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How 18 Democratic Candidates Responded to a Climate Policy Survey – The New York Times

The New York Times asked all 18 declared Democratic presidential candidates for their views on a number of policy options related to climate change. [Read the article here.]

The candidates unanimously supported recommitting to the Paris Agreement, restoring President Barack Obama’s environmental regulations and increasing funding for clean-energy research.

But their responses diverged on five other potential policies: increasing the United States’ emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement; setting a national renewable energy standard; putting a price on carbon; enacting new regulations beyond Mr. Obama’s; and expanding the use of nuclear energy.

Below are the questions we asked and how the candidates responded: some verbally and others in writing; some directly and others through their campaign staff. Aside from a few corrected typos and minor punctuation changes for clarity, these are the full, unedited answers we received.

“As president, I will immediately move to rejoin the Paris Agreement and to increase our emission reduction targets to align with the scientific consensus for the necessary speed and scale at which we must decarbonize in order to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees.”


“If elected, my first action as president will be to recommit the United States into the Paris Agreement. Our nation must also make up for lost time from this administration’s actions and lead the international community to take vital next steps to combat climate change. The United States produces approximately 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, meaning we must seriously address this issue at home and be an active leader in supporting sustainable and clean energy solutions around the globe.”

“I would re-enter the Paris Agreement and make the U.S. a global leader in climate policy and new energy technology. With a carbon tax and an investment in negative emissions technology, we can reduce emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and can be at net-zero carbon by 2050.”

Ms. Gabbard’s campaign responded with a 2017 statement: “President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, making us just one of three countries in the world not to participate, is short-sighted and irresponsible. Without global action to drastically curb carbon pollution, climate change threatens the safety and security of the planet, especially in places like Hawaii where we are already experiencing its devastating effects. The United States should be leading by example, leveraging innovation through science and technology, investing in clean energy, creating renewable energy jobs that cannot be outsourced, growing the economy, enhancing U.S. energy independence, and lowering energy costs for families and businesses, while reducing carbon emissions. We must continue to persevere and do our part to support efforts in the private sector and at all levels of government to combat climate change and protect our environment.”

“As president, she would rejoin the Paris Agreement. She believes that the United States must lead the international community to set more ambitious targets to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.”

“Yes, she wants to return the U.S. to the Paris deal.”


“Yes. President Trump’s attempt to leave the Paris Agreement was one of the most shameful decisions of a shameful presidency. America can and should be a leader in the global fight against climate change. As president, I will recommit to the Paris accord and work on Day 1 to undo Donald Trump’s attacks on international climate progress.

“We are ready: I am proud to say that within hours of Trump’s announcement that he intended to pull the U.S. out of the agreement, I co-founded the U.S. Climate Alliance — a bipartisan coalition of states that are committed to upholding America’s contributions to that pact. This alliance now consists of 22 states and Puerto Rico that together comprise over half of America’s population and its economy.

“In addition to keeping the U.S. in the Paris Agreement, it is clear that greater global ambition is necessary to prevent warming from reaching unacceptable levels, and that the U.S. must help catalyze more ambitious national targets and actions to accelerate the pace of emissions reductions throughout the world.”

Her campaign didn’t answer this question, but Ms. Klobuchar said at a CNN town hall-style event: “I will, as first day as the president, sign us back into the international climate change agreement. That is on Day 1.”

“Yes. Climate change is not a hoax. It affects the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink. As president, my administration will make it a priority to lead the world and take bold, direct climate action that will rival the New Deal in scope, rise to the scale of this challenge, and apply the urgency required to get the job done in 10 years. We need bold ideas that will meet the scale of the climate change crisis.”

“Yes. We must reassert our international leadership on this issue before it’s too late. We need to build on the Paris climate agreement to achieve even bolder action on climate. Going back to 2015 is not enough. There’s a discount, economically and politically, on anything that’s decades down the road. So let’s not waste time in getting moving fast in the right direction again.”

“Of course, although I don’t think the Paris Agreement goes nearly far enough. I don’t like when people say, ‘Oh, we’re going to rejoin Paris,’ and Paris is like the gold standard, because that’s not anywhere close to what we need to do, and we’re learning more every day about just how far behind those goals are. And that’s why I think a national effort around innovation is really important.”

