The 2020 primaries are right around the corner, and the 20 current Democratic candidates are busy campaigning. Most of the candidates agree that climate change is a pressing issue that requires our attention, but few of them have developed plans for putting their words into action. Climate change is a pressing issue that will require changes in policy to be made quickly and efficiently. Whichever candidate receives the Democratic nomination must believe in climate change and fully intend to work towards combating it. Here are their current views on the controversial topic.
Jay Inslee is clearly the candidate with the biggest focus on the environment. His entire platform is made up of a plan to fight climate change and create an economy based on clean energy. The Washington state governor has taken to Twitter to advocate for debates centered around climate change and to claim victory in Washington state's new clean energy bill.
In a recent New York Times article, Lisa Friedman and Maggie Astor reviewed the candidates' opinions on different aspects of climate change and the extent to which they have policy ideas. The article says "All of the 2020 Democrats vowed to restore Mr. Obama's regulations and recommit to the Paris Agreement, the global climate pact that Mr. Trump plans to abandon." According to the article, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, John Delaney, Kirsten Gillibrand, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang were the only candidates in favor of a carbon tax. Although a few were willing to consider it, the idea of a carbon tax is a relatively new idea.
Only half of the candidates, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Beto O'Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Marianne Williamson, have promised to retain policies set in the Obama era and push for stronger regulations.
In addition to the carbon tax, the conversations about nuclear energy never seem to come to any one conclusion. Cory Booker, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Tim Ryan, Andrew Yang are for new nuclear development in the United States.
Many Democrats have spoken out in favor of a Green New Deal. Elizabeth Warren tweeted "Climate change is real and it is here — just ask farmers in Iowa who have felt the change in growing seasons, excessive flooding, and about $2 billion in damage to communities. We need real solutions like a #GreenNewDeal — and we need them now." In addition, many candidates saw Earth Day as a perfect opportunity to advertise their plans for changes in policies and their support for environmental organizations. Kirsten Gillibrand's Earth Day tweet announced her pledge not to take money from fossil fuel companies.
The good news is that climate change is and has been a large enough problem through the past few years that all of the candidates recognize it as something their constituents care about. In terms of the Democrats, whoever receives the nomination is likely to support policies intended to reverse the effects of global climate change. This is good news for the planet! Now it's up to us to decide which policies are most pressing in our eyes and which candidates will dedicate the time and effort to see those changes made.
For a near complete review of the Democratic candidates and their general platforms, check out this Quartz article.