2020 Democratic Candidates And The Environment Patriotic stickers saying "I Voted" handed out after voting in an election

2020 Democratic Candidates & The Environment – Part 1


Introduction

With the primaries right around the corner, how much do you know about the 2020 democratic candidates? Voting in primaries is nearly as important as voting in the general election because you deserve a say in the party’s representative. As environmentally conscious citizens, it is important to learn about the 2020 candidates in order to decide for ourselves who best represents our values. That candidate will have the most developed and encompassing plans for addressing our future in the light of climate change.

I scoured the campaign sites of the top five 2020 democratic candidates to learn what each is planning if they become president to make that decision for myself. Now I’m sharing that information with all of you in one comprehensive article. I limited my research strictly to environmental policy and broke down the selected quotes into these 13 topics:

  1. Energy Sector
  2. Transportation Sector
  3. Fossil Fuel Industry
  4. Other Industry and Manufacturing
  5. Agriculture and Farming
  6. Infrastructure and Buildings
  7. GHG Emissions and Pollution Mitigation
  8. Public Lands and Conservation
  9. Environmental Justice and Equity
  10. Disaster Relief
  11. Diplomacy and Trade
  12. Government and Military
  13. Other Policies, Plans, and Info

NOTE: This is a 2-part post. Part 1 covers topics 1 through 6, and Part 2 covers topics 7 through 13. You are reading Part 1. Read Part 2 here.

Each section will provide a list of quotes from Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bloomberg, and Pete Buttigieg. This is the current polling order as of writing this article and has no other meaning for me. Some quotes cover more than one category so I placed them in the category they fit best.

I imposed a 5-quote limit per candidate per topic area after compiling tons of quotes. I selected the quotes with the most concrete ideas or that affected the largest number of people. If there are less than five quotes, that is because I didn’t have more than that before shortening the post.

Energy Sector

Joe Biden

  1. “Ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050.”
  2. “The Biden plan will make a historic investment in our clean energy future and environmental justice, paid for by rolling back the Trump tax incentives that enrich corporations at the expense of American jobs and the environment.” This investment will be “$1.7 trillion over the next ten years.”
  3. “[C]reate the industries of the future by investing $400 billion over ten years” in clean energy research and innovation
  4. “Biden will support a research agenda through ARPA-C to look at issues, ranging from cost to safety to waste disposal systems, that remain an ongoing challenge with nuclear power today.”
  5. “[S]upport the deployment of methane digesters to capture potent climate emissions and generate electricity.”

Bernie Sanders

  1. “Transform our energy system to 100 percent renewable energy and create 20 million jobs needed to solve the climate crisis.”
  2. “We must pass a Green New Deal to achieve 100 percent sustainable energy for electricity and transportation by no later than 2030 and to fully decarbonize the economy by 2050 at the latest.”
  3. “Directly invest an historic $16.3 trillion public investment toward these efforts”
  4. “We will invest $1.4 billion in the Rural Energy for America Program for clean energy options”
  5. “To get to our goal of 100 percent sustainable energy, we will not rely on any false solutions like nuclear, geoengineering, carbon capture and sequestration, or trash incinerators.”

Elizabeth Warren

From Tackling the Climate Crisis Head On

  1. “Elizabeth has set a goal of providing 10% of our overall electricity generation from renewable sources offshore or on public lands”

From 100% Clean Energy For America

  1. “I’ll work to rapidly achieve 100% clean, renewable and zero-emission energy in electricity generation”
  2. Green Apollo plan – “invest $400 billion over ten years in clean energy R&D”
  3. “I’ll commit an additional $1 trillion over 10 years — fully paid for by reversing Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals and giant corporations — to match Governor Inslee’s commitment, and to subsidize the economic transition to clean and renewable electricity, zero emission vehicles, and green products for commercial and residential buildings.”

From Accelerating the Transition to Clean Energy

  1. “I’ve proposed a historic $2 trillion investment in researching, developing, and manufacturing clean energy technology here in America”

Michael Bloomberg

From 100% Clean Power and Communities First

  1. “In this electricity sector plan, Mike calls for phasing out all carbon and health-threatening pollution in the electricity sector, ensuring 80% clean electricity by the end of his second term of office.”
  2. “Replace all coal plants with clean energy no later than 2030.”
  3. “Quadruple the federal R&D investment in clean energy and a clean grid to at least $25 billion a year.”

