Huge Divide Among Democratic Presidential Frontrunners on Climate Change

Vote Climate U.S. PAC’s 2020 Presidential voters guide, released today, empowers Americans to make climate change a top priority. Our voters guide gives Democrats and Republicans running for president, a climate calculation, distinguishing candidates on the issue. Voters must choose presidential, climate-action in 2020, perhaps one of our last chances to prioritize the climate emergency in the voting booth.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s overall climate calculation is weak at 68.75. Compare that to frontrunners, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders who score the highest among any candidate, each with an overall climate calculation of 93.75.

Those scores may be the difference between meeting the limit of 1.5 degrees of global warming, set in the Paris Agreement, or not. Voters must make critical choices. These stark differences matter immensely, when choosing a leader to make crucial decisions on climate change. If used widely to elect the strongest candidates, the voters guide could revolutionize climate politics.

The world may only have until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, according to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The difference between climate calculations for Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden comes partially from Biden’s failure to advocate 100% renewable energy by 2030, a plan to which Sanders and Warren have both committed. In his climate plan Biden calls for a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.

Fossil fuels are a main driver of climate change, so our voters guide scores candidates on their plan to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Vice President Biden supports ending fossil fuel subsidies and ending fossil fuel extraction on public lands, as does Sanders and Warren. But Biden signed the “No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge” and subsequently violated that pledge by attending a fundraising event co-hosted by Western LNG’s co-founder Andrew Goldman. Senators Warren and Sanders signed the “No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge” and have not violated the pledge.

Excess carbon in our oceans make them hotter, more acidic and inhospitable to millions of species, including people who depend on them as a primary food source, according to a report just released by the IPCC. Much of the calamitous impact on the oceans and more broadly, can be avoided by ambitious carbon emission reductions. Putting a substantial fee on carbon pollution is an indispensable way to rapidly reduce carbon emissions.

Warren, Sanders and Biden all support a fee on carbon pollution, but all three score 75 on carbon fee, due to their need to become more powerful advocates and stronger voices on that issue. The cost would not fall on consumers in a carbon fee and dividend policy, where Americans would receive a check from the government to cover any cost.

The partisan divide on climate change, between Democratic and Republicans candidates for president is staggering. Those Democratic scores compare to Republican incumbent Donald Trump who is a Climate Zero. No other leadership, anywhere else in the world, denies climate change like Trump and the Republican party in the U.S. If voters care about climate change, it should eliminate most Republicans presidential candidates from consideration, especially the incumbent.

It’s all about the politics of climate change and the kids know it. “We need policy change and support from our politicians to either get a Green New Deal or something going…We just need policies that are helping our environment, not harming it, and holding businesses responsible for what they’re doing,” said Shealya, 21 at the Climate Strike. Support of the Green New Deal is another of our criteria for climate calculations.

Polls show that American voters want political action on climate change. Our voters guide empowers Americans to vote climate, by helping them understand where the candidates stand on the issue and how they compare to one another. As climate striker Isabel, 15 says, “We’re here to make a difference, and make people hear us. We’re not the same, we’re a new generation who will vote them out.”