While Trump continues to deny climate change as a “hoax” (one perpetrated by China to hurt US business), minimize the destruction to life and livehood of the wildfires setting the West ablaze that he blamed on California’s “failure” to adequately rake the forest floor, actively denigrate public health experts while promoting conditions for the super-spread of coronavirus, and call for Obama to be jailed for treason, former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for president, spoke out on the urgency to address the existential climate crisis and how he would address it.
“The unrelenting impact of climate change affects every single one of us…It requires action, not denial. It requires leadership, not scapegoating…
“Our response should be grounded in science. Acting together. All of us. But like with our federal response to COVID-19, the lack of a national strategy on climate change leaves us with patchwork solutions…
“But if Trump gets a second term, these hellish events will become more common, more devastating, and more deadly.
“If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires? How many suburbs will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms?
“If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if more of America is ablaze? ..
“And from the pandemic, the economic freefall, the racial unrest, and the ravages of climate change, it’s clear that we are not safe in Donald Trump’s America.
“Like the pandemic, dealing with climate change is a global crisis that requires American leadership.
“It requires a president to meet the threshold duty of the office — to care for everyone. To defend us from every attack – seen and unseen. Always and without exception. Every time.”
Here is a highlighted transcript of Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks as prepared for delivery in Delaware:
As a nation, we face one of the most difficult moments in our history. Four historic crises. All at the same time.
The worst pandemic in over 100 years, that’s killed nearly 200,000 Americans and counting.
The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, that’s cost tens of millions of American jobs and counting.
Emboldened white supremacy unseen since the 1960s and a reckoning on race long overdue.
And the undeniable, accelerating, and punishing reality of climate change and its impact on our planet and our people — on lives and livelihoods — which I’d like to talk about today.
Jill and I continue to pray for everyone in California, Oregon, Washington, and across the West as the devastating wildfires rage on — just as we’ve held in our hearts those who’ve faced hurricanes and tropical storms on our coasts, in Florida, in North Carolina, or like in parts of New Orleans where they just issued an emergency evacuation for Hurricane Sally, that’s approaching and intensifying; Floods and droughts across the Midwest, the fury of climate change everywhere — all this year, all right now.
We stand with our families who have lost everything, the firefighters and first responders risking everything to save others, and the millions of Americans caught between relocating during a pandemic or staying put as ash and smoke pollute the air they breathe.
Think about that.
People are not just worried about raging fires. They are worried about breathing air. About damage to their lungs.
Parents, already worried about Covid-19 for their kids when they’re indoors, are now worried about asthma attacks for their kids when they’re outside.
Over the past two years, the total damage from wildfires has reached nearly $50 Billion in California alone.
This year alone, nearly 5 million acres have burned across 10 states — more acres than the entire state of Connecticut.
And it’s only September. California’s wildfire season typically runs through October.
Fires are blazing so bright and smoke reaching so far, NASA satellites can see them a million miles away in space.
The cost of this year’s damage will again be astronomically high.
But think of the view from the ground, in the smoldering ashes.
Loved ones lost, along with the photos and keepsakes of their memory. Spouses and kids praying each night that their firefighting husband, wife, father, and mother will come home. Entire communities destroyed.
We have to act as a nation. It shouldn’t be so bad that millions of Americans live in the shadow of an orange sky and are left asking if doomsday is here.
I know this feeling of dread and anxiety extends beyond just the fires. We’ve seen a record hurricane season costing billions of dollars. Last month, Hurricane Laura intensified at a near-record rate just before its landfall along Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.
It’s a troubling marker not just for an increased frequency of hurricanes, but more powerful and destructive storms. They’re causing record damage after record damage to people’s homes and livelihoods.
And before it intensified and hit the Gulf Coast, Laura ravaged Puerto Rico — where, three years after Hurricane Maria — our fellow Americans are still recovering from its damage and devastation.
Think about that reality.
Our fellow Americans are still putting things back together from the last big storm as they face the next one.
We’ve also seen historic flooding in the Midwest — often compounding the damages delivered by last year’s floods that cost billions dollars in damage.
This past spring Midland, Michigan experienced a flood so devastating — with deadly flash flooding, overrunning dams and roadways, and the displacement of 10,000 residents — that it was considered a once-in-500-year weather event.
But those once-in-many-generations events? They happen every year now.
The past ten years were the hottest decade ever recorded. The Arctic is literally melting. Parts are on fire.
What we’re seeing in America — in our communities — is connected to that.
With every bout with nature’s fury, caused by our own inaction on climate change, more Americans see and feel the devastation in big cities, small towns, on coastlines and farmlands.
It is happening everywhere. It is happening now. It affects us all.
Nearly two hundred cities are experiencing the longest stretches of deadly heat waves in fifty years. It requires them to help their poor and elderly residents adapt to extreme heat to simply stay alive, especially in homes without air conditioning.
Our family farmers in the Midwest are facing historic droughts.
These follow record floods and hurricane-speed windstorms all this year.
It’s ravaged millions of acres of corn, soybeans, and other crops. Their very livelihood which sustained their families and our economy for generations is now in jeopardy. How will they pay their bills this year? What will be left to pass on to their kids?
And none of this happens in a vacuum.
A recent study showed air pollution is linked with an increased risk of death from COVID-19.
Our economy can’t recover if we don’t build back with more resiliency to withstand extreme weather — extreme weather that will only come with more frequency.
The unrelenting impact of climate change affects every single one of us. But too often the brunt falls disproportionately on communities of color, exacerbating the need for environmental justice.
These are the interlocking crises of our time.
It requires action, not denial.
It requires leadership, not scapegoating.
It requires a president to meet the threshold duty of the office — to care for everyone. To defend us from every attack – seen and unseen. Always and without exception. Every time.
Because here’s the deal.
Hurricanes don’t swerve to avoid “blue states.” Wildfires don’t skip towns that voted a certain way.
The impacts of climate change don’t pick and choose. That’s because it’s not a partisan phenomenon.
And our response should be the same. Grounded in science. Acting together. All of us.
But like with our federal response to COVID-19, the lack of a national strategy on climate change leaves us with patchwork solutions.
I’m speaking from Delaware, the lowest-lying state in the nation, where just last week the state’s Attorney General sued 31 big fossil fuel companies alleging that they knowingly wreaked damage on the climate.
Damage that is plain to everyone but the president.
As he flies to California today, we know he has no interest in meeting this moment.
We know he won’t listen to the experts or treat this disaster with the urgency it demands, as any president should do during a national emergency.
He’s already said he wanted to withhold aid to California — to punish the people of California — because they didn’t vote for him.
This is yet another crisis he won’t take responsibility for.
The West is literally on fire and he blames the people whose homes and communities are burning.
He says, “You gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests.”
This is the same president who threw paper towels to the people of Puerto Rico instead of truly helping them recover and rebuild.
We know his disdain for his own military leaders and our veterans.
Just last year, the Defense Department reported that climate change is a direct threat to more than two-thirds of our military’s operationally critical installations. And this could well be a conservative estimate.
Donald Trump’s climate denial may not have caused the record fires, record floods, and record hurricanes.
But if he gets a second term, these hellish events will become more common, more devastating, and more deadly.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump warns that integration is threatening our suburbs. That’s ridiculous.
But you know what’s actually threatening our suburbs?
Wildfires are burning the suburbs in the West. Floods are wiping out suburban neighborhoods in the Midwest. And hurricanes are imperiling suburban life along our coasts.
If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires? How many suburbs will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms?
If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if more of America is ablaze?
If you give a climate denier four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised when more of America is under water?
We need a president who respects science, who understands that the damage from climate change is already here, and, unless we take urgent action, will soon be more catastrophic.
A president who recognizes, understands, and cares that Americans are dying.
Which makes President Trump’s climate denialism — his disdain of science and facts — all the more unconscionable.
Once again, he fails the most basic duty to this nation.
He fails to protect us.
And from the pandemic, the economic freefall, the racial unrest, and the ravages of climate change, it’s clear that we are not safe in Donald Trump’s America.
What he doesn’t get is that even in crisis, there is nothing beyond our capacity as a country.
And while so many of you are hurting right now, I want you to know that if you give me the honor of serving as your President, we can, and we will, meet this moment with urgency and purpose.
We can and we will solve the climate crisis, and build back better than we were before.
When Donald Trump thinks about climate change he thinks: “hoax.”
I think: “jobs.”
Good-paying, union jobs that put Americans to work building a stronger, more climate resilient nation.
A nation with modernized water, transportation and energy infrastructure to withstand the impacts of extreme weather and a changing climate.
When Donald Trump thinks about renewable energy, he sees windmills somehow causing cancer.
I see American manufacturing — and American workers — racing to lead the global market. I also see farmers making American agriculture first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions, and gaining new sources of income in the process.
When Donald Trump thinks about LED bulbs, he says he doesn’t like them because: “the light’s no good. I always look orange.”
I see the small businesses and master electricians designing and installing award-winning energy conservation measures.
This will reduce the electricity consumption and save businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in energy costs.
While he turns us against our allies, I will bring us back into the Paris Agreement. I will put us back in the business of leading the world on climate change. And I will challenge everyone to up the ante on their climate commitments.
Where he reverses the Obama-Biden fuel-efficiency standards, he picks Big Oil companies over the American workers.
I will not only bring the standards back, I will set new, ambitious ones — that our workers are ready to meet.
And I also see American workers building and installing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the country and American consumers switching to electric vehicles through rebates and incentives.
Not only that, the United States owns and maintains an enormous fleet of vehicles — and we’re going to harness the purchasing power of our federal government to make sure we are buying electric vehicles that are made and sourced by union workers right here in the United States of America.
All together, this will mean one million new jobs in the American auto industry.
And we’ll do another big thing: put us on a path of achieving a carbon-pollution free electricity sector by 2035 that no future president can turn back.
Transforming the American electricity sector to produce power without carbon pollution will be the greatest spur to job creation and economic competitiveness in the 21st Century. Not to mention the positive benefits to our health and our environment.
We need to get to work right away.
We’ll need scientists at national labs and land-grant universities and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to improve and innovate the technologies needed to generate, store, and transmit this clean electricity.
We’ll need engineers to design them and workers to manufacture them. We’ll need iron workers and welders to install them.
And we’ll become the world’s largest exporter of these technologies, creating even more jobs.
We know how to do this.
The Obama-Biden Administration rescued the auto industry and helped them retool.
We made solar energy cost-competitive with traditional energy, and weatherized more than a million homes.
We will do it again — bigger and faster and better than before.
We’ll also build 1.5 million new energy-efficient homes and public housing units that will benefit our communities three-times over — by alleviating the affordable housing crisis, by increasing energy efficiency, and by reducing the racial wealth gap linked to home ownership.
There are thousands of oil and natural gas wells that the oil and gas companies have just abandoned, many of which are leaking toxins.
We can create 250,000 jobs plugging those wells right away — good union jobs for energy workers. This will help sustain communities and protect the environment as well.
We’ll also create new markets for our family farmers and ranchers.
We’ll launch a new, modern day Civilian Climate Corps to heal our public lands and make us less vulnerable to wildfires and floods.
I believe that every American has a fundamental right to breathe clean air and drink clean water. But I know that we haven’t fulfilled that right.
That’s true of the millions of families struggling with the smoke created by these devastating wildfires right now.
But it’s also been true for a generation or more in places — like Cancer Alley in Louisiana or along the Route 9 corridor right here in Delaware.
Fulfilling this basic obligation to all Americans — especially Black, Brown, and Native American communities, who too often don’t have clean air and clean water — is not going to be easy.
But it is necessary. And I am committed to doing it.
These aren’t pie-in-the-sky dreams. These are concrete, actionable policies that create jobs, mitigate climate change, and put our nation on the road to net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.
Some say that we can’t afford to fix this.
But here’s the thing.
Look around at the crushing consequences of the extreme weather events I’ve been describing. We’ve already been paying for it. So we have a choice.
We can invest in our infrastructure to make it stronger and more resilient, while at the same time tackling the root causes of climate change.
Or, we can continue down the path of Donald Trump’s indifference, costing tens of billions of dollars to rebuild, and where the human costs — the lives and livelihoods and homes and communities destroyed — are immeasurable.
We have a choice.
We can commit to doing this together because we know that climate change is the existential challenge that will define our future as a country, for our children, grandchildren, and great-children.
Or, there’s Donald Trump’s way — to ignore the facts, to deny reality that amounts to full surrender and a failure to lead.
It’s backward-looking politics that will harm the environment, make communities less healthy, and hold back economic progress while other countries race ahead.
And it’s a mindset that doesn’t have any faith in the capacity of the American people to compete, to innovate, and to win.
Like the pandemic, dealing with climate change is a global crisis that requires American leadership.
It requires a president for all Americans.
So as the fires rage out West on this day, our prayers remain with everyone under the ash.
I know it’s hard to see the sun rise and believe today will be better than yesterday when America faces this historic inflection point.
A time of real peril, but also a time of extraordinary possibilities.
I want you to know that we can do this.
We will do this.
We are America.
We see the light through the dark smoke.
We never give up.
May God bless our firefighters and first responders.
In the midst of economic, unemployment, and climate crises, Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, rolled out the second plank of his Build Back Better economic recovery plan for working families: building a modern, sustainable infrastructure and an equitable clean energy future. In a sharp contrast to Donald Trump’s disregard for working Americans and the consequential climate emergency at hand, Vice President Biden’s plan will create millions of good paying, union jobs for Americans while building sustainable infrastructure and creating an equitable clean energy future.
Here’s what leaders from across the country are saying about Vice President Biden’s plans:
“The plan put forward today by former Vice President Biden will create and sustain the kinds of good-paying, union jobs that provide a ladder to the middle class and make America a leader in manufacturing clean technology, put our nation on a path to doing our part to tackle the climate crisis, rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure, and lift up all workers and communities by prioritizing investments in communities of color that have borne the brunt of environmental injustice,” Jason Walsh, the Executive Director BlueGreen Alliance, said in a statement.