Mr. Sanders’s campaign confirmed that he would keep the United States in the Paris Agreement and increase emission reduction targets, but did not provide an on-the-record quote.

“As president, I would keep the United States in the Paris Agreement; this is a global crisis, and we must work with the world to address it. We can aim for more ambitious targets in 2020.”

“I believe we need to return to the Paris climate accord, and then we need to build on it. We need to do far more to reduce global emissions, but we can only do that when we’re leading from the front.”


“Absolutely. America needs to rejoin the rest of the world in formally recognizing the threat posed by climate change and work with all nations to combat this existential crisis. The Paris Agreement doesn’t go far enough to mitigate climate change, and the U.S. should be a part of the conversation on what targets are necessary and how we can get to them.

“It’s important to note that only through something like the Paris Agreement can we effectively tackle this problem. The U.S. accounts for only ~15% of global emissions, so any solution requires other countries to make similar changes.

“We also need to recognize that our realistic targets probably aren’t enough to prevent some of the worst effects of climate change from happening. We’re already seeing them in the wildfires on our West Coast and floods in the Midwest, among other places. Outside of re-entering the Paris Agreement and curbing emissions, we need to heavily fund research into geoengineering projects such as carbon capture in order to undo some of the damage we’ve already done. The U.S. should be a leader in developing this technology.”

Read the Article
We Asked the 2020 Democrats About Climate Change (Yes, All of Them). Here Are Their Ideas.
The New York Times sent a climate policy survey to the 18 declared candidates. They all want to stick to the Paris Agreement. Beyond that, they diverge.

“A federal price on carbon should be one part of a comprehensive response by the federal government to the threat of climate change. The proceeds should be paid out as a dividend in a progressive way that ensures that our climate policies are also reducing inequality and not burdening everyday families.”

Mr. Buttigieg’s campaign shared his response to a similar question at a CNN event: “We’re going to have to contemplate a carbon tax. And, by the way, there are ways to do it that most Americans would be better off fiscally, because we could return it right back to the American people, but in so doing would help capture the true cost of things that are happening right now, because it’s in your and my lifetime that that cost is going to be paid one way or the other.”

On Tuesday, at a rally in Iowa, he said definitively, “We’re going to have to have a carbon tax.”

“The United States needs a federally mandated price on carbon to spur private-sector investments in renewables and carbon-free energy sources. The revenue created should go towards investments in renewable energy and related technologies, including in battery technology, which would lower the carbon profile of our economy. The revenue should also be directed towards addressing the burdens many communities will bear on the impacts of climate change and from the policies that need to address climate change.

“Pricing carbon is necessary but not sufficient. We need bold policies that incentivize sustainable and renewable energy and change the behavior of certain industries. Pricing carbon is an important first step in that effort.”

“Yes, I was a lead co-sponsor of a carbon tax bill in the Congress and have made a revenue-neutral carbon tax a centerpiece of my campaign. My plan would be to tax carbon beginning at a rate of $15 per metric ton of CO2 (or equivalent) and increasing $10 each year, and return 100 percent to the taxpayers with an option to invest the dividend into a tax-advantaged savings account like a 529 or retirement account.”

“My OFF Fossil Fuels Act (H.R. 3671) would take the fossil-fuel tax credits that are repealed and create the OFF Fossil Fuels Fund, which would be used to fund the programs and activities listed in the Act, including low-income weatherization and retrofit assistance, electric vehicle rebate program for consumers, extension of tax credits for wind and solar energy, and environmental justice provisions for a clean energy future.”

Ms. Gillibrand’s campaign provided an excerpt from her campaign launch speech: “Addressing a global challenge of this urgency will take massive effort and transformative vision, which is exactly why we should do it. Let’s invest in our crumbling infrastructure, create sustainable green jobs, and protect clean air and clean water as a universal human right. And I’d go further than others who support this plan. I’d also put a price on carbon to use market forces to steer companies away from fossil fuels and towards clean and renewable energy.”

Ms. Harris’s campaign did not answer this question.

Mr. Hickenlooper’s campaign did not answer this question.