Pete Buttigieg

From Climate Change

  1. “We will decarbonize our economy through a Clean Electricity Standard, a Zero-Emissions Vehicles Standard, and a Clean Industrial Technology Standard. These investments will create 3 million high-quality jobs with strong worker protections by building a net-zero emissions grid, transportation sector, and building sector.”

From Mobilizing America: Rising to the Climate Challenge

  1. “By 2035, build a clean electricity system with zero emissions and require zero emissions for all new passenger vehicles.”
  2. “We will quadruple federal clean energy R&D funding to $25 billion per year by 2025, investing more than $200 billion over 10 years”
  3. Global Investment Initiative – “This $250 billion fund will match with $250 billion in private investment over ten years to partner on clean energy and resilient infrastructure projects that use American technology and are built by American companies”
  4. “We will ensure that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sets rules and goals for reliability, cost, emissions, and utility innovation that reward utilities for helping to reach the national goal of building a zero-emissions clean electricity system by 2035.”

Transportation Sector

Joe Biden

  1. “[S]upport the deployment of more than 500,000 new public charging outlets by the end of 2030.”
  2. “Biden will restore the full electric vehicle tax credit to incentivize the purchase of these vehicles. “
  3. “[P]reserving and implementing the existing Clean Air Act, and developing rigorous new fuel economy standards aimed at ensuring 100% of new sales for light- and medium-duty vehicles will be electrified and annual improvements for heavy duty vehicles.”
  4. “Using the Federal government procurement system … to drive towards 100% clean energy and zero-emissions vehicles.”
  5. “Biden will develop a plan to ensure that America has the cleanest, safest, and fastest rail system in the world – for both passengers and freight.”

Bernie Sanders

  1. “We will create a federal grant and zero-emission vehicle program to create a 100 percent renewable transportation sector.”
  2. “Provide $2.09 trillion in grants to low- and moderate-income families and small businesses to trade in their fossil fuel-dependent vehicles for new electric vehicles.”
  3. “With a $300 billion investment, we will increase public transit ridership by 65 percent by 2030.”
  4. “A $607 billion investment in a regional high-speed rail system”
  5. “$150 billion effort to fully decarbonize aviation and maritime shipping and transportation.”

Elizabeth Warren

From 100% Clean Energy For America

  1. “[S]et a goal of achieving zero emissions in all new light-duty passenger vehicles, medium-duty trucks, and buses by 2030.”
  2. “Set ambitious standards for fuels and emissions”
  3. “Modernize the automotive manufacturing base and developing needed infrastructure”
  4. “Boost consumer demand for zero emission vehicles”
  5. “Decarbonize other forms of transit (maritime, rail, and aviation)”

Michael Bloomberg

From Clean Transportation

  1. “Work with states, consumer groups and automakers to improve gas mileage and pollution standards, and add a national zero-emissions vehicle standard – so that, by 2035, 100% of new vehicles are pollution-free.”
  2. “Reinstate gas mileage and pollution standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses, tightening those standards, and adding a national zero-emissions standard – so that, by 2030, 15% of new trucks and buses are pollution-free.”
  3. “Significantly increase investment in public transit and infrastructure for bikes and pedestrians (and other mobility options), including investments in transit accessibility.”
  4. “Plan regional higher-speed rail networks and working with states to jump-start construction, building at least one new high-speed rail corridor by 2025.”
  5. “As part of Mike’s plan to quadruple clean energy R&D to $250 billion over 10 years, he will: Increase investment in vehicle battery technologies, and low- and no-carbon technologies for aviation and other transportation modes that are harder to electrify with current technology.”

Pete Buttigieg

From Climate Change

  1. “We will decarbonize our economy through a Clean Electricity Standard, a Zero-Emissions Vehicles Standard, and a Clean Industrial Technology Standard. These investments will create 3 million high-quality jobs with strong worker protections by building a net-zero emissions grid, transportation sector, and building sector.”

From Mobilizing America: Rising to the Climate Challenge

  1. “Requiring that all new passenger vehicles sold be zero-emissions by 2035, and all heavy-duty vehicles sold be net-zero emissions by 2040”
  2. “we will invest $100 billion over 10 years in surface transportation for cities”
  3. “We will also develop standards to regulate emissions from ships and aircraft”
  4. “We will put in place a standard for liquid fuels that requires producers to lower the carbon content of their fuels and incentivizes the development of low carbon or carbon neutral liquid fuels.”

