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The History Of Environmental Racism Black man holding a protest sign reading "Liberty & Justice for ALL"

The History Of Environmental Racism

Introduction

June has been a month focused on inequality. A massive movement sparked by the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota has stretched even beyond the United States into other countries where racism still plays a role in society. This week, I want to share how environmental racism has affected millions of lives over the past century and a half and provide both examples of progress and ideas for moving forward.

Environmental Racism In The Past

Race and environmentalism have been uniquely intertwined since the beginning of the conservationist movement that started near the turn of the 20th century. After the Civil War, the US government had promised land to newly freed blacks, but this land and land provided to Native Americans was taken to create national parks and monuments instead.

The Founding Fathers Of Conservation

It wasn’t just the government who discriminated against people of color. Many founding fathers of conservation were white supremacists and racists who valued the lives of animals and even plants over the lives of persons of color.

Environmentalist John Muir felt a brotherhood with “animal people” but often commented on “dirty” Native Americans. Early conservation efforts pushed Native Americans off of their own lands so they could be enjoyed by white tourists instead.

Madison Grant, who founded the American Bison Society and played roles in creating Denali and Glacier National Parks, was a eugenicist and white supremacist. He published a book titled The Passing of the Great Race, or The Racial Basis of European History in 1916 warning of the decline of “Nordic” people to a rise in minorities.

President Theodore Roosevelt supported these environmentalists and even praised The Passing of the Great Race, calling it “a capital book; in purpose, in vision, in grasp of the facts our people most need to realize.” He took radical steps to protect land, but he did not do the same for black humans.

Mid-Century Racism

Over a decade before Rachel Carson’s iconic book, Silent Spring, William Vogt published Road to Survival (1948) which also warned about the dangers of pesticides and encouraged conservation efforts, but it also suggested eugenics and sterilization of the poor as solutions to overpopulation.

Waste Facilities

Landfills and other undesirable industry located predominantly in black neighborhoods. For example, a 1979 study on waste in Houston discovered “82 percent of all solid waste disposed in Houston from the 1930s to 1978 was dumped in mostly black neighborhoods – even though blacks made up only 25 percent of Houston’s population.”

In 1967, an 8 year old black girl drowned at the garbage dump next to her school. This event sparked riots at Texas Southern University, whose student population was mostly African Americans. The student protest escalated. A ricocheting bullet struck and killed an officer. Multiple protest leaders were arrested. This event was one of the first protests against environmental racism in America.

In 1979, residents of the Northwood Manor neighborhood in Houston, a mostly black neighborhood, formed the Northeast Community Action Group and filed a class action lawsuit against Southwestern Waste Management Corp (Bean v. Southwestern Waste Management Corp). They brought historical evidence of waste management companies siting landfills in black areas and claimed this new proposed landfill was a violation of civil rights. A judge ruled there was no discrimination.

The Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is an environmental organization started over 125 years ago by John Muir. The organization polled its members in 1972 asking if the organization should “concern itself with the conservation problems of such special groups as the urban poor and ethnic minorities.” Forty percent were strongly opposed while only fifteen percent were supportive of the idea.

John Tanton served at the Sierra Club’s national population committee chair in the seventies. In 1988, he wrote, “What will happen when [the white population] goes into minority status, and the groups that comprise the new coalition majorities don’t share the same [environmental] values?”

The Beginning Of The Environmental Justice Movement

The environmental justice movement did not start with companies or even the EPA realizing the ties between race and the environment. It grew out of community action which grew out of the civil rights movement. This new wave of activism for social and environmental reform began in the 1980s, and while some progress has been made since then, we have a long way to go.

In 1982, residents of Warren County, NC, protested against a hazardous waste facility by blocking the streets to prevent trucks carrying harmful PCBs from reaching the facility. Although this protest did not permanently stop the facility, it was one of the first events which launched the modern environmental justice movement.

The 1990s

Even after the movement began to gather steam, environmental organizations were a whitewash. In 1990, activists sent letters to these organizations “claiming that non-whites were less than two per cent of the combined seven hundred and forty-five employees of the Audubon Society, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council (N.R.D.C.), and Friends of the Earth.”

In the early 1990s, the EPA created an internal Work Group on Environmental Equity, an Office of Environmental Equity, and an Environmental Equity Cluster after pressure from activists and academics.

