If CNN’s prime time programming is any guide, 2020 could be climate change’s year. Not in a doom-and-gloom, massive storm systems, and out-of-control wildfires way — though, sigh, that could happen too — but as a prominent issue in electoral politics. In early September, the cable news network devoted seven full hours to a series of town halls in which CNN anchors, climate scientists, and concerned citizens grilled 10 of the candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for president on their plans for tackling the climate crisis.

It’s a reflection of changing priorities. A poll published in early -July from the Washington Post and ABC News found that climate change came in second behind health care when voters who lean Democrat were asked what the most important issue would be in the 2020 general election. The same poll found that voters of all persuasions disapproved of how President Donald Trump has handled climate change more than any other issue — immigration, foreign policy, even “issues of special concern to women.”

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Discussions of climate policy have evolved in this election cycle. Democratic primary candidates initially would drop buzzwords like “Green New Deal” or “Paris accord” to give the sense that they were climate- conscious. But a vocal and seemingly omnipresent activist community has forced serious primary contenders to bone up on issues related to warming, from their stances on whether the country should continue fracking for natural gas, whether nuclear energy makes sense as part of a future energy mix, and whether there should be a price on carbon. With so many candidates and so many concerns, it’s easy to lose track of who stands for what. Which candidate has a plan to address the climate crisis that tracks most closely to what a voter (you, dear reader) might want?

That’s where we at Grist come in. We’ve assembled this handy, scannable candidate sorter so you can peruse the many many many candidates vying for your vote — and find your political soulmate.

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Happy sorting!

To see more of Grist’s 2020 election coverage, click here.

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Put a price on carbon, Open to new nuclear plants, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Invest in carbon capture, Address environmental injustices” quote=”To combat this crisis as fast as possible, we must reignite America’s ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit in a shared mission.” name=”Michael Bennet” title=”Senator, Colorado” image=”442168″ list1=”carbon capture, carbon tax, fracking, nuclear” list2=”fossil fuel subsidies, Green New Deal” list3=”fossil fuel exports, geoengineering” scorevalue1=”90%|http://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/michael-bennet” scorevalue2=”D+|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://twitter.com/NoFossilMoney/status/1143929545516617729?s=20′]

Bennet is a Democratic senator from Colorado who sees his record of working across the aisle as a key to winning in 2020. He won a razor-thin Senate election in 2010, despite Republicans picking up seats elsewhere in the purple state. He’s most well known for joining the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” to push for immigration reform in the Senate.

Bennet’s environmental record is mixed. He’s supported major climate bills, and the League of Conservation Voters has been his top campaign contributor throughout his Senate career. In November, he joined the Senate’s bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. But he’s also cast a handful of votes likely to alarm activists, according to the same League of Conservation Voters, such as one in support of the Keystone XL pipeline in 2013. His proposals to address climate change include cutting energy waste in half by 2040, holding a Climate Summit in the first 100 days of his administration, conserving one-third of federal lands, and awarding competitive grants to encourage green technology innovation.

His climate plan, by the numbers:

  • Net-zero emissions by 2050
  • Conserve 30 percent of federal lands by 2030
  • $1.5 trillion in investments in technology, research, and innovation facilitated by a federal “Climate Bank”

Read Bennett’s full plan here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Supports a Green New Deal, Put a price on carbon, Open to new nuclear plants, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Stop exporting fossil fuels, Invest in carbon capture, Address environmental injustices” quote=”The first thing I’d do as President of the United States is call a meeting of all the nations that signed onto the {Paris} accord in Washington, D.C., to up the ante.” name=”Joe Biden” title=”Former vice president” image=”429487″ list1=”carbon capture, carbon tax, fracking, Green New Deal, nuclear” list2=”Fossil fuel exports, fossil fuel subsidies” list3=”geoengineering,” scorevalue1=”83%|https://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/joe-biden” scorevalue2=”B+|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://twitter.com/joebiden/status/1144357988523659264′ ]
Depending on whom you ask, Biden is either an environmental OG or just plain behind the times. He was the first senator to introduce climate change legislation into Congress in 1987. He also played a role in the Obama administration’s work on fuel economy standards and the Paris Agreement, both of which he’s promised to recommit to.

Biden’s plans are less aggressive than some of his rivals’ when it comes to fossil fuels. He’s opposed to new drilling on federal lands, but hasn’t gone as far as calling for a ban against fracking. He also supports carbon capture technology to mitigate the impacts of oil, gas, and coal extraction, but is not offering any end dates on the use of coal power or timeline for decarbonizing the electrical grid. Most recently, Biden went all in on transportation and infrastructure with a new plan that includes investing in public transportation, a national electric vehicle-charging network, high-speed rail, building retrofits, and climate adaptation measures.

A noteworthy detail of the ex-veep’s climate platform: his commitment to net-zero emissions for the agricultural sector. That would be largely achieved by paying rural farmers to invest in carbon sequestration via healthier soil. He has also acknowledged the importance of the president’s use of executive orders as a tool to minimize emissions from fossil fuel extraction.

His climate plan, by the numbers:

  • 100 percent renewable energy and net-zero emissions by 2050
  • Net-zero emissions for the entire agricultural sector
  • $1.7 trillion federal investment over next decade/$5 trillion after leveraging private investments
  • $1.3 trillion over 10 years on infrastructure

Read Biden’s plan in full here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry” quote=”Mother Nature is not waiting on our political calendar, and neither can we.” name=”Michael Bloomberg” title=”Founder Bloomberg L.P. and former mayor of New York City” image=”442486″ list1=”” list2=”Fossil fuel subsidies, Green New Deal” list3=”Carbon capture, Carbon tax, Fossil fuel exports, Fracking, Geoengineering, Nuclear” scorevalue1=”N/A” scorevalue2=”D+|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=’Yes|https://www.mikebloomberg.com/news/mike-bloomberg-takes-no-fossil-fuel-pledge’ ]
The field of candidates for the nomination was already pretty crowded when the former mayor of New York City announced his candidacy in late-November. Bloomberg listed climate change as one of the issues that prompted him to jump in on the action with an entirely self-funded campaign. While some environmentalists don’t see a need for more Democratic candidates, there’s no denying Bloomberg’s climate bona fides. As mayor, he developed PlaNYC, a scheme for the city to reduce emissions and prepare for climate change. He also called for a national carbon tax way back in 2007.