“As president of the IBEW, the largest union of electrical workers in the nation, I’m pleased that it will create so many jobs in nearly every sector of the workforce we represent, including construction, utility, telecommunications, manufacturing, and railroad. Joe Biden has made it clear that any new federal investments must support American jobs and American made products,” Lonnie R. Stephenson, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), said in a statement. “These are vital jobs that our nation needs more than ever… The men and women of the IBEW have been part of American’s clean-energy revolution for years now. We look forward to working with a Biden administration in building a clean and sustainable economy that can both save our planet and help rebuild the American middle class.”
“This ambitious plan is a win-win for American manufacturing, auto industry jobs, new technology and a cleaner environment. By focusing on investments in new technology, increasing demand for American-made and sourced clean vehicles; investing in our plants and our auto manufacturing facilities and creating 1 million new jobs, this all-American plan will ensure that the industry will thrive for decades to come with good paying union jobs,” the United Auto Workers (UAW) said in a statement. “This comprehensive plan will also increase investment in batteries and charging infrastructure and set fuel economy standards that involve all stakeholders. And this plan will save consumers money and cut air pollution. UAW members are looking to Washington, D.C. to invest in future jobs; new technologies; a world race to cleaner air; and to save consumers their hard-earned money. This plan checks all those boxes.”
“Joe Biden’s climate plan—by a long shot—is the most ambitious we have ever seen from any president in our nation’s history,” Gina McCarthy, president and CEO of the NRDC Action Fund, said in a statement. “It will get our economy humming again, and give our children a healthier, more just and more hopeful future. And he has committed to getting started on day one.”
“Vice President Joe Biden’s ambitious new commitments to a clean energy economy, environmental justice, and equitable climate solutions are more important than ever as our nation grapples with the realities of systemic racism, a global pandemic, and the ever growing climate crisis. Biden’s strong climate leadership stands in stark contrast with the Trump administration, which is continuing this week with its full scale assault on environmental and public health protections,” Tiernan Sittenfeld, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs of LCV Action Fund, wrote in a statement. “We applaud Vice President Biden for again making clear with these plans that combatting the climate crisis, fighting for environmental justice and creating millions of good-paying, high-quality jobs in a clean energy economy will be a very top priority on day one as president and every single day.”
“Vice President Biden is right ‘that environmental policy decisions of the past have failed communities of color,’ and his emphasis on addressing those injustices is a critical part of this plan. For too long Black, Latino, as well as low-income neighborhoods have suffered far more than their fair share of pollution and other environmental impacts, with devastating results on the health of the people living there,” said Elizabeth Gore, Senior Vice President, Political Affairs, EDF Action Fund in a statement. “The Biden Plan couldn’t be more of a stark contrast to four years of failure by the Trump administration. They have weakened limits on climate pollution, undermined scientists, and surrendered international leadership. America can’t afford another four years of a president who claims climate change is a hoax instead of providing leadership. We look forward to working with the Congress and a new administration to finally take real action on climate change.”
“While Donald Trump spreads lies about windmills, tries to block legislative efforts to advance electric vehicles, and ignores the millions of Americans working in clean energy, Joe Biden is presenting a vision to invest in and grow an equitable clean energy economy,” Sierra Club Political Director Ariel Hayes said in a statement. “The Sierra Club is encouraged by Biden’s proposal, which shows he is listening to the continued calls from activists and organizations across the country demanding a bold and ambitious plan that meets the size and scale of the crisis and completes the transition to a clean energy economy.”
“Today I heard from many in the environmental justice movement across the country who were overwhelmed by the Historic Ambitious speech addressing environmental, climate, social, and economic injustice by the Vice President,” said former South Carolina State Representative Harold Mitchell and Founder of The ReGenesis Project. “We thank you for listening, and announcing one of the boldest climate and environmental justice plans ever presented by a nominee for President.”
“Joe Biden shares DSCEJ’s commitment to build the power of Black communities, harmed by toxic pollution and vulnerable to the climate crisis, to shape the national agenda for achieving environmental justice and climate justice,” said Beverly L. Wright, Ph.D., Executive Director, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice.
“The Biden Environmental Justice Plan is the most targeted and comprehensive plan to address the legacy of environmental racism and the continuing ambivalence regarding environmental quality in communities of color that has been proposed by a potential presidential nominee,” said Peggy Shepard, co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice based in Harlem, New York,” said Peggy M. Shepard, Executive Director, WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “When I was chair of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council to the EPA I witnessed the total disregard of Title 6 administrative complaints by the EPA’s Civil Rights division, and the lack of accountability or reporting on environmental justice progress by the EJ Interagency Council which was mandated to develop plans to address environmental degradation in EJ communities. The Biden plans’ initiative to mandate a report card on progress to the White House is another important proposal to establish accountability which has been absent.”
“It’s encouraging to see former Vice President Biden release an environment, climate , economic and energy plan that places justice and health at the center,” said Dr. Robert. D. Bullard, Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy, Texas Southern University, widely regarded as the father of the environmental justice movement. “Given the converging and multiple threats faced by low-income, people of color, and vulnerable communities today, I like the fact the plan calls for an inclusive and All-of-Government approach in setting policy and legislative priorities and a framework for targeting resources to address underlying systemic conditions that create and perpetuate racial and economic inequality and unequal protection.”
“This is a truly historic moment in Presidential candidate history. Environmental Justice elders are being heard and together we can, and we will forge a new pathway for this country to live up to its ideals of justice for all!” said Dr. Cecilia Martinez, Executive Director, Center for Earth, Energy & Democracy; Inaugural Signer of the Equitable and Just National Climate Platform; and Co-Chair, Biden for President Climate Engagement Advisory Council.
“We strongly applaud the Biden campaign for taking an ambitious, comprehensive approach to climate change policy that recognizes the renewable energy industry’s ability to grow America’s economy towards a cleaner environment and a more prosperous and equitable future,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association in a statement. “As our country strives to recover from the global pandemic, racial injustices, and economic recession, this is the right moment to grow the investments and good-paying American jobs associated with renewable energy development, including the significant economic benefits, lower cost electricity bills, and diverse community support that wind energy brings to rural parts of the country.”
“I think this plan out of Joe Biden is really visionary. It’s about investing in the technologies of the future and it certainly does deploy a lot of the work that the big three are already doing here in Detroit — and expands upon that and builds that out even further,” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said. “Autonomous vehicles, vehicles of the future, electric vehicles — these are the industries we’ve got to make investments in, that we’ve got to grow, and that will make our environment cleaner and be a much longer-term type of investment for the people of this country. I was excited to hear Joe Biden’s plan today.”
”This is exactly the bold vision for the future that we need in our country,” said Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow. “What I love about what Joe Biden is proposing is that it’s about making it here, it’s about using it here, it’s about tackling the climate crisis in a way that creates new, clean energy jobs and does it in a way that provides opportunity for everyone and addresses parts of our communities that have been hardest hit by that pollution and the inequalities involved. “
“I’ve spent my time in public service fighting for environmental justice and for workers‘ rights so people who work hard can forge a better life for themselves. I know these two issues go hand in hand. So does my friend, Joe Biden. His clean energy jobs plan, with a strong environmental justice focus, proves it,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.
“VP Biden has chosen a bold path to get America to energy and environmental security and confront the existential challenge of climate change with bold and realistic solutions,” said former Senator and former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
Here is the plan:
The Biden Plan to Secure Environmental Justice and Equitable Economic Opportunity in a Clean Energy Future
The current COVID-19 pandemic reminds us how profoundly the energy and environmental policy decisions of the past have failed communities of color – allowing systemic shocks, persistent stressors, and pandemics to disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income communities.
Joe Biden is running for President to ensure that all Americans have a fair shot at getting ahead. That means rooting out the systemic racism in our laws, policies, institutions, and hearts. Any sound energy and environmental policy must advance public health and economic opportunity for all Americans, in rural, urban, and suburban communities, and recognize that communities of color and low-income communities have faced disproportionate harm from climate change and environmental contaminants for decades. It must also hold corporate polluters responsible for rampant pollution that creates the types of underlying conditions that are contributing to the disproportionate rates of illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 among Black, Latino, and Native Americans. That means officials setting policy must be accountable to the people and communities they serve, not to polluters and corporations.
Addressing environmental and climate justice is a core tenet of Biden’s climate plan. Biden will:
Use an inclusive and empowering All-of-Government approach;
Make decisions that are driven by data and science;
Target resources in a way that is consistent with prioritization of environmental and climate justice; and
Assess and address risks to communities from the next public health emergency.
USE AN INCLUSIVE AND EMPOWERING, ALL-OF-GOVERNMENT APPROACH
Our nation’s environmental justice policy was developed more than twenty years ago and no longer addresses the needs of the present or future. In order to clean up our communities and provide new opportunities to those that have been disproportionately burdened by pollution and economic and racial inequality, Biden will revise and reinvigorate the 1994 Executive Order 12898 (EO 12898) on Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations. Specifically, Biden will:
Establish an Environmental and Climate Justice Division within the U.S. Department of Justice. Under the Trump Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has referred the fewest number of criminal anti-pollution cases to the Justice Department (DOJ) in 30 years. Allowing corporations to continue to pollute – affecting the health and safety of both their workers and surrounding communities – without consequences, perpetuates an egregious abuse of power. Biden will direct his EPA and DOJ to pursue these cases to the fullest extent permitted by law and, when needed, seek additional legislation to hold corporate executives personally accountable – including jail time where merited. Going beyond the ambitious proposals that the Biden plan for a clean energy revolution already includes, the Biden Administration will establish a new Environmental and Climate Justice Division within the DOJ, as proposed by Governor Inslee, to complement the work of the Environment and Natural Resources Division. In line with the new Division’s mandate, Biden will instruct the Attorney General to: (i) implement, to the extent possible by executive action, Senator Booker’s Environmental Justice Act of 2019; (ii) increase enforcement, in line with the commitments already detailed in the Biden Plan; (iii) strategically support ongoing plaintiff-driven climate litigation against polluters; (iv) address legacy pollution that includes real remedies to make communities safe, healthy, and whole; and (v) work hand-in-hand with EPA’s Office of Civil Rights.
Elevate environmental justice in the federal government and modernize the all-of-government approach. Currently, the federal government has two key environmental justice groups. Biden will elevate and reestablish the groups as the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council and White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council, both reporting directly to the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), who reports directly to the President. To support this work, Biden’s CEQ will also have senior and dedicated environmental justice staff. These two councils will be charged with revising EO 12898 in order to address current and historic environmental injustice, in collaboration with local environmental justice leaders. And, they will be tasked with developing clear performance metrics to ensure accountability in the implementation of the Executive Order. Once the revised EO is finalized, the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council and White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council will publish an annual public performance score-card on its implementation.
Overhaul the EPA External Civil Rights Compliance Office. For too long, the EPA External Civil Rights Compliance Office has ignored its requirements under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. That will end in the Biden Administration. Biden will overhaul that office and ensure that it brings justice to frontline communities that experience the worst impacts of climate change and fenceline communities that are located adjacent to pollution sources, beginning with the following actions: (i) revisit and rescind EPA’s decision in Select Steel and its Angelita C. settlement, which allowed state environmental agencies to issue dangerous permits, and to conduct its business in a way that harmed communities; (ii) conduct a rulemaking and open a public comment process to seek Americans’ input on agency guidance for investigating Title VI Administrative complaints; and (iii) work with Congress to empower communities to bring these cases themselves, by reinstituting a private right of action to sue Title VI, which was written out in the Supreme Court’s 2001 decision in Alexander v. Sandoval.
MAKE DECISIONS DRIVEN BY DATA AND SCIENCE
President Trump denies science and disempowers experts in the federal government. Biden will choose science over fiction, ensuring we make data-driven decisions when it comes to environmental justice.
Building on EPA’s EJSCREEN tool, developed in the Obama-Biden Administration, and lessons learned at the state level, Biden will charge the newly elevated White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council, in close consultation with the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, to create a data-driven Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool to identify communities threatened by the cumulative impacts of the multiple stresses of climate change, economic and racial inequality, and multi-source environmental pollution. To ensure that information is accessible and transparent, the Screening Tool will be used to publish annual maps in multiple languages that identify disadvantaged communities; including disproportionately burdened tribal areas. In addition, since too often low-income and communities of color lack air quality monitors and are, as a result, unaware of unsafe pollution levels that threaten their health, Biden will:
Mandate new monitoring in frontline and fenceline communities. Biden will ensure that the federal government recommends that each state adequately monitors environmental pollution, including emissions, criteria pollutants, and toxics, in frontline and fenceline communities. This will include installing new monitors where they are lacking to provide accurate and publically-available real-time data. Biden will also create a new environmental public health corps that boosts communities’ capacity to use this data meaningfully.
Establish interagency teams to address targeted issues and partner directly with communities. Biden will also establish an Interagency Climate Equity Task Force to directly work to resolve the most challenging and persistent existing pockets of climate inequity in frontline vulnerable communities and tribal nations. This work includes addressing the challenge of lack of access to credit and capital for many local governments and small businesses owned by and located in environmental justice communities. Biden will rely on the leadership of these communities to identify what they need most. The Biden Administration will let community leaders lead by investing in community self-determination, marshalling federal resources to support local leaders and organizations, and directly funding capacity building — from critical tools to talent — to arm the creativity of local leaders and help them build back better.
