There wasn’t a single question about global warming in the 2016 presidential debates. Will 2020 be different? If the current crop of candidates is an indicator, it sure seems so. In our latest episode of our podcast, Trump on Earth, Reid Frazier talks with Emily Holden, environment reporter for the Guardian about where the candidates stand on climate change.
“A lot of the Democrats who are running for president are talking about climate change frequently,” Holden says. “They see it as a serious threat. And many of them have proposed various ideas for how they would address it. But these are the two who have actually rolled out something official saying this is our plan for how we’re going to deal with this crisis.”
Jay Inslee‘s plan is based on things that he has already done as governor of Washington state.
“He essentially wants the U.S. to be carbon neutral by 2045 and he lays out ways to get there,” explains Holden. “Recently, he put out a second part of his plan focused on transforming U.S. infrastructure and trying to create a lot of good paying jobs at the same time.”
Beto O’Rourke, the former Congressman from Texas, has far fewer details in his plan, but he would try to get carbon neutrality by 2050.
“They need to show that they understand that this is the sort of thing that would require large-scale legislation and regulation.”
Holden says that even just these two candidates releasing their climate plans is having an effect on the race overall.
“You certainly have reporters paying a lot of attention right now to climate plans,“ Holden says. “They are asking the candidates, ‘when are you going to release something?’ Or, ‘have you decided if you’re going to take fossil fuel money donations?’ Everything in this election season has been happening earlier than usual so it seems like now is really the time to start putting out these platforms.”
Holden also says that most of the experts she’s talked to say if you’re looking for a candidate who is serious about climate change, they need to have an end date for carbon neutrality and they need to show their work on how they’re going to get there.
“They need to show that they understand that this is the sort of thing that would require large-scale legislation and regulation,” Holden says. “And that it would have to be a top priority — if not the top priority — of their time in the White House.