After leaving public office, the billionaire has a lengthy track record of putting his money where his mouth is. Through Bloomberg Philanthropies, he supported efforts by American cities to fulfill Paris Agreement commitments, donated more than $100 million to the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign, and this summer expanded that funding with the announcement of a new $500 million campaign called “Beyond Carbon” to get the country on its way to a 100% clean energy economy in advance of the 2020 election. Bloomberg doesn’t just want the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement — he’s already personally donated millions to fill in financial gaps left by President Trump’s withdrawal. Despite his abundant spending record, the candidate’s new Clean Energy Plan doesn’t say how much the U.S. should dish out to transform the energy grid, though he does commit to shutting down all remaining coal plants and slowing the onslaught of natural gas expansion.

His climate plan, by the numbers:

  • Reduce total emissions by 50 percent in 10 years
  • 100 percent clean energy by 2050
  • 80 percent clean electricity by 2028

Read more about Bloomberg’s Plan for 100% Clean Power here, and his vision for “a bright, sustainable future” here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Supports a Green New Deal, Put a price on carbon, Open to new nuclear plants, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Stop exporting fossil fuels, Ban fracking, Address environmental injustices” quote=”Climate change is disproportionately borne by low-income communities and communities of color.” name=”Cory Booker” title=”Senator, New Jersey” image=”440076″ list1=”carbon capture, carbon tax, Green New Deal, nuclear” list2=”fossil fuel exports, fossil fuel subsidies, fracking” list3=”geoengineering” scorevalue1=”99%|https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/policy-2020/climate-change/?utm_term=.d8e56b2e7bed” scorevalue2=”A-|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://twitter.com/CoryBooker/status/1135298212636573698′]
The meat-avoiding, former college football-playing, New Jersey-repping, city-dwelling senator has become one of the most vocal candidates when it comes to calling out environmental injustices. As the former mayor of Newark — a city that is going through its own Flint-like lead water crisis — he has called for the creation of a White House-coordinated Environmental Justice Fund, which would commit $50 billion a year to “communities long left behind” when it comes to issues of pollution and climate change. The fund would include a national remediation program to replace lead water pipes in every school and home.

Booker’s $3 trillion climate plan would also set aside $400 billion for clean energy technology research and $100 billion to keep existing Department of Agriculture programs researching ways to make farms more climate-resilient. He is an unabashed fan of nuclear energy, recently voting in favor of nuclear research in the Senate. He has also voiced support for reinstating and strengthening fuel standards for cars and, obviously, rejoining the Paris accord. In December, he proposed channelling a $100 billion investment to historically black colleges and universities, in part to make the schools climate change research hubs.

His climate plan, by the numbers:

  • $3 trillion direct federal investment by 2030
  • 100 percent carbon neutral by 2045
  • 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2030
  • $400 billion investment by 2030 in research and development of emissions-reduction technologies
  • Create a $50 billion per year U.S. Environmental Justice Fund

Read Booker’s plan in full here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-featurette-block image=”430712″ header=”How do green groups grade candidates?”]
Just how “green” are each of the presidential hopefuls in the 2020 election? It depends on who is doing the grading. We’ve included candidates’ scores provided by two major environmental groups — Greenpeace and the League of Conservation Voters — in “My Climate Candidate.”

Let’s start with Greenpeace. The well-known environmental activist outfit rates candidates based on their commitment to phasing out existing fossil fuel infrastructure, as well as to what degree they are championing elements of the Green New Deal resolution, introduced into Congress this past winter by New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey. The group examined candidates’ public statements and sent them a #Climate2020 Survey, which asks for responses to prompts like “Do you commit to keeping the United States in the Paris Climate Agreement?” and “Do you support re-imposing limits on crude oil exports?”


A large part of the survey asks about policies that ensure workers and vulnerable communities won’t be left behind in a shift to a greener U.S. economy. Candidates with more in-depth or ambitious climate plans were awarded more points, though only a handful of candidates apparently responded to the survey itself. Greenpeace’s grades are updated periodically depending on a candidate’s most recent statements.

The League of Conservation Voters Scorecard, on the other hand, is less about perceived passion and more about results. The group “tracks the voting records of members of Congress on environmental issues,” which in 2018 meant scoring 35 votes related to “energy, global warming, public health, public lands and wildlife conservation, and spending for environmental programs.” The LCV also looks at whether representatives supported Trump nominees who the organization felt were potentially harmful to the environment. The scorecard is a useful tool for policy wonks, but not always applicable in the case of candidates who have never served in Congress, such as Tom Steyer.
[/grist-featurette-block]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Put a price on carbon, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Invest in carbon capture” quote=”As Big Oil reaps huge profits and takes over our public lands, our politicians stand by and do literally nothing to deal with the climate crisis.” name=”Steve Bullock” title=”Governor of Montana” image=”437603″ list1=”carbon capture, carbon tax, fossil fuel exports” list2=”Green New Deal, nuclear” list3=”fossil fuel subsidies, fracking, geoengineering” scorevalue1=”N/A” scorevalue2=”D” scorevalue3=’No’]
The Montana governor’s presidential campaign is all about “One Big Idea”: to get money out of politics. Could you make the case that restricting the fossil fuel industry’s outsized political influence would be good for enacting climate policy? Sure you can. However, environmentalists would likely bristle at reports that he supports the Keystone XL pipeline (“if it’s done right”) and that he has opposed pollution regulations for power plants as well as an oil-lease moratorium on public lands.

His climate plan, by the numbers:

  • Carbon neutral by 2040
  • Net-zero emissions on federal lands by 2030
  • Cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by investing in more efficient homes and infrastructure

Read Bullock’s climate plan here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Supports a Green New Deal, Put a price on carbon, Open to new nuclear plants, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Invest in carbon capture, Ban fracking, Address environmental injustices” quote=”We need to unify the country around this project, and that means bringing people to the table who haven’t been a part of that process.” name=”Pete Buttigieg” title=”Mayor of South Bend, Indiana” image=”442485″ list1=”carbon capture, carbon tax, Green New Deal” list2=”fossil fuel subsidies, fracking” list3=”fossil fuel exports, geoengineering, nuclear” scorevalue1=”N/A” scorevalue2=”B|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://twitter.com/PeteButtigieg/status/1110964993942536192′]
As mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Buttigieg’s record has some small-town flashes of green, but until late summer, it hadn’t been clear how a President Buttigieg would take on the climate crisis nationally. That changed in early September, when he released his plan ahead of the CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall. It includes a revenue-neutral carbon tax, which he says he’ll implement through a mix of executive and legislative actions. That’s no surprise considering bipartisanship is the name of the climate game in Buttigieg’s eyes.