Biden will also:
Tackle water pollution in a science-based manner. Biden will focus on improving water quality in a comprehensive way. For example, it is estimated that up to 110 million American’s drinking water could be contaminated with PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), a suite of chemicals that cause a host of health issues, including cancer, and are found in states from Michigan and Wisconsin to Colorado and New Hampshire. Instead of making empty promises with no follow-through, Biden will tackle PFAS pollution by designating PFAS as a hazardous substance, setting enforceable limits for PFAS in the Safe Drinking Water Act, prioritizing substitutes through procurement, and accelerating toxicity studies and research on PFAS. In addition, Biden will accelerate the process to test for and address the presence of lead in drinking water and housing, in line with the CDC’s determination and in partnership with labor, and state, local, and tribal governments. Biden will also help protect rural communities from water and air pollution and make water bills affordable for low-income communities, rural Americans, and tribes through targeted state revolving funds and Rural Utility Service funding for disadvantaged communities.
Prioritize strategies and technologies that reduce traditional air pollution in disadvantaged communities. Biden will direct his Cabinet to prioritize the climate strategies and technologies that most improve public health. He will also direct his Office of Science and Technology Policy to publish a report within 100 days identifying the climate strategies and technologies that will result in the most air and water quality improvements and update analytical tools to ensure that they accurately account for health risk and benefits. Finally, Biden will recommend that every state prioritize emission reductions within the disadvantaged communities identified by the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool in their state-level air quality plans.
TARGET RESOURCES CONSISTENT WITH THE PRIORITY THAT ENVIRONMENTAL AND CLIMATE JUSTICE REPRESENTS
The Biden plan already commits to providing low-income and communities of color preference in competitive grant programs. Today, Biden commits to go even further and target 40% of his historic investment in a clean energy revolution to disadvantaged communities. Building on the ambitious New York State climate law, Biden will:
Target relevant investments with the goal of delivering 40% of the overall benefits from those investments to disadvantaged communities, specifically:
Targeting investments made through programs related to clean energy and energy efficiency deployment; clean transit and transportation; affordable and sustainable housing; training and workforce development; remediation and reduction of legacy pollution; and development of critical clean water infrastructure; and
Utilizing the results of the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool to help identify these disadvantaged communities, which are threatened by the cumulative impacts of the multiple stresses of climate change, economic and racial inequality, and multi-source environmental pollution.
In addition, Biden will directly fund historic investments across federal agencies aimed at eliminating legacy pollution – especially in communities of color, rural and urban low-income communities, and indigenous communities. Biden will also address common challenges faced by disadvantaged communities, such as funds for replacing and remediating lead service lines and lead paint in households, daycares, and schools in order to ensure all communities have access to safe drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. These investments will create good-paying union jobs and help to build infrastructure that is resilient to the impacts of climate change in frontline and fenceline communities.
ASSESS AND ADDRESS RISKS TO COMMUNITIES FROM THE NEXT PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY
As a country, we must do a better job to prepare for and prevent public health emergencies, particularly in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by environmental stressors. The link between climate change and health security is well-documented – climate change creates a growing threat to Americans and hits low-income and communities of color the hardest. We must heed the warning signs from the current pandemic and prepare all communities. Building on The Biden Plan to Combat Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Prepare For Future Global Health Threats, Biden will take the following actions to minimize the impacts of climate change that cannot be avoided:
Create a National Crisis Strategy to address climate disasters that prioritizes equitable disaster risk reduction and response. The Trump Administration’s lack of preparedness and failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced that the next President must develop a science-based, national climate crisis strategy to support states, tribes, and territories. The next President must ensure the efficient and equitable allocation of disaster risk reduction-related resources and that we build back better after climate-related disasters. Building on Senator Markey’s Climate Change Health Protection and Promotion Act, Biden will use a whole-of-government approach to develop a national climate crisis strategy for each type of climate disaster that the National Climate Assessment warns will put Americans at risk (e.g., heat waves, sea level rise, wildfire, air pollution, infectious disease, hurricane, and floods). And, in line with recommendations from the American Lung Association, Biden will provide additional CDC grants to every state and territory to work with their local health departments to develop climate disaster mitigation plans.
Establish a Task Force to Decrease Risk of Climate Change to Children, the Elderly, People with Disabilities, and the Vulnerable. The Biden Department of Health and Human Services will lead a Task Force to Decrease Risk of Climate Change to Children, the Elderly, People with Disabilities, and the Vulnerable including disadvantaged and frontline communities identified by the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool. The Task Force will identify the health impacts of climate change that will pose the largest risk to the most vulnerable populations and work across the Department and with other agencies to use a whole-of-government approach to decrease those risks, including baseline health inequities. In addition, this Task Force will be charged with developing a ready-to-deploy recovery strategy that ensures adequate housing for individuals displaced by climate disasters.
Establish an Office of Climate Change and Health Equity at HHS and Launch an Infectious Disease Defense Initiative. In order to fully prepare for and minimize the impacts of climate change that cannot be avoided, Biden will establish an Office of Climate Change and Health Equity in the Office of the Secretary of HHS, modeled after the Office of AIDS Research that was created in 1983, and invest in surveillance, early-warning systems, and research to decrease climate change and health equity risks. This new HHS Office, in collaboration with the CDC, will partner with the Department of Defense to predict the infectious diseases with the highest probability of being exacerbated by climate change, evaluate their population risk, and work with additional federal agencies to accelerate the development of vaccines or other mitigation measures that reduce the risk to Americans.
Improve the resilience of the nation’s health care system and workers in the face of natural disasters. Building on guidelines published in the Obama-Biden Administration, Biden will establish a biennial Health Care System Readiness Task Force, a public-private task force to assess the current state of the nation’s health care system resilience to natural disasters and recommend strategies and investments to improve it, which will include participation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The evaluation will include an assessment of both physical health care infrastructure and the frontline health care workforce, including opportunities to provide workforce development opportunities in disadvantaged communities. In order to inform the Readiness Task Force, beginning in 2021, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, in coordination with the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the National Security Council will publish a declassified, annual report identifying the type, likelihood of occurrence, and locations at the highest risk, and potential impacts of natural disasters in the United States.
Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, presented a 9-point plan for a Clean Energy Revolution, in stark contrast to Trump’s efforts to roll back climate actions and reignite oil, gas, coal industries over clean, renewable energy. This is from the Biden campaign:
President Trump has spent his presidency ignoring the experts and scientists, reversing the Obama-Biden Administration’s efforts to address climate change, abandoning communities and workers, and blocking states and cities trying to lead— going backwards, all while we should have been doing even more.
On the first day of Biden’s Administration, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there will only be 9 years left to stop the worst consequences of climate change. Biden will act on climate immediately and ambitiously, because there’s no time to waste.
1) Take executive action on Day 1 to not just reverse all of the damage Trump has done, but go further and faster. Day 1 of the Biden Administration is going to be very busy! To immediately make progress on his climate agenda, Biden will take actions including requiring aggressive methane pollution limits for new and existing oil and gas operations; developing rigorous new fuel economy standards aimed at ensuring 100% of new sales for light- and medium-duty vehicles will be zero emissions and annual improvements for heavy duty vehicles; protecting America’s natural treasures by permanently protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other areas impacted by President Trump’s attack on federal lands and waters; and banning new oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters.
2) Work with Congress to enact in 2021, President Biden’s first year in office, legislation that, by the end of his first term, puts us on an irreversible path to achieve economy-wide net-zero emissions no later than 2050. The legislation must require polluters to bear the full cost of the carbon pollution they are emitting.
3) Rally the world to urgent and additional action. We know we cannot solve this emergency on our own: the United States accounts for only 15% of global emissions. On Day 1, Biden will rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. But we must go further. In his first 100 days in office, Biden will convene a climate world summit to directly engage the leaders of the major greenhouse gas-emitting nations of the world to persuade them to join the United States in making more ambitious national pledges, above and beyond the commitments they have already made. Biden will not allow other nations, including China, to game the system by becoming destination economies for polluters, undermining our climate efforts and exploiting American workers and businesses.
4) Make a historic investment in clean energy and innovation. Biden will invest $400 billion over ten years, as one part of a broad mobilization of public investment, in clean energy and innovation. That investment is twice the investment of the Apollo program which put a man on the moon, in today’s dollars. He will also establish ARPA-C, a new research agency focused on accelerating climate technologies.
5) Accelerate the deployment of clean technology throughout our economy. Creating the best, most innovative clean technology in the world is not enough. We also need to make sure it is used by households and industry in order to achieve aggressive emissions reductions. Biden will set a target of reducing the carbon footprint of the U.S. building stock 50% by 2035, creating incentives for deep retrofits that combine appliance electrification, efficiency, and on-site clean power generation. He will work with our nation’s governors and mayors to support the deployment of more than 500,000 new public charging outlets by the end of 2030. And, Biden will ensure our agricultural sector is the first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions, and that our farmers earn income as we meet this milestone.
6) Make environmental justice a priority across all federal agencies. Everyone is already feeling the effects of climate change. But the impacts of climate change (and inaction on climate change) – on health, economics, and overall quality of life – are far more acute on communities of color, tribal lands, and low-income communities. The coronavirus pandemic, which early data suggests is linked to air pollution that disproportionately affects communities of color and low-income communities, is shining new light on this reality. Biden will make it a priority for all federal agencies — and hold them accountable for results — to engage in community-driven approaches to develop solutions for environmental injustices affecting communities of color, low-income communities, and indigenous communities.
7) Hold polluters accountable. On Day 1, Biden will require public companies to disclose climate-related financial risks and the greenhouse gas emissions in their operations and supply chains. In his first year, he’ll work to enact legislation requiring polluters to bear the full cost of their climate pollution. But that’s not all: Biden will direct his EPA and Justice Department to pursue these cases to the fullest extent permitted by law and, when needed, seek additional legislation to hold corporate executives personally accountable – including jail time when merited. Allowing corporations to continue to pollute – affecting the health and safety of both their workers and surrounding communities – without consequences perpetuates an egregious abuse of power. These companies must be accountable to the American people, the communities where they operate, and the workers they employ.
8) Create 10 million good-paying, middle-class, union jobs. Every federal dollar spent on rebuilding our infrastructure during the Biden Administration will be used to prevent, reduce, and withstand the impacts of this climate crisis. American workers should build American infrastructure and manufacture all the materials that go into it, and all of these workers must have the option to join a union and collectively bargain. Biden will ensure his infrastructure legislation incorporates labor provisions so federal investments create millions of middle-class jobs, benefiting workers across industries.
9) Fulfill our obligation to the communities and workers that have risked their lives to produce fossil fuels that made it possible for America to win world wars and become an industrial power. Biden will stand with communities and workers impacted by the changing energy market, including by increasing coal companies’ payments into the black lung benefits program, reforming the black lung benefits system so it is no longer rigged in favor of coal companies who can hire lawyers and doctors to ensure miners’ benefits are denied, expanding efforts to help miners detect black lung cases earlier and access care, and enforcing regulations to reduce cases of black lung in the first place. Biden will also establish a task force to help these communities access federal investments and leverage private sector investments to help create high-paying union jobs based upon the unique assets of each community, partner with unions and community colleges to create training opportunities for these new jobs, repair infrastructure, keep public employees like firefighters and teachers on the payroll, and keep local hospitals open.
Capitalists are actually much more responsive to the public will than lawmakers – which may not be saying much. But as the United Nations Climate Summit demonstrated, corporations and the financial institutions that fund them are becoming more conscious of climate change. Even former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has become an advocate for climate action. More investors are factoring in the cost of climate disasters as well as the change to agriculture, human productivity and health, availability of resources including potable water. Still, corporations that are wedded to the status quo and an economy and society oriented around fossil fuels and intense carbon emissions, that don’t respect air and water quality, need a nudge. Senator Elizabeth Warren, running for president, has just released a plan to stop Wall Street from financing the climate crisis.
“Climate change poses a systemic risk to the health and stability of our financial system,” Senator Warren stated. “And yet, Wall Street is refusing to listen, let alone take real action. My plan to Stop Wall Street From Financing the Climate Crisis is just the first step to ensuring our financial system is ensured against the worst effects of climate change and Wall Street stops financing the climate crisis.“
This is from the Warren campaign:
Charlestown, MA – Senator Elizabeth Warren released her
plan to stop Wall Street from financing the climate crisis. Elizabeth’s plan
will limit and manage the risk that climate change poses to our economy by
reining in Wall Street and ensuring our banks, asset managers, and insurers pay
the true cost of climate change, instead of passing it on to millions of
Elizabeth rang the alarm in
the lead up to the 2008 financial crisis. She is sounding the alarm on Wall
Street once again as we face the existential threat of our time: climate
change. It’s clear that our entire financial system is in major
danger from the climate crisis. And yet, neither the largest U.S. financial
institutions, nor the public watchdogs that
are supposed to hold them accountable, have taken adequate steps to address
Wall Street’s role in exacerbating the crisis.
As President, Elizabeth Warren will:
Direct the Federal Reserve to invoke its authority under Section 165 of
Dodd-Frank to impose “enhanced prudential standards” –– things like
higher capital standards, or tougher stress testing –– on large
financial institutions based on their exposure to climate-related risks.
Treat climate change as the systemic risk to our financial system that
it is and use existing financial regulations to push the Financial Stability
Oversight Council (FSOC) to carefully examine the risks posed by climate change
and use its authority to designate financial institutions as
“systemically important” if appropriate.
Go beyond her Climate Risk Disclosure Plan by strengthening
SEC rules that govern the climate change expertise in the composition
of boards of directors, as well as in shareholder representation and disclosure
in proxy voting.
Elizabeth will also require U.S. banks to report annually how much
fossil fuel equity and debt is created, and/or held as assets, with respect to
all fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure.
Fight for pensions by pushing the Securities and Exchange
Commission and Department of Labor –– the two government bodies charged with
regulating pensions –– to declare carbon-intensive investments not consistent
with a fund manager’s fiduciary duty to its clients.