Greenpeace released a report in 1990 showing the extent of the discrimination. Here are some key findings:

  • “The minority portion of the population in communities with existing incinerators is 89% higher than the national average
  • Communities where incinerators are proposed have minority populations 60% higher than the national average
  • Average income in communities with existing incinerators is 15% below the national average
  • Property values in communities with incinerators are 38% lower than the national average
  • Average property values in communities where incinerators are proposed are 35 % lower than the national average.”

Beyond African Americans

The environmental justice movement isn’t just about discrimination against African Americans. Native Americans and Latinos face similar discrimination when it comes to siting waste sites and industry, although to a lesser degree. The distribution of wealth, housing and real estate practices, and land use planning also put Latinos and Native Americans at a higher health and environmental risk than whites. For example, Native American reservations are not subject to state regulations, making them enticing places to set up waste sites which will be exempt from state environmental regulations.

Environmental Racism In the Present

You may have thought that we surely must have come a long way in the four decades since the beginning of the environmental justice movement, but you would be wrong. Environmental racism is alive and well, and there are plenty of studies to prove it.

Unchanging Numbers

Remember how less than 2% of environmental organizations were non-white? The numbers have slightly improved, but not much. The Green 2.0 initiative showed “only 12 percent of the leadership staff and less than 5 percent of NGO boards of directors are people of color. When it comes to general staffing for these organizations, less than 13 percent of those hired between 2010 and 2014 were people of color.” Rachel Langstone, an environmental consultant surveyed by Green 2.0, said the persons of color brought onto boards of directors were usually there as a token role.

A 2014 study found that non-whites only made up 11% of leadership positions in environmental organizations. For comparison, non-whites make up about 27% of the US population.

A 2018 EPA study found that, in 46 states, non-white residents are exposed to higher concentrations of particulate matter than white residents. In Indiana and Alabama, non-whites were exposed to up to twice the amount of pollutants. (In case you’re wondering about the other 4 states, they are Maryland, New Mexico, North Dakota, Virginia, and Washington.)

Compared to the average American:

  • “Black US residents are exposed to 1.54 times more fine particulate matter, a pollutant that contributes to haze and has been linked to heart and lung diseases.
  • Hispanic US residents are exposed to 1.2 times more fine particulate matter.
  • People below the poverty line were exposed to 1.35 times more fine particulate matter.”

But race, not class, is still the determining factor on how much pollution one can expect to be exposed to. This 2009 study shows how African American households with incomes between $50,000 and $60,000 were living in neighborhoods with higher pollution than white households, even when those white households were making less than $10,000. “Even when income is held constant, African American children are two to three times more likely than white children to suffer from lead poisoning.

Unrecognized Privilege

The link between race and environmentalism has a lot to do with privilege. Non-whites are more likely to have limited access to resources (green spaces, farmer’s markets, extra money to buy zero waste alternatives, etc.) and barriers from the banking and real estate industries prevent them from moving out of polluted areas.

Since at least the 1980s, low income communities have been labeled as “least likely to resist” new waste facilities. Part of this is due to housing. It is easier for homeowners to protest new developments than it is for renters. While almost three quarters of whites own their homes, only about 42% of African Americans do.

Here is a good explanation about why privilege can be hard to see taken from this article: “The reason privilege is such a potent source of unquestioned beliefs is that it is itself quite stealthy, at least to those who possess it, while it is almost always blatantly obvious to everyone else. This is the result of a psychological process called cognitive dissonance, whereby the brain essentially rewires itself so as to not perceive aspects of the world that present painful contradictions or challenge one’s sense of identity. In the context of privilege, this means that we structure our experience of the world so that our social advantages seem natural and/or deserved.”

My privilege as a white person sometimes makes it hard to see how difficult “going green” can be for other people because of the thinking that since I have the time and resources to put toward it, doesn’t everyone else? Why doesn’t everyone else “care” as much as I do? But it may not be a case of who cares about the environment the most. The modern environmental movement is mostly middle class whites because they are more likely to have the resources to be able to care about the environment instead of more basic things like putting food on the table.

