got to deal with the reality of it…. we have policymakers who are in the pocket of big oil and big coal who don’t fully appreciate the fact that we are looking at something that is posing an existential threat to our country.” “I know what we need to do… around investing in solar, in wind,” she added. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics just came out in the middle of last year with a list of the top 20 jobs in the United States for which we’re going to see the greatest amount of growth…. Number one and number two on that list: installation and maintenance of wind turbines and solar paneling…. That’s what a Green New Deal has to include, that’s what we have to be about…Listen, all children need to be able to breathe clean air and drink clean water. We’ve got to have a commitment to a policy that will allow that for ourselves and for our children and our grandchildren, and right now we don’t.

  • Harris co-sponsored Senator Markey’s Green New Deal resolution, saying:

“Climate change is an existential threat, and we must deal with the reality of it. We must radically shift the conversation on how to address the climate crisis we are facing because we are running out of time to act. I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of this bold Green New Deal resolution and look forward to working with my colleagues to craft policies to protect our environment, create jobs to fuel a clean economy, and build a sustainable and equitable future.”

  • In her CNN town hall on April 22, when a student asked why she supported the Green New Deal Harris responded: “I support it because I to my core know that the climate crisis is representing an existential threat to who we are as human beings…. [The Green New Deal] appreciates that we need to take this seriously and the clock is ticking every day on this issue. Every day we fail to act will be to our collective consequence.The UN has already said over the next 12 years if we don’t get this straight there will be severe consequence. This is within our ability to do something about it!Listen, families are impacted by this. Children, seniors, we all need to drink clean water and breath clean air. Farmers are impacted by this. You can look at the firefighters in California who are impacted by climate change. Across the board people are being impacted by this. Let’s also look at the fact that we have in so many states great work that is happening that is actually contributing to the economy around investment in renewable energies….

    Part of what  we can do with the Green New Deal is have a sense of urgency on all of these matters, including the precious nature of water and be smarter on public policy. I think we really need to diversify our policy on water, with an equal emphasis on recycling, on conservation, capture of water, storage, desalinization. We need to invest in electric cars. We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. All of that is in the Green New Deal.

    And you know the greatest thing about it that I’m really enjoying? It’s causing these conversations to happen around the country in a way they have not been the past few years. And hopefully everyone is understanding that so much of the harm that we are doing to our planet is caused by us as human beings and the solutions will be because we change our behaviors without much requirement in change to lifestyle. And it will be urgent because of the work we need to and the approach we need to have. But we can have success! We’ve seen it in California: In California we made a decision that we would go back to the 1990 standards in terms of emissions by the year 2020 and we’ve already met those goals. This can happen. We can do it! But there has to be leadership in our country, and that is one of the main reasons we need a new president of the United States.”

History:

  • Harris introduced the “Living Shorelines Act of 2018,” which would have directed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to make grants to communities to combat the impacts of sea-level rise and stronger storms. As attorney general, she launched an investigation into whether Exxon Mobil lied to the public and its shareholders about the risks posed by climate change.

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Gov. John Hickenlooper

Bio

Hickenlooper is the two-term former governor of Colorado. He previously spent time as a geologist for a petroleum company.

Rollout:

  • In his campaign announcement video, Hickenlooper touches on the impact climate change has had on Colorado during his time as governor. “Historic drought, thousands of acres in flames, and then came the worst floods in a hundred years…. I promised Colorado families that we would rebuild our communities better than before…With a divided legislature, we brought environmentalists and oil and gas companies to the table to create the toughest methane emissions laws in the country.”
  • In a post-announcement interview with George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, Hickenlooper said, “When I was mayor [of Denver] I got all 34 [suburban] mayors, two-thirds of them Republicans or conservative Independents, 34 mayors to universally support the largest transit initiative in the history of the country. We called it FasTracks, 122 miles of new track. I mean that’s how you address climate change! Creating groups of people that are committed – forget about Republican and Democrat…. We’re the one place where this has gotten done, and I think it’ll work in Washington.”
  • On March 20, Hickenlooper took a question during a CNN town hall about his opposition to a ballot initiative that would have imposed stricter regulations on the oil and gas industry in Colorado. He responded by saying:“I believe in the urgency to address climate change as much as anything I know…. I would hold Colorado’s success at regulating the oil and gas industry, and really all of our emissions, against anybody. We got the oil and gas industry to sit down with the environmental community… and create the first methane regulations in the country… We have also gone and worked with 10 western states, six Republican, four Democratic, to take some of the Volkswagen diesel fraud settlement money and put it towards rapid recharging electric vehicle stations in a western network so there wouldn’t be gaps and we’d really foster people buying electric vehicles. We also a year ago announced for the first time in the country’s history that we were going to close two coal plants and replace it with wind, solar, and batteries. And in so doing, no natural gas for the times when the wind isn’t blowing, with those batteries and the wind and the solar, we’ll close two coal plants and the average electric bill for the consumers is going to go down.”
  • Just a few short days later, in an op-ed published in the Washington Post on March 26, Hickenlooper calls for a different approach to climate change than the Green New Deal:

“The [Green New Deal] resolution sets unachievable goals. We do not yet have the technology needed to reach ‘net-zero greenhouse gas emissions’ in 10 years. That’s why many wind and solar companies don’t support it. There is no clean substitute for jet fuel. Electric vehicles are growing quickly, yet are still in their infancy. Manufacturing industries such as steel and chemicals, which account for almost as much carbon emissions as transportation, are even harder to decarbonize…. In addition to technological barriers, the Ocasio-Cortez-Markey resolution sets the Green New Deal up for failure by shifting away from private decision-making and toward the public sector — including multiple provisions with little connection to reducing greenhouse gas emissions…. Ocasio-Cortez and others have succeeded in galvanizing the country around climate change as never before. Now that we have this public support, it is imperative that we don’t abuse it. If climate change policy becomes synonymous in the U.S. psyche with higher utility bills, rising taxes and lost jobs, we will have missed our shot — and we might not get another one before it’s too late.

  • He went on to explain that his approach would include “historic federal investments and incentives in electric storage, modern transmission and science to nurture the industries that will serve as the pillars of the clean economy we need to save our planet. The federal government also must play a very active role through smart regulation and well-calibrated tax policy to shape the markets in which these firms compete.”

History:

  • In 2017 Hickenlooper signed an executive order requiring his state to cut greenhouse gas emissions 26% below 2005 levels by 2025. He also signed Colorado up to the U.S. Climate Alliance and has helped turn Colorado into a national leader on electric vehicles.
  • He has defended fracking to produce natural gas. At an event on June 14, 2018, co-hosted by E2, Hickenlooper claimed natural gas was going to be essential for helping lift people around the world out of poverty, and he lauded his administration’s efforts to curb fugitive methane emissions. After getting environmentalists and oil and gas companies together, “The oil and gas industry agreed to pay $60 million a year [to plug leaks] and they took the equivalent of 300,000 cars off the road.” Overall, he said, “I think what we’re going to see is… a large percentage of new energy being wind and solar, renewable energy, but I think we’re still going to need a lot of natural gas for a while.”

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Gov. Jay Inslee

Bio

Inslee is the Governor of Washington State. He formerly served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Washington’s 1st Congressional District from 1999 to 2012.

Rollout:

  • Inslee’s announcement video focused exclusively on climate change. After showing archival footage of him talking about climate change on the House floor, Inslee tells the camera,

“We’re the first generation to feel the sting of climate change. And we’re the last that can do something about it. We went to the moon and created technologies that changed the world. Our country’s next mission must be to rise up to the most urgent challenge of our time: defeating climate change. This crisis isn’t just a chart or a graph anymore, the impacts are being felt everywhere. We have the opportunity to transform our economy, run on 100% clean energy, that will bring millions of good paying jobs to every community across America, and create a more just future for everyone. I’m Jay Inslee, and I’m running for president because I’m the only candidate that will make defeating climate change our nation’s number one priority. We can do this, join our movement! This is our moment.”

  • Inslee’s formal announcement was held at a solar panel installation facility in Seattle, and there he outlined the four main goals of his platform:
  1. Number one, we will power our economy with 100 percent clean, renewable, and carbon-free energy and achieve net zero greenhouse gas pollution in the United States.
  2. Number two, we are going to create millions of good paying jobs in every community investing in clean energy. We are going to build electric cars in Michigan. We are going to build and install wind turbines in Iowa. And we are going to install  solar right here in Washington State. That’s what we’re going to do.
  3. And while we do this, we will focus on justice and inclusion as a centerpiece of this economic transformation, to ensure no group is left to bear the cost of transition and everyone benefits from new jobs and investment.
  4. And finally we need to end the giveaways and billions in subsidies to fossil fuel industries.
  • At a CNN town hall on April 10, Inslee stressed the importance of removing the filibuster in order to pass climate legislation: 

“If the filibuster is still in Mitch McConnell’s hand come 2021, all hope is sort of down the tubes to be able to do real significant reform. So I’m telling you, if I’m given this highest honor, I will lead the charge to end this senatorial privilege, which is an ancient artifact of a bygone in time. Let’s get some…  climate change legislation and reform the United States of America.”