Fossil Fuel Industry

Joe Biden

  1. “The Biden Administration will take action against fossil fuel companies and other polluters who put profit over people and knowingly harm our environment and poison our communities’ air, land, and water, or conceal information regarding potential environmental and health risks.”
  2. “We’re not going to leave any workers or communities behind.”
  3. “Secure the benefits coal miners and their families have earned.”
  4. “Invest in coal and power plant communities and other communities impacted by the climate transformation.”

Bernie Sanders

  1. “Make the fossil fuel industry pay for their pollution by:
    • Massively raising taxes on corporate polluters’ and investors’ fossil fuel income and wealth.
    • Raising penalties on pollution from fossil fuel energy generation.
    • Requiring remaining fossil fuel infrastructure owners to buy federal fossil fuel risk bonds to pay for disaster impacts at the local level.”
  2. “[S]topping the permitting and building of new fossil fuel extraction, transportation, and refining infrastructure. Additionally, Bernie will repeal Trump’s Executive Orders (Orders 13867 and 13868) which fast-tracked construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, and revoke all federal permits for those projects. He will also deny all Section 401 permits for fossil fuel infrastructure.”
  3. “Ban fracking and mountaintop removal coal mining.”
  4. “Ban imports and exports of fossil fuels.”
  5. “We will spend $1.3 trillion to ensure that workers in the fossil fuel and other carbon intensive industries receive strong benefits, a living wage, training, and job placement.”

Elizabeth Warren

From Tackling the Climate Crisis Head On

  1. “Elizabeth was the first 2020 candidate to sign the No Fossil Fuel Pledge, committing to reject campaign contributions from oil, gas, and coal industries.”
  2. “Elizabeth supports eliminating fossil fuel subsidies and using that money to invest in clean and renewable energy and infrastructure.”

From Leading in Green Manufacturing

  1. “A truly just transition must also include benefits to uplift and empower workers who may be hurt by the transition to a more green economy, including those currently employed in the fossil fuel industry.”

From Fighting for Justice as We Combat the Climate Crisis

  1. “I’m committed to providing job training and guaranteed wage and benefit parity for [fossil fuel] workers transitioning into new industries.”
  2. “Force fossil fuel companies to honor their obligations”

Michael Bloomberg

From 100% Clean Power and Communities First

  1. “End all subsidies for fossil fuels – amounting to billions of federal dollars annually – including closing tax loopholes, ending tax breaks for drilling new oil and gas wells and deductions for royalties paid abroad, and eliminating excessive tax deductions for declining well production.”
  2. “He will work with community leaders, local officials and workers to ensure that community transition plans are in place. He commits to delivering the benefits coal field workers have been promised, and his plan to support broader economic development and jobs transition is forthcoming.”

Pete Buttigieg

From Mobilizing America: Rising to the Climate Challenge

  1. “Workers in industries impacted by the changing energy landscape will be guaranteed support through a transitional fund—$200 billion over 10 years—to invest in community economic development and training and transition programs for displaced workers, making retirement and health benefits available to all who want them, and offering loan guarantees for renovating existing plants and assembly lines to build new low-carbon products and create jobs in their communities.”

Other Industry and Manufacturing

Joe Biden

  1. “Enacting a national strategy to develop a low-carbon manufacturing sector in every state, accelerating cutting-edge technologies and ensuring businesses and workers have access to new technologies and skills, with a major focus on helping small and large manufacturers upgrade their capabilities to have both competitive and low-carbon futures.”
  2. “Requiring public companies to disclose climate risks and the greenhouse gas emissions in their operations and supply chains.”

Bernie Sanders

  1. “We will fund a $500 billion effort to research technologies to fully decarbonize industry”
  2. “[T]he SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] will require corporations to audit and report their climate risks. The EPA will use the information to target the worst climate risks through economy-wide regulations to limit carbon pollution emissions under the Clean Air Act to achieve our carbon pollution reduction goals.”
  3. “Implement sanctions for corporations that violate our domestic climate goals.”