Mayor Pete’s campaign has focused on reaching folks in America’s oft-ignored (and now frequently flooding) heartland, like farmers and religious communities. One policy unique to Buttigieg: He wants to spend $5 billion in annual grants for Regional Resilience Hubs to mitigate climate-related disasters. He’d also start a “Climate Corps,” sort of like Americorps, to put a million young people to work on projects related to sustainability and resilience.

His climate plan, by the numbers:

  • $200+ billion in federal clean energy R&D funding over 10 years
  • $200 billion fund to retrain workers whose jobs would be phased out in a shift to a green economy
  • $250 billion for American Clean Energy Bank to spur cleantech and sustainability projects
  • $250 billion for Global Investment Initiative to spread clean American technologies to developing nations

Read Buttigieg’s plan in full here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Supports a Green New Deal, Put a price on carbon, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Address environmental injustices” quote=”Seventy percent of HUD-funded public housing or subsidized housing was within a mile of a Superfund site. … That’s the environmental injustice and racism that we’re dealing with.” name=”Julián Castro” title=”Former secretary of Housing and Urban Development and mayor of San Antonio, Texas” image=”439190″ list1=”carbon tax, Green New Deal” list2=”fossil fuel subsidies, nuclear” list3=”carbon capture, fossil fuel exports, fracking, geoengineering” scorevalue1=”N/A” scorevalue2=”B+|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://twitter.com/JulianCastro/status/1131665734109671431′]
The former mayor of San Antonio has a mixed history when it comes to the environment. While in office, he supported efforts to shut down a coal-fired power plant, increased the city’s renewable energy portfolio, and invested in bike shares and clean jobs training. But the native Texan also flip-flopped on a golf course that developers wanted to build over an environmentally-sensitive aquifer that is a crucial water source for the region. And he supported fracking for the jobs it would bring to his South Texas city.

But now Castro seems eager to distinguish himself from the other candidates with a climate plan that frames a clean and healthy environment as a civil rights issue. It calls for reforming the Environmental Protection Agency’s civil rights division — which has historically been slow to handle environmental discrimination claims — creating a “climate refugee” category for people forced to migrate as a result of climate-driven conflicts, and establishing a National Climate Council. Castro’s climate strategy also includes an animal welfare and anti-extinction component — his answer to the United Nations’ warning that humanity is on track to wipe out 1 million species. No other candidate has released a similar plan.

His climate plan, by the numbers:

  • Net-zero emissions by 2045 and at least 50 percent emissions reduction by 2030
  • $10 trillion investment over 10 years to build a 100 percent clean energy economy
  • Transition all energy from coal to renewables by 2030
  • Protect 30 percent of federal lands by 2030, 50 percent by 2050
  • He also has a separate $50 billion lead cleanup plan

Read Castro’s climate plan in full here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Supports a Green New Deal, Put a price on carbon, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Ban fracking” quote=”Fighting climate change can be a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.” name=”Bill de Blasio” title=”Mayor of New York City” image=”436002″ list1=”carbon tax, Green New Deal” list2=”fossil fuel subsidies, fracking, nuclear” list3=”carbon capture, fossil fuel exports, geoengineering” scorevalue1=”N/A” scorevalue2=”B+|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://twitter.com/BilldeBlasio/status/1138556950503989248?s=20′]
The New York City mayor hasn’t shared an official climate platform as part of his presidential campaign, but de Blasio has overseen some major wins during his time running the Big Apple. In 2017, he committed the city to achieving the targets of the Paris Agreement. In April, he signed a bill mandating that 50,000 buildings in the city — responsible for 70 percent of NYC’s carbon footprint — slash their emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

Despite de Blasio’s city-level climate cred, he hasn’t been able to take it national. Before he officially announced his candidacy, de Blasio attempted to put Donald Trump on blast by pointing to the high carbon footprint of the president’s NYC real estate holdings. The press conference, which was held in front of Trump Tower, didn’t quite go to plan, with Trump supporters shouting over the mayor and critics complaining that de Blasio arrived at a supposedly “green” event in an SUV.

Read about de Blasio’s climate record here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-featurette-block image=”430724″ header=”What’s the Green New Deal?”]
Of all the climate policy catchphrases uttered during the lead up to the 2020 presidential race, none are invoked so frequently as “the Green New Deal.” While Bernie Sanders has appropriated the term for his own climate-focused plan, the original Green New Deal is a proposal introduced in Congress back in February by New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey.

The ambitious, non-binding resolution — i.e., not actual legislation — outlines a 10-year, multi-sector vision for transforming society into a green engine of change: promoting economic, infrastructure, and clean energy investment while aggressively ramping down to net-zero emissions as soon as possible. Here are a few highlights of the deal’s lofty goals:

  • Meet “100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources”
  • Upgrade all existing buildings in the country for energy efficiency
  • Work with farmers “to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions” as much as is technologically feasible while promoting “universal access to healthy food”
  • Reduce transportation emissions by increasing electric car manufacturing, building “charging stations everywhere,” and expanding high-speed rail to “a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary”

The proposal also calls for universal health care and a guarantee of jobs with “family-sustaining” wages and benefits. In other words, it aims to meet its ambitious goals while paying special attention to groups like fossil fuel workers, who would lose their livelihoods in such a sweeping transition.

So how likely is the Green New Deal to, you know, actually happen? Most experts say it would require a Democratically controlled Congress and White House (and even then, it might be a stretch). But according to a recent poll, 63 percent of adults nationally support the idea, and aspects of the proposal are showing up in the climate plans of many Democratic 2020 hopefuls.
[/grist-featurette-block]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Put a price on carbon, Open to new nuclear plants, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Invest in carbon capture” quote=”We can achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 by working together to pass effective bipartisan solutions that put our working families first.” name=”John Delaney” title=”Former representative, Maryland” image=”441845″ list1=”carbon capture, carbon tax, fossil fuel exports, fracking, nuclear” list2=”fossil fuel subsidies, Green New Deal” list3=”geoengineering” scorevalue1=”94%|http://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/john-k-delaney” scorevalue2=”C-|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=”No”]
The former businessman, who founded a health care company and a commercial lending outfit, served three terms in Congress. In 2016, he introduced a resolution calling for a transition to 50 percent renewable energy sources by 2030. And he was a “lead co-sponsor” on the bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2018.