  • In an interview with the Intelligencer published on April 16, Inslee said he supports research into nuclear energy: “I think, given the urgency and the scale of the challenge, we have to keep all low- and zero-carbon technologies on the table. I support research projects to find out whether we can develop a system that will meet the needs: One, be more cost-effective; two, be safer to deal with, with passive safety systems; three, deal with the waste issue — either eliminate it or find some disposal system that’s meaningful; and four, win public acceptance…. Those issues would have to be surmounted to make it something that could grow in the country.”
  • He has also called for the Democratic National Committee to hold a climate-only primary debate, emailing supporters that “There’s so much to talk about when it comes to our climate and our environment. Climate justice. The health impact that big polluters are having on our communities. Access to clean water. Creating union jobs in a clean energy economy. Protecting federal lands. These topics deserve a focused debate. This can’t be a one-off question where candidates get to give a soundbite and move on: Climate change is at the heart of every issue that matters to voters, and voters deserve to hear what 2020 presidential candidates plan to do about it. Each 2020 nominee needs to have a concrete plan to address climate change – and we deserve to hear those plans.”

History:

  • Inslee is a co-founder of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 21 states that have pledged to take action on climate change following Trump withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.
  • Inslee has been at the forefront of calls for the next president to prioritize climate change. In an op-ed in the Washington Post on January 17th Inslee wrote, 

“The Democratic Party must nominate a candidate who will put fighting climate change at the top of the agenda. And that’s why I’m seriously considering running for president….

Confronting this change has been the driving force of my time in public life. About a decade ago [in 2007], I co-wrote a book about the need to transform our economy to one run on clean energy and the need for a national Apollo mission-style project to take on this herculean task.

As governor of Washington, I’ve seen firsthand what’s possible when you invest in clean energy — reducing carbon pollution and supporting family-wage jobs that are growing twice as fast as those in any other industry…. to win a national mandate for action everywhere, we must nominate a candidate who will deploy clean energy and cut carbon pollution on the ambitious scale required, even if it means deferring other worthy goals.

This will be hard. The oil companies, the big polluters and the climate deniers are incredibly powerful. They will do everything they can to protect their profits.

But our next president must summon the full energies of our nation to realize what the science is demanding of us. We must strive to achieve net-zero carbon pollution by midcentury, create a 100 percent clean-energy grid, and deploy new strategies and massive investments to transition off fossil fuels and decarbonize transportation, buildings and industries.”

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Bio

Klobuchar is the senior senator from Minnesota.

Rollout:

  • In her announcement speech on February 11, Klobuchar promised that “in the first 100 days of my administration I will reinstate the clean power rules, the gas mileage standards, and put forth sweeping legislation to invest in green jobs and infrastructure. And on day one, we will rejoin the international climate agreement.”
  • On February 12th, Klobuchar told Anderson Cooper that “I’m in favor of (the Green New Deal) simply because I see it as a framework to jump-start a discussion… I don’t see it as something that we can get rid of all these industries or do this in a few years — that doesn’t make sense to me — or reduce air travel. But what does make sense to me is to start doing concrete things, and put some aspirations out there on climate change.”
  • On March 28, Klobuchar released her first major policy proposal: a massive infrastructure package that includes a climate change component. “Amy’s plan makes a down payment on transforming our economy from one reliant on fossil fuels to one that depends on clean energy,” her campaign’s press release says. “That means sweeping legislation that invests in green infrastructure, modernizes our aging energy infrastructure so that it is secure and efficient, strengthens bioenergy capabilities, puts incentives in place to overhaul our building codes, and invests in energy efficiency retrofits and rural renewable energy development. Amy will also help states and cities plan for the impacts of climate change by building stronger, more resilient transportation networks and public infrastructure to withstand rising sea levels, a changing climate, and extreme weather. This means good-paying jobs for people across the country, investments that ensure cleaner and greener communities and workplaces, and a commitment to doing something real about climate change.”

History:

  • After the release of the IPCC’s 1.5 degrees report in October, Klobuchar took to the floor of the Senate and gave a speech on the importance of addressing climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Following the release of the National Climate Assessment in November, Klobuchar spoke with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” and called for a renewed commitment to the Paris climate agreement, decried the Trump administration’s rollback of gas mileage standards, and called for the use of EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gases.
  • Klobuchar co-sponsored Senator Markey’s Green New Deal resolution, saying: “Investing in clean green energy is our future. We must do it for our climate and we must lead in the world.”

