Choices for the presidency

In keeping with my article series on climate change, I wanted to provide a glimpse of how to align your views on climate change with the top-seven candidates running for the Presidency of the United States.

I began by hoping to concisely summarize where each candidate stood but quickly realized it would be very difficult to do so in 500 words. So I scraped what I could from various websites and did my best to summarize what I thought might be useful to the voters in this region. I’ve reflected Greenpeace’s ratings simply because I didn’t find any other concise ratings.

One term that probably needs definition is “net zero”. It means that the amount of emissions produced (such as by power plants and vehicles) is equal to the amount taken out of the atmosphere (such as by trees and geoengineering). Most of the Democratic candidates have plans for achieving “net zero” no later than 2050.

Joe Biden, supports a carbon tax and the Green New Deal. His climate change plans received a ‘B+’ rating from Greenpeace.

Mike Bloomberg, supports a carbon tax and the Green New Deal. His climate change plans received a ‘C+’ rating from Greenpeace.

Pete Buttigieg, supports a carbon tax and the Green New Deal. His climate change plans received a ‘B+’ rating from Greenpeace.

Amy Klobuchar, supports a carbon tax and the Green New Deal. Her climate change plans received a ‘C+’ rating from Greenpeace.

Bernie Sanders, supports the Green New Deal rather than a carbon tax. His climate change plans received an ‘A+’ rating from Greenpeace.

Elizabeth Warren, supports the Green New Deal and has indicated she’s open to a carbon tax. Her climate change plans received an A rating from Greenpeace.

For more detail, please use keywords such as “ratings of presidential candidates on climate change plans” to see how PolitiFact, Greenpeace, CBS News and others discern between the Democratic candidates on climate change issues.

I should also reflect that I sought information from the 2020 campaign site of incumbent Donald Trump. He neither supports the Green New Deal nor a carbon tax and his climate change positions received an ‘F’ rating from Greenpeace. His campaign site lists the following points as “promises kept” that are connected to climate change: he’s enabled increased extraction of oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico; increased exports of energy resources to the global market; unleashed new oil and gas production in the U.S.; rescinded and repealed President Obama’s Clean Power Plan; proposed the Affordable Clean Energy Rule; announced his intent to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement; signed legislation to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to domestic energy production; and approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. The campaign site doesn’t mention anything forward-looking.

Here’s the way I suggest you think about the primary in the context of climate change issues. There are candidates who consider climate change to be just one of many problematic issues related to how our economy functions and how our government measures economic value. These are likely your progressives, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. If you hold the view that there is a path for the United States to get to net zero emissions by 2050 without a dramatic change to how our economy works and how we consume resources, then Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar may be well aligned with your thinking. And If you’ve bought into the idea that climate scientists are in it for the money, that climate change is just “hooey” and that “drill baby drill” sounds like a great idea because you’ll be dead in a few decades, then Trump may be your guy.

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