Choosing a presidential candidate to support is a lot like online dating. You find someone that you think best aligns with your future goals (and seems the least like a creep) based off of brief, basic overviews and a handful of semi-awkward profile pictures. Speaking from experience, however, this usually ends up in some sort of weird relationship where you find out that they’re not exactly who they claimed to be and then you’re stuck dating someone when you barely even know them. Fun!
Not to mention the fact that it takes time and a LOT of research (swiping left) to find a good one. Who has time for that? I wanted to put together a little synopsis of each of the candidates’ views on environmental policies to help give you a little insight into their views on climate change. Although environmental policy is only a tiny part that plays into a candidate’s readiness to represent the country, it’s becoming an increasingly important factor among millennial voters. After all, who doesn’t want a president who wants to save the turtles?
It’s no secret that our current president is an avid believer that climate change is a product of “a change in weather” rather than a global issue created by humans. He proved his focus on wealth over the environment when he withdrew America from the Paris Agreement on climate change in June of 2017.
Surprisingly, Harris has spoken the least about climate change compared to the other Democratic presidential candidates. While she is an open supporter of the Green New Deal, the strongest statement she has made regarding climate change is that “it’s an existential threat to us as a species.”
Biden has experience putting climate change policies into effect, as shown in the implementation of the Global Climate Protection Act of 1986. He was also very involved in the rise of environmental focus in the government during his years as part of the Obama administration. As for his 2020 presidential campaign, Biden’s overall aim is “for the United States to achieve net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by the year 2050.”
As a previous Senator, Sanders also has some experience with implementing climate policies. He introduced a Carbon-tax-and-dividend bill which introduced a fee on carbon pollution emissions that went towards funding “investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass.” For the future, Sanders plans to enact an even more aggressive tax on carbon emissions.
Warren introduced the Climate Risk Disclosure Act which “would require companies to disclose the risk climate change poses to their financial assets.” As for current plans for climate change, Warren plans to prohibit all fossil-fuel leases on public lands, which further coincides with her strong support for the Green New Deal.
Following the United States’ retreat from the Paris Climate Accord, Buttigieg set up an Office of Sustainability for South Bend, Indiana. Some of the issues he has tackled with this Office include “fire stations introducing free electric vehicle charging stations, empowering national service members to improve energy efficiency in low-income neighborhoods, and mentoring other Indiana cities seeking to lead on climate issues.” Buttigieg also has a sustainable vision for the future of America if he is elected, which he states will include a “nationwide carbon tax which would pay dividends to Americans, and a commitment to retrain displaced workers from fossil fuel businesses that close.” Not only does he have specific plans and measures for enforcing this, but he also says that climate change is a large reason for his running in the election in the first place.
Although Booker has no official record of implementing climate change policies, he plans on creating a climate change plan with a focus on “wetlands restoration and forestry.” He has other ideas on helping to reduce the effects of climate change, but no specific measures of achieving them have been presented yet.
As a previous senator and member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Gillibrand has “co-sponsored multiple pieces of legislation, including bills calling for a carbon tax and for the Green New Deal.” Similarly to many of the candidates, Gillibrand plans to enact the Green New Deal. She released a statement on her plan saying that the goal was to “make climate polluters pay, transform our economy with good-paying green jobs, and protect clean air and clean water as fundamental human rights.”