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Climate Score Cards: 2020 Democrat Candidates

Although the DNC will not hold a climate specific debate, everyone in the party agrees that more needs to be done to tackle climate change.

The long-established nonprofit environmental organization, Greenpeace, has evaluated each democratic presidential candidate and given them a letter grade and number score based on their support for the Paris Agreement, commitment to reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions, stance on labor protections and job creation, commitment to moving toward zero emissions in major industrial sectors, and more. Greenpeace looked at the climate plans that candidates put forward, often setting ambitious targets for action.

According to a Greenpeace spokesperson, support for the Green New Deal is essential, as the plan looks at “how to move to 100% renewable energy in a way that's just and fair, both for workers and communities. It's about tackling the climate crisis, but making sure we're tackling economic crises and other injustices at the same time.”

Phasing out the fossil fuel industry is the complement to the Green New Deal which involves looking at whether or not candidates have committed to a responsible and managed phase-out of fossil fuels over time; whether they've committed to ending fossil fuel leasing on public lands, ending taxpayer subsidies to oil and gas, banning oil and gas exports and thinking about polluter accountability and environmental justice for those communities who are already impacted by production.

Another increasingly influential coalition called The Sunrise Movement has spent the past year promoting the idea of a Green New Deal in Washington DC and on the 2020 campaign trail. They, too, plan to score the top three candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In alignment with the new era of climate politics and the importance of social media, 15% of each candidates’ score will be measured by the frequency of their Twitter posts on #climatecrisis and the #greennewdeal over the past three months.

Elizabeth Warren has adopted the comprehensive climate plan proposed by Jay Inslee before he dropped out of the race. Her $3 trillion, 10-year plan would aim to cut carbon pollution in half by 2030, achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, and attain 100% renewable energy for electricity generation by 2035.

Joe Biden wants to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and say he would invest $1.7 trillion over 10 years in clean energy, to be paid for with funds from rolling back corporate tax breaks. Biden pledges to end new oil and gas leasing on federal land, yet he has not called for a nationwide fracking ban.

Bernie Sanders has proposed his own Green New Deal, a $16.3 trillion, 10-year plan to mobilize the U.S. for action on climate change. He wants to reach 100% renewable energy for electricity and transportation by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050 and plans to create 20 million green jobs.

Consider voting for the candidate with the highest score on this all-important issue of the climate crisis.



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