2020 Democratic Candidates And The Environment voter holds American flag high ready to vote for pro-environment candidate

2020 Democratic Candidates & The Environment – Part 2


Introduction

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 2. Read Part 1 here.

Ready to learn more about what the top 2020 democratic candidates have to say about protecting our environment? Part 2 will cover topics beyond energy and industry as we look at topics 7 through 13.

Again, I looked through the campaign sites of the top five 2020 democratic candidates. I limited my research to environmental policy and sorted quotes into the following 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

The order of candidates in this post will be Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bloomberg, and Pete Buttigieg. This follows the current polling order. I imposed a 5-quote limit per candidate per topic. Some candidates did not reach this limit in every category.

Let’s get started with GHG Emissions and Pollution Mitigation!

GHG Emissions and Pollution Mitigation

Joe Biden

  1. “Ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions no later than 2050”
  2. “Biden shares the Carbon Capture Coalition’s goal ‘to make CCUS a widely available, cost-effective, and rapidly scalable solution to reduce carbon emissions to meet mid-century climate goals.’ Toward this end, he will double down on federal investments and enhance tax incentives for CCUS [Carbon capture, use, and storage].”
  3. “Requiring aggressive methane pollution limits for new and existing oil and gas operations.”
  4. “Embrace the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, adding momentum to curbing hydrofluorocarbons, an especially potent greenhouse gas, which could deliver a 0.5 degree Celsius reduction in global warming by mid-century.”
  5. “Ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050.”

Bernie Sanders

  1. “In order to ensure we reach our carbon pollution emissions goals, the EPA will, under the Clean Air Act, regulate carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrofluorocarbons.”
  2. “We will invest $238 billion to clean up Superfund sites and $150 billion to clean up and revitalize Brownfields, and other areas and communities that have been polluted by the fossil fuel, chemical and mining industries.”
  3. “[C]omplete decarbonization of the economy by 2050 at latest”

Elizabeth Warren

From Environmental Justice

  1. “Reinstitute the Superfund Waste Tax”
  2. “[T]riple the Superfund tax, generating needed revenue to clean up the mess.”

Michael Bloomberg

From 100% Clean Power and Communities First

  1. “Mike Bloomberg commits to propelling the country to full decarbonization as soon as humanly possible and before 2050, and slashing emissions by 50% across the entire U.S. economy in ten years.”
  2. “Reverse Trump rollbacks of clean air, water, health and safety, and waste rules that expose all Americans to dangerous levels of pollution from these sources”

From Clean Buildings

  1. “As president, Mike will cut carbon pollution economy-wide in the U.S. by 50% by 2030 and put us on the pathway to full decarbonization before mid-century.”
  2. “Invest in R&D to advance technologies that can capture carbon from the atmosphere and transform it into valuable building products such as steel and concrete.”
  3. “Ramp up appliance efficiency standards and health-related pollution restrictions, including by taking carbon pollution into account, to shift to zero-pollution standards for new appliances and equipment as fast as possible, consistent with 2025.”

Pete Buttigieg

From Climate Change

  1. “[W]e will enact a price on carbon and use the revenue to send rebates to Americans”

From Mobilizing America: Rising to the Climate Challenge

  1. “We will develop a new CarbonStar program to provide consumers with information and rebates on products that have a lower carbon footprint”
  2. “We will enact rules that sharply curb methane emissions”
  3. “We will sign an 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”
  4. “Deploy at least 1 gigaton of annual CO2 removal capacity by 2040”

Public Lands and Conservation

Joe Biden

  1. [C]onserving 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030.”
  2. “[P]ermanently protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other areas… banning new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters, modifying royalties to account for climate costs, and establishing targeted programs to enhance reforestation and develop renewables on federal lands and waters with the goal of doubling offshore wind by 2030.”

Bernie Sanders

  1. “Investing in conservation and public lands to heal our soils, forests, and prairie lands. We will reauthorize and expand the Civilian Conservation Corps and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Corps to provide good paying jobs building green infrastructure.”
  2. “Bernie is committed to providing a total of $1.34 trillion to ensure that all Americans have access to urban, suburban and rural recreational green space that are vital to our national heritage and our country’s tradition of recreation and conservation.”
  3. “Invest in green infrastructure and public lands conservation by reinstating the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)… We will invest $171 billion in reauthorizing and expanding the CCC”
  4. “We will spend $900 million to permanently fund the LWCF [Land and Water Conservation Fund]”
  5. “We will perform more than $25 billion of repairs and maintenance on roads, buildings, utility systems, and other structures and facilities across the National Park System.”

