2020 Issue Focus: Climate

Who We Listen to on Climate

On climate change policy, we listen to professionals who understand the science, and frontline communities and activists who understand the stakes. That means following the lead of scientists, young people, and vulnerable communities that will be most impacted by climate disasters. Sunrise Movement is a youth-led organization advocating for bold action on climate change. They’re the driving force behind the Green New Deal, which targets the climate crisis, wealth inequality, and racial justice as interwoven issues. We look to the Peoples Climate Movement for their intersectional organizing work that has driven global attention to the issue of climate change. 350 is an international movement of activists working to educate and advocate on climate issues. The League of Conservation Voters is the electoral powerhouse behind green issues and advocacy. Finally, Sierra Club is the most enduring conservation organization in the country, focused on protecting our natural lands and environmental future.

Why Climate Matters for 2020

We are facing an existential crisis. Global climate change is the biggest threat (in both the  short- and long-term) to social justice, economic stability, national security, and public health. Full stop. This crisis could have and should have been addressed years ago, but corporate interests—namely fossil fuel executives—have worked to deceive the public and prevented meaningful work towards a solution. Climate disasters are already occurring globally and will result in unprecedented humanitarian crises. 2020 candidates need to be prepared to take action on day one of their new administration to undo the damage already done and go further than any U.S. leader ever has to eliminate fossil fuels, transform our economy, and lead us towards a livable future. Voters know this — strong climate policies will be key to turning out progressives next November.

What Candidates Should be Talking About on Climate

  • A clear understanding of the depth of the crisis we face

  • The communities (the young, the poor, communities of color) who will be most impacted by climate disasters and our lack of response

  • How they’re going to fight the interests that work to foil or weaken efforts to turn the tide against climate change — specifically, fossil fuel executives & their D.C. lobbyists

  • A commitment to rejecting money from the fossil fuel executives, lobbyists, and PACs (check out who’s already signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge!)

  • How they’ll define, support and implement the Green New Deal

  • How they’ll get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, invest in green energy, and build and update infrastructure for a sustainable future

  • How they’ll provide aid and a just transition to communities, including frontline communities,  labor and workers, who have already been impacted by climate change and environmental exploitation, and help with the transition off of fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Who’s Getting it Right on Climate

  • Senator Warren has rolled out a plan to get the U.S. to a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goal by 2030 and fund a Green Marshall Plan to aid countries that will suffer heavily as global temperatures rise. Since “climate candidate” Jay Inslee dropped out of the race, she has since incorporated parts of his plan into her own.

  • Senator Sanders has also been praised for his aggressive and ambitious climate plan centered on a historic public investment and jobs program.

  • Many other 2020 candidates are still rolling out their full climate plans - see how folks are answering the tough questions on climate here.