Hold insurance companies accountable for the risk they’re
spreading through the financial system — and through vulnerable communities —
by working with Congress to make large insurance companies doing business in
the U.S. disclose the size of the premiums they’re deriving from coal, oil and
gas projects, associated infrastructure, and companies.
Elizabeth will also investigate insurers who talk out of both sides of
their mouth when they deny coverage to policyholders under
the guise of too much climate risk, while simultaneously insuring fossil fuel
Transition us away from Donald Trump’s climate-denying
administration at a speed unmatched by any transition in modern
history. As part of that transition, she will announce her choices for Cabinet,
including a Treasury Secretary who understands the financial risks of the
climate crisis, by December 1, 2020. And she will staff all senior and mid-level
White House positions, like financial regulators, by Inauguration Day.
Requiring implementation of the Paris Climate accord and the
elimination of fossil fuel subsidies as preconditions for any trade
Dedicating $100 billion to helping other countries purchase and deploy
American-made clean energy technology that is manufactured right here at home
under the Green Marshall Plan.
Ending all American support for international oil and gas projects
through the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment
Committing to using America’s voting power in the World Bank and other
global financial institutions to cut off investment in fossil fuel projects and
to direct that investment into clean energy projects instead.
Stop Wall Street from Financing the Climate Crisis
I’ve spent most of my career getting to the bottom of what’s happening to
working families in America. And when I saw the seeds of the 2008 financial
crisis growing, I rang the alarm as
loud as I could. But the people with the power to stop the crisis didn’t listen
— not enough of them anyway. Not the banks, not Alan Greenspan or other federal
regulators, not Congress. And when the financial crisis hit in 2008, working
families lost it all while the big banks that broke the economy got a fat
And once again, as we face the existential threat of our time –– climate
change –– Wall Street is refusing to listen, let alone take real action.
It’s clear that our entire financial system is in major danger from the climate
crisis. And yet, neither the largest U.S. financial institutions, nor the public watchdogs that
are supposed to hold them accountable, have taken adequate steps to address
Wall Street’s role in exacerbating the crisis. In fact, many of the largest banks and assetmanagers have
actually increased their holdings of fossil fuel assets since
the Paris Agreement was signed. And in the two years immediately after the
Paris Agreement was adopted, the six largest U.S. bank investors in fossil
fuels companies loaned, underwrote, or otherwise financed over $700 billion for fossil fuel
companies. Wall Street banks are making a quick buck accelerating
climate change, all while communities across the country are suffering from the lasting impacts
of industrial pollution and the increasingly devastating
effects of climate change.
There has been some movement by big financial firms. A recently leaked report from J.P. Morgan —
the world’s largest financial backer of fossil fuel companies — stated that
the climate crisis could lead to “catastrophic outcomes where human life as we
know it is threatened.” Late last year, Goldman Sachs announced that
it will spend $750 billion over ten years on sustainable finance projects,
restrict financing to all new oil production and exploration in the Arctic, and
impose stricter lending requirements for coal companies. And in a letter to
investors earlier this year, Blackrock –– the world’s largest asset manager ––
announced that it will exit investments with high
environmental risk, like thermal coal, and launch new investment
products that screen for fossil fuels. While these actions are a small step in
the right direction, they are long overdue given the relative impact the
financial industry has had on the climate crisis — and they’re not enough to
protect us from a climate-fueled financial collapse, either.
We will not defeat the climate crisis if we have to wait for the financial
industry to self-regulate or come forward with piecemeal voluntary commitments.
Winning a Green New Deal and achieving 100% clean energy for our global economy
–– or enacting any of my 13 plans to defeat the climate
crisis –– will be near impossible so long as large financial
institutions are allowed to freely underwrite investments in dirty fossil
This ends when I am president. A Warren administration will act
decisively and swiftly to manage the risk that climate change poses to our
economy by reining in Wall Street and ensuring our banks, asset managers, and
insurers pay the true cost of climate change instead of passing it on to
millions of Americans. We can make the financial system work for good
as we transition to 100% clean energy, but first, we have to change the way
Wall Street is currently doing business.
Use existing financial regulations to tackle climate change because it is
a systemic risk to our financial system
Foreign financial regulators understand that the climate crisis poses serious
risks to the financial system. European regulators are warning of a “green swan” event that
could trigger a climate change-driven financial crisis. The Governor of the
Bank of England, Mark Carney, and the Governor of the Banque de France,
François Villeroy warned that climate change poses a
“catastrophic effect” to the global economy that could lead to
“a sudden collapse in asset prices” similar to the to the 2008 financial
crisis, and has urged central banks, such as the Federal Reserve Board, to play
a much larger role in tackling the crisis.
I am sounding the alarm on Wall Street once again –– just as I did in
the lead up to the 2008 financial crash.
The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was our country’s
response to the 2008 crisis. It included tools that our federal regulators
could use to protect the safety and soundness of our financial
system. Regulators should use those tools now to address the systemic risk that
climate change poses.
Specifically, the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) –– a body
created by Dodd-Frank to bring together heads of financial regulatory agencies
to assess threats across jurisdictions and markets –– should carefully examine
the risks posed by climate change and use its authority to designate financial
institutions as “systemically important” if appropriate. And the Federal
Reserve should invoke its authority under Section 165 of Dodd-Frank to impose
“enhanced prudential standards” –– things like higher capital standards and
margin requirement, or tougher stress testing –– on large financial
institutions based on their climate-related risks.
By using the authorities Congress has already given them, federal regulators
can mitigate the climate-related risk in our financial system and help accelerate
the transition towards a clean energy economy.
Increase corporate accountability through the Securities & Exchange
That’s a problem in two ways. First, there are a lot of companies that could be
badly hurt by the likely environmental effects of climate change, and their
financial implications such as stranded assets, and supply-chain risk. We’ve
already seen how record storms, flooding, and wildfires can cause billions of dollars in damage.
Second, global efforts to combat climate change will have an enormous impact on
certain types of companies, particularly those in the energy sector. The Task
Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures found that reductions in greenhouse
gas emissions and increasingly affordable deployment of clean
energy technology could have “significant, near-term financial implications”
for Big Oil and fossil fuel companies.
My Climate Risk Disclosure plan addresses
these problems by requiring companies to publicly disclose both of these types
of climate-related risks. It directs the Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC) to issue rules that make every public company disclose detailed
information, including the likely effect on the company if climate change
continues at its current pace and the likely effect on the company if the world
successfully restricts greenhouse gas emissions to meet the targets of the
Paris Agreement. My plan also requires the SEC to tailor these disclosure
requirements for specific industries so that, for instance, fossil fuel
companies will have to make even more detailed disclosures.
But disclosure is just the first step. There is more the SEC can do to ensure
companies are more accurately accounting for climate risk, which is why a
Warren administration will go further by strengthening SEC rules that govern
the climate change expertise in the composition of boards of directors, as well
as in shareholder representation and disclosure in proxy voting. My
administration will also require U.S. banks to report annually how much fossil
fuel equity and debt is created, and/or held as assets, with respect to all
fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure. And a Warren administration will
work with the SEC Office of Credit Ratings to direct credit rating agencies to
impose process standards — like climate due diligences — that incorporate the
physical and financial risks that climate change presents to securities and
other financial assets, as well as to the companies that issue them.
For the millions of public school teachers, firefighters, police officers, and
other state and federal public employees who spend their careers in service to
our government, pension funds provide a shot at a decent retirement. Most
simply, pensions are deferred wages for our public employees. And yet
today, our pension systems are failing our public employees.
That’s in part because they are invested in fossil fuels –– leaving
all the risk of fossil fuel investments in hard working Americans’ retirement
One recent analysis found
that pension funds would be significantly more successful without risky fossil
investments. California’s $238 billion state teachers retirement fund CalSTRS
–– which serves nearly a million public school teachers –– would have earned an
additional $5.5 billion over ten years without its fossil fuel investments. And
Colorado’s state pension fund PERA –– which serves 600,000 current and former
teachers, state troopers, corrections officers, and other public employees ––
would have earned almost $2 billion more in value. This matters for
hard-working pension-holders: investments in fossil fuels over the last 10
years have lost many of California’s public school teachers $5,572 each, and
cost many of Colorado’s public employees $2,900 each. And yet, despite calls
from environmentalists to divest from fossil fuels, in January of this
year CalSTRS rejected divestment,
claiming it would have a “lasting negative impact on the
health of the fund.”
As president, I will fight for every person’s pension, because every
American deserves the right to retire with dignity after spending their career
in service of our local, state and federal government. A Warren
administration would explicitly state policy preferences for limiting climate
risk, beginning with divestment from fossil fuels and prioritizing investments
in environmental, social and governance (ESG) options. And I would go further
by pushing the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Labor ––
the two government bodies charged with regulating pensions –– to declare
carbon-intensive investments not consistent with a fund manager’s fiduciary
duty to its clients.
And, as a matter of justice, we should tighten bankruptcy laws to prevent coal
and other fossil fuel companies from evading their responsibility to their
workers and to the communities that they have helped to pollute. In the
Senate, I have fought to improve the
standing of coal worker pensions and benefits in bankruptcy ––
and as president, I will work with Congress to pass legislation to make these
changes a reality.
Instead of halting the effects of climate change, insurers are passing on
the high prices to consumers — or foregoing offering protection to vulnerable
Americans altogether. In some places, insurance companies are pulling
out of areas entirely, leaving consumers exposed. For example, the number of
new and renewed homeowners’ insurance policies fell by 8,700 in
California counties at greatest risk for wildfires. But some insurance
providers will still write policies in vulnerable areas, ratcheting up the monthly prices
consumers pay to counterbalance their increased risk. Premiums
rose in every single state in the nation over the past decade, with states
in tornado alley experiencing the
highest jumps by an average of over $500. And private companies
are taking advantage of the price increases: the number of private flood
insurers has more than doubled since 2016, and they’ve taken in an additional half
a billion in premiums since the prior year.
It’s time to hold insurance companies accountable for the risk they’re
spreading through the financial system — and through vulnerable
communities. I’ll work with Congress to make large insurance companies
doing business in the U.S. disclose the size of the premiums they’re deriving
from coal, oil and gas projects, associated infrastructure, and companies. I’ll
investigate insurers who talk out of both sides of their mouth when they deny coverage to policyholders under
the guise of too much climate risk, while simultaneously insuring fossil fuel
projects. I’ll push the SEC to require insurance companies to show that they
have evaluated climate-related risks in their underwriting processes and in
their reserves. I will reform the National Flood Insurance Program by making it
easier for existing residents to move out of flood-prone properties – both
inland and coastal – including a program to buy back those properties from
low-income homeowners at market value. And within my first term I will ensure
the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood maps are fully updated, so that
we can raise the standard for new construction through the Federal Flood Risk
Personnel is Policy
At the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, economic leaders from across
the world highlighted the vital need to include climate risks in
economic analysis. But Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin found himself in a
minority of one, arguing that costs were being overestimated when
considering the impacts of climate change. Either he’s uninformed or he’s
lying: study after study shows that we
are drastically underestimating the cost of the climate
I have often said that personnel is policy. The
regulators in charge of protecting the American people need to understand the
risk that the climate crisis poses to our entire financial system — and the
millions whose livelihoods depend on it. That’s why I will appoint at every
level of the system financial regulators committed to holding financial
institutions accountable for climate risk. Here’s what that means:
I will appoint a Treasury Secretary who — unlike Steven Mnuchin —
believes in the power of markets to help defeat the climate crisis: because
right now, research in both of those fields shows
how vital it is that we expose the climate risk.
I’ll appoint financial regulators — including Federal Reserve
governors, Commodity Futures Trading Commission commissioners, and leadership
of every other agency represented on the Financial Stability Oversight Council
— who understand the clear threat climate change poses to our financial system
and who implement policy that addresses financial institutions’ exposure to
climate risks and hold them accountable to addressing.
I’ve already pledged to appoint an SEC
chair who will use all existing tools to require robust
disclosure of climate-related risks. I’ll also appoint SEC commissioners who
will manage the threat climate change poses to the economy by pushing for
corporate disclosure of climate risk and a shift of finances away from fossil
The size and the scope of the risk that climate poses to our financial
system requires immediate action. I’ve committed to transitioning us
away from Donald Trump’s climate-denying administration at a speed unmatched by
any transition in modern history, so that we can begin tackling the urgent
challenges ahead on Day One. As part of that transition, I will
announce my choices for Cabinet, including a Treasury Secretary who understands
the financial risks of the climate crisis, by December 1, 2020. And I’ll staff
all senior and mid-level White House positions, like financial regulators, by Inauguration
Day — so that we can begin de-risking our financial system from the moment I’m
Work with international allies
One of the next catastrophic global financial crises may well be caused by the growing
climate crisis. The 2008 recession proved how financial crises are
no longer isolated: their impact echoes across countries. That’s why addressing
the financial risks of the climate crisis is an international issue. But
the United States isn’t just lagging behind other countries on addressing the
climate risk: right now, we’re not even in the same league.
A Warren Administration will work with international allies to build a more
resilient financial and environmental future for our planet. And I’ll use every
tool in the box to build that world. As President I’ll advocate for the Federal
Reserve to join the global coalition of central banks known as the Network on Greening the Financial
System. As we transition to a 100% clean energy economy, the United
States should be a leader on the global stage, and having a seat at the table
is the first step. As part of my New Approach to Trade, I
will require implementation of the Paris Climate accord and the elimination of
fossil fuel subsidies as preconditions for any trade agreement. My Green
Marshall Plan will dedicate $100 billion to helping other countries purchase
and deploy American-made clean energy technology that is manufactured right
here at home. And we should end all American support for international oil and
gas projects through the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment
Corporation. We should also commit to using America’s voting power in the World
Bank and other global financial institutions to cut off investment in fossil
fuel projects and to direct that investment into clean energy projects instead.