Elizabeth Warren

From Tackling the Climate Crisis Head On

  1. “She’ll fully fund our public land management agencies to eliminate the infrastructure and maintenance backlog in her first term, and make Land and Water Conservation Fund spending mandatory to ensure that we continue to preserve lands for conservation and recreation. And she’ll jumpstart a 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps to create job opportunities for thousands of young Americans caring for our natural resources”

From Protecting Our Public Lands

  1. “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.”
  2. “[M]ake Land and Water Conservation Fund spending mandatory to ensure that we continue to preserve and enhance public lands for conservation and recreation.”

From Honoring and Empowering Tribal Nations and Indigenous Peoples

  1. “As President, I’ll expand federally protected land that is important to tribes and protect historic monuments and sacred sites from companies that see it as just another place to drill or mine.”
  2. “[R]estore protections to Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and any other national monuments targeted by this Administration. I will also push for legislative action to save Oak Flat from copper mining and protect Chaco Canyon and the surrounding region from mineral development”

Michael Bloomberg

From 100% Clean Power and Communities First

  1. “Establish a moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases on federal lands.”

Pete Buttigieg

From Mobilizing America: Rising to the Climate Challenge

  1. “We will promote conservation of forests and grasslands through voluntary conservation programs, tax incentives, and the carbon sequestration market”

Environmental Justice and Equity

Joe Biden

  1. “Altering local regulations to eliminate sprawl and allow for denser, more affordable housing near public transit would cut commute times for many of the country’s workers while decreasing their carbon footprint.”
  2. “He will make it a priority for all agencies to engage in community-driven approaches to develop solutions for environmental injustices”
  3. “Biden will direct his EPA and Justice Department to pursue these cases to the fullest extent permitted by law and, when needed, seek additional legislation as needed to hold corporate executives personally accountable”
  4. “Ensure access to safe drinking water for all communities.”
  5. “Ensure that communities harmed by climate change and pollution are the first to benefit from the Clean Economy Revolution.”

Bernie Sanders

  1. “$40 billion Climate Justice Resiliency Fund”
  2. “Expanding the climate justice movement” so it “prioritizes young people, workers, indigenous peoples, communities of color, and other historically marginalized groups”
  3. “[E]stablish an Office of Climate Resiliency for People with Disabilities.”
  4. “Update permitting rules that allow polluters to target poor communities for polluting infrastructure.”
  5. “Promote urban sustainability initiatives to improve the environmental and social conditions of low-income neighborhoods and communities of color without rendering those neighborhoods inaccessible for future residents of limited economic means.”

Elizabeth Warren

From Environmental Justice

  1. “Improve environmental equity mapping” to “identify cumulative environmental health disparities and climate vulnerabilities and cross-reference that data with other indicators of socioeconomic health.”
  2. “I’ll transform the Council on Environmental Quality into a Council on Climate Action with a broader mandate, including making environmental justice a priority”
  3. “invest in land management, particularly near the most vulnerable communities, supporting forest restoration, lowering fire risk, and creating jobs all at once.”
  4. “We will establish a National Commission on Disability Rights and Disasters, ensure that federal disaster spending is ADA compliant, and support people with disabilities in disaster planning.”

From Honoring and Empowering Tribal Nations and Indigenous Peoples

  1. “Conversations about physical infrastructure must also include serious engagement with the unique threat of climate change to Native and indigenous peoples.”

Michael Bloomberg

From 100% Clean Power and Communities First

  1. “Centralize planning of environmental justice from the White House by codifying the existing National Environmental Justice Advisory Council.”

From Clean Buildings

  1. “Increase funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), the federal lead-hazard reduction programs, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), so that they are fully funded, and ensure that those programs encourage not only energy efficiency but also prioritize health and safety, as well as address accessibility for disabled people.”

From Clean Transportation

  1. “Mike will prioritize underserved communities for transit improvements, develop programs to switch trucks and buses from diesel to electric, and provide financial assistance to encourage trading in older vehicles for electric ones or for transit vouchers.”