In addition to a difference in resources, the way environmental organizations go about stirring up emotions does not connect as easily with people more likely to be of color. Those who are trapped in concrete inner cities who have never seen forests or mountains or real wildlife for themselves and those who live in rural areas who depend on nature to survive do not have the same appreciation for nature as suburban folk who take vacations to national parks to experience its majesty.

Recent Events And Progress

In the past few years, finally a handful of environmental organizations have amended their platforms to also include racial justice and environmental justice. The Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Earthjustice and more have begun to realize how race has been swept aside in the fight for a greener planet. In addition, new environmental organizations have sprung up like Outdoor Afro and Latino Outdoors to give voices and a community to POC environmentalists.

The NAACP also recognizes environmental justice as a major issue to fight for and created the Environmental and Climate Justice Program to address “the many practices that are harming communities nationwide and worldwide and the policies needed to rectify these impacts and advance a society that fosters sustainable, cooperative, regenerative communities that uphold all rights for all people in harmony with the earth.”

The Black Lives Matter movement has also added environmental justice as one of their top issues on their #WhatMatters2020 campaign.

In more recent news, the role of pollution in minority neighborhoods has created an imbalance in the number of people contracting COVID-19 and dying from the virus. Air pollution causes respiratory problems which make fighting COVID-19 harder. A study from Harvard released in April stated that even small increases in the amount of fine particulate matter leads to an 8% increase in COVID-19 deaths. We are seeing the life or death effects of environmental racism playing out in real time.

Combating Environmental Racism For A Better Future

So now that we know about the beginning of environmental racism and the problems minorities still face, what can we do to create environmental justice? Here’s a brief and incomplete list of ways we can lead our nation into an equitable future for all people.

  • Get the facts and spread them with others.
  • Organize within your community to address environmental racism.
  • Protest and make your voice heard, in person and online.
  • Vote for candidates and policies that advocate for environmental justice.
  • Attend local planning and/or zoning board meetings and speak up when something doesn’t sound fair.
  • Continue fighting in court for environmental justice.
  • LISTEN to other people’s stories, gain a better understanding of their struggles, and learn from them.

Now how about things on a larger scale? What must governments, businesses, and organizations do?

  • Address police brutality and mass incarceration.
  • Hire more minorities and let their voices be heard (not just token roles).
  • Include assessments of how new developments or policies may affect different communities before they are approved.
  • LISTEN to citizens’ concerns and work with them to find equitable solutions.
  • Strengthen existing legislation and pass new legislation regarding environmental policy and environmental racism.
  • Ensure environmental regulations are being followed and penalize those who are disregarding them.
  • Reject the idea of pushing environmental racism elsewhere. Do not allow hazardous facilities here just pack up and move abroad to harm other communities.
  • Utilize the EPA’s Resources for Creating Healthy, Sustainable, and Equitable Communities.

Conclusion

It’s clear we have a long way to go in this fight, but it’s uplifting to be seeing both enthusiasm and progress as we move forward in addressing these long-ingrained inequalities. Check out my other post on getting involved in environmentalism for more advice and resources.

If you want to read about some examples of environmental justice in your community, check out this page from the EPA where you can search by region and read about how the environmental justice movement has brought about real change.

The History Of Environmental Racism Black man holding a protest sign reading "Liberty & Justice for ALL"
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Profits Over Planet Amid The Pandemic Climate strike cardboard sign stating "No business on a dead planet"

Profits Over Planet Amid The Pandemic

Introduction

While the pandemic rages on, the United States government is using the virus to pass “shock doctrine.” The term “shock doctrine” was coined by author Naomi Klein who wrote a book describing how leaders will exploit national crises to pass unpopular policies that would have faced much more push-back in peace times. It is possible you don’t know about the many ways our government is putting profits over planet during the pandemic, so take a look. Then do something about it.

EPA Reduces Environmental Regulations

On March 26, the Environmental Protection Agency released a memo stating it would temporarily allow companies to violate testing, training, and other obligations without punishment. There is no indication of how long “temporary” means, and this broad new policy opens the door for negligence. If companies can make a strong enough case for noncompliance due to the pandemic, they could get away with cutting corners to increase profits.

What Does The EPA Memo Say?

The memo addresses the effect the pandemic may have on a facility’s ability to properly monitor and test as required, move or store property and waste, and even train its employees. The memo says “these consequences may affect the ability of an operation to meet enforceable limitations on air emissions and water discharges, requirements for the management of hazardous waste, or requirements to ensure and provide safe drinking water.”