 

Seth Moulton

Bio:

Moulton is the Representative for Massachusetts’ 6th Congressional District.

Rollout:

  • In his announcement video, Moulton says his vision for the country “starts with growing our economy with the new jobs, the green jobs, the tech jobs, the advanced manufacturing jobs that are going to make us the world leader in the next century.” His national security agenda “starts with tackling climate change and making sure we have a planet without an expiration date.”

History:

  • In an op-ed published on March 29 in the Des Moines Register, Moulton touted his endorsement of the Green New Deal and calls for robust federal climate action:“I signed on to the Green New Deal when it was an open framework because the opportunity we have is to make it into a new jobs package that also gets climate change under control.A successful Green New Deal will have many dimensions, and Iowa already leads the nation in one: renewable energy. But let me suggest two more that can start now and start here in Iowa: Federal Green Corps and carbon farming….The federal Green Corps would create an optional path for Americans to spend two years serving our country. It could retrofit our buildings with insulation to lower heating and air-conditioning bills, an… would focus on projects like reinforcing our levees to protect from future floods….

    Carbon farming is even simpler: when farmers harvest crops, Congress should give them a subsidy to plant cover crops and not till their fields. This will take carbon out of the air and capture it underground, reducing the carbon in our atmosphere. And it can help farmers maintain their land, protecting against erosion and enriching their soil.

    These two steps won’t solve our climate and economic challenges alone, but they’re a good start.”

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Rep. Beto O’Rourke

Bio:

O’Rourke is the former representative of Texas’ 16th district. He ran for Senate against Ted Cruz and lost narrowly.

Rollout:

  • In his announcement video on March 14, O’Rourke told the camera that “the interconnected crises in our economy, our democracy, and our climate have never been greater.” He adds “perhaps most importantly of all, because our very existence depends on it, we can unleash the ingenuity and creativity of millions of Americans who want to ensure that we squarely confront the challenge of climate change before it’s too late.”
  • At a campaign event in Keokuk, Iowa that same day, O’Rourke was asked for his thoughts on the Green New Deal. “This is our final chance,” he responded. “The scientists are absolutely unanimous on this, that we have no more than 12 years to take incredibly bold action on this crisis…. Can we make it? I don’t know, it’s up to every single one of us…. Some will criticize the Green New Deal for being too bold, for being too unmanageable. I’ll tell you what, I haven’t seen anything better that addresses the crisis that we face, a crisis that could at its worst lead to extinction…. Literally the future of the world depends on us right here.”
  • In his announcement speech in El Paso on March 30, O’Rourke had this to say about climate change:

“This is our moment, with little more than 10 years to spare to do everything in our power to free this economy from a dependence on fossil fuels, greenhouse gas emissions, and to ensure as we make the investment in new technologies and renewable energy that everyone has the chance to benefit from this new economy, especially those communities, lower income and too often of color, who have born the brunt of climate change so far…. let’s open up technologies and markets to [everyone that wants to help] that provide an incentive for capturing the carbon that we’re currently emitting in the air….”

  • At the We the People Forum on April 1, O’Rourke was asked what he would do in his first hundred days to protect the environment. His response was this:“There are a couple of low hanging opportunities first implemented by the Obama Administration and since reversed by the Trump Administration: Clean Power Plan rules to make sure that we take into account pollution right now. Higher standards for vehicle emissions… absolutely right away. First day in office make sure that we’re fully signed up for the Paris climate accords.As ambitious as those are, it isn’t ambitious enough. So the next thing we need to do is to lead by example…. We generate more wind energy in Texas than any other state in the union. We’re close to closing the distance on solar, building out utility-scale solar. The two fastest growing jobs in the United States of America today? Wind jobs and solar jobs. Let’s make this about saving the planet and also connecting people with jobs that provide purpose and function and a living wage and a skill and a trade that they will have for the rest of their lives. That also means unions and labor, strengthening and prioritizing instead of diminishing the ability to organize and equip people with the skills they’ll need for the rest of their lives….And I’ve got to tell you, those who have written and championed the Green New Deal are absolutely right on the money.”
  • On April 29, O’Rourke announced a detailed four-part framework to fight climate change, ensuring the country reaches “net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and that we are halfway there by 2030”. You can read the full plan here, but the four pillars of the plan are as follows:
  1. Start Cutting Pollution on Day One and Taking Executive Actions to Lead on Climate:

  2. Mobilize a historic $5 Trillion for Climate Change with Investment in Infrastructure, Innovation, and Our People and Communities:

  3. Guarantee our Net-Zero Emissions Ambition by 2050:

  4. Defend our Communities That Are Preparing for and Fighting Against Extreme Weather

History:

  • O’Rourke told reporters at a march in El Paso in February that Markey and Ocasio Cortez’ Green New Deal Resolution “is the best proposal that I’ve seen to ensure that this planet does not warm another two degrees celsius, after which we may lose the ability to live in places like El Paso…. it is on all of us — not just Congress and the president, but everyone in this country — so that we all do everything we can to get the specific laws and regulations at the federal, state, and local levels to match that commitment, as well as harnessing the ingenuity and innovation that comes from this great country to match that challenge.”