Pete Buttigieg

From Mobilizing America: Rising to the Climate Challenge

  1. “Establish next-generation ‘Regional Resilience Hubs’ to help communities” which will be “supplemented with $5 billion in annual Resilient America Grants”

From Resilient Communities: A New Disaster Preparedness Approach

  1. “We will establish next-generation Regional Resilience Hubs” “which will encourage community leaders, the private sector, and academia to develop innovative solutions and provide grants to the most promising ideas.”
  2. “We will elevate consultation with tribal governments and Native communities to where it belongs, and will fight alongside tribes to stop any development that potentially harms their land and people.”

Disaster Relief

Joe Biden

Biden’s campaign site had no quotes related to disaster relief.

Bernie Sanders

  1. “We will provide coastal communities with $162 billion in funding to adapt to sea level rise.”
  2. “We will increase funding for firefighting by $18 billion for federal firefighters to deal with the increased severity and frequency of wildfires.”
  3. “We will amend the Stafford Act to ensure that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is empowered to address this problem specifically to ensure that recovery and rebuilding efforts make affected communities stronger than they were before the disaster so they are more resilient to the next disaster.”
  4. “We will invest $2 billion to ensure communities that are rebuilt after disasters strike have necessary resources to build back stronger than before the disaster.”
  5. “We will provide $130 billion for counties impacted by climate change”

Elizabeth Warren

From Environmental Justice

  1. “I will work with Congress to amend the Stafford Act to make grant funding more flexible to allow families and communities to rebuild in more resilient ways.”

Michael Bloomberg

From Wildfire Resilience

  1. “Double federal funding for fire resilience and management to $10 billion and devote half to forest restoration and mitigation efforts.”
  2. “Endorse Sen. Kamala Harris’s Wildfire Defense Act, and the similar House bill sponsored by Rep. Jared Huffman. The Act would invest $1 billion a year in funding community-based wildfire plans.”

Pete Buttigieg

From Climate Change

  1. “We will create a National Catastrophic Disaster Insurance program to provide stability to individuals and communities who experience the major disruptions caused by climate change and other natural risks such as earthquakes. And we will prioritize equitable disaster preparedness and relief so that all communities get the resources they need to prepare for, recover from, and rebuild from disasters”

From Mobilizing America: Rising to the Climate Challenge

  1. “[W]ithin my first 100 days in office, I pledge to set up a community-centered Disaster Commission to review and make recommendations to streamline the process for disaster preparedness and recovery.”
  2. “We will reinstate the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard to encourage common sense building practices”
  3. “Expand FEMA Corps. FEMA Corps is a partnership between FEMA and AmeriCorps, providing 18‐to-24-year‐olds the opportunity to develop professional experience while serving communities impacted by disasters.”

From Resilient Communities: A New Disaster Preparedness Approach

  1. “We will support loan programs that incorporate resilience and mitigation.”

Diplomacy and Trade

Joe Biden

  1. “Re-enter the Paris Agreement on day one of the Biden Administration and lead a major diplomatic push to raise the ambitions of countries’ climate targets.”
  2. “Biden will, in his first 100 days in office:
    • Convene a climate world summit to directly engage the leaders of the major carbon-emitting nations of the world to persuade them to join the United States in making more ambitious national pledges, above and beyond the commitments they have already made.
    • Lead the world to lock in enforceable international agreements to reduce emissions in global shipping and aviation.”
  3. “[T]he Biden Administration will impose carbon adjustment fees or quotas on carbon-intensive goods from countries that are failing to meet their climate and environmental obligations.”
  4. “A Biden Administration will institute a new Global Climate Change Report to hold countries to account for meeting, or failing to meet, their Paris commitments”
  5. “Pursue a global moratorium on offshore drilling in the Arctic and reestablish climate change as a priority for the Arctic Council.”

Bernie Sanders

  1. “Commit to reducing emissions throughout the world, including providing $200 billion to the Green Climate Fund, rejoining the Paris Agreement, and reasserting the United States’ leadership in the global fight against climate change.”
  2. “We will reduce domestic emissions by at least 71 percent by 2030 and reduce emissions among less industrialized nations by 36 percent by 2030 — the total equivalent of reducing our domestic emissions by 161 percent.”
  3. “Bring together the leaders of the major industrialized nations with the goal of using the trillions of dollars our nations spend on misguided wars and weapons of mass destruction to instead work together internationally to combat our climate crisis and take on the fossil fuel industry.”
  4. “Trade deals will be renegotiated to ensure strong and binding climate standards, labor rights, and human rights with swift enforcement.”
  5. “Place a fee on imported Carbon Pollution-Intensive Goods.”