His $4 trillion climate plan includes a carbon tax in which revenue raised would go back to American taxpayers who would then have the option of putting the money in a college savings or retirement account. Delaney also wants to end fossil fuel subsidies and use the money saved to fund research and development of negative emissions technologies like carbon capture. He wants to construct a $20 billion “Carbon Throughway” that will allow for the safe transport of the greenhouse gas for either sequestration or reuse.

His climate plan, by the numbers:

  • Net-zero emissions by 2050
  • $4 trillion in federal investments
  • 5-fold increase in renewable energy research budget
  • $20 billion Carbon Throughway for transporting carbon dioxide

Read Delaney’s full plan here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Supports a Green New Deal, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Stop exporting fossil fuels, Invest in carbon capture, Ban fracking, Address environmental injustices” quote=”I grew up in Hawaii, which is the most remote island chain in the world. So for us growing up there, protecting our environment was not a political issue, it’s a way of life.” name=”Tulsi Gabbard” title=”Representative, Hawaii” image=”442164″ list1=”carbon capture, Green New Deal” list2=”carbon tax, fossil fuel exports, fossil fuel subsidies, fracking, nuclear” list3=”geoengineering” scorevalue1=”96%|http://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/tulsi-gabbard” scorevalue2=”B|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://twitter.com/sunrisemvmt/status/1002932587525038080′]
Gabbard was elected to the House of Representatives in 2012. In 2017, she introduced the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act, or OFF Act, which laid out a plan to get the country running only on clean energy by 2035. It would repeal tax credits for fossil fuel companies and use the revenue to invest in everything from helping low-income people make energy efficiency improvements to their home to rebates for buying electric vehicles.

Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran, was one of the early supporters of the Green New Deal, but decided against being a co-sponsor. Although she is in favor of the resolution’s carbon-neutral goals, Gabbard said she does “not support ‘leaving the door open’ to nuclear power unless and until there is a permanent solution to the problem of nuclear waste.”

Her climate plan, by the numbers:

  • Net-zero emissions by 2050
  • Conserve 30 percent of federal lands by 2030
  • $1.5 trillion in investments in technology, research, and innovation facilitated by a federal “Climate Bank”

Read where Gabbard stands on the climate here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Supports a Green New Deal, Put a price on carbon, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Ban fracking, Address environmental injustices” quote=”{Polluters} have to be held accountable … They are causing harm and death in our communities.” name=”Kamala Harris” title=”Senator, California” image=”437604″ list1=”carbon tax, Green New Deal” list2=”fossil fuel subsidies, fracking” list3=”carbon capture, fossil fuel exports, geoengineering, nuclear” scorevalue1=”100%|http://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/kamala-harris” scorevalue2=”B+|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://twitter.com/RL_Miller/status/1134860151083503616′]
As California attorney general, Harris sued several fossil fuel companies for allegedly contributing to environmental degradation, ordered an investigation into whether ExxonMobil lied to shareholders about the risks of climate change, and filed criminal indictments against a pipeline company. That prosecutorial experience plays a big role in her climate pitch, which focuses on holding polluters accountable and seeking justice for the communities most affected by pollution and an overheating planet. She has a proven track record in the Senate, where she recently introduced a bill to spend $1 billion annually shoring up community defenses against wildfires.

Harris has promised to pass the Climate Equity Act, draft legislation she announced with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in July which would give frontline communities a voice in crafting climate legislation and regulations. She’s also promised to create an Office of Climate and Environmental Justice Accountability. Harris is an original co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, and mentions the resolution frequently on the campaign trail.

Her climate plan, by the numbers:

  • $10 trillion in public and private spending over 10 years
  • 100 percent carbon-neutral electricity by 2030
  • 100 percent zero-emission new passenger vehicles by 2035
  • 30 percent of all U.S. land and ocean protected by 2030
  • $250 billion to repair and replace drinking water infrastructure

Read Harris’ climate plan here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Supports a Green New Deal, Put a price on carbon, Open to new nuclear plants, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Invest in carbon capture, Address environmental injustices” quote=”When you have a president that takes this on as a mission, you have to do the big things and transfer and get out of fossil fuels and move to clean energy. But you also have to talk the talk to make this a mission, so people also do the little things.” name=”Amy Klobuchar” title=”Senator, Minnesota” image=”442481″ list1=”carbon capture, carbon tax, fracking, Green New Deal, nuclear” list2=” fossil fuel subsidies” list3=”fossil fuel exports, geoengineering” scorevalue1=”96%|http://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/amy-klobuchar” scorevalue2=”C+|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://twitter.com/amyklobuchar/status/1130433071755517953′]
The Minnesota senator is a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, and the majority of her environmental platform centers around re-upping Obama-era measures undone by President Trump, including reentering the Paris Agreement and restoring clean power regulations and fuel mileage standards. Like Pete Buttigieg she constantly reps the Midwest and sees it as an integral part of any meaningful climate solution.

In September, Klobuchar announced a $1 trillion plan in which she promised to “take aggressive executive action to confront” climate change. She wants to revive the National Climate Assessment Advisory Committee that Trump let expire, slash the federal government’s massive carbon footprint, and pass a carbon tax. She’s one of three candidates pushing carbon capture technology. When pressed during CNN’s climate town hall about phasing out fossil fuels, however, she was less aggressive than some of her fellow candidates: “I don’t think we can phase it out in a few years,” she said. “You have to do it over a period of time and do it in a way that keeps our economy going and our economy strong.”

Her climate plan, by the numbers:

  • 100 percent net-zero emissions no later than 2050
  • $1 trillion infrastructure package that includes investments in green jobs

Read Klobuchar’s Climate Plan here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-featurette-block image=”430656″ header=”How former “climate candidate” Jay Inslee shaped the 2020 race”]
This spring, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced his candidacy for president in front of roughly 100 people at a small solar power facility in Seattle. It was a fitting setting, given what Inslee set out to do: center his campaign around the climate fight.

Before he dropped out of the race in mid-August, Inslee bestowed upon the American people a veritable roadmap for achieving a green-energy future. Climate-related proposals from the likes of Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, and even Elizabeth “I have a plan for that” Warren have paled in comparison to Inslee’s. (Warren’s sixth climate plan borrowed heavily from Inslee’s plan, with the climate candidate’s blessing.)

Inslee’s nearly 200-page platform arrived in six near-monthly installments and fused climate change to a host of other critical issues in the presidential race: His clean energy economy plan aimed to lessen inequality and boost job growth. His rural prosperity plan sought to save American farmers. His plan to encourage international action on climate included new trade policies. Now his platform is open source — and available to all of his former rivals.