“The climate is changing. Man-made climate change is a fact…. We still have time, but the window is closing. If we’re going to make our commitment to the generations that follow and not just think about the next election or our political career or our pursuit of the White House then we can make the right decisions.

Now, we can support Texas being a proud energy leader in oil and in gas, but also in renewable energy. Today, Texas leads the country – we’re number one in the nation – in the generation of renewable wind power. We’re number five and moving up quick when it comes to solar. The two fastest growing jobs in the United States of America today [are] wind and solar jobs. We can continue to grow this economy, we can reject the false choice between oil and gas and renewable energy, make sure we produce and refine and transport and use our energy resources more responsibly.”

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Rep. Tim Ryan:

Bio:

Tim Ryan is the U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 13th Congressional District.

Rollout:

  • Moments after announcing his candidacy on April 4 on “The View”, Ryan outlined his plan for bringing manufacturing back to the Midwest:“I understand where we need to go. The country’s so divided right now that we can’t get a plan together…. There are so many industries out there growing: wind and solar growing at 25-30% a year; electric vehicles, there’s two million made today, by 2030 there’s going to be 30 million electric vehicles. I want those vehicles made in the United States, I want the batteries made in the United States, I want the charging stations made in the United States, and right now China dominates 40% of the electric vehicle market…. [Trump] plays the old school politics. He wants to go back to the old economy. He wants to go back to old steel mills and old coal mines. I’m saying where are our kids going to work? How do we come together, the best of government, the best of the workforce, and the best of the free enterprise system and dominate the electric vehicle market so that we’re creating jobs and at the end of the day cut the worker in on the deal.”

History:

  • In February Ryan sat down for an interview with a local New Hampshire news station and responded to a question about his stance on the Green New Deal with the following:“I think the value statement that that document presented is very valuable and very bold. I don’t agree with everything in there, but I will say we’re having a conversation about it….I don’t think we can get to a green economy, a carbon-neutral economy without having an honest conversation about nuclear energy, both what we have now and microgrids to come.I also think we’ve got to talk about how business is going to be a part of this. There’s no way we’re going to green the economy, going to be able to get rid of carbon and reverse climate change, without having business at the table. We need the magic of the free-enterprise system, the innovation that comes with the free enterprise system, that’s got to be a big part of this.”
  • On a follow-up question about the perception among his constituents on the Green New Deal, Ryan said:“I think we’ve got to talk about it differently. We can talk about it in the context of climate change, but we’ve got to talk about it in the sense of manufacturing jobs, what does this mean for the economy, what does this mean for the energy industry. Talk to people about how this means jobs! This means work. Wind’s growing at 25-30% per year. Solar’s growing at 25-30% per year. That’s opportunity. The key is going to be how are you going to get private investment, venture capital money that is primarily focused on the coasts (California, New York, Massachusetts have 80% of venture capital). If we’re going to green the economy, we need that venture capital going to places like New Hampshire, Ohio, Iowa, the Deep South. We’ve got to figure out how we get private industry and the profit motive working and then make sure the workers are cut in on that deal.”

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Sen. Bernie Sanders

Bio

Sanders is the junior senator for Vermont. He ran a longshot campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, ultimately receiving 46% of delegates at the national convention that year.

Rollout:

  • In a video posted on February 19 in which Sanders announced his candidacy for president, he listed climate change as one of his reasons for running:

“Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice….

I’m running for president because we need to make policy decisions based on science, not politics. We need a president who understands that climate change is real, is an existential threat to our country and the entire planet, and that we can generate massive job creation by transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.”