“A carbon price is one way to help hold polluters accountable for the harmful health and environmental impacts they continue to cause in our communities. But in our state efforts involving a carbon tax, we have found the vast amount of carbon savings came from investments, and there are many ways to fund those, including rolling back the Trump tax cuts and ending subsidies for fossil-fuel companies. And while a carbon price need not be the primary mechanism through which large-scale greenhouse gas pollution reductions are achieved, it may be a complementary policy that provides a price signal to help shift investment away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy.”

Ms. Klobuchar’s campaign said she was open to a carbon tax but would not support one that increased prices for lower- and middle-income Americans. It did not provide an on-the-record quote.

“All options will remain on the table to take action on climate change. I will use the bully pulpit and the veto pen to ensure we do not force our children to live under extreme conditions.”

“We should leverage carbon pricing and the market in service of our ability to meet this challenge. There are a number of ways you can support pricing carbon into the market: You can do that through standards, the tax code, research and reinvestment. We need transparent, science-based, science-driven carbon pricing to guide our decisions as a democracy, strengthen our communities, support our workers, and unleash a robust market response to climate change.”

“I’m open to it. I haven’t made a decision on it.”

Mr. Sanders’s campaign did not answer this question.

“I’m open to exploring the idea of a federal carbon tax. We need to get to a carbon-neutral status, and this could help.”

Ms. Warren’s campaign did not answer this question.

“I feel a federal carbon tax is important and is only one tool that we will need to address this imminent threat to our communities, country and environment. The challenge, of course, is how to implement such a tool without irreparably damaging the economy. Many scholars think that a tax should be about $49 or $50 per ton of CO2. More aggressive proponents think the range should be almost 10 times that amount. I believe the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

“Any federal carbon tax should be spread across a broad sector as to not cause the effect to be carried by the consumer at the gas pump or electric meter. Natural gas production that produces methane, which is even worse than CO2 environmentally, should carry some of the burden. The agriculture sector that produces large amounts of methane should carry some of the burden. Once the potential revenue from these sectors are considered, a reasonable cost per ton carbon tax could be calculated, not more than $60 per ton.

“Funds should be used to retire inefficient equipment, to incentivize zero-carbon-producing technologies and to spur a green economy.”

“I’m in favor of a carbon fee and dividend system, taxing carbon at $40 per ton and increasing over time. This money would go in part to fund the Freedom Dividend (50%), and in part to fund research and investment into renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, infrastructure improvements and similar areas (50%).”

“The Trump E.P.A. is taking actions to gut the Clean Power Plan, to weaken methane limits and to reverse vehicle emissions standards. All of these actions will make climate change worse. As president, I will restore these policies as part of a comprehensive approach to address climate change.”


“This administration has repeatedly disregarded the serious threats that climate change poses — not only to our environment, but also to our long-term national security. I will reverse these shameful Trump administration policies.”

“I support vehicle emissions standards and methane limits and other measures as a backstop. Over all, the most important thing we need to do is implement a carbon tax. Based on economic/climate modeling, a carbon tax would be more effective at reducing greenhouse gas emissions than regulations. This would harness the power of the free market but have regulations as a backstop.”

“Yes, I would restore Obama-era climate change regulations that the Trump administration has reversed. In addition, I would take on the fossil-fuel industry by ending the $26 billion per year the American people are currently paying in subsidies and invest that in our green [energy] economy to get us to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035, as outlined in the OFF Fossil Fuels Act.”

“She believes that clean air is a right, and would reverse the Trump administration’s rollback of the Obama administration’s clean air regulations.”

Ms. Harris’s campaign said she wanted to “restore the Clean Power Plan and fully implement the Clean Car Standards.”


“Yes, one of the first important steps that must be taken by the next American president is to reinstate crucial Obama-era federal climate policies, and strengthen them. This includes greenhouse gas pollution requirements in the electricity sector, vehicle emissions and appliance efficiency standards, rules governing methane and hydrofluorocarbon pollution, and how federal agencies consider the climate impacts of major energy projects in their environmental review processes, to name just a few.”

Ms. Klobuchar’s campaign confirmed that she would restore the Clean Power Plan and gas mileage standards, but did not provide an on-the-record quote.