But the governor wasn’t just an ideas guy. With the aid of a vocal climate activist network, he helped focus his party and fellow candidates on climate. The governor took the lead in putting pressure on the Democratic National Convention to host a climate-themed debate. Current Democratic primary frontrunner Joe Biden (literally) took a page out of Inslee’s book when crafting his own climate platform. Cory Booker deferred to Inslee’s environmental expertise on the debate stage. And the morning after Inslee dropped out, Bernie Sanders effectively picked up what Inslee had been laying down, unveiling a mammoth, $16 trillion climate plan.

So pour one out for Jay Inslee, who will not be president. But raise a glass to his climate plans — parts of which could someday see the inside of the White House.
[/grist-featurette-block]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Ban fracking” quote=”America needs to be a leader in terms of being good stewards to our environment. It’s not an issue of just climate change. But when we act, we become more resilient as a state because we’ll improve our infrastructure — it’ll put Americans to work.” name=”Wayne Messam” title=”Mayor of Miramar, Florida” image=”436143″ list1=”N/A” list2=”fossil fuel subsidies, fracking, Green New Deal, nuclear” list3=”carbon capture, carbon tax, fossil fuel exports, geoengineering” scorevalue1=”N/A” scorevalue2=”N/A” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://twitter.com/WayneMessam/status/1111614899275354112′]
Messam founded a “climate-conscious” construction management company that helped build LEED Platinum certified Galaxy Elementary School in Boynton Beach, Florida, among other projects. According to Messam, it’s “the greenest school in the southeastern United States.” The son of Jamaican immigrants then turned to politics and was elected mayor of Miramar, 20 miles north of Miami, in 2015.

Messam’s climate plans remain murky, but in interviews he has repeatedly heralded the promise of renewable energy. He cites Florida having to shut down nuclear plants during tropical storms as evidence that the United States shouldn’t rely on that technology as part of a future energy mix. He is open to a carbon tax, but favors a “comprehensive energy strategy” — saying such a strategy would preclude the need for a carbon fee.

Read Messam’s take on the climate crisis here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Supports a Green New Deal, Put a price on carbon, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Address environmental injustices” quote=”Our community {the city of El Paso, Texas} will be uninhabitable, will not sustain human life, along this current trajectory, unless something dramatically and fundamentally changes.” name=”Beto O’Rourke” title=”Former representative, Texas” image=”436001″ list1=”Green New Deal” list2=”carbon tax, fossil fuel subsidies” list3=”carbon capture, fossil fuel exports, fracking, nuclear, geoengineering” scorevalue1=”95%|http://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/beto-orourke” scorevalue2=”B-|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://twitter.com/BetoORourke/status/1123729447851626498′]
The former congressman from Texas was the first Democratic presidential candidate to release a comprehensive climate plan, way back in April. It was a surprising turn, considering that representing an oil-friendly state had not always put him on the same side as environmentalists. As a congressman, he supported lifting a ban on crude oil exports and using federal dollars to study offshore drilling. During his unsuccessful Senate campaign in 2018, he promoted fracking as central to national security. He was added to, then taken off, the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge list after accepting more than $400,000 in donations from people working in the oil and gas industry. (He later returned the money.)

His tune has changed during his presidential run. First, he put out his climate plan that pledges $5 trillion over 10 years aimed at “boosting our overall economic, energy, and climate security.” After an intervention from students at The College of William & Mary, he signed the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge in early May. He has reversed his position on offshore drilling, but defended his decision to lift the crude oil ban citing poor environmental laws in other oil-producing countries. And in early September, he came out for pricing carbon via a cap-and-trade system, in which companies would be weaned off their polluting ways with a shrinking number of allowances for purchase each year.

His climate plan, by the numbers:

  • Net-zero emissions by 2050
  • $1.5 trillion in direct federal investment in innovation and infrastructure to compel for $5 trillion in total spending
  • Set a net-zero emissions by 2030 carbon budget for federal lands

Read O’Rourke’s plan in full here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”” quote=”I think we should see this crisis as an opportunity. We should get the most out of it for our own safety, but also as a way to transition ourselves to a new economic model.” name=”Deval Patrick” title=”Former governor of Massachusetts” image=”442167″ list1=”N/A” list2=”Green New Deal” list3=”nuclear, carbon tax, carbon capture, fossil fuel subsidies, fossil fuel exports” scorevalue1=”N/A” scorevalue2=”No grade|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=’No|http://nofossilfuelmoney.org/presidential-signers/’]

It’s tricky to nail down Deval Patrick — who entered the race in mid-November — on climate. On one hand, he worked as general council for oil giant Texaco (which has since merged with Chevron) for a couple years, before he ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2007.

On the other hand, as governor, he committed Massachusetts to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a nine-group project putting a market cap on carbon emissions from power plants. Patrick also invested in renewable energy, growing his state’s solar capacity up to the eighth-highest in the nation by the end of his time as governor. While in office he also signed into law a measure requiring that all diesel and oil to heat homes sold in the state be at least 5 percent biofuel within five years. And one of the first things Patrick did on the campaign trail was to meet with Iowa State Senator Robb Hogg to talk climate.

Read Patrick’s vision for America here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Open to new nuclear plants, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry” quote=”You cannot get there on climate unless we talk about agriculture. We need to convert our industrial agriculture system over to a sustainable and regenerative agriculture system that actually sequesters carbon.” name=”Tim Ryan” title=”Representative, Ohio” image=”436000″ list1=”fossil fuel exports, fracking, nuclear” list2=”fossil fuel subsidies, Green New Deal” list3=”carbon capture, carbon tax, geoengineering” scorevalue1=”92%|http://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/tim-ryan” scorevalue2=”D+|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://twitter.com/TimRyan/status/1138981177916907520?s=20′]
The congressman from Ohio has focused on polishing up the Rust Belt, and other economically depressed parts of the country, by supporting unions and protecting manufacturing jobs from free trade. That position, and his lifelong membership in the National Rifle Association, might endear him to voters who had left the Democratic party to vote for Trump in 2016.

But Ryan doesn’t fit the stereotype of a pro-union conservative: He practices yoga, hosts bipartisan meditation sessions for congressional staffers, and has written two books on mindfulness and another condemning the industrial food system. Though other candidates have pages of policy proposals to combat climate change, Ryan has a few paragraphs suggesting that he would invest in carbon-free technologies and look for job-creation opportunities while the country switches to clean energy.