Elizabeth Warren

From Tackling the Climate Crisis Head On

  1. “And Elizabeth’s Climate Risk Disclosure Act would require companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and price their exposure to climate risk into their valuations”

From Leading in Green Manufacturing

  1. “Invest $2 trillion over the next ten years in green research, manufacturing, and exporting — linking American innovation directly to American jobs, and helping achieve the ambitious targets of the Green New Deal.”
  2. Green Apollo Program – “$400 billion in funding over the next ten years for clean energy research and development — more than ten times what we invested in the last ten years. It means the creation of a National Institutes of Clean Energy. And it means provisions to ensure that taxpayers capture some of the upside of their research investments and that our research dollars result in manufacturing in the United States, not offshore.”
  3. Green Industrial Mobilization – “$1.5 trillion federal procurement commitment over the next ten years to purchase American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy products for federal, state, and local use, and for export.”
  4. Green Marshall Plan – “I’m proposing a new federal program — backed with $100 billion in funding — dedicated to working with foreign governments and companies so they purchase and deploy American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy technology.”

Michael Bloomberg

From International Climate

  1. “[P]enalize corporations responsible for deforestation and other practices that increase climate change and rob indigenous peoples of their lives and communities.”

Pete Buttigieg

From Climate Change

  1. “We will decarbonize our economy through a Clean Electricity Standard, a Zero-Emissions Vehicles Standard, and a Clean Industrial Technology Standard. These investments will create 3 million high-quality jobs with strong worker protections by building a net-zero emissions grid, transportation sector, and building sector.”

From Mobilizing America: Rising to the Climate Challenge

  1. “By 2050, achieve net-zero emissions from industry, including steel and concrete, manufacturing, and agriculture sectors.”
  2. “We will propose clean industrial technology standards to set targets for companies operating refineries, steel, cement, petrochemicals, and other industrial plants to reach net-zero emissions from industrial sources by 2050”
  3. “Prioritize energy efficiency and industrial efficiency projects”
  4. “[E]mission standards for each sector of heavy industry or technology standards that mandate a particular type of low-carbon technology be used”

Agriculture and Farming

Joe Biden

  1. “Partnering with farmers and ranchers so that better agriculture practices and deployment of digesters generate new sources of revenues.”
  2. “[I]nvest in climate-friendly farming such as conservation programs for cover crops and other practices aimed at restoring the soil and building soil carbon”

Bernie Sanders

  1. “Help farms of all sizes transition to ecologically regenerative agricultural practices that rebuild rural communities, protect the climate, and strengthen the environment with an investment of $410 billion.”
  2. “We will pay farmers $160 billion for the soil health improvements they make and for the carbon they sequester”
  3. “We will invest $1.48 billion in research to develop new, region-appropriate farming techniques and seeds.”
  4. “Ensure farmers have the right to repair their own equipment.”
  5. “Reform patent laws to prevent predatory lawsuits from massive agribusinesses like Bayer/Monsanto.”

Elizabeth Warren

From Tackling the Climate Crisis Head On

  1. “Elizabeth will target a share of the $400 billion R&D commitment from her Green Manufacturing Plan toward decarbonizing the agriculture sector, including a farmer-led Innovation Fund to pilot new methods of sustainable farming.”

From Fighting for Justice as We Combat the Climate Crisis

  1. “I’ll increase funding for the Conservation Stewardship Program to $15 billion annually, empowering family farmers to help limit the agricultural runoff that harms local wells and water systems.”

From A New Farm Economy

  1. “I will lead a full-out effort to decarbonize the agricultural sector by investing in our farmers and giving them the tools, research, and training they need to transform the sector — so that we can achieve the objectives of the Green New Deal to reach net-zero emissions by 2030.”
  2. “[P]aying farmers for embracing techniques that promote a sustainable future”
  3. “Hold Big Ag[riculture] accountable for environmental abuses.”

Michael Bloomberg

From Climate Change Resilience

  1. “Expand Farm Bill conservation programs to help farmers make their land more resilient, reduce carbon emissions and improve carbon sequestration.”

Pete Buttigieg

From Climate Change

  1. “We will support farmers as leaders on stewardship and conservation in the fight against climate change by paying them to capture carbon and fixing the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

From Mobilizing America: Rising to the Climate Challenge

  1. “By 2050, achieve net-zero emissions from industry, including steel and concrete, manufacturing, and agriculture sectors.”
  2. “Double USDA R&D investments over four years, committing nearly $50 billion over a decade to research that the country needs to put healthy food on our plates, develop food exports to meet the needs of growing populations around the world, and promote a healthy environment for future generations”
  3. “We will provide opportunities for farmers to get paid for sequestering carbon in their soil”
  4. “We will double investment in agricultural extension services to make sure that farmers and ranchers have the technical support they need as they apply the results of agricultural research.”