“I started a climate-conscious construction business that built the greenest school in the Southeast United States. I know firsthand that we can create and protect jobs while also protecting our environment. The Obama administration understood the urgency to address this crisis for the future. My administration will make climate change a priority and not only restore Obama-era environmental policies like the Clean Power Plan, but work to take aggressive action that rivals the New Deal in scope. It seems that the Trump administration’s environmental policies are for industry lobbyists and special interests instead of tackling the hard choices we need to make now to protect the environment for future generations.”

Mr. O’Rourke’s campaign said: “Yes. We would restore certain climate regulations. For example, the current administration’s proposed rollback of vehicle emissions standards is deeply problematic, both on the science and the economics, its impact on the environment and on public health.”


Mr. Sanders’s campaign said he would restore Obama-era regulations but did not provide an on-the-record quote.

“President Obama was on the right track toward making our country more climate responsible with regulations like the Clean Power Plan, methane limits and vehicle emissions standards. I would restore all of the Obama-era regulations that the Trump administration has reversed.”

“I have strongly opposed the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back the Clean Power Plan and other Obama-era methane limits and vehicle emission standards. As president, I would reverse these rollbacks.”

“Yes, I would. There are no Obama climate regulations that I would not restore, and I would go farther than Obama.”

“We should absolutely reimplement the Clean Power Plan and continue to develop our regulations of power plants, on not just carbon but also other pollutants such as mercury. Additionally, I will direct the EPA to include CO2 in its review of standards, and specifically with respect to oil refineries.

“The methane limits rolled back by the Trump administration should also be reimplemented to promote the recapture of methane. We should also be doing more to control the methane released into the atmosphere due to agriculture through better land/crop and livestock management, and by investing in biogas recovery.

“The emissions standards largely codify into national law the requirements of California, which our car manufacturers design around anyway. That said, I’d continue to push for more aggressive emissions reduction while also pursuing other options for reducing emissions, such as public transportation programs.

“The E.P.A. should continue to study the long-term costs of these pollutants so that we can better assess the social and economic impact of these regulations.”

“As president, I will both work with Congress to pass comprehensive climate legislation and, when appropriate, use executive powers to address the existential threat posed by global warming.”

Mr. Buttigieg’s campaign did not answer this question.

“Addressing the existential crisis of climate change requires bold and aggressive action. President Obama put forward important policies that were a major step forward for our country and the world. For example, at HUD [the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which Mr. Castro used to lead], we worked on efforts to lower energy consumption and increase renewable energy usage in HUD assisted housing. But we cannot afford to stop there. We need renewable energy and performance standards, resilient infrastructure with stricter codes for sustainability, and we need incentives for research and investment in cutting-edge technologies.”

“I would implement a carbon tax and primarily use market forces, rather than regulations, as the way to change behavior.”

“I have long been an advocate of aggressive climate change legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions. My OFF Fossil Fuels Act includes details on how to achieve 100 percent renewable energy goals by 2035, including:

  • Renewable energy mandate, zero-emission vehicle mandate, electrification of transit, electric vehicle rebate program for consumers.

  • Moratorium on new major fossil-fuel projects, banning fracking, ending fossil-fuel subsidies, low-income weatherization and retrofit assistance.

  • Extension of tax credits for wind and solar energy.

  • Ban on crude oil and LNG [liquefied natural gas] exports.

  • Environmental justice provisions for a clean energy future.

  • Establishes the Center for Workforce Development within the Department of Labor and the Equitable Transition Fund within the Department of the Treasury to identify the employment potential of the energy efficiency and renewable energy industry and the skills and training needed for workers in those fields to support career transition period.”

“Yes, she would support additional regulations to achieve deeper cuts in emissions across the economy, including in the transportation sector.”

Ms. Harris’s campaign did not answer this question.


“Yes. The next president must make clear that defeating climate change is our nation’s highest priority, and that it will require a full national mobilization, including active involvement from every federal agency. The next administration must work with Congress to advance ambitious legislation similar to the Green New Deal that sets America on a path to net-zero greenhouse gas pollution and that invests in good jobs, infrastructure and innovation to build a more just and inclusive American clean energy future. But it will also be incumbent on the next administration to explore use of existing regulatory authorities — including under the federal Clean Air Act — to help drive major greenhouse gas pollution reductions.”