Our efforts should be dedicated to accelerating the global transition to clean
New York State has made
$4.3 million in grants for 111 projects across the state that will help prevent
hunger and reduce the disposal of food waste though food donation and
recycling. The grants will support efforts by municipalities and organizations,
such as pantries and soup kitchens, to help divert scraps for recycling and
reduce the amount of organic waste by redirecting excess, edible food to New
Yorkers struggling with food insecurity.
“Wasted food hurts
needy families facing the terrible challenges of food insecurity and harms the
environment by growing landfills and contributing to climate
change,” Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
said. “These awards are the latest step New York is
taking to help local governments and community organizations support smart
investments that prevent food waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by
food disposal, and provide nutritious and healthy food to combat hunger across
New York State.”
Wasted food has
significant environmental, social, and economic impacts and these grants help
support municipalities and emergency food relief organizations by improving
food rescue efforts and diverting food scraps from disposal in landfills.
Reducing the landfilling of food scraps is also recognized as a valuable
mitigation measure in the state’s ongoing fight against climate change. The New
York State Department of Environmental Conservation will administer the grants.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “It is a sad fact that Americans waste about 25 percent of
the food purchased, leading to negative impacts on our environment and a waste
of food resources that could otherwise be used to help people in need. The projects
supported by the grants announced today are a combination of public outreach
initiatives and innovative, common-sense approaches to promoting food
recycling, helping the hungry, and reducing waste to build stronger, healthier,
and environmentally sustainable communities.”
Municipal Food Scraps
Reduction, Food Donation, and Food Scraps Recycling Grants
DEC is awarding a total
of $3.28 million in grants to 27 municipal projects that will use innovative
and comprehensive approaches to support wasted food prevention and reduction
initiatives, streamline food donation and rescue efforts, and/or develop
organics recycling programs and facilities. Many projects involve strategic
partnerships with community-based organizations to reduce the volume of
wasted food and food scraps entering the municipal waste stream. This is
accomplished through the development and implementation of wasted food
reduction education and outreach programs and by establishing municipal
composting and other organics recycling infrastructure. Among the highlights of
the municipal grant projects:
of Cortland $195,936: The
funding will support the Cortland Food Project Rescue and Waste
Prevention, a comprehensive community education campaign focused on wasted
food prevention and reduction. The city will develop and implement
Cortland’s first local food rescue system and volunteer network to seek
out large quantities of “past prime” produce that program staff
and volunteers will be trained to process into value-added food products.
The city will then coordinate with existing local hunger projects, such as
food pantries, soup kitchens, and the planned commercial community kitchen
and entrepreneurship program to be located at the Homer Avenue
Revitalization Project site;
of Ossining $99,145: The
town will create a comprehensive food scraps recycling pilot program to
serve approximately 38,300 residents and neighboring areas. The town will:
purchase collection bins for several public sites, including nearby
Environmental Justice communities and for residential home use; develop
informational materials to include in the kits residents will use in their
homes; and Teatown Lake Reservation will begin community
education events and programming regarding food waste prevention and
reduction, composting, and the town-run food scrap recycling program;
County $70,426: The county will address
wasted food prevention and food donation by targeting apartment complexes
and multifamily units in the county. The project will educate tenants and
property managers, focusing on smart shopping, smart storage, and smart
food prep; site a food hub cooler for sharing excess edible food, with
leftover donations going to Friendship Donations Network (FDN) for further
distribution throughout the Tompkins County community; provide tenants
with free toolkits to collect food scraps from their kitchens for
composting; and develop “kitchen to compost” educational
of Sleepy Hollow $11,286: The
village will develop and launch a comprehensive food scraps recycling
program that includes: education efforts and materials that are accessible
for all residents, despite income or language barriers; create a food
scraps recycling program that offers 500 free starter kits (countertop
food scraps collection pail and storage bin) to residents for composting;
and create outreach materials designed to reach all demographics in the
village, including Spanish-language translations, and engaging low-income
residents and seniors in the participation of the project.
Emergency Food Relief
Food pantries and other
local emergency food relief organizations are on the front lines when it comes
to helping those in need. These organizations often rely on donations of food
through partnerships with local businesses, farms, and other food donors to
supplement their inventories of wholesome food. However, as many of these food
pantries and organizations are volunteer-run and have limited funds, they often
do not have the resources to establish these partnerships or purchase the
necessary storage equipment and vehicles to transport donated perishable foods.
Due to these challenges, highly nutritious, perishable food that is ready to be
distributed to food pantries and soup kitchens — such as fresh produce — often
goes to waste, despite the efforts of donors and food rescue organizations.
DEC is funding 84
projects with $1.1 million to support projects including: hiring food recovery
staff focused on developing donation partnerships; purchasing efficient cold
storage equipment; kitchen equipment to prepared rescued, perishable produce;
vehicles to transport rescued food; and the implementation of hyper-local
perishable and prepared food recovery and distribution networks. In addition,
several projects include the establishment of nutrition and cooking classes to
help them use the food they receive from the pantries most efficiently. These
classes and workshops help clients reduce wasted food and stretch limited food
budgets. Highlighted grant projects include:
House $13,720: Iris House in Central
Harlem will use the funds to support efforts to distribute food closer to
the residents of East Harlem in New York City. Iris House will use part of
the grant funds to cover the operation costs of a van to transport food
pantry bag distribution to pop-up locations in East Harlem to save
residents the costs of transportation to Central Harlem. Iris House will
also develop and distribute brochures about nutrition and to advertise
their services and provide information about free food availability;
Chance Foods $15,000: Second
Chance Foods is not-for-profit food rescue organization in Carmel, New
York, that will use the grant to support the salary of a kitchen manager
to process rescued food into cooked meals or prepare parts of meals to
donate to local food programs. By processing rescued food such as
blemished produce and unfamiliar foods, Second Chance Foods makes more
rescued food “usable” by soup kitchen managers and pantry
clients, preventing wasted food and increasing the amount of wholesome
food available to people;
Food of Washington County, Inc. $12,420: Comfort Food Community serves a rural county with
limited access to grocery stores and a significant percent of the
population in poverty. CFC will hire a seasonal Food Recovery Assistant to
improve gleaning efforts at the 35 farms in their service area through
volunteer recruitment and management, as well as coordinating and
supervising rescue efforts. The Food Recovery Assistant will also work on
outreach and education elements of the Fresh Food Collective. CFC will
also use these grant funds to dedicate staff time to developing recipe
cards and coordinated meal kits for the gleaned produce to help ensure
that recipients of the produce are able to use all of it properly and
incorporate more nutritious food into their diets; and
Meadows Community Farm, Inc. $15,000: Pitney
Meadows Community Farm, Inc., is not-for-profit organization in Saratoga
Springs dedicated to urban agriculture, farmland conservation, community
empowerment, and increasing access to fresh, healthy produce. The farm
will install a “Giving Garden” dedicated to growing food
for food pantries and will use the grant to hire a farm manager to oversee
the Giving Garden and associated donation partnerships; construct a wash/pack
station to properly prepare freshly harvested vegetables in a safe,
reliable, and convenient way; and install a walk-in cooler to store food
before it is donated to local pantries.
New York State has long
been committed to the fight against hunger and Governor Cuomo has launched groundbreaking
initiatives and programs in recent years, including the Council on
Hunger and Food Policy, Vital Brooklyn, and the No Student Goes Hungry
initiative to combat hunger, improve access to healthy, locally grown foods,
and bring New York-grown foods and beverages to underserved communities. The
grants announced today also build upon the success of the 2019 Food Donations
and Food Scraps Recycling law signed by the Governor, that requires all designated
food scraps generators to first donate edible food to those in need, and
secondly, to recycle food scraps if a viable recycling facility is located
within 25 miles. In response to this crucial legislation, DEC has provided
$800,000 to Feeding New York State for additional resources to handle the
anticipated influx of donated food.
The grant announcement
was made at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern
New York in Latham, to help prepare New Yorkers for the
statewide ban on plastic carryout bags, which begins March 1. DEC, in
coordination with Feeding New York State, will distribute reusable bags to food
banks across the state as part of DEC’s efforts to encourage
consumers to bring their own bags whenever and wherever they shop. Feeding New York State helps
feed millions of people each year through more than 5,000 food pantries, soup
kitchens, shelters, and other programs.
The BYOBagNY initiative
is part of New York’s comprehensive outreach campaign with state and local
partners to educate retailers and consumers about the plastic bag ban, which
will help reduce the scourge of plastic bag waste in the state’s environment
and communities. New Yorkers use an estimated 23 billion plastic bags
annually—each for about 12 minutes—and approximately 85 percent of this
staggering total ends up in landfills, recycling machines, waterways, and
streets. For more information about the outreach efforts and details of the
law’s implementation, visit DEC’s website.
The vigorous contest of Democrats
seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy
proposals to address major issues. Senator Bernie Sanders, along with
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, presented the Green New Deal for Public
Housing Act to address the shortage of public housing in a way that also
attacks climate change by transitioning to sustainable buildings. Here is the
plan from the Sanders campaign:
WASHINGTON – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), in an event outside the Capitol Building, announced the
introduction of the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act in partnership with
public housing residents, affordable housing advocates, and climate change
activists. The sweeping legislation they will unveil aims to retrofit,
rehabilitate, and decarbonize the entire nation’s public housing stock.
The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act invests up to $180 billion over ten
years in sustainable retrofits that include all needed repairs, vastly improved
health, safety and comfort, and eliminate carbon emissions in our federal
public housing. The legislation also provides funding to electrify all
buildings, add solar panels, and secure renewable energy sources for all public
housing energy needs. The bill dramatically improves living conditions for
nearly 2 million people living in roughly 1 million public homes.
“Faced with the global crisis of climate change, the United States must lead
the world in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel to
sustainable energy,” said Sanders. “But let us be clear: as Congresswoman
Ocasio-Cortez understands, the Green New Deal is not just about climate change.
It is an economic plan to create millions of good-paying jobs, strengthen our
infrastructure, and invest in our country’s frontline and vulnerable
communities. This bill shows that we can address our climate and affordable
housing crises by making public housing a model of efficiency, sustainability
and resiliency. Importantly, the working people who have been most impacted by
decades of disinvestment in public housing will be empowered to lead this
effort and share in the economic prosperity that it generates for our country.”
“Climate change represents both a grave threat and a tremendous opportunity,”
said Ocasio-Cortez. “The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act will train and
mobilize the workforce to decarbonize the public housing stock and improve the
quality of life for all residents. I am proud to begin the hard work of
codifying the Green New Deal into law with my friend and colleague, Senator
About 40 percent of
total U.S. energy consumption is attributable to residential and commercial
buildings. With its focus on transforming 1 million units of federally owned
housing, the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act will spur economies of scale
for weatherization, retrofitting, and renewable energy, making them more cost
effective and attractive throughout the country. The legislation is expected to
create nearly 250,000 good-paying, union jobs per
year across the country while reducing carbon emissions on the scale of taking
1.2 million cars off the road over the next ten years. Public housing costs
would also be reduced by $97 million per year, or 30 percent, and energy costs
would be slashed by $613 million, or 70 percent.
The legislation envisions a federal-state partnership, creating new grant
programs to swiftly and efficiently transition public housing, tribal housing,
and Native Hawaiian housing to zero-carbon, energy efficient housing. The bill
creates sustainable communities for families by building new childcare and
senior centers, expanding access to clean transit, and creating community
gardens and other community amenities. Under the legislation, public housing
will receive deep energy retrofits, build community-generated renewable
electricity, and upgrade unsafe and unsanitary infrastructure, including
buildings’ water and electrical systems.
The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act requires that the hundreds of
thousands of jobs created by this investment be high-road, family-sustaining
jobs by requiring strong labor standards, prevailing wages, and “Buy America”
requirements. Public housing residents will lead the decision-making process for
these investments and receive jobs training for the newly created jobs from
The bill is cosponsored in the Senate by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen.
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and endorsed by more than 50 organizations.
There was the sense at the United
Nations Climate Action Summit that took place September 23, that the Trump
Administration – but not the United States – is irrelevant to the crusade to
mitigate the most devastating impacts of climate change. Indeed, the rest of
the world, American states, localities and businesses, is forging full steam
ahead to prevent the earth from warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius – and all
the devastation that would result – within the next 12 years.
“We know why tackling climate change is important”, said Deputy
Secretary-General Amina Mohammed before the Climate Action Summit began. “The
devastation wreaked by Dorian on the Bahamas, what the Secretary-General called
a Category Hell hurricane, is a glimpse into one aspect of a future powered by
climate change – a future with super storms that grow in intensity and
frequency, where those countries with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions,
continue to feel the worst impacts of the planet’s rising temperatures.”
“The summit will present practical and new measures, speed transition from
coal to clean energy, cut pollution harming health, protect nature, unlock the potential
of nature to deliver on climate, create cleaner greener waste, speed up transition
from grey to green economies, mitigate impacts of climate change, leave no one
behind, transition must be ramped up now,” she said at a press briefing before
The Climate Action Summit was
designed to showcase only the boldest, transformative actions – specifics, not
hyperbole or speechifying.
“We will see what climate leadership
looks like – progress toward carbon neutral future.”
Trump snubbed the summit, choosing instead to host a Religious Freedom Forum, and highlighted America’s military might but did not mention climate change once, in his address to the General Assembly. But just about every other leader did refer to the critical need and their commitment to climate action in their speech.
we afford to ignore the crisis of extinction, or will we do the right thing,
support energies and talents of all the world’s youth and drive all the
economies forward to fair and inclusive society?” Abdullah
II bin Al–Hussein, King of Jordan, declared. “What will our world
become if we do not work together for a healthy and safe climate. We already
know the dangers of climate change – how can we excuse [inaction]”
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, president of
Croatia, declared, “Climate
change- rising sea levels – is the greatest threat. Without protection of
waters and marine life, there will be nothing to leave.”
