Where Each Democratic Candidate Stands On Climate Change

Let's Break Down Democratic Candidates' Climate Change Policies — Since The Debate Didn't

The United Nations has warned that we are nearing the point of no return and climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends are extremely likely due to human influence.


The United Nations has warned that we are nearing the point of no return and climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends are extremely likely due to human influence.

Each of the major Democratic candidates has something to say about climate change and each have outlined policies ranging from robust to peripheral. Some candidates have more comprehensive policies, some have backtracked on their former work, and some say one thing but have done another.

So, because there were no questions about climate change at the debate last night, here's a roundup of candidates policies and opinions on climate change:

1. Bernie Sanders

Bernie supports and wants to expand on a "Green New Deal" and has a bold and robust plan for tackling the climate crisis. It includes a plan for transition for workers that currently have jobs within the natural gas and coal industries. It creates jobs and is a full transition to renewable energy.

Bernie wants to spend $16.3 trillion in over a decade to facilitate the transition to renewables.

Bernie Sanders wants to ban fracking and has a bill that would completely ban it immediately with no transition.

2. Elizabeth Warren

Warren also has big plans for the climate crisis. She wants to spend $3 Trillion in over a decade, which is the biggest difference between hers and Bernie's platform — Bernie intends to use a lot more money than Warren.


Warren plans to reverse tax deductions on the ultra-wealthy and corporations via the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The plan aims to do a few specific things. Via Politico:

"100 percent zero-carbon pollution from new commercial and residential buildings by 2028; 100 percent zero emissions standards for all new cars, buses and light- and medium-duty trucks by 2030; and 100 percent zero-emission energy in electric generation by 2035.Warren's plan will also help to transition fossil fuel union workers into 'green jobs.'"

Warren doesn't believe in fracking as a transitional fuel. She has her sights set on banning it immediately, aligning with Sanders.

3. Michael Bloomberg

The former mayor champions himself as someone who has done more than anyone else to fight climate change, claiming his philanthropic efforts have helped closed down hundreds of coal plants.

However, back in 2019, AP fact-checked his claims that, at the time, he had contributed to the closure of 299 coal plants and found it to be a false claim. Instead, the AP agreed with a federal report that attributed the closures to other market forces.

On top of that, Steve Rattner (who manages Bloomberg's fortune) has been on the record stating, "We invest a lot in the energy sector so we have a dog in this fight."

All of this makes one question the legitimacy of Bloomberg's platform. It may be more performative than anything.

Bloomberg is a backer of fracking as a "transitional fuel." He's mentioned it in the Nevada debate and has a history of endorsing fracking dating back to at least 2018.

Fracking has been documented as something that could actually be exacerbating the climate crisis. This point is one the other Democrats in the field have something to say about.

4. Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg has a 30-year plan, which is much longer than the "over a decade" plans of other candidates.

Buttigieg plans on "doubling clean electricity in the US by 2025, zero emissions in electricity generation by 2035, net-zero emissions from industrial vehicles by 2040, and a net-zero emissions by 2050 (when he's 68)," according to Vox, and it will only cost between $1.5 and $2 trillion, as opposed to the more expensive trajectory of Bernie's plan.

Pete Buttigieg's plan for a transition into clean technologies is on his website:

"In addition to bolstering clean technologies, we will end subsidies for fossil fuel companies and close public lands to new fossil leases. And we must provide transition assistance for displaced workers and communities, through a 10-year, $200 billion fund for training and transition."

5. Amy Klobuchar

Like Bloomberg, Klobuchar believes that "[fracking] is a transitional fuel." You can hear her take on it in the Nevada Democratic debate below. It will follow the trajectory that Barack Obama laid out during his tenure and that Trump is now rolling back.

The plan comes in at a cost of around $1 trillion paid for by increasing corporate tax rates to 25 percent.

6. Joe Biden

Biden has a plan, costing $1.7 trillion, that aims to get the U.S. to net-zero gas emissions by 2050.

He has worked as vice president on President Obama's 2009 stimulus package which led to investments in things that support our climate and really brought the conversation to the forefront of the American consciousness, according to KQED.

Vice President Biden also believes that fracking is a transitional fuel and it will take time to move on from fracking.

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