Read Ryan’s position on climate here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Supports a Green New Deal, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Stop exporting fossil fuels, Ban fracking, Address environmental injustices” quote=”In the view of the scientists who have studied this issue the most, we are fighting for the survival of the planet Earth, our only planet. How is this not a major priority? It must be a major priority.” name=”Bernie Sanders” title=”Senator, Vermont” image=”454503″ list1=”Green New Deal” list2=”carbon capture, fossil fuel exports, fossil fuel subsidies, fracking, geoengineering, nuclear” list3=”Carbon tax” scorevalue1=”92%|http://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/bernie-sanders” scorevalue2=”A+” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://twitter.com/berniesanders/status/1111267731528208384′]
The senator from Vermont has doubled down on the idea of a Green New Deal. Not only is he a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal resolution, but he chose the same name for his own $16.3 trillion climate plan. Now he has freshman phenom Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s official backing and recently hit the road in Iowa specifically to tout his climate agenda. Sanders’ enthusiasm for the environment is nothing new: He was raising hell about warming back in the ‘80s, introduced an aggressive cap-and-dividend bill to the Senate in 2013, and called climate change the greatest threat to national security during his 2016 presidential run.

Sanders says his ambitious 2020 climate plan will pay for itself in 15 years. It involves massive investment in solar, wind, and geothermal energy projects, and it slams what the senator calls “false solutions,” including nuclear energy, carbon capture and sequestration technology, and geoengineering. The proposal also takes aim at fossil fuel companies with stronger penalties on polluters and promises to sic the federal governments’ lawyers on Big Oil, just as they were focused on Big Tobacco in the 1980s.

One element of his 2016 plan that apparently didn’t survive the past four years? A carbon tax.

His climate plan, by the numbers:

  • 100 percent renewable energy and net-zero emissions by 2050
  • $16.3 trillion in federal dollars on “a 10-year, nationwide mobilization centered around justice and equity”
  • 20 million “good-paying, unionized jobs”
  • $40 billion to create a Climate Justice Resiliency Fund to help communities of color prepare for climate impacts

Read Sanders’ Green New Deal plan here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-featurette-block image=”430725″ header=”Why are candidates divided on nuclear and carbon capture?”]
Nuclear power and carbon capture technology are two potentially powerful tools to reduce the amount of planet-warming emissions floating around in the atmosphere. So why are they so controversial in environmental circles?

Let’s start with nuclear power. On the plus side, nuclear generators do not burn fossil fuel, and therefore do not produce greenhouse gas emissions. But nuclear power is fairly unpopular: Many people worry about the radioactive waste generated by nuclear plants, which needs to be stored safely until it is no longer hazardous (i.e., for tens of thousands of years). And then there’s the whole “Chernobyl” fear. For one swath of ecologically minded voters, the word “nuclear” evokes radioactive nightmares like mushroom clouds and the 2011 reactor meltdowns in Fukushima, Japan.

The opposition to carbon capture technology is less fear-based and has more to do with the danger of giving plants that slash greenhouse gas emissions license to keep belching other pollutants. Carbon capture facilities are basically giant filters, typically attached to the end of fossil fuel-fired power plants: The technology solves the climate problem of too many greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere but doesn’t prevent public health effects caused by soot raining down from smokestacks.


Bernie Sanders is the most opposed to carbon capture technology and nuclear energy, calling them “false solutions,” while other candidates range from marginal acceptance to outright embrace. While nuclear disasters and waste grip public imagination, advocates point out that fossil fuel energy does much more damage: We’ve just gotten so used to old-fashioned fossil-fuel explosions, waste, and radiation that we no longer notice it. Fans of nuclear energy also point to newer kinds of plants as the way forward. But both carbon capture and nuclear are expensive technologies that would likely require massive government support going toward some form of big business. Recent attempts to build both nuclear and carbon-capture plants have gone billions of dollars over budget.

But politics aside, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests the world will need both carbon capture and nuclear tech: Most of the scenarios it modeled for avoiding 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming require the world to build more of both kinds of plants. And no IPCC scenario stays below that temperature if we shut down existing nuclear plants as soon as possible.
[/grist-featurette-block]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”” quote=”On this issue, the scientific consensus fits with what I’ve seen firsthand, and that is that it’s real” name=”Mark Sanford” title=”Former representative and governor of South Carolina.” image=”435999″ list1=”N/A” list2=”N/A” list3=”carbon capture, carbon tax, fossil fuel exports, fossil fuel subsidies, fracking, Green New Deal, geoengineering, nuclear” scorevalue1=”28%|http://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/mark-sanford” scorevalue2=”N/A” scorevalue3=’No’]
The most recent Republican to announce a long-shot bid for the 2020 nomination, Sanford acknowledges the existence of climate change (which is more than you can say about his party’s presumptive nominee). He says he’s seen the effects firsthand at his family’s farm in South Carolina, where rising sea levels have turned low-lying land into salt flats.

His positions on some environmental issues are murky. On the one hand, the briefly famous “Love Gov” conserved more land in South Carolina than any other governor and was one of around a dozen House Republicans to break party ranks and support a bill addressing climate change in 2017. On the other, Sanford voted against ratifying the Kyoto Protocol and consistently opposed regulatory measures to protect the environment while in Congress.

Read Sanford’s position in full here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Put a price on carbon, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Stop exporting fossil fuels, Ban fracking” quote=”It is our solemn duty to be good ancestors for the people of the future.” name=”Joe Sestak” title=”Former representative, Pennsylvania” image=”437602″ list1=”carbon tax” list2=”fossil fuel exports, fossil fuel subsidies, fracking, Green New Deal, nuclear” list3=”carbon capture, geoengineering” scorevalue1=”96%|http://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/joe-sestak” scorevalue2=”N/A” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://twitter.com/JoeSestak/status/1147303814380380160?s=20′]
After serving as a three-star admiral in the Navy, Sestak ran for public office. He walked across the entire state of Pennsylvania during his campaign to be elected to the House of Representatives, where he supported legislation to ban fracking, protect waterways, and invest in clean energy infrastructure.

Sestak has made restoring government accountability a priority in his presidential campaign and has pointed to climate as a key issue. Sestak calls for ending fossil fuel dependency, implementing a carbon tax, and adopting more sustainable, carbon-capturing agricultural practices, though he hasn’t laid out any timelines.