Russia, one of the few holdouts and
one of the world’s largest carbon emitters with an economy largely based on
fossil fuel extraction and export, used the occasion to officially adopt the
Paris Climate Agreement. The document signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says
Russia will now “allocate financial resources… to developing countries
for prevention and adaptation to climate change. The threat of climate change
is (the) destruction of the ecological balance, increased risks for successful
development of key industries… and most importantly, threat to safety of
people living on permafrost and increase of natural disasters.”
Governor Janet Mills of Maine challenged
leaders of the world to take action against climate change, saying the State of
Maine will do its part and announcing that she has signed an Executive Order
committing the state to carbon neutrality by 2045.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced
New York State is pursuing partnerships with Ireland and Denmark that will lead
to improved electric infrastructure and the advancement of more renewable
energy sources, including offshore wind. The agreements were announced during
Climate Week and will advance both New York’s nation-leading plan to combat
climate change and the Governor’s Green New Deal agenda. This summer,
Governor Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act,
which mandates New York’s power be 100 percent clean and carbon-free by 2040. New
York is one of 25 states including California that have formed the US Climate
Alliance (USclimatealliance.org) to
uphold the Paris Agreement. – collectively representing over 50% of the US
population and 60% of the United States’
Mohammed acknowledged that the transition “is not one-size fits all
– in some countries, renewable energy is already cheaper than coal; others need
funding options. It’s not enough that we stop funding coal and actively move to
making renewable possible –there is tension there. We must be realistic – you can’t
click fingers and create a renewable grid overnight but we also determined there
are over 100 coal plants in pipeline and emissions are still rising – that pathway
is a serious threat to human survival.”
Informed by the perspectives of more than 130 Governments, a newly issued
report, The Heat is On – Taking Stock of Global Climate Ambition,
reveals that business as usual, is not good enough and requires more
mitigation, adaptation and finance – all which must be done quickly.
“When I look back on this Climate
Action Summit, I want us to see it as a sling shot – that helped to change our
common trajectory towards sustainability”, said Ms. Mohammed, building trust
“between this generation of adults and the next – between our children and
ourselves – that we are all working together to our fullest potential to tackle
the climate emergency”.
She recapped that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report
stressed the need to ensure that “the global temperature rise does not go
beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius” through “cutting emissions by 45 per cent by 2030”,
warning that “we have very little time to take the decisions needed to get
Those decisions should be set out in each country’s Nationally Determined
Contributions (NDCs) on climate change, which she called “the cornerstone of
“The world’s poorest 1 billion, we
are least responsible for climate crisis – emitting less than 1% of global
emissions, yet, our small gross national
incomes and limited resources means we suffer the most,” said Sonam P.
Wangdi, Secretary of the National Environment Commission, Bhutan.
States, with only 5% of the population is responsible for 25% of carbon
emissions, and the present administration, which hides behind science denial in
order to preserve the status quo of their economic systems, will have a huge
impact on whether the efforts made by 190 countries succeed in preserving the
planet. But though the government was a no-show at the Climate Action Summit,
states, localities and business interests were on hand, offering their
commitments so that the United States will achieve the goals of the Paris
Climate Agreement led by Obama and rejected by Trump.
was just as if the world has moved on, rendering the United States irrelevant.
The thought of holding the US accountable for reparations when an island nation
like the Bahamas is devastated by Hurricane Dorian, was discounted. “Who would
enforce a decision?” said Wilfred P.
Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Belize, a statement made from the
experience of Trinidad & Tobago which won a judgment against the US in the
World Trade Organization that has yet to be paid.
Developing States are stepping up and striking back.
“The recent activity of Dorian in Bahamas – devastated that island, and unless you really have experience this kind of devastation it is hard to appreciate how difficult, how absolutely destructive it is,” said Elrington, recalling his own terror at the age of 4 years old when a Category 4 hurricane hit. “From one moment being in a safe, secure structure or building, the next to be completely out in environment with absolutely nothing – you have absolutely nothing – no clothes, medicine, food, completely at the mercy of God. We think of the damage to human beings and the destruction, but equally tragic is the destruction done to floral and fauna – exceedingly depressing to see the entire landscape devastated and and of course, does not come back quickly.”
Apart from saving habitats, climate
mitigation and adaptation has the added benefit of addressing poverty and
inequality, in part perpetuated by the cost – and reliance –on fossil fuels as
the basis for an economy. Shifting to clean, renewable like solar, wind, water,
geothermal, lowers the expenditure and increases the independence from
concentrated utility companies. Eliminating fossil fuels also reduces pollution
and improves health.
worldwide pressure – by citizens and consumers – the private sector is being
forced to take action as well. Sixteen
countries are phasing out gasoline-powered cars over the next several years,
rendering US-manufactured cars unexportable, regardless of how Trump attempts
to overturn California’s call for higher fuel efficiency standards and lower
Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment
Just announced, “first of its kind,” Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment “will transform mainstream infrastructure investment and drive a permanent shift toward climate resilient economy for all countries, but especially for low and mid income countries which bear the brunt,” said John Haley, CEO, Willis Towers Watson, one of the world’s largest insurance companies. One of the ways it will change the way money is invested in business ventures and infrastructure is by creating new data analytics that incorporate the cost-benefit of climate adaptation, mitigation and resiliency into the model. “Rapid advancement in data analytics, coupled in momentum of regulatory initiatives and growing pressure from global society is what allows this initiative to be as ambitious as it is.”
He said, “I come from the world of
insurance. We work on a lot of analytical tools to price the effect of climate
disasters. We will take those kind of analytical tools and build them into
understanding what kind of investments we should make in infrastructure – measure
the impacts of climate on infrastructure everywhere in the world – more
important in vulnerable communities but everywhere in the world [including US,
where former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has been saying the very thing in
pushing for a carbon tax].
“Pricing the risks
posed by climate change will create opportunities to build a network of
resilient infrastructure in high, medium and low-income countries, enabling us
to better prevent future human and financial disasters.”
The coalition will
develop case studies to build the business case, and identify the critical
enabling environments, for climate resilient infrastructure investment.
By the end of
2020, analytical tools including a physical risk pricing framework and
methodology to prioritize national resilient investment needs, will be
developed, alongside a range of instruments to prevent capital flight from
Biggest Names in Video Game Industry
Commit to Climate Action
in a major mind-blowing commitment, 21 of the biggest names in the video games
industry, with a combined audience of 970 million players, formally committed
to harness the power of their platforms to take action in response to the
climate crisis. Combined, these commitments will result in a 30 million ton
reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030, will see millions of trees planted, new
“green nudges” in game design and improvements to energy management, packaging,
and device recycling. Equally significantly, under
the banner of Playing for the Planet Alliance, many will incorporate
sustainability and climate action into the games, themselves, letting gamers,
for example, toy with building sustainable societies.
voluntary commitments were announced during the UN Climate Action Summit. CEOs
from 14 platforms and games makers, including Sony Interactive Entertainment,
Microsoft, Google Stadia, Rovio, Supercell, Sybo, Ubisoft and WildWorks, were
present to showcase their commitments. The Alliance intends to support
companies in sharing learning and monitoring progress on the environmental
Clearly the world’s leaders are finally listening to the rising tide of civic actions, including an outpouring of youth activists, not asking but demanding action on climate change – preventing the planet from heating more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, mitigating and adapting to the impacts of global warming, from rising sea levels, more frequent and violent superstorms, wildfires, droughts, floods and famines, extinction of wildlife and plants due to lost habitats, and the health impacts due to the spread of epidemics, disease and illness.
Major announcements by government and private sector
leaders during the course of the day-long United Nations Climate Action Summit,
September 23, boosted climate action momentum, and demonstrated growing
recognition that the pace of climate action must be rapidly accelerated.
77 countries committed to cut greenhouse gas
emissions to net zero by 2050, while 70 countries announced they will either
boost their national action plans by 2020 or have started the process of doing
Over 100 business leaders delivered concrete actions
to align with the Paris Agreement targets, and speed up the transition from the
grey to green economy, including asset-owners holding over $2 trillion in
assets and leading companies with combined value also over $2 trillion.
Many countries and over 100 cities – including many
of the world’s largest – announced significant and concrete new steps to combat
the climate crisis.
Many smaller countries, including Small Island
Developing States and Least Developed Countries, were among those who made the
biggest pledges, despite the fact they have contributed the least to the
UN Secretary-General António Guterres, closing the
Summit, said “You have delivered a boost in momentum, cooperation and ambition.
But we have a long way to go. We need more concrete plans, more ambition from
more countries and more businesses. We need all financial institutions, public
and private, to choose, once and for all, the green economy.”
including Greta Thunberg, who in an impassioned address that followed a
worldwide Climate Strike, said, “We will be watching,” drove home the urgency
of greater action by leaders, and their determination to hold leaders to
Among the major announcements:
• France announced that it would not enter into any
trade agreement with countries that have policies counter to the Paris
• Germany committed to carbon neutrality by 2050
• Russia, one of the few holdouts
and one of the world’s largest carbon emitters, with an economy largely based
on fossil fuel extraction and export, adopted the Paris Climate Agreement.
• 12 countries made financial
commitments to the Green Climate Fund, the official financial mechanism to
assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter
climate change. This is in addition to recent announcements from Norway,
Germany, France and the United Kingdom who have recently doubled their present
• The United Kingdom made a major additional
contribution, doubling its overall international climate finance to L11.6
billion for the period from 2020 to 2025.
• India pledged to increase renewable energy
capacity to 175gw by 2022 and committed to further increasing to 450GW, and
announced that 80 countries have joined the International Solar Alliance.
• China said it would cut emissions by over 12
billion tons annually, and would pursue a path of high quality growth and low
• The European Union announced at least 25% of the
next EU budget will be devoted to climate-related activities.
• The Russian Federation announced that they will
ratify the Paris Agreement, bringing the total number of countries that have
joined the Agreement to 187.
• Pakistan said it would plant more than 10 billion
trees over the next five years. On unprecedented levels of private sector
• A group of the world’s largest asset-owners —
responsible for directing more than $2 trillion in investments — committed to
move to carbon-neutral investment portfolios by 2050.
• 87 major companies with a combined market
capitalization of over US$ 2.3 trillion pledged to reduce emissions and align
their businesses with what scientists say is needed to limit the worst impacts
of climate change—a 1.5°C future.
• 130 banks – one-third of the global banking sector
– signed up to align their businesses with the Paris agreement goals On
transitioning from brown to green energy:
• Michael Bloomberg will increase the funding and
geographic spread of his coal phase out efforts to 30 countries. Already, his
work has helped to close 297 out of 530 coal plants in the US.
• Countries, including France and New Zealand,
announced that they will not allow oil or gas exploration on their lands or
• Heads of State from Finland, Germany, Greece,
Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, and Slovakia, are among those
that announced that they will work to phase out coal. The Republic of Korea
announced it would shut down four coal-fired power plants, and six more will be
closed by 2022, as well as the doubling of its contribution to the Green
• The Summit also delivered critical platforms for
improving energy efficiency and reducing the growing energy needs for cooling,
with the “Three Percent Club” coalition working to drive a three percent annual
global increase in energy efficiency and the Cool Coalition setting ambitious
national cooling targets for its members with the potential to deliver up to 1
degree on the pathway to a 2050 net zero carbon world. On scaling up financing
and unlocking barriers to funds:
• Many countries announced new contributions to the
Green Climate Fund, the official financial mechanism to assist developing
countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change,
with several countries, including France, Germany, Norway and the United
Kingdom, announcing that they would double their present contributions.
• Further, the Climate Investment Platform,
officially announced during the Summit, will seek to directly mobilize US$ 1
trillion in clean energy investment by 2025 in 20 Least Developed Countries in
its first year.
• The African Development Bank said it was doubling
its climate-related financing to $25 billion by 2025. Funding will go to
projects including a multi-billion initiative to develop 10,000 megawatts of
solar power from the Sahara that will provide electricity to 250 million
a difference a green, more prosperous, resilient, peaceful and secure future
will mean,” said Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President, African
• Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment – just announced and the first of its kind – “will transform mainstream infrastructure investment and drive a permanent shift toward climate resilient economy for all countries, but especially for low and mid income countries which bear the brunt” by providing data analytical tools to price in the cost of climate resiliency into investments, said John Haley, CEO, Willis Towers Watson, one of the world’s largest insurance companies.
• The state of Maine committed to carbon
neutrality by 2045.
• Summit initiatives were designed to ensure the
actions undertaken would be fair for all, supporting jobs and clear air for
better health, and protect the most vulnerable, as well as new initiatives on
adaptation, agriculture and early warning systems that will protect 500 million
additional people against the impacts of climate change.
New initiatives announced have been designed to be scaled up to deliver
impact at the global scale needed. The Secretary-General urged governments,
businesses and people everywhere to join the initiatives announced at the
Summit, and promised to “keep pushing” for greater ambition and action.
The Secretary-General committed the UN system to
support implementation of plans presented at the Summit, with an initial report
to be delivered at COP25 in Santiago, Chile.
is being hailed as the biggest climate protest in history: a worldwide climate
strike that brought out over 4 million people in more than 2100 events in 175
countries, with some 600 in the United States.
York’s climate strike brought out more than 250,000 who overflowed Foley
Square, marched down to Battery Park, where the global climate leader, Greta
Thunberg of Sweden, laid down the gauntlet to the do-nothing world leaders:
“This is an emergency. Our house is on fire,” Thunberg
told the cheering crowd. “We will do everything in our power to stop this
crisis from getting worse.” Noting that she has withdrawn from school in order
to agitate for climate action and to take part in the strikes, children have
left school, she said “Why should we study for a future that is being taken
away from us. That is being sold for profit.”