Infrastructure and Buildings

Joe Biden

  1. “On day one, Biden will make smart infrastructure investments to rebuild the nation and to ensure that our buildings, water, transportation, and energy infrastructure can withstand the impacts of climate change.”
  2. “Biden will set a target of reducing the carbon footprint of the U.S. building stock by 50% by 2035”
  3. “Committing that every federal infrastructure investment should reduce climate pollution”
  4. “[N]ew aggressive appliance- and building-efficiency standards.”
  5. “[H]elp design common-sense zoning and building codes and help communities build and rebuild before and after natural disasters and other shocks and stresses.”

Bernie Sanders

  1. “Saving American families money by weatherizing homes and lowering energy bills, building affordable and high-quality, modern public transportation, providing grants and trade-in programs for families and small businesses to purchase high-efficiency electric vehicles, and rebuilding our inefficient and crumbling infrastructure, including deploying universal, affordable high-speed internet.”
  2. “[W]e will provide $150 billion in infrastructure grants and technical assistance for municipalities and states to build publicly owned and democratically controlled, co-operative, or open access broadband networks.”
  3. “Bernie’s Rebuild America Act provides $75 billion for the National Highway Trust Fund to improve roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure in the United States and another $2 billion for other surface transportation needs.”
  4. “[T]he Rebuild America Act provides $5 billion for TIGER grant projects that build or repair critical pieces of our freight and passenger transportation networks that are located in rural areas.”
  5. “We will invest $636.1 billion in our roads, bridges, and water infrastructure to ensure it is resilient to climate impacts, and another $300 billion to ensure that all new infrastructure built over the next 10 years is also resilient.”

Elizabeth Warren

From Tackling the Climate Crisis Head On

  1. “[S]he supports investments in sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including distributed generation and clean energy technologies like solar and wind power.”

From Green Infrastructure

  1. “Elizabeth would subject new infrastructure projects to a climate test: a stringent environmental impact review conducted by independent entities without conflicts of interest related to the project. We should reject new fossil fuel infrastructure and projects that will emit greenhouse gases for decades to come.”
  2. “Elizabeth opposes the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines”
  3. “She has committed to revoke improperly granted permits for these pipelines and reject permitting of new projects where appropriate processes are not followed.”

From 100% Clean Energy For America

  1. “[T]ake immediate action to achieve zero-carbon pollution from all new commercial and residential buildings by the end of my second term in 2028.”

Michael Bloomberg

From Clean Buildings

  1. “Create a national program for home and building upgrades.”
  2. “Push for new buildings to achieve zero-carbon and hyper-efficient performance by 2025”

From Infrastructure

  1. “And, over the next five years, Mike will triple funds annual federal investment in public transit… Mike will ensure that transit is accessible for seniors and those with disabilities. And, he will also triple funds for local alternative transportation projects, including bike lanes.”
  2. “The plan includes an investment of $100 billion over 10 years to ensure clean drinking water for all communities, and $175 million over five years for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program to accelerate local investment in water infrastructure, as well as an increase in the EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to $6.6 billion annually to ensure a long-term commitment to protecting water supplies.”

Pete Buttigieg

From Climate Change

  1. “$5 billion per year in Resilient America Grants to support building resilient infrastructure and set a national climate risk reduction standard for federal investments”

From Mobilizing America: Rising to the Climate Challenge

  1. “We will double Weatherization Assistance Program funding, and the new funding would be used to match new or additional utility spending on weatherization programs. We will also add $1 billion to the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program”
  2. “Sign a ‘Buy Clean’ executive order mandating that any new material the federal government uses or pays for to construct buildings, roads, bridges, or other infrastructure, must be under a specified level of carbon emissions”

From Resilient Communities: A New Disaster Preparedness Approach

  1. “We will ensure that all federal investments in infrastructure are climate and disaster resilient and use every executive authority available to take action to reduce emissions and promote resilience in infrastructure.”
  2. “The American Clean Energy Bank will have $250 billion of initial capitalization to provide loans, grants, credit enhancements, and loan guarantees to finance resilient infrastructure projects that create good local jobs.”

Conclusion

Want to learn how the 2020 democratic candidates feel about pollution, environmental justice, and diplomacy?

Continue reading in Part 2!

Check when your state’s primary election is here. What environmental issues matter the most to you when selecting a candidate?

2020 Democratic Candidates And The Environment Patriotic stickers saying "I Voted" handed out after voting in an election


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