His climate plan, by the numbers:

  • Net-zero emissions by 2050

Read Sestak’s full position here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Supports a Green New Deal, Ban fracking, Put a price on carbon, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Address environmental injustices” quote=”On day one of my presidency, I will declare the climate crisis a national emergency.” name=”Tom Steyer” title=”Founder, NextGen Climate” image=”442165″ list1=”carbon tax, Green New Deal” list2=”fossil fuel subsidies, fracking” list3=”carbon capture, fossil fuel exports, geoengineering, nuclear” scorevalue1=”N/A” scorevalue2=”A-|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://www.tomsteyer.com/press/tom-steyer-signs-no-fossil-fuel-money-pledge/’]
After saying he would not run, the hedge fund billionaire turned climate activist and impeachment proponent joined the race in July. His case that Democrats need a climate-focused candidate became a lot stronger when Jay Inslee bowed out in August. After retiring from finance, Steyer has devoted his time and money to efforts aimed at reversing climate change. He’s donated millions to politicians who promise to take action on climate change, and founded the nonprofit NextGen to get young people voting.

Shortly after declaring his candidacy, Steyer released his “Justice-Centered Climate Plan.” The League of Conservation Voters says it “prioritizes community-driven climate solutions while investing in family sustaining jobs.” It also ends giveaways to polluting industries and sets a target of hitting net-zero emissions by 2045.

His climate plan, by the numbers:

  • Spend $250 billion on a Civilian Climate Corps
  • $2 trillion on infrastructure
  • $50 billion to rehabilitate communities dependent on fossil fuel industries
  • Eliminate unhealthy air pollution by 2030
  • Net-zero emissions by 2045

Read Steyer’s plan here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Open to new nuclear plants” quote=”I want crystal clean water and the cleanest and the purest air on the planet — we’ve now got that!” name=”Donald Trump” title=”President of the United States” image=”429474″ list1=”fossil fuel exports, fossil fuel subsidies, fracking, nuclear” list2=”carbon capture, carbon tax, Green New Deal” list3=”geoengineering” scorevalue1=”N/A” scorevalue2=”F|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=”N/A”]
Well, where to begin? After calling climate change a “hoax” during his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump has spent his first term equating weather with climate, undoing environmental regulations, stifling or even denying his own administration’s climate change research, announcing the country’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, replacing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan with the less-ambitious “Affordable Clean Energy Rule,” insulting Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, trying to bail out the floundering coal industry, and crippling the Endangered Species Act. He believes coal is “beautiful” and that wind turbines cause cancer. We could go on.

If Trump were to win a second term, it’s hard to imagine that he would take any action to fight climate change despite his claims (made after skipping a climate meeting at the G7) that he is an “environmentalist” and knows “more about the environment than most people.”
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-featurette-block image=”430718″ header=”What is a carbon tax, anyway?”]
Back in 1973, the country found itself in the middle of a gas shortage. After the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries declared an oil embargo on the United States for its support of Israel, drivers languished in insanely long lines at filling stations where reserves were dwindling.

The oil crisis gave David G. Wilson, then an engineering professor at MIT, an idea: What if we put a tax on fossil fuels to incentivize people to conserve them, and then gave all the revenue back to American households in the form of a check?

With that basic idea, Wilson gave birth to what’s known as the “revenue-neutral” carbon tax, which the country’s top economists consider the most cost-effective way to reduce carbon emissions. Today, more than 40 countries have implemented some way of putting a price on carbon, but most are considered too low to be truly effective. There’s nothing resembling a carbon tax in the U.S., though California and some northeastern states have “cap-and-trade” programs, a similar sort of scheme to limit greenhouse gas emissions.


Although there are very vocal opponents across the political spectrum, many progressives and conservatives have gotten behind the general idea of putting a price on carbon. Heck, even oil companies like ExxonMobil and Shell claim to support a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

The problem is, passing a tax isn’t wildly popular with voters. And even if different sides can agree on the basics, they don’t agree on the details. One major point of contention: What to do with the revenue? Conservatives tend to prefer sending a check back to American citizens to offset higher gas prices or home heating bills. Progressives favor using the money to invest in renewables and poorer communities. Amid the quibbling, billions of tons of CO2 continue to spew into the atmosphere, and the planet just gets hotter and hotter.
[/grist-featurette-block]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”” quote=”lol climate change…or global warming…or whatever they’re calling it now.” name=”Joe Walsh” title=”Former representative from Illinois” image=”442156″ list1=”N/A” list2=”N/A” list3=”carbon capture, carbon tax, fossil fuel exports, fossil fuel subsidies, fracking, geoengineering, Green New Deal, nuclear” scorevalue1=”4%|http://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/joe-walsh” scorevalue2=”Not scored” scorevalue3=’No’]
Walsh is a conservative talk show host who was temporarily kicked off the air for using racial slurs in 2014 and worked for the Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank. He went from being a Trump supporter in 2016 to one of the president’s primary challengers this cycle.

Climate and environment don’t seem to be central issues in his campaign, but Walsh’s congressional record speaks for itself. He was elected to the House in the 2010 wave of Tea Party candidates and served for one term, during which he voted against regulating polluting corporations and earned an overall score of 4 percent from the League of Conservation Voters. Although in the past he’s been pretty dismissive of climate change, in more recent interviews, Walsh said that his party needs to acknowledge it’s happening and start looking into what it can do about it.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Supports a Green New Deal, Put a price on carbon, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Stop exporting fossil fuels, Ban fracking, Address environmental injustices” quote=”The fossil fuel industry wants us to talk about light bulbs and cheeseburgers, so we don’t talk about how 70 percent of pollution comes from transportation, electricity production, and buildings.” name=”Elizabeth Warren” title=”Senator, Massachusetts” image=”442482″ list1=”carbon tax, Green New Deal” list2=”fossil fuel exports, fossil fuel subsidies, fracking, nuclear” list3=”carbon capture, geoengineering” scorevalue1=”99%|http://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/elizabeth-warren” scorevalue2=”A|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://twitter.com/ewarren/status/1132054820012138497?s=20′]
Warren’s self-proclaimed top-ticket issue is building an economy that “works for everyone,” so her climate action strategy has largely focused regulating corporations and creating jobs. In the Senate, Warren is a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, and introduced legislation last fall that would require corporations to disclose all climate-related risks.