“Everywhere I have been the situation is more or less
same. The people in power, their beautiful words are the same,” she said. “The
number of politicians and celebrities who want to take selfies with us are the
same. The empty promises are the same. The lies are the same, and the inaction
is the same.”
Virtually daring the world’s leaders to act, she declared,
“The eyes of the world” will be on the world leaders at the climate summit on
Monday for the U.N. Climate Summit. “They have a chance to prove that they too
are united behind the science, they have a chance to take leadership, to prove
they actually hear us,” she said to chants.
“It should not be that way. We should not be the ones who
are fighting for the future, and yet here we are,” she continued.
“We demand a safe future,” she said. “Is
that really too much to ask?”
The link between capitalistic greed and political
corruption was very much on view, with signs that called for “Green Jobs Not
Dirty Fuel” and even more radical calls to “Save the Planet. End capitalism.”
The demands of the strikers echoed the Green New Deal being
proposed: a 100 percent shift away from fossil fuels to clean, renewable
energy; shifts to sustainable agriculture, in such a fair and equitable way as
to “leave no one behind”; environmental, social, political and economic
ahead toward 100 percent clean renewable
energy, protect habitat and species, hold corporations accountable, have a just
transition – leave no one behind,” stated Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, 39, a
marine biologist, policy expert, founder and CEO of Ocean Collectiv, was one of
the only adults to give a speech. “We need strong government policies that
accelerate transition, a Green New Deal.
argued that regenerative farming, renewable energy, electrifying transporation
necessary to mitigate or reverse the adverse impacts of climate change are
already available. “We don’t need new technology.” What is needed is government
when there is failure at the national level, localities, states need to step
up.” Individuals can make a difference as well: “Plant trees, grow food, plant
a climate victory garden, choose foods that are grown regeneratively. Show up,
transform culture. Vote in every election. In 2016, 10 million registered
environmentalists failed to vote. Do not let that happen again.
cannot mobilize at the scale we need unless we face the challenge head on.
Focus on solution. Build a coalition so massive, it shifts the status quo. Dig
in for the long and beautiful struggle for a new world.”
Capitalism was very much under fire – with the opposition
asserting that addressing climate change is akin to throwing the doors open to
socialism, or worse, communism, and in any case, that it would be damaging to
But the case is made by former Vice President Al Gore and
others that the fastest growing areas for jobs are in solar and wind power;
Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders makes the case that the $1 trillion spent
to transition the economy to clean, renewable energy will create 20 million
And in fact, the economy has already been transformed to new
energy: 150 years ago, when coal was discovered in Pennsylvania and emerging industrialists
figured out how to turn it into fuel, and petroleum extractors figured out a
way to capitalize on the waste product of processing petroleum for industrial
grease, gasoline and effectively killed the development of the electric car.
That caused a migration of workers- imported migrants and transplants – to new
villages, cities and towns based on mining, processing, and manufacturing that
had not existed before, often by displacing indigenous people.
worldwide climate strike comes just ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit
to be held Monday, September 23, when countries are expected to present
concrete proposals to mitigate and reverse the climb in temperature before
global warming has catastrophic impacts on food, water, public health and
habitats. The United Nations summit, though, begins with an unprecedented youth
climate summit on Saturday, September 21.
16-year old Thunberg, who began her climate crusade more than a year ago, holding
Friday strike, has become the world’s most recognized climate activist, who has
stood her ground against world leaders and the snarky questions of US
The worldwide climate strike actions coincided with the second anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico in which 2,975 people died, and New York City strike’s was held jointly with a Puerto Rico Day of Action. It also comes just days after Hurricane Dorian devastated much of the Bahamas, with Trump shutting the door on climate refugees from that catastrophe.
Here are more highlights from New York City’s Climate Strike:
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential
nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues.
With this summer posting heat records and yet another Category 5 hurricane wreaking
havoc in the Caribbean and Atlantic islands and barreling down on the East
Coast, US Senator Amy Klobuchar has released her plan to tackle the Climate
Crisis, which is distinguished for a focus on agriculture and the Heartland, in
addition to the more common focus on manufacturing, transportation and clean,
renewable energy. This is from the Klobuchar campaign:
MINNEAPOLIS, MN — The climate crisis isn’t
happening in 100 years — it’s happening now. 2018 was the fourth-hottest year
on record globally and it was another near-record year for U.S. weather and
climate disasters. The dire warnings in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change and the National Climate Assessment make clear that immediate action is
needed. The National Climate Assessment lays out how increasing global
temperatures are harming our country’s food systems and public health by
increasing the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, while
displacement and destruction caused by climate-related natural disasters
threaten our economy and national security.
Senator Klobuchar is a strong voice from the Midwest when it comes to
climate change. In the Senate, she leads the fight to combat climate change by
serving on the Senate Climate Action Taskforce, has fought for legislation to
reduce greenhouse gases, and has led a Senate resolution recognizing that
global climate change is occurring and will continue to pose ongoing risks
unless we take action. She authored legislation setting a national renewable
electricity standard and she successfully extended renewable energy production
tax credits. The first bill Senator Klobuchar ever introduced was a carbon counter
bill to establish the first national greenhouse gas registry to track emissions
by major industries.
We can’t wait. That’s why Senator Klobuchar is committed to taking
immediate action — without Congress — to transform our energy sector, unlock
scientific breakthroughs, hold the fossil fuel industry accountable, and
support workers and communities that are on the front lines of the climate
crisis. She will:
Use the full power of the presidency to tackle the climate crisis.
Starting on day one of her administration, Senator Klobuchar will take
aggressive executive action to confront the climate crisis. She will introduce
sweeping climate legislation in the first 100 days of her presidency, but she
also won’t wait for Congress when it comes to the full range of legal actions a
President can take to address climate change. Specifically, in the first 100
days of her administration Senator Klobuchar will:
Get the United States back in the Paris International
Climate Agreement on day one. On day one of Senator Klobuchar’s presidency
she will get us back into the Paris International Climate Change Agreement, and
she will immediately begin working with global leaders to strengthen the
agreement so that the United States maintains global leadership to address the
Restore the Clean Power Plan. Senator Klobuchar will
bring back the Clean Power Plan, which set emissions standards for states with
respect to reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. She will negotiate even
stronger emissions standards that account for the progress states have already
Bring back the fuel-economy standards. Senator Klobuchar
will restore and strengthen our fuel economy standards, which are key to making
an immediate impact on the emissions of cars and light trucks. The Trump
Administration has weakened the fuel-economy standards for cars and light
trucks and has challenged the right of California and other states to follow
more stringent standards.
Introduce sweeping legislation that will put our country
on the path to 100% net zero emissions by 2050. In her first 100 days as
President, Senator Klobuchar will introduce and work with Congress to pass
sweeping legislation that will put our country on a path to achieving 100%
net-zero emissions no later than 2050.
End the Trump Administration’s censoring of climate
science. Senator Klobuchar will end Trump Administration efforts to censor
climate science through actions like deleting climate-focused websites,
removing the phrase “climate change” from reports, and preventing government
scientists from attending conferences on climate change.
Set ambitious goals to reduce the carbon footprint of the
federal government. During the first 100 days of her administration,
Senator Klobuchar will aggressively work to reduce the federal government’s
significant carbon footprint. As President, she will set ambitious goals to
increase the efficiency of federal buildings, data centers, and vehicles,
reduce water consumption, and increase the use of renewable energy.
Reinstate the National Climate Assessment Advisory
Committee to immediately start addressing the climate crisis. The National Climate
Assessment Advisory Committee was charged with translating the findings of the
National Climate Assessment into concrete goals. During the first 100 days of
her administration, Senator Klobuchar will reinstate this committee that
President Trump let expire.
Hold the fossil fuel industry accountable. Senator
Klobuchar is committed to standing up to the oil companies and holding the
fossil fuel industry accountable. She will:
End federal fossil fuel subsidies. For too long,
taxpayers have subsidized the massive profits of fossil fuel companies. Senator
Klobuchar will end federal tax subsidies for fossil fuel exploration and
Make politicians accountable to voters, not special
interests. Again and again, bold action on climate has been blocked by the
power of special interests. As President, Senator Klobuchar will put people
first by working to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United
and get dark money out of our politics, as well as establish a campaign finance
system that increases the power of small donors through a matching system for
small donations. She will investigate potential wrongdoings and hold energy
Expanding Renewable Energy and Transforming the Energy
There is a scientific consensus that in order to avoid the
worst effects of climate change we will need to achieve 100% net-zero emissions
no later than 2050, which cannot be done without a wholesale transformation of
the energy sector. To expand renewable energy and transform the energy sector
to produce clean power, Senator Klobuchar will:
Invest in infrastructure and provide incentives for state
and local governments, nonprofits, and private companies to expand clean energy
production. Senator Klobuchar will support a landmark carbon pricing system
that does not have a regressive impact on Americans and will help make clean
energy production more cost competitive. She will also do more to accelerate
the adoption of clean energy, including by subsidizing production and investment
by state and local governments, nonprofits and private companies, as well as by
upgrading our grid infrastructure and storage capabilities.
Provide production and investment tax credits.
Senator Klobuchar will create a technology neutral tax credit to support
production of or investment into clean sources of energy. She will also create
a clean energy bond program so that tax-exempt entities can benefit. The
credits will be phased out as overall emissions are reduced.
Upgrade energy grids and storage capacity. Our
country’s electric grid needs an upgrade to account for the irregular nature of
certain clean energy sources, accommodate distributed energy production, and
facilitate smart metering and other innovative technologies. As President,
Senator Klobuchar will create a competitive grant program and a new investment
tax credit to promote investments in grid improvements and storage. She will
also provide rural electric cooperatives access to technical resources and expertise
to overcome the barriers to renewable energy storage and grid improvements
based on a bipartisan bill she leads in the Senate.
Streamline renewable energy production on federal land.
Many federal lands have significant renewable energy potential. As President,
Senator Klobuchar will work to streamline the permitting process for renewable
projects on federal lands while protecting sensitive ecosystems and ensuring a
fair distribution of payments.
Empower municipal utilities and electric cooperatives to
lead on clean energy. Senator Klobuchar knows that one size doesn’t fit all
when it comes to clean energy policy. She will make sure smaller producers,
including municipal utilities and electric cooperatives, have a seat at the
table when decisions are made about federal energy policy. In the Senate, she
authored bipartisan legislation that was signed into law that enables rural
electric power cooperatives and their members to continue to use
energy-efficient water heaters as part of conservation programs. This law
allows cooperatives to optimize both their own energy management and the
environmental benefits of water heaters.
Reduce climate pollution. A carbon price will create
an economic incentive to reduce carbon pollution and there is more we can do to
limit climate pollution from existing fossil fuel production.
Restore and expand the Clean Power Plan. In her first
100 days as President, Senator Klobuchar will bring back the Clean Power Plan,
which set emissions standards for states with respect to reductions in carbon
dioxide emissions. She will negotiate even stronger emissions standards that
account for the progress states have made.
Strengthen enforcement of the Clean Air Act and other
environmental laws. Under the Trump Administration, EPA enforcement efforts
have fallen dramatically. As President, Senator Klobuchar will direct the EPA
to vigorously enforce the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws and make
sure the enforcers have the resources they need.
Reduce methane leakage from oil and gas production.
Methane has as much as 84 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide. The
Trump Administration has rolled back EPA and BLM rules to prevent methane
leakage even though the Senate defeated an attempt to repeal the BLM methane
rule on a bipartisan vote and many companies already comply with stricter state
rules. As President, Senator Klobuchar will restore and strengthen the EPA and
BLM methane rules.
Support research to improve negative emissions
technologies. To supplement other mitigation efforts as we transition
to clean energy, Senator Klobuchar will support research to improve negative
emissions technologies that could be used to reduce the amount of carbon
currently in the atmosphere.
Ban new fossil fuel permitting on federal lands and
review and restore environmental protections repealed by the Trump
Administration. To help accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels,
Senator Klobuchar will ban new fossil fuel permits on federal lands. Senator
Klobuchar will also undertake a comprehensive review and restore environmental
protections repealed by the Trump Administration. The Trump Administration has
revoked dozens of guidance documents and rules that protect people’s safety,
health and the environment when it comes to our power plants, oil refineries,
national parks and wildlife refuges, offshore drilling, pipelines, and oil and
gas development. Senator Klobuchar will undertake a thorough review of all the
repealed guidance and rules, and work to restore our environmental and safety
Increasing Efficiency and Rebuilding a Green America
Confronting the climate crisis also means improving energy
efficiency and rebuilding infrastructure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and
stand up to the effects of climate change. As President, Senator Klobuchar
Increase efficiency and move toward an electrified
transportation sector. Today, transportation accounts for about 30 percent
of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Senator Klobuchar will work to reduce
emissions in the transportation sector through increasing fuel economy,
supporting electrification, and promoting efficient transportation
Bring back the fuel-economy standards. In her first
100 days as President, Senator Klobuchar will restore and strengthen our fuel
economy standards, which are key to making an immediate impact on the emissions
of cars and light trucks. The Trump Administration has weakened the
fuel-economy standards for cars and light trucks and has challenged the right
of California and other states to follow more stringent standards.
Invest in electric vehicle infrastructure and promote
electric vehicle sales. As President, Senator Klobuchar will make a significant
investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and bring back the tax
credit for electric vehicle purchases.
Strengthen transit and commuter rail networks and support
low- and no-carbon alternatives. As President, Senator Klobuchar will refocus
federal transportation grants to prioritize transit projects, first and last
mile connections, and bicycle and pedestrian improvements. She will also
develop new incentives for transit systems and school districts to replace
their existing bus fleets with low- and no-carbon alternatives.