  • On a March 1 appearance on ABC’s “The View”, Sanders responded to a question about climate change by saying: “In my own personal opinion, I’ve been talking to scientists all over the world, if we do not get our act together and take on the fossil fuel industry and transform our energy system away from fossil fuel into energy efficiency and sustainable energy, the planet that we are going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren – Jane and I have seven grandchildren – will become increasingly unhealthy and uninhabitable. Now given that reality, it seems to me the job we have to do is to immediately grasp the magnitude of the problem and transform our energy system to save the planet…. You cannot go too far on the issue of climate change! The future of the planet is at stake!”
  • At a town hall in Bethlehem, PA on Fox News on April 15, Sanders in response to a question about national security, Sanders said: “I’ll tell you what else in my view is a national security issue. We have got to reject as a nation Trump’s idea that climate change is a hoax. I’m sure you’re familiar with the scientific reports that tell us we have all of 12 years to significantly cut carbon emissions or else there will be irreparable damage to the United States and countries all over the world. We have a moral responsibility in my view to transform our energy system and leave this planet healthy and habitable for our children and our grandchildren. And by the way, when we do that we create millions of good paying jobs…. In my city of Burlington Vermont, which is the largest city in the state of Vermont, I believe that all of our energy is now renewable. That’s something that I started way back when I was mayor, and other cities are doing the same! But here is the point, I happen to believe that we should phase out, not eliminate it tomorrow, but phase out nuclear power plants. But here is the main point. The main point is if we do not combat climate change I fear very much the kind of world we are leaving to our kids. More drought, more flooding, more extreme weather disturbances, more rising ocean levels. And when those things happen, they become a national security issue because people migrate! If I’m living in the Middle East or someplace and I can’t grow food on my land, I’m going to pick up and leave and that causes conflict.”
  • Sanders released his climate platform on April 16th under the heading “Combat Climate Change and Pass a Green New Deal.” In it, he says that “When we are in the White House, we will:
  1. Pass a Green New Deal to save American families money and generate millions of jobs by transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels to 100% energy efficiency and sustainable energy. A Green New Deal will protect workers and the communities in which they live to ensure a transition to family-sustaining wage, union jobs.
  2. Invest in infrastructure and programs to protect the frontline communities most vulnerable to extreme climate impacts like wildfires, sea level rise, drought, floods, and extreme weather like hurricanes.
  3. Reduce carbon pollution emissions from our transportation system by building out high-speed passenger rail, electric vehicles, and public transit.
  4. Ban fracking and new fossil fuel infrastructure and keep oil, gas, and coal in the ground by banning fossil fuel leases on public lands.
  5. End exports of coal, natural gas, and crude oil.”
  • On April 22 when a student inquired about what specific policies he supports to get to carbon neutrality and support a just transition, Sanders had this to say:“Here’s where we are. The scientists who know the issue the best, some months ago made it clear that if we do not significantly transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energies this planet and our country will suffer irreparable damage. So to me the issue of moving very aggressively on climate change is a moral issue, because it speaks to whether or not we are going to leave this country and our planet – and I’ve got seven grandchildren including 3 here in New Hampshire – in a way that is healthy and habitable. And if we do not act aggressively it will be a disaster for the entire planet and the United States.To answer your question, what does that mean? It means that we have got to take on the fossil fuel industry and make it very clear that we are moving away from fossil fuel and at the same time not blaming those people who work in the coal industry or the gas industry or the oil industry. All they are trying to do is feed their families, and we support that! So we, in all of the legislation we have many many many billions of dollars to go into those communities to help workers get the training and the education that they need to get jobs that will pay them as much or even more.

    At the end of the day this is what we’ve got to do.

  1. We’ve got to move aggressively towards energy efficiency. That means we can create – and one of the points that the Green New Deal makes – is we have the potential to create millions of good paying jobs as we transform our energy system away from fossil fuel. There are buildings all over New England, homes all over New England, that are wasting a tremendous amount of energy. We can weatherize those homes. I’ve been in homes in Vermont where the fuel bill went down 50% because people got the insulation, the windows, the roofing that they needed. Millions of people can be helped in that respect.
  2. We should invest very significantly in solar and in wind. I know the president thinks that wind turbines cause cancer… only person in the world who happens to believe that, but we can move aggressively towards wind and solar.
  3. We have got to rethink our transportation system and build the kind of state of the art rail system that our country needs, which will help us transport people and cargo in a much more non-polluting way.The bottom line is this is an issue that we cannot run away from. And of all my disagreements with Trump on virtually every issue, the idea that he continues to talk about climate change as a hoax or not real is so dangerous and so harmful, not only to our country but the world.The United States of America under a Sanders presidency will lead the world in transforming our energy system, create millions of jobs, create a less polluting society. And that is something we have no choice, that is something we have to do.”