Her “100% Clean Energy for America” plan (one of her eight climate-related proposals) aims to eliminate emissions from buildings, cars, and the electricity sector by 2028, 2030, and 2035, respectively. It builds on a portion of Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s massive climate plan, which he has openly encouraged other candidates to borrow from since leaving the race. At CNN’s recent Climate Crisis Town Hall, Warren made it clear that her No. 1 priority when it comes to the climate is rooting out fossil fuel corruption in Washington. She also proposed adding a “climate adjustment” tax on imports from polluting countries and said no new nuclear power plants would be built under a Warren administration. In October, Warren unveiled a new environmental justice plan and vowed to spend at least $1 trillion of her climate investment on the most vulnerable communities. Two months later, she introduced what she calls a “Blue New Deal” to address oceans; it includes swapping offshore drilling for offshore wind, electrifying ports, and protecting maritime food systems.

Her climate plan, by the numbers*:

  • $1.5 trillion in direct federal investments in clean energy infrastructure
  • $100 billion for a “Green Marshall Plan” to help developing countries to adapt
  • $400 billion for green technology research
  • $3 trillion clean energy investment over a decade, one third of which would go to the most vulnerable communities.

Warren hasn’t released one single “climate plan” but rather seven climate-focused plans for public lands, the military, trade, climate risk disclosure, green manufacturing, 100 percent clean energy, environmental justice, and most recently oceans.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Open to new nuclear plants, Invest in carbon capture” quote=”Europe has its monuments and its cathedrals, and we’ve got our mountains and our valleys and our rivers and our streams, and we better damn well take care of them.” name=”Bill Weld” title=”Former governor of Massachusetts” image=”442483″ list1=”carbon capture, carbon price, nuclear” list2=”Green New Deal” list3=”fossil fuel exports, fossil fuel subsidies, fracking, geoengineering” scorevalue1=”N/A” scorevalue2=”F|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=”N/A”]
Weld is vying for the 2020 Republican nomination (a long-shot campaign, considering there’s already a sitting GOP president with one term left). But the former governor of Massachusetts and Clinton administration vet wants it to be known that he’s no Donald Trump. Weld not only thinks human-made climate change is a thing but asserts that “there’s a pressing need to act.” But his policy ideas are … in process. His campaign website mentions nothing about the climate (or really much else, at the moment).

Weld has called for rejoining the Paris Agreement, emphasized the promise of carbon capture, and professed faith that the free market will save us from warming. He does, however, have one claim to environmental fame: Back in 1996, the then-governor dove, fully clothed, into Boston’s Charles River to celebrate having signed the Rivers Protection Act, which made it harder for development projects to spring up around the Bay State’s waterways.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Supports a Green New Deal, Put a price on carbon, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Stop exporting fossil fuels, Ban fracking, Address environmental injustices” quote=”We have an administration that has gutted the Clean Water Act. We have communities, particularly communities of color and disadvantaged communities all over this country, who are suffering from environmental injustice.” name=”Marianne Williamson” title=”Author and spiritual guru” image=”441847″ list1=”carbon tax, Green New Deal” list2=”fossil fuel exports, fossil fuel subsidies, fracking, nuclear” list3=”carbon capture, geoengineering” scorevalue1=”N/A” scorevalue2=”B|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://twitter.com/NHYMKeene/status/1108436513291935745′]
The best-selling author and spiritual guru Marianne Williamson was one of the first candidates to incorporate environmental justice, particularly justice for indigenous Americans, into her climate plan. She continues to champion that particular cause, and her focus on justice helped provide a breakout moment for the lagging candidate at the second Democratic primary debate.

Williamson also aims to “recarbonize the Earth” (i.e., pull carbon down from the atmosphere), put a price on carbon emissions, phase out sales of new fossil-fueled cars by 2035 — aiming to eliminate them entirely by 2050 — and put a stop to new fossil fuel projects, among other things. She has yet to offer details about how she would accomplish these goals.

Her climate plan, by the numbers:

  • Net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest
  • Decarbonize the electricity sector by 2040
  • Eliminate emissions from buildings by 2050
  • Require industrial corporations to get to zero emissions by 2050
  • Phase out sales of new fossil fuel vehicles by 2035 and eliminate them entirely by 2050

Read Williamson’s full plan here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

[grist-candidate-profile filters=”Supports a Green New Deal, Put a price on carbon, Open to new nuclear plants, Stop subsidizing fossil fuel industry, Stop exporting fossil fuels, Invest in carbon capture, Open to geoengineering” quote=”There are already climate refugees in the United States of America, people that we relocated from an island that was essentially becoming uninhabitable in Louisiana … None of this is speculative anymore.” name=”Andrew Yang” title=”Founder, Venture for America” image=”442166″ list1=”carbon capture, carbon tax, fossil fuel exports, geoengineering, Green New Deal, nuclear” list2=”fossil fuel subsidies” list3=”fracking” scorevalue1=”N/A” scorevalue2=”C+|https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/” scorevalue3=’Signed|https://twitter.com/OilChangeUS/status/1125836654361677824′]
The entrepreneur-turned-presidential-candidate doesn’t have much of a record when it comes to his environmental positions, but Yang has put forth a number of high- and low-tech proposals to tackle the climate crisis, backing a carbon fee and dividend and the preservation of public lands and waterways. Yang is also an enthusiastic proponent of geoengineering: One of his top proposals to combat climate change is creating a “Global Geoengineering Institute.” Even so, he’s said that the solution to climate change had to go beyond geoengineering and focus on broader methods to decarbonize the economy.

Yang’s plan centers mostly on integrating climate and economic reform. He proposed redefining U.S. economic measurements such as Gross Domestic Product to include clean air and clean water assessments. He also proposed a constitutional amendment that would make it “a responsibility of the United States government to safeguard and protect our environment for future generations.” Though he has voiced general support for the Green New Deal, he said he thinks the resolution’s timeline is too rushed.

His climate plan, by the numbers:

  • $4.87 trillion over 20 years
  • 100 percent emissions-free electric grid by 2035
  • Net-zero transportation sectors by 2040
  • Green economy by 2049

Read Yang’s full climate plan here.
[/grist-candidate-profile]

CREDITS:

Executive Editor
Nikhil Swaminathan

Senior Editors
Teresa Chin, Matt Craft, Darby Minow Smith

Associate Editor
Kate Yoder

Research
Miyo McGinn, Emily Pontecorvo

Writers
L.V. Anderson, Eve Andrews, Molly Enking, Nathanael Johnson, Miyo McGinn, Jesse Nichols, Daniel Penner, Emily Pontecorvo, Rachel Ramirez, Paola Rosa-Aquino, Naveena Sadasivam, Zoya Teirstein