Ms. Klobuchar’s campaign did not answer this question.

“Combating greenhouse gas emissions is paramount to protecting the quality of the air we breathe, which impacts our health and the health of our loved ones. We must utilize technology to spur clean manufacturing, zero-emission transportation and modernizing the agricultural industry. All options will remain on the table to take action on climate change, and I will roll out a plan to specifically address this challenge at scale. The optimal route would be to usher in a full-scale approach that prepares our country for the threat of climate change, but the regulatory route must also be used to drive change, as needed.”

Mr. O’Rourke’s campaign said: “Yes. For example, we would be immediately considering new steps to curb super-pollutants and methane emissions.”

“Part of this is, how do we sit down as a business industry, research, environmental, public health people, and say: ‘O.K., what do we need to do here to get to where we need to be? Where do we need to be, and how do we get there, and how do we get there as fast as possible, and how do we all work together to get there?’ And so saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to put these regulations on now’ — I think it’s dangerous for us to say Democrats want to put on all these regulations, and then the Republican Congress is going to put on riders to not fund whatever you’re doing. Because we’ve been watching this happen. So how do you actually sit down with everybody and put together an agenda that we can all move forward on, and if administrations change or the House flips or the Senate flips, this is the agenda that we’ve all agreed upon? That is critically important, because this back-and-forth stuff, Obama puts it on, Trump lifts it off, riders on bills to defund things on the Appropriations Committee — it’s sand in the gears.”

Mr. Sanders’s campaign said he would go beyond Obama-era regulations, but did not elaborate or provide an on-the-record quote.

“I would restore all of the Obama-era regulations that the Trump administration has reversed. Once those are restored, we can continue to gauge their efficacy to decide how and where to go further.”

“I oppose subsidies for fossil fuel companies and have spoken out repeatedly against the influence that Big Oil and carbon-based industries wield in Washington. My Climate Risk Disclosure Act would require companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and price their exposure to climate risk into their valuations, raising public awareness of how dependent companies are on fossil fuels and using market forces to speed the transition to clean energy.”

“The Obama regulations are too incremental to turn things around in ways that are necessary. I am a supporter of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, which seeks to meet 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources within the next 10 years.

“I would end all subsidies for dirty energy and transfer them to subsidies for clean energy. I would prevent coal companies from using misleading marketing terms like ‘clean coal,’ and look for ways to move coal jobs to clean jobs, while closing coal plants and opening clean energy plants. I would start a phase-out of production of fossil-fuel-related vehicles. I would require zero-deforestation supply chains — that’s one of the more effective ways to help encourage healthy practices in other countries. And I would take a serious look at large agribusinesses, who are not only destroying the careers and lives of small, rural and family farmers, but doing damage to the planet in potentially irreversible ways. Multiple scholars have concluded that huge agribusinesses are the leading producer of methane gas and nitrous oxide (two of the most dangerous greenhouse gases) and are the No. 1 cause of ocean dead zones, water pollution, deforestation and habitat destruction. Compelling research suggests that even if we eliminated all fossil fuel use, we will exceed our 565 gigatons CO2e limit by 2030, simply from huge agribusinesses. There is no way to create policy around climate change without exploring ways to better regulate the waste produced by these massive companies, as well. In particular, we need to break up CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), considering that even a relatively ‘small’ CAFO, with 2,500 animals, produces as much urine and feces and deadly runoff as a city of 411,000 humans.”

“I think the regulations in place under Obama focused on the correct areas where we need to improve, but we need to be more aggressive with both the targets and timeframes. While I wouldn’t necessarily adapt all of California’s goals, I think their ambition reflects the seriousness of the situation and the scope of what we need to do in order to survive this existential threat.”

“I support a national renewable energy standard.”

Mr. Buttigieg’s campaign did not answer this question.

“Yes. Lowering carbon emissions will require a national renewable energy standard that gradually increases until we achieve our emissions target by 2050.”

“I support a carbon tax because it puts the exact right incentives in place to reduce emissions in the most efficient way possible. Under a carbon tax, it would become much more profitable to develop and implement renewables. We also need to invest in negative emissions technologies. I have called for ending fossil fuel subsidies and investing $5 billion a year in negative emissions technologies.”