History:

  • In 2015 Sanders joined Senators Merkley and Markey to introduce the “American Clean Energy Investment Act,” which would have made permanent tax credits for clean energy, incentivized energy efficiency upgrades and expanded access to electric vehicles.
  • Sanders co-sponsored Sen. Merkley’s “Keep It In the Ground Act” in 2015 and 2017 and his “100 by 50 Act” in 2017.
  • During the 2016 campaign, Sanders backed a national ban on fracking.  
  • On December 3, 2018, he held a virtual town hall on “Solving Our Climate Crisis” that featured noted environmental leaders such as Bill McKibben, Van Jones, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Republican mayor Dale Ross, who successfully transitioned his town to 100% renewable energy.
  • Sanders co-sponsored Senator Markey’s Green New Deal resolution. He wrote on Twitter saying:
  • “Climate change is an existential disaster facing the entire world. We must transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. A Green New Deal can save the planet and create millions of new jobs.”

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Rep. Eric Swallwell:

Bio:

Swalwell is the U.S. Representative for California’s 15th congressional district, covering much of the eastern San Francisco Bay.

Rollout:

  • In his announcement video, Swalwell mentions that “most Americans agree that to address climate chaos, to make sure your house doesn’t end up underwater or on fire, we should do something about it but make sure that we’re not pitting workers against their job.”
  • At his launch rally in Dublin, California, he told the crowd, “I will address, with your support, the issues that matter to this country honestly and apolitically like the former prosecutor that I am…. Climate chaos is the existential threat facing our planet and our very lives. But here’s the good news: fixing it will allow us to seize upon a massive economic opportunity. Because clean renewables in wind, solar, and fusion just like we do in Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are the keys to a new economy. And for the first time in history, businesses can now make more profit from the solution than they can make from deepening the problem. So let’s invest in those, set high labor standards, and make sure that climate change and climate chaos no longer starts an argument, it just starts a lot of people’s workdays.”

History:

  • In an interview with CNBC on February 11, Swalwell said that he’s supportive of principles of the Green New Deal. “If you’re a worker who is on a [gas or oil] pipeline, you should have a skills and wage guarantee as you transition from dirty fossil fuels to a green economy,” he said. He signed on as a cosponsor to the House Green New Deal resolution on February 25.
  • On April 1, he led 140 members of Congress in asking the Appropriations committee to increase funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) to at least $2.6 billion in 2020. “EERE plays a key role in advancing America’s ‘all of the above’ energy strategy,” he wrote, adding that “an overreliance on a limited range of fuel technologies and finite resources is short sighted – our strength lays in our ability to transition to new, cleaner, more sustainable and more innovative sources of energy.”

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President Donald J. Trump

Bio:

Trump is the 45th president of the United States. Prior to his election in 2016, Trump was a  hotelier, real estate developer and reality TV show personality. He is currently under investigation by federal authorities regarding multiple matters related to his businesses and his 2016 campaign.

Rollout:

  • Trump filed for re-election mere hours after his inauguration and officially launched his campaign on February 27, 2018. He has repeatedly dismissed the scientific consensus about climate change, claiming he has a “natural instinct for science.”
  • He recently told reporters that he doesn’t believe the findings from the U.S. 4th National Climate Assessment, produced by his own administration, which reinforced the scientific consensus that climate change is largely caused by human activity and warned of the dire consequences of continuing to emit greenhouse gasses at current levels.
  • He told the Washington Post later that “a lot of people like myself — we have very high levels of intelligence, but we’re not necessarily such believers [in climate change]. You look at our air and our water, and it’s right now at a record clean.”

NRDC’s Bob Deans has written at length about the environmental damage Trump and his administration have produced. Both NRDC (Trump Watch) and National Geographic have also kept a detailed timeline of all his administration’s changes to environmental policy, including air and water pollution deregulation and rollback of Obama era climate rules.

History:

  1. “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” (Nov 6, 2012)
  2. “It’s freezing outside, where the hell is ‘global warming’??” (May 25, 2013)
  3. “Ice storm rolls from Texas to Tennessee – I’m in Los Angeles and it’s freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!” (Dec 6, 2013)
  4. “Wow, it’s snowing in Isreal and on the pyramids in Egypt. Are we still wasting billions on the global warming con? MAKE U.S. COMPETITIVE!” (Dec 14, 2013)
  5. “When will our country stop wasting money on global warming and so many other truly “STUPID” things and begin to focus on lower taxes?” (Feb 4, 2014)
  6. “It’s late in July and it is really cold outside in New York. Where the hell is GLOBAL WARMING??? We need some fast! It’s now CLIMATE CHANGE” (July 28, 2014)
  7. “Just out – the POLAR ICE CAPS are at an all time high, the POLAR BEAR population has never been stronger. Where the hell is global warming?” (Oct 29, 2014)

 

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren:

Bio

Warren is the senior senator from Massachusetts.

