Quantcast
Connect with us

Here’s where the Democratic presidential candidates stand on climate

Published

on

Senators Cory Booker (L) and Kamala Harris (R) have joined the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. (AFP/File / Drew Angerer)

So far, 18 Democrats have announced bids to tussle with Donald Trump for the presidency in 2020, with more expected to throw their caps in the ring. In such a crowded field, it’s hard to decipher where each candidate stands on any issue, including climate change — a topic that was conspicuously absent in the 2016 election but appears will be front and center this time around. Luckily, the New York Times sent around a survey to each of the 18 declared Democratic candidates and got them all on the record about everything from a carbon tax to nuclear energy to renewables.

ADVERTISEMENT

There are a few things that all of the candidates seem to agree on: The U.S. should stay in the Paris climate accord, reinstate President Obama’s climate legacy (which has suffered under Trump’s deregulation push), and invest in renewable energy. Some candidates said they would go even further in one or more of those issue areas, by adding their own flourishes to Obama’s Clean Power Plan or promising to work with the global community to strengthen the Paris pact.

Taking a look at where the candidates diverge yields a much more interesting analysis. Though there are many small distinctions between the 18 presidential hopefuls on climate policy, there are two issues where there is meaningful daylight between candidates.

A carbon tax
A carbon tax is still controversial in the United States, despite its prominence in countries like Sweden and Norway, and the success of carbon-trading schemes in the state of California and the multi-state coalition named the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative on the opposite seaboard. That’s in part because politicians don’t agree on what to do with the money generated by the tax — though most of the candidates said they’d at least be willing to consider a price on carbon.

Cory Booker, in his response to a survey question on whether he supports a carbon tax, said he would like to see the money from the tax go toward alleviating inequality. That progressive approach clashes with Pete Buttigieg’s response. The South Bend, Indiana, mayor said he supports a tax but advocates for returning the money generated by the fee to American families — a scheme favored by some Republicans.

Both the progressive and conservative versions of a carbon tax failed to pass in Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s deep-blue state. The self-described climate candidate has watched many iterations of such a tax fail, in spite of his state’s liberal voter base. Perhaps that’s why Inslee is still in the undecided camp when it comes to pricing emissions — there’s only so many times you can bang your head against the same wall.

ADVERTISEMENT

Nuclear energy
Like it or not, nuclear energy will likely have to play a role in weaning the United States off of its oil and gas addiction. Any candidate who supports the Green New Deal (five senators and counting) will have a hard time achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 without leaning on nuclear, at least in the short-term.

Regardless of that inconvenient truth, the question on nuclear energy was the most divisive in the survey, according to the Times. Seven out of the 18 were in favor of new nuclear development, including Booker, Inslee, John Hickenlooper, and Amy Klobuchar. Bernie Sanders, one of the earlier proponents of the Green New Deal and the emissions target it centers around, is not in favor of new nuclear. Eight of the candidates either didn’t respond or had “strong reservations.”

“Nuclear energy is not ideal, by any stretch,” said Marianne Williamson, the spiritual healer who famously counseled Oprah Winfrey and is one of those with reservations. “But it is still head and shoulders above coal and natural gas.”

ADVERTISEMENT

In such a crowded field, it’s these minute differences between candidates that will help climate-conscious voters decide who’s serious about tackling rampant warming, among the many other issues facing the nation. As a presidential candidate, it’s easy enough to say you’ll reenter a climate agreement that nearly every other global leader supports. It’s much more difficult to speak with literacy about controversial topics like nuclear energy, or thorny emission reduction plans like a federal carbon tax. As election season heats up, these candidates will have to expound on the ways they aim to cool the planet down.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

Former federal prosecutor explains how AG Barr could help Trump steal the election — and take the US to ‘a very dark place’

Published

on

Between the coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest in major U.S. cities, huge anti-racism protests, bitter political divisions, a heated Supreme Court battle and President Donald Trump’s ruthless voter suppression efforts, the United States’ 2020 presidential election is turning out to be even more chaotic than the elections of 2000 and 1968. Trump has a devoted loyalist in U.S. Attorney General William Barr, and former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade discusses the effect he could have on the 2020 election in a disturbing op-ed published in the Washington Post on September 22.

Continue Reading

2020 Election

This one demographic shift could doom Trump’s 2020 campaign: elections expert

Published

on

Polling has consistently shown that President Donald Trump's strongest base of support comes from white Americans who do not have a college degree -- but new analysis shows that they might not be enough to carry him across the finish line this year.

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

‘Expect violence from Trump supporters’: Paul Krugman issues dire warning of what’s to come in 2020 election

Published

on

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman on Wednesday issued a dire warning about what's to come in the 2020 presidential election, and he predicted that supporters of President Donald Trump would try to violently disrupt voting.

"I wonder how many people are ready for just how bad the next six weeks plus are going to be," Krugman wrote on Twitter. "This is going to be the most dangerous election since 1860, with substantial odds that America as we know it will be damaged or even destroyed."

Continue Reading
 
 
Democracy is in peril. Invest in progressive news. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free. LEARN MORE