“We must achieve 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2035. The international climate science body (I.P.C.C.) has made it clear that drastic and immediate action is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate impacts that will have enormous economic, public health, environmental and national security implications. My OFF Fossil Fuels Act is the most aggressive climate change legislation ever introduced in Congress and lays out a clear plan to transition away from fossil-fuel sources of energy to 100 percent renewable energy economy by 2035, and 80 percent by 2027.”

“She supports a national renewable energy standard to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.”

“She is for a national goal for renewable energy.”


“Yes. We must achieve 100 percent clean power throughout the U.S. electricity sector as soon as possible. Congress should look to state successes as a model. In 2006, I helped lead the effort to pass Washington State’s first renewable energy standard, which has helped accelerate the growth of a wind energy industry that employs thousands of workers and that has attracted over $6 billion in investment. This year I have proposed a 100 percent clean energy bill in my state, which is currently moving towards passage in my state legislature.”

Ms. Klobuchar’s campaign cited a speech she gave on the Senate floor in 2007, in which she said: “It is time to pass an aggressive renewable electricity standard, one requiring that all electricity providers would have to generate or purchase 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by the year 2025. Twenty-two states throughout the country have already demonstrated the value of establishing renewable electricity standards.”

“Yes –– we are rich in renewable energies from solar to wind to geothermal to hydropower. We must incentivize power companies to source power from renewable sources, and current standards do not go far enough. We have just 10 years to act, and we must scale up current RES goals from 20 percent to 50 percent by 2025, with the goal of eliminating this danger entirely. We have the technology to make clean energy affordable and accessible to everyone. Investing in the newest technology and upgrading our power systems will create jobs, put more money in people’s pockets and make the United States a leader in combating climate change.”

Mr. O’Rourke’s campaign did not answer this question.

“I’m open and leaning to support, depending on the details.”

Mr. Sanders’s campaign reiterated his support for the Green New Deal, which calls for 100 percent renewable energy, but did not provide an on-the-record quote.

“California has been a world leader with its renewable energy standard, and we should come together to determine and apply a standard for the nation.”

“I am an original cosponsor of the Green New Deal resolution, which commits the United States to meet 100 percent of our power demand through clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources.”

“I support the Green New Deal, which seeks to meet 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources within the next 10 years.”

“I do support a national renewable energy standard, working backwards from emission standards. We need to lower emissions by a minimum of 45 percent by 2030 and aim for a complete transition to renewable, carbon-neutral energy sources by 2050 or earlier.”

“In order to accelerate the development of technologies that can help us quickly decarbonize, I believe we should at least double federal funding for clean energy research. One research area in particular that we should fund is battery storage, which has a critical role to play as we continue to add exponentially more wind and solar power.”


“Yes. I support expanding federal funding for clean-energy research through our public and private universities and through government institutions. We must expand the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E), including through funding from priced carbon.”

“Yes, I have called for a fivefold increase in clean-energy research and am the only candidate calling for a massive new investment in negative emissions technology. We won’t be able to get all the way to net-zero carbon without negative emissions technology taking greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.”

“My OFF Fossil Fuels Act states that we must invest in early-stage proof-of-concept technologies, and basic scientific research at the Department of Energy’s Office of Science through the 17 U.S. National Laboratories will be needed to discover the scientific properties needed to produce proof-of-concept or prototype technologies. The U.S. National Laboratories are centers of basic scientific research already working on technology programs such as grid modernization and security, battery storage, solar and wind technology efficiency, efficient transmission and distribution technologies, and hard- and software control systems for the grid. Focus on investing in early-stage breakthrough energy technologies. Funding these technologies could lead to innovations that could dramatically change how energy is generated, stored and distributed.”

From the Gillibrand campaign: “She strongly supports increasing our federal investment in research to develop and deploy renewable energy technologies like wind, solar, geothermal and biofuels as rapidly as possible.”

Ms. Harris’s campaign said that as president, she would “invest in clean energy research and infrastructure.”

“Yes. Next-generation clean energy technologies; public-private partnerships.”