Elizabeth Warren

From Tackling the Climate Crisis Head On

  1. “Elizabeth would return the United States to the Paris Climate Accord”

From A New Approach to Trade

  1. “I am establishing a set of standards countries must meet as a precondition for any trade agreement with America.”
    • “Be a party to the Paris Climate agreement and have a national plan that has been independently verified to put the country on track to reduce its emissions consistent with the long-term emissions goals in that agreement.”
    • “Eliminate all domestic fossil fuel subsidies.”
  2. “I will push to secure a multilateral agreement to protect domestic green policies like subsidies for green products and preferential treatment for environmentally sustainable energy production from WTO challenges.”
  3. “I will impose a border carbon adjustment so imported goods that these firms make using carbon-intensive processes are charged a fee to equalize the costs borne by companies playing by the rules.”
  4. “I will push for a new ‘non-sustainable economy’ designation that would allow us to impose tougher penalties on countries with systematically poor labor and environmental practices.”

Michael Bloomberg

From International Climate

  1. “Re-join the Paris Agreement as his first act as president, and meet the targets science recommends.”
  2. “Restore U.S. contributions to the Green Climate Fund, so that the developed countries meet and exceed their goal to contribute $100 billion a year to developing countries.”
  3. “Reinstate U.S. leadership on the Arctic Council and prioritize the removal of black carbon from the atmosphere.”
  4. “Make climate change a top priority of U.S. foreign policy, and intensify U.S. and international actions to stop the expansion of coal and otherwise lower emissions.”
  5. “Use trade and security agreements to encourage all countries with whom we have diplomatic relations to have verifiable plans to reduce emissions according to the Paris Agreement.”

Pete Buttigieg

From Mobilizing America: Rising to the Climate Challenge

  1. “We will take the steps necessary to rejoin the Paris Agreement on the first day in office”
  2. “We will pledge $5 billion per year to identify the best ideas and shift the global debate toward a focus on scaling proven climate mitigation and adaptation strategies”
  3. “Double the U.S. pledge to the Green Climate Fund”
  4. “We will place the issue of climate change front and center in multilateral dialogue at the Arctic Council and focus on reducing emissions from the Arctic, including by opposing drilling there and working with other countries to reduce short-lived pollutants that play a key role in Arctic climate change.”
  5. “We will rally nations to oppose China’s dirty energy projects and offer countries desperately in need of energy with more financing options for cleaner projects through the Global Investment Initiative.”

Government and Military

Joe Biden

  1. “Ensuring that all U.S. government installations, buildings, and facilities are more efficient and climate-ready”
  2. “Make climate change a core national security priority.”
  3. “Direct the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to report to him annually on the impacts of climate change on defense posture, readiness, infrastructure, and threat picture”
  4. “Direct the National Security Advisor, working with the Secretaries of Defense, State, Homeland Security, and others, to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the security implications of climate change.”
  5. “Invest in the climate resilience of our military bases and critical security infrastructure across the U.S. and around the world, to deal with the risk of climate change effects”

Bernie Sanders

  1. “[W]e will require the Congressional Budget Office to coordinate with the EPA to provide a ‘climate score’ for legislation”

Elizabeth Warren

From Our Military Can Help Lead the Fight in Combating Climate Change

  1. “[T]he Pentagon should achieve net zero carbon emissions for all its non-combat bases and infrastructure by 2030.”
  2. “Defense Climate Resiliency and Readiness Act to harden the U.S. military against the threat posed by climate change, and to leverage its huge energy footprint as part of our climate solution.”
  3. “I’ll invest billions of dollars into a new, ten-year research and development program at the Defense Department focused on microgrids and advanced energy storage.”
  4. “I want the Pentagon to produce an annual report evaluating the climate vulnerability of every U.S. military base at home and abroad, using real scientific methodology, so that we can make more informed plans moving forward.”

Michael Bloomberg

From 100% Clean Power and Communities First

  1. “Use the National Environmental Policy Act so that climate risk, environmental impacts, and equity concerns are considered in all federal actions. Also incorporate these considerations into the Office of Management and Budget’s annual budget process.”