The EPA “does not expect to seek penalties for violations of routine compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training, and reporting or certification obligations in situations where the EPA agrees that COVID-19 was the cause of the noncompliance”.

The Agency provided an expectation that all facilities should continue operating in compliance with environmental regulations, but it will not punish those who defy those regulations. While the policy does not apply to any criminal violations, the EPA stated it would work with the Department of Justice to “exercise enforcement discretion” with regards to companies that pollute during this time.

It is important to note this policy also does not apply to any imports, Superfund activities, or RCRA Corrective Action enforcement instruments. The EPA memo stated it expects public water systems to continue normal operation and maintenance activities, including timely sample analysis of water systems.

The Agency says it will distinguish between noncompliance that stems directly from the pandemic and noncompliance that was avoidable. It is unclear how that determination will be made.

Nine States Sue Over Memo

On Wednesday, nine states sued the EPA over the reduction of regulation and oversight. California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Virginia filed a lawsuit on the grounds that “the policy is too broad and not transparent.” They argue the EPA does not have the authority to waive the obligation of entities to inform the public about about pollution hazards. A month ago, multiple environmental groups filed a similar lawsuit regarding the temporary policy.

Fossil Fuel Bailouts

The Federal Reserve’s bond buyback program will benefit at least 90 fossil fuel companies and over 150 utility companies, many of which heavily rely on coal (). The total expected worth of the program is estimated at $750 billion, but the portion these companies would receive in still unknown.

An Oxford University study said investing in a green recovery from the pandemic would create more jobs and produce larger economic returns over investing in the fossil fuel industry, but the Trump administration continues to prop up a dying industry. This decision puts profits over planet by providing a lifeline to fossil fuel instead of investing in our future.

Big Oil and Gas companies also received over $72 million in “small business” bailout money despite having a value over the $2 million maximum. Despite all these bailouts, members of Congress sent a letter to President Trump complaining that banks are not using enough of their own bailout money to invest in the fossil fuel industry. They argued discrimination against fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy companies.

Some members of Congress are still searching for ways to provide more relief to renewable companies who did not receive access to tax benefits like oil and gas companies did. This slight stems from conservative lobbyists who urged Congress to reject renewable energy relief on the basis that “Climate change is not an immediate threat to humanity.

States Increase Fossil Fuel Protest Punishments

Right now Americans are urged to stay inside, but three states (Kentucky, South Dakota, and West Virginia) passed laws to increase penalties for those who participate in fossil fuel protests within days of each other. Last week Alabama moved forward a similar bill, which is much harsher than the others.

On March 16, Kentucky officially designated natural gas and petroleum pipelines as “key infrastructure assets.” The new law makes causing over $1,000 in damage or tampering that may make operations unsafe a felony for first degree criminal mischief.

Two days later, North Dakota’s governor signed into law a bill that reclassified oil, gas, and utility equipment as “critical infrastructure.” Causing interruptions to these facilities now carries a felony. The next week, the governor passed another measure which defines a felony riot as “intentional use of force or violence by three or more persons” that causes any property damage.

West Virginia then followed at the end of March the a similar reclassification of oil, gas, and pipeline equipment as “critical infrastructure” and will now be charging fines up to $20,000 on those guilty of causing over $2,500 worth of “damage, destruction, vandalization, defacing or tampering.

The proposed bill in Alabama would make the same “critical infrastructure” designation, prohibit where pollution watchdog groups can fly drones, and make actions that interrupt or interfere with pipeline activities or facilities a Class C felony. This felony carries at least one year in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.

After the end of the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2017, other states passed their own laws protecting pipeline infrastructure against protesters. These states include Indiana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.

Executive Order Opens Up Offshore Fish Farms

On May 7, Trump signed an executive order that will make fish farming in the Gulf of Mexico and other waters less regulated. Specifically, the order calls for the removal of “unnecessary regulatory barriers” to increase domestic fish farming.

Marianne Cufone, executive director of the Recirculating Farms Coalition, opposes the order and pointed out how often the floating fish pens fail. She believes the measure was taken now so it could slide past while most concern is focused on the pandemic.