“Yes, we must dramatically increase federal investment for research and development into clean energy technologies and climate solutions. Fortunately, today we already have so many of the technologies we need to defeat climate change — we simply have to put them to work. When I co-authored a book on clean energy a dozen years ago, this was not the case. And it is thanks in large part to the major down payment that we made into our clean energy future, as part of the 2009 Recovery Act, and because of the leadership of states in driving a domestic market for clean energy technologies. During my time as governor of Washington State, we’ve established a Clean Energy Research Institute at the University of Washington which is right now exploring breakthroughs in solar energy and battery storage technologies. The federal government has a critical role in play in catalyzing new clean-tech innovations, and in helping bring them to market. Increased federal R&D investment must be part of a successful climate agenda — and it must be focused on a range of technologies, from next-generation renewables and energy storage, to the capture and removal from the air of greenhouse gas pollution.

“This unprecedented public investment we will make will unleash even greater private sector investment, giving the right price signals to entrepreneurs and small businesses to succeed in this new clean energy economy. We can and will create millions of new jobs in an economy run on clean energy. There are so many more jobs in fighting climate change than denying it.”

Ms. Klobuchar’s campaign referred to her infrastructure plan, which calls for “sweeping legislation that invests in green infrastructure, modernizes our aging energy infrastructure so that it is secure and efficient, strengthens bioenergy capabilities, puts incentives in place to overhaul our building codes, and invests in energy efficiency retrofits and rural renewable energy development.”

“Yes, we must invest in clean-energy research so that we stay current on all innovative technology to reach our goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Trump administration’s latest budget cuts the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy funds from $2.3 billion to $343 million. That is deplorable. I believe that the budget is a moral document that shows our priorities, that shows what we care about. We must invest in research that makes clean-energy more affordable and accessible to the American people. As your president, I will.”

“We would invest in more research through our national labs, universities and incubators and in the scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, the women and men who will do the work day in and day out.

  • Not only must we emit less greenhouse gases, we must plant things that absorb greenhouse gases, and give our farmers a better harvest, and invest in the technologies to allow us to claim some that are in the air now.

  • We must invent and improve our grid’s ability to save, store and then sell electricity from turbines and panels throughout the day — no matter where the sun is, at a given time, or whether the wind is blowing.

  • We can build with steel and cement that’s better for our air; ship and haul cargo to far-away places with less or different fuel; reconfigure the last mile of energy and transportation in how it functions.”

“Yes, of course. And included in that, we need to be, again, comprehensive on how we bring venture capital to those ideas. If we’re spending lots of federal money on research, I don’t want the company to end up in China.

“Part of this broader plan is, yeah, you want to spend a bunch of money on innovation, but you also want to figure out how to get those companies on a track to deepen their ties in the United States.”

Mr. Sanders’s campaign said he planned to release a climate change platform that would include extensive investments, but did not provide an on-the-record quote.

“I do support increasing federal funding for clean-energy research. We should be investing in many areas, from energy storage technology, to more efficient solar and wind, to the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory — in my House district — which is probing the frontiers of fusion energy.”

Ms. Warren’s campaign did not answer this question, but she wrote on Facebook, “We need to invest in clean energy.”

“I support treating the situation like the existential emergency that it is, meaning the United States will commit to all funding necessary to transition to a clean economy. I’m particularly interested in finding new forms of energy storage. There is a great deal of creative thinking in this arena, and part and parcel of creating new sources of renewable energy is finding inventive ways of keeping this energy so that it can be used when needed. Furthermore, for both environmental reasons and security reasons, we need to find ways to protect the electrical grid so that it can withstand natural and unnatural disasters.”

“We’ve been subsidizing the oil industry for generations; it’s time we do the same for zero-emission energy sources. Upgrading our systems to use a higher percentage of solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy should be a top priority. I think it’s important to invest heavily in all potential energy sources so we can allow American companies to innovate in this space.

“Our realistic targets probably aren’t enough to prevent some of the worst effects of climate change from happening. We’re already seeing them in the wildfires on our West Coast and floods in the Midwest, among other places. Outside of reentering the Paris Agreement and curbing emissions, we need to heavily fund research into geoengineering projects such as carbon capture in order to undo some of the damage we’ve already done. The U.S. should be a leader in developing this technology.”