From Clean Buildings

  1. “Require all federal buildings to achieve high efficiency and zero-carbon standards ahead of the national targets”

From International Climate

  1. “Establish an Office of Climate Security in the White House to coordinate climate-related strategies in intelligence, defense, development and diplomacy, and include civilian and military staff.”
  2. “Strengthen military bases at home and abroad on a path to self-sufficiency by improving the resilience of all infrastructure that the military relies on at home and abroad from the effects of climate change, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Pete Buttigieg

From Climate Change

  1. “We will increase the climate planning and regional readiness budget at the Department of Defense (DOD) to allow our military leaders to build resilience for military bases and installations.”

From Mobilizing America: Rising to the Climate Challenge

  1. The Pittsburgh Climate Summit – “In my administration’s first 100 days we will gather these leaders, including mayors, governors, and other community leaders to commit to concrete action within their communities”
  2. “[I]ncreasing the climate planning and regional readiness budget at the Department of Defense (DOD) to allow our military leaders to build resilience for military bases and installations and elevating and integrating climate security and resilience at DOD by creating a senior climate security role in the Secretary of Defense’s office responsible for preparation for climate security risks”
  3. “We will direct that all new DOD facilities and non-combat vehicles be zero-emissions by 2025”

Other Policies, Plans, and Info

Joe Biden

  1. “Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face. It powerfully captures two basic truths, which are at the core of his plan: (1) the United States urgently needs to embrace greater ambition on an epic scale to meet the scope of this challenge, and (2) our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected.”

Bernie Sanders

  1. “Bernie will lead our country to enact the Green New Deal and bring the world together to defeat the existential threat of climate change.”
  2. “Declaring climate change a national emergency”
  3. “Making massive investments in research and development.”
  4. “Establish a nationwide materials recycling program.”
  5. “Reassert U.S. leadership in research and engineering by marshaling resources across the federal government and institutions of higher education, including the National Academy of Engineering and National Science Foundation.”

Elizabeth Warren

From Tackling the Climate Crisis Head On

  1. “Elizabeth is an original cosponsor of the Green New Deal resolution, which commits the United States to a ten-year mobilization to achieve domestic net-zero emissions by 2030”

Michael Bloomberg

From Foreign Policy

  1. “Mike is the president of the board of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a network of the world’s megacities dedicated to finding and implementing proven climate solutions.”
  2. “Mike was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres as Special Envoy for Climate Action, with the charge of supporting the UNSG’s climate strategy and mobilizing support for a more ambitious approach to fighting climate change.”
  3. “Mike created the Climate Finance Leadership Initiative, which brings together seven of the world’s largest financial institutions with the goal of helping to fund and support ambitious climate plans.”

Pete Buttigieg

From Climate Change

  1. “We will also quadruple federal clean energy R&D funding to invest more than $200 billion over 10 years in developing new technologies. We will build three investment funds to spur clean technology development, including a $250 billion American Clean Energy Bank to fund locally-led clean energy projects, particularly in disadvantaged communities; a 10-year, $250 billion Global Investment Initiative to harness American innovation for clean energy and infrastructure projects around the world and counter China’s Belt and Road initiative; and a $50 billion American Cleantech Fund to fund demonstration projects.”

From Mobilizing America: Rising to the Climate Challenge

  1. American Cleantech Fund – “It will be capitalized with $50 billion in seed funding to support dozens of demonstration projects of new technologies that are too risky for the private sector”
  2. “Issue U.S. climate action bonds”
  3. “Establish the U.S. Climate Corps” – “Activities include training for communities on sustainability options, and resilience opportunities; resilience upgrades for homes in vulnerable communities; teaching in schools and communities on issues such as sustainability and conservation; and data and program analysis for local communities on how they can access support from public and privately-sponsored programs, grants, and technical assistance.”

Conclusion

The 2020 democratic candidates share many of the same opinions and plans when it comes to tackling climate change and the nation’s future. All would rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, seek to reduce the nation’s carbon emissions to zero, and understand the importance of environmental justice and community support initiatives.

I personally think it comes down to which candidate has the most developed plans with concrete numbers and strategies as well as who cares most deeply about the specific topics you do, including non-environmental topics. No matter who that person is for you, it’s important to go out and vote this primary season!

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 voter holds American flag high ready to vote for pro-environment candidate


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