Rollout:

  • While climate didn’t figure prominently in Warren’s exploratory committee announcement video. in the days afterward, her campaign told Axios that “Senator Warren has been a longtime advocate of aggressively addressing climate change and shifting toward renewables, and supports the idea of a Green New Deal to ambitiously tackle our climate crisis, economic inequality, and racial injustice.
  • When she announced her candidacy for president, Warren said “When it comes to climate change, our very existence is at stake. But Washington refuses to lift a finger without permission from the fossil fuel companies. That’s dangerous and it’s wrong!… Stop stalling on spending money, real money, on infrastructure, on clean energy and a Green New Deal!”
  • Warren co-sponsored Senator Markey’s Green New Deal resolution, saying, “If we want to live in a world with clean air and water, we have to take real action to combat climate change now. I’m proud to join Senator Markey and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez on a Green New Deal resolution to fight for our planet and our kids’ futures.”
  • In a Medium post on April 15, Warren outlined her largest policy proposal for addressing climate change:“Any serious effort to address climate change must include public lands — fossil fuel extraction in these areas is responsible for nearly a quarter of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The Trump administration, with its casual denial of science and apparent amnesia about massive crises like the BP oil spill, has also proposed opening nearly the entire U.S. coastline to seismic testing and offshore drilling. It is wrong to prioritize corporate profits over the health and safety of our local communities.

That’s why on my first day as president, I will sign an executive order that says no more drilling — a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases, including for drilling offshore and on public lands. I’d also reinstate the methane pollution rule to limit existing oil and gas projects from releasing harmful gases that poison our air, and reinstitute the clean water rule to protect our lakes, rivers, and streams, and the drinking water they provide.

And it’s not enough to end our public lands’ contribution to climate change. We have an enormous opportunity to make them a part of the climate solution, and for both economic and environmental reasons, we should take it…. As President, I will set a goal of providing 10% of our overall electricity generation from renewable sources offshore or on public lands. That’s nearly ten times what we are currently generating. We can achieve this goal while prioritizing sites with low impact on local ecology but high potential for renewable energy generation. My administration will make it a priority to expedite leases and incentivize development in existing designated areas, and share royalties from renewable generation with states and local communities to help promote economic development and reduce local dependence on fossil fuel revenues.”

Sharon Buccino, a senior adviser to the NRDC Action Fund, was quoted in a New York Times story on the policy, calling Ms. Warren’s plan a “responsible and visionary” way “to manage and protect our priceless lands and waters from exploitation and destruction.”

History:

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Gov. William Weld

Bio:

Weld is the former Republican governor of Massachusetts. He was Gary Johnson’s running mate on the Libertarian presidential ticket in 2016.

Rollout:

  • In his announcement that he will be mounting a primary challenge to Donald Trump, Weld cited climate change among his many reasons for entering the race: “The president is just not dealing with serious issues such as global warming and climate change. That’s a real threat to us as a country. And for the president to just say it’s a hoax, that’s not responsible government.”
  • On April 16 during a visit to New Hampshire, Weld again emphasized that he would take a different approach to climate change: “I wouldn’t turn my back on climate change and global warming the way Mr. Trump has. … The Republican Party should not put its head in the sand on climate change.”

History:

  • At a speech announcing his exploratory committee for president at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, Weld had this to say about climate change:

“With respect to the environment and climate change, the approach of the current administration is antithetical to every principle of conservation and conservatism, and every tenet of Theodore Roosevelt’s Grand Old Party. Whether it’s as protection of a fragile ecosystem or as stewardship of God’s creation, take your choice, there’s a pressing need to act on climate change. The United States must rejoin the Paris climate accords and adopt targets consistent with those of other industrialized nations. We must protect our economy, yes, but we must also recognize that increased natural disasters and unfamiliar weather patterns actually threaten to strip the snow from our white mountains and to melt all the mountain glaciers worldwide upon which hundreds of millions of people depend for their only water supply. Europe has its cathedrals and monuments. We have our mountains, canyons, valleys, rivers and streams, and we had damn well better take care of them. Our borders are safe here in New Hampshire, but it’s not a stretch to say if climate change isn’t addressed our coastlines and those of all other countries will be obliterated by storm surge and the melting of the polar ice cap. Yet climate skeptics claim that they are conservative!”

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In addition to these announced and potential candidates, the following people are being mentioned as possible candidates and we will post their comments and positions about climate change if and when they enter the presidential race.

  1. Stacy Abrams
  2. Sen. Michael Bennet
  3. Gov. Steve Bullock

Photo: Joe Crimmings