“Nuclear energy should be part of the decarbonization toolbox. Currently in the U.S., nuclear energy provides 60 percent of all carbon-free electricity. Next-generation advanced nuclear reactors currently being developed have the potential to play an important role in helping us decarbonize at the speed and scale that scientists are telling us is necessary to avoid the worst impacts from climate change.”

Mr. Buttigieg’s campaign did not answer this question.

“Nuclear power has a number of challenges that have not yet been solved. For example, we still need to find a long-term solution for the safe disposal of nuclear waste. I support greater investment into technologies and techniques to address these issues. Approximately 20 percent of our nation’s energy comes from nuclear power. We should work towards reducing our reliance on nuclear power with investments in renewable energy.”

“Nuclear energy should be part of our portfolio, and I believe we need to support new development of advanced nuclear technology, but not at the expense of developing renewables.”

“No. No. No. Concerns over nuclear waste, and investments should go into renewable energy infrastructure and creating new jobs in a truly green energy economy.”

Ms. Gillibrand’s campaign did not answer this question.

Ms. Harris’s campaign did not answer this question.

“Yes, but there has to be a stronger effort to solve the problem of disposal of high-level radioactive waste.”

“We must move to a carbon-free power sector, so I would not take any zero-emission sources of power generation off the table. But my focus would be first and foremost on investing in the expansion of renewables, efficiency, smart grid and energy storage technologies. We should continue to explore next-generation advanced nuclear technologies. But safety is of paramount importance, as is a stable long-term plan for dealing with waste. And new nuclear plants have also proven to be very costly, so we must not allow utilities and corporate project-developers to stick ratepayers with any expensive cost overruns associated with such projects.”

Ms. Klobuchar’s campaign said she supported nuclear development but did not provide an on-the-record quote.

“As president, I will work to make the United States a global leader in renewable energy. While nuclear energy may seem like an option, in many ways it falls short of the type of energy we need to truly address climate change. I would not support the construction of new nuclear plants and would rally the American people to invest in truly renewable [energy].”

Mr. O’Rourke’s campaign did not answer this question.

“It is a tougher area, but I do think nuclear power needs to be part of the future for us. I do. And there’s these new ways of doing nuclear, which again will take research and development, but nuclear needs to be there.”

Mr. Sanders’s campaign said he opposed nuclear development but did not provide an on-the-record quote.

“I don’t support nuclear energy in its current form, though I do favor more research into fusion energy. We need to look forward, not back.”

Ms. Warren’s campaign did not answer this question.

“I’m opposed to nuclear power, as it provides risks and wastes that are dangerous and life-threatening. That said, nuclear power currently is responsible for about 20 percent of U.S. electricity and 50 percent of its carbon-free electricity. We may not be able to replace this carbon-free production in time if we close these plants too soon. According to Vox’s David Roberts, using some nuclear energy, or ‘at least as much of it as possible, seems like an obvious and urgent priority for anyone who values decarbonization.’

“We are not the only country that is starting to realize that shutting down nuclear plants should not be done prematurely. Germany initially set out to close all of its nuclear reactors by 2022, but as a result, they are now likely to miss their emissions reduction targets. And France is now considering options to extend the life of many of its older nuclear power plants.

“Nuclear energy is not ideal, by any stretch. But it is still head and shoulders above coal and natural gas, and until we have solar, hydro and wind plants up and running to pick up the slack, we need to keep certain options open.”

“Yes. Nuclear energy has been shown to be very environmentally friendly and cheap. Any realistic plan to decarbonize needs to include nuclear power. Most people think of Homer Simpson when they think of nuclear power, but the truth is that we have much safer nuclear technology that doesn’t result in unmanageable nuclear waste or a significant threat of meltdown. These thorium-based nuclear plants use an abundant natural element that could provide hundreds of years of power to the United States with little environmental impact.”

Read the Article
We Asked the 2020 Democrats About Climate Change (Yes, All of Them). Here Are Their Ideas.
The New York Times sent a climate policy survey to the 18 declared candidates. They all want to stick to the Paris Agreement. Beyond that, they diverge.


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