While fish farming is efficient, it poses many environmental risks. Escaped fish can damage the surrounding ecosystems by out-competing wild populations. Viruses can wipe out the farm population. And fish farming would mostly benefit large corporations and wipe out smaller family operations. This executive order will reduce regulations which will cause even more harm to our waters.

Administration Opens 2.3 Million Acres To Hunting And Fishing

While Americans are stuck inside, the Trump administration announced plans to open 2.3 million acres of federal lands to hunting and fishing. Fishing will now be permitted in several wildlife refuges including San Diego Bay in California, Umbagog in Maine and New Hampshire, and Everglades Headwaters in Florida. Alligator hunting will be allowed at refuges in Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas.

Hunters will soon hunt mountain lions and mule deer at Cabeza Prieta as well as mountain lions, bobcats, and fox in Buenos Aires. Both of these national refuges are in Arizona. Hunters may also go after migratory birds for the first time in Oregon at the Wapato Lake and Hart Mountain refuges. What is the point of a national wildlife refuge if humans can still kill its animals for sport?

Reduced Fuel Efficiency Standards

At the end of March, the Trump administration announced the Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles rule which will apply to vehicle models from 2021 to 2026. While this rule is an improvement from the administration’s initial plan to freeze emissions standards, it only requires 30% of the annual improvement the Obama administration’s standards required. Now vehicles must improve emissions by 1.5% per year instead of 5%.

The justification for this dramatic decrease is that it would make vehicles more affordable and encourage families to buy newer cars. Officials estimate this new standards would save around $1,000 on a $38,000 vehicle compared to the Obama era standard. This is only around 2.5% of the vehicle cost. I am unsure how much sway that small discount will have on potential consumers. To me, it sounds like a marketing campaign to sell more cars.

Leases and Land Auctions

On March 18, the US Department of the Interior auctioned off 78 million acres in the Gulf Coast for oil and gas leases. The following day, the Bureau of Land Management announced plans for a 45,000-acre auction for lands in New Mexico and Texas for even more oil and gas development.

The Bureau has also not given any indications of postponing or cancelling other scheduled auctions in Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

The pandemic and a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia dropped oil prices. This mean these auctions are not even bringing in as much money as they could be. Companies are buying up rights to drill on public lands at rock bottom prices. The government is giving companies the best deal, putting industry profits over planet and even their own profits.

Greenlit New Projects

The Bureau of Land Management approved a 497-acre expansion for a gold and silver mine located on public lands in Mojave County, Arizona. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved construction of both the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export terminal and the Pacific Connector Pipeline which will stretch 230 miles. The terminal will be located in Coos Bay in Oregon, which is already seeing the effects of pollution.

Other Environmental Damages

The EPA has moved forward with expanding the proposal to restrict scientific research used to make environmental regulations. The Fish and Wildlife Service closed the public comment period regarding a proposal to weaken migratory bird protections forever.

The administration tapped Anna Siedman, a lawyer from Safari Club International, to lead the Fish and Wildlife Service’s international affairs department. She had sued the Fish and Wildlife Service many times over her career at the trophy hunting advocacy group. Someone against protecting the lives of animals should not have a position within the Fish and Wildlife Service.

What You Can Do

With federal and state governments putting economic profits over our planet, you may be asking what you can do about it. The best thing you can do is make your voice heard. Contact your elected officials. Be sure to turn out to vote.

Join or support one of the environmental groups below.

Get active on social media and in your community to spread awareness and support for environmental and sustainable policies. The #FridaysForFuture campaign started as a way to organize protests. The new #ClimateStrikeOnline campaign moves those protests online in light of the pandemic. Do not let quarantine keep you silent about environmental issues.

You can learn about more ways to get involved in protecting our future by heading over to my other post!

Conclusion

The main takeaway of this post is to not let the health crisis blind you to policies and laws that our government is passing to increase the profits of destructive industries. Keep speaking up even when it needs to be online. Stay informed about what’s going on in our country beyond the pandemic. Do not let them get away with destroying our future by placing profits over planet!

Today is Friday. Head over to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and post your own #FridaysForFuture post calling for climate action and calling out the profiteers only looking to make a quick buck.

As always, get your information regarding the pandemic from trusted sources, like the CDC or WHO.

Profits Over Planet Amid The Pandemic Climate strike cardboard sign stating "No business on a dead planet"
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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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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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