In July 2019, only four percent Americans said that climate change is the most important issue facing our country today. According to Gallup, Americans are more concerned with immigration, race relations, health care, and “the government.” But climate change is directly affecting migration patterns; a vast number environmental disasters directly impact people color and poor people in the U.S.; and you can’t talk about health care without talking about how climate change is going to worsen health outcomes for many Americans.
In other words: despite public perception, climate change is very likely the most important issue facing humans today, its tendrils reaching into every facet human life. With that in mind and the 2020 presidential election looming on the horizon, we compiled the climate change policies all the serious presidential candidates — Democrats who qualified for the third Democratic debate and sitting President Donald Trump. Here’s which steps each them hopes to see the nation take in the near future.
As at least June, the former Vice President supports the Green New Deal — or, at least, parts the GND, calling the sweeping policy a “critical framework.” And while his climate change policy does advocate for making the switch to net-zero emissions, it’s not nearly as stringent as the GND as proposed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Rather, here’s what Biden is proposing:
- Create a 100 percent clean energy economy and reach net-zero emissions no later than 2050
- Invest in infrastructure spending, rebuilding roads, the electric grid, the water system, and more
- Rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, a global agreement to curb emissions and limit the warming the planet to below 2 degrees celsius with a stricter goal limiting it to 1.5 degrees celsius
- “Take action” against companies that pollute and “knowingly harm” the environment
- Preserve and re-implement the Clean Air Act in order to create rigorous standards for fuel efficiency in vehicles all manner and push for the development biuel
- Require “aggressive” new methane pollution restrictions for “existing oil and gas operations”
- Conserve 30 percent America’s land and water by 2030
- Ban new oil and gas permits on public lands, develop renewables on public land, and double fshore wind farms by 2030
- Pay for the plan by rolling back the Trump tax plan, which significantly cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans and corporations
Reuters has called his plan a “middle ground” and former candidate and current Governor Washington Jay Inslee described the plan as “too late” at the last debate. Inslee, whose entire campaign was based around tackling climate change, said to Biden, “The time is up! Our house is on fire. We have to stop using coal in 10 years, and we need a president to do it or it won’t get done.”