Revitalize freight and passenger rail. Railroads are
an energy- and cost-effective way for producers to bring their goods to market
and get people where they need to go. As President, Senator Klobuchar will
encourage investment in short-line and freight rail networks. She will also
address safety concerns including by mandating two-man crews, improving braking
systems, and ensuring communities are prepared to respond to derailments
involving hazardous cargo. In addition, she will build on her work pushing for
greater competition in freight markets by providing fair treatment for captive
shippers, appointing well qualified members to the Surface Transportation
Board, and reviewing and addressing consolidation in the freight rail industry.
She is also committed to expanding high-speed rail and Amtrak service in rural
Innovate in international shipping and aviation.
International shipping and aviation account for a growing share of carbon
emissions. As President, Senator Klobuchar will support research and strengthen
international agreements to reduce emissions from sources like aviation and
Support green manufacturing and provide consumers with
green options. Manufacturing processes and consumer goods can have a
significant climate impact. New technologies can significantly reduce carbon
pollution, but we need to make sure manufacturers have the tools to adopt these
Assist businesses transitioning to green manufacturing
processes. Senator Klobuchar is committed to ensuring businesses have the
resources they need to transition to green manufacturing processes. She will
increase technical support through the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and
regional development strategies and encourage partnerships with community
colleges and research universities. She will also expand manufacturing tax
credits to specifically support upgrades and investments to reduce greenhouse
gas pollution for manufacturers of all sizes.
Build a market for new and existing climate-friendly
products. As President, Senator Klobuchar will support a market for
climate-friendly products by promoting federal procurement policies that
account for low-carbon energy sources and climate conscious processes.
Create a “Buy Clean” product labeling system. Many
consumers are concerned about how their purchasing decisions affect the
climate. As President, Senator Klobuchar will create a “Buy Clean” product
labeling system to give consumers clear information about products that are
produced to minimize their climate impact.
Institute an import fee on carbon-intensive goods. We
cannot allow foreign competitors to undercut U.S. manufacturers that are
producing goods with climate conscious processes. That’s why as President,
Senator Klobuchar will work to institute a fee on imports of carbon-intensive
goods from foreign countries.
Invest in green jobs and infrastructure. Senator
Klobuchar has proposed a $1 trillion infrastructure package that will modernize
our aging energy infrastructure so that it is secure and efficient. This
massive infrastructure investment will create good-paying union jobs and give
workers the skills they need to succeed in the green economy.
Retrofit buildings to reduce their emissions. Residential
and commercial buildings account for a significant share of U.S. greenhouse gas
emissions. Senator Klobuchar will launch a major initiative to retrofit
existing buildings to reduce their emissions through grants and tax credits
that support insulation, weatherization improvements, upgrades to heating and
cooling systems, and other energy saving upgrades.
Make new buildings climate friendly. As President,
Senator Klobuchar will support the development of the next generation of
low-emission buildings through model building energy codes and benchmarking and
transparency programs that cut carbon pollution and energy bills for American
families and businesses.
Promote effective zoning rules to minimize climate
impacts. Some cities are beginning to update their zoning policies through
initiatives like Minneapolis 2040. Senator Klobuchar will prioritize areas that
have updated their zoning rules when awarding federal housing and
Expand the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Senator
Klobuchar has been a strong supporter of the Land and Water Conservation Fund
(LWCF), which preserves natural resources while supporting outdoor recreation
through investments on our public lands. As President, Senator Klobuchar will
push to permanently fund the LWCF.
Coordinate with broadband and other infrastructure
priorities. In the Senate, Senator Klobuchar has been a leading proponent
of “dig once” policies and other ways to reduce costs by coordinating
infrastructure deployment. As President, she will direct federal agencies to
maximize opportunities for coordinating climate, broadband, and other types of
Build climate resiliency into all federal infrastructure
investments. As President, Senator Klobuchar will make federal infrastructure
investments resilient to both current and future climate risks and partner with
states and communities to develop regionally coordinated, resilient
Promoting Research and Unlocking New Scientific
Breakthroughs for Green Technologies
At the same time as we move forward aggressively with the
tools we have today, we need to invest in research that will create new
opportunities to tackle the climate crisis. To unlock new scientific
breakthroughs and promote research, Senator Klobuchar will:
Invest in federally sponsored research. Basic and
applied research can uncover new technologies, make existing products more
efficient, and reduce the costs of the tools we need to take on climate change.
Senator Klobuchar will increase investment in federally sponsored research.
Expand direct federal research. As President, Senator
Klobuchar will make bold investments in direct climate research at the
Department of Energy, National Labs, ARPA-E and the Department of Defense.
Partner with universities and non-profits. As
President, Senator Klobuchar will support a major expansion of federal grants
for climate research to universities and non-profits.
Unleash the creativity of the private sector.
American workers and businesses are a vital source of innovation. Senator
Klobuchar believes we must include the private sector in climate research and
Strengthen tax incentives for climate research.
Senator Klobuchar will strengthen existing tax credits for businesses investing
in research to develop new processes, technologies and products that reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and help tackle the climate crisis.
Encourage collaboration between researchers and the private
sector. As President, Senator Klobuchar will make it easier for federal
research grant recipients to partner with the private sector and provide
set-aside grants for projects with strong commercialization potential.
Help American companies become global green leaders.
As President, Senator Klobuchar will increase support for businesses looking to
export green products and technologies through a new initiative across U.S.
export promotion agencies.
Respect science and empower scientists. As President,
Senator Klobuchar will stop the constant attacks on scientists and science. She
will also direct all federal agencies to reimplement scientific integrity
policies, reverse rules limiting what types of science agencies can use, and
restart data collection canceled by the Trump Administration.
Mobilizing the Heartland
Senator Klobuchar is a strong voice from the Midwest when it
comes to climate change. She will give rural areas the tools they need to be
leaders in clean energy production, support agricultural practices that take on
climate change and make sure the heartland benefits from rebuilding a green
Support rural clean energy production. Clean energy,
including wind and solar, is a major driver of job growth in rural areas. In
fact, 99 percent of operating wind capacity is located in rural areas. As part
of Senator Klobuchar’s plan to tackle climate change, she will prioritize rural
energy development, including expanding storage capacity and strengthening our
energy grid. And as we continue to develop advanced biofuel technologies, she
will strengthen the renewable fuel standard.
Invest in wind and solar and support rural energy
development. As President, Senator Klobuchar will invest in interregional
transmission lines and grid improvements to support the development of
renewable energy. She will launch a grant program to help rural cooperatives
develop energy storage and microgrid projects for renewable energy generation,
transmission and storage. She will also support increased investment in small,
distributed wind, solar and biogas projects.
Provide technical resources for small, rural energy
producers and distributors. As President, Senator Klobuchar will push for
new economic and environmental opportunities in rural America by investing in
rural renewable energy development and by passing and signing into law her
bipartisan Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy (EASE) Act to provide rural
electric cooperatives access to technical resources and expertise to overcome
the barriers to renewable energy storage and grid improvements.
Investing in and providing incentives for homegrown
energy. Senator Klobuchar believes that homegrown biofuels are an important
part of our rural economies, our nation’s energy security and reducing
greenhouse gas emissions. In the Senate, she has been a leader when it comes to
standing up to the Administration’s misuse of small refinery renewable fuel
standard (RFS) waivers. She has also worked successfully in the Senate to
provide financing and grant support to biobased manufacturers. As President,
Senator Klobuchar will strengthen the RFS, end the overuse of secret RFS small
refinery waivers, promote the use of blender pumps, pass a statute to ensure
year-round E15 sales, and invest in advanced and cellulosic biofuels.
Help farmers be leaders in responding to the climate crisis.
We can position American farmers to be leaders in responding to the climate
crisis by increasing land conservation and expanding on new techniques that
help store more carbon in topsoil on productive farmland.
Invest in conservation innovation. Senator Klobuchar
will target research into soil carbon sequestration, which could improve soil
health as well as reduce carbon levels in the atmosphere. She will also expand
Conservation Innovation Grants to test emerging conservation approaches,
including practices that increase carbon sequestration levels. And building on
provisions she included in the 2018 farm bill, Senator Klobuchar will further
improve agriculture data research of conservation practices to help farmers
reduce risk and increase profitability.
Protect native sod and improve soil health. Senator
Klobuchar pushed for a provision in the 2018 Farm Bill that closed a loophole
allowing some non-insured crops to be planted four consecutive years without a
reduction in crop insurance assistance for succeeding insured crops. As
President, she will expand nationwide the sodsaver’s prohibition to substitute
crop insurance yields on native sod that is converted to cropland. She will
also expand the Soil Health and Income Protection Pilot Program to help provide
farmers an alternative to cropping less productive cropland.
Expand conservation practices. Senator Klobuchar has
been a champion of supporting farmer conservation efforts and promoting farming
practices that reduce soil erosion and improve air and water quality, including
by helping pass the 2018 Farm Bill, which included several of her priorities.
As President, she will support significant new investments in conservation of
working and retired lands. Senator Klobuchar will support the continued expansion
of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and increase resources for the
Conservation Stewardship Program to help provide farmers the tools they need to
protect and enhance natural resources on working agricultural lands. And after
successfully increasing the acreage cap of the Conservation Reserve Program,
Senator Klobuchar will work to attract more enrollees and ensure payment rates
Use green infrastructure investment to strengthen rural
communities. There is a significant infrastructure backlog in rural
America. From roads and bridges to levees and stormwater systems many rural
areas face infrastructure challenges that will be difficult to address without
federal investment. Upgrading rural infrastructure to meet our climate goals
will also provide an opportunity to address the backlog and overcome
infrastructure challenges that are holding back rural America.
Strengthen rural transportation infrastructure. Rural
transportation infrastructure is at risk from the effects of climate change. As
President, Senator Klobuchar will invest in the repair and improvement of rural
bridges that are not part of the federal-aid highway network and invest in the
Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to improve inland waterways and ports, including
funding for the Navigation and Ecosystem Restoration Program to modernize and
expand outdated locks and restore ecosystems along the Mississippi.
Expand energy efficiency programs. Energy costs can
be a significant burden on farms, small businesses and households in rural
communities. Senator Klobuchar has long worked to see that the Rural Energy for
America Program (REAP) has the resources needed to provide grants to farms and
rural businesses to install energy efficient technologies, and she will
continue to push for additional resources. In the Senate, she authored
bipartisan legislation that was signed into law that empowers the nonprofit
community to make energy-efficiency improvements to their buildings and
Upgrade levees to account for more frequent and severe
floods. The floods we saw throughout the Midwest this year show why we
cannot wait to upgrade our levees so they can protect communities from more
frequent and severe floods. Senator Klobuchar will make upgrading levees a
major focus of her infrastructure investment in the heartland.
Update the rural housing stock. Much of the existing
rural housing stock is outdated and in poor condition, which contributes to the
rural housing crisis. Investments in weatherizing and updating homes and their
heating and cooling systems will build value and help renew the rural housing
Bring high-speed broadband to every household and
business in America. Broadband access can reduce commuting and make
business and farms more efficient. In an effort to close the rural-urban
divide, Senator Klobuchar has previously announced a commitment to connect
every household in America to high-speed internet by 2022. She will focus on
creating accurate broadband maps to identify areas that lack adequate access, bringing
high-speed internet infrastructure to areas most in need, including by
expanding Rural Utility Service grants, and providing greater incentives for
existing providers to upgrade their networks to cover unserved and underserved
areas. She will also work to quickly implement the recommendations of the
Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force to help farmers fully realize the
potential of broadband in their operations.
Leaving No One Behind
Vulnerable communities are currently experiencing a
disproportionate share of the effects of climate change. Senator Klobuchar is
committed to leaving no one behind through investments in climate adaptation
and support for frontline communities. She will also focus on fulfilling our
responsibility to our communities and workers who have helped power this
Support communities that are most directly experiencing
the effects of climate change. Traditionally marginalized communities
including African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and disabled Americans
are experiencing some of the most severe effects of climate change. Senator
Klobuchar will prioritize assisting these communities as they adapt to the
effects of climate change.
Make sure vulnerable communities are a key part of all
decision making. We cannot continue to make decisions about climate change
without directly and meaningfully involving the communities that are most
affected. Senator Klobuchar will make sure traditionally marginalized
communities are a key part of all decision-making processes.
Direct resources to the communities with the greatest
needs. As President, Senator Klobuchar will create tax incentives and
increase federal funding to communities that are most directly experiencing the
effects of climate change. She will also prioritize these communities for
infrastructure investments and in other federal climate change programs.
Strengthen environmental justice programs at the EPA.
The Trump Administration has worked to dismantle environmental justice
programs. Senator Klobuchar will invest in the EPA’s Environmental Justice
Grants, Funding and Technical Assistance and Office of Civil Rights.
Invest in affordable housing that promotes climate
resilience and mitigation. As President, Senator Klobuchar will ensure that
all federal housing programs put strong standards in place to reduce carbon
emissions and she will invest in retrofitting so that existing housing is more
Strengthen LIHEAP and SNAP to protect the most vulnerable
Americans. To be sure that the most vulnerable Americans do not bear
the costs of climate change mitigation and adaptation, Senator Klobuchar will
strengthen two important programs for low-income Americans — LIHEAP, which
helps with home energy costs, and SNAP, which provides nutrition assistance.
Use disaster funding to build more resilient communities. As
President, Senator Klobuchar will work to end the Stafford Act prohibition that
prevents disaster funding from being used for significant infrastructure
improvements. She will also increase funding for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant
Fulfill our responsibility to our communities and workers
who have helped power this country. As the granddaughter of miner who
worked 1,500 feet underground, Senator Klobuchar understands the hard work and
sacrifice of those who built and powered our country. She is committed to
supporting and creating new opportunities for workers and communities that have
depended on the fossil fuel industry.
Promote community assistance and support workers.
Senator Klobuchar will work with the public and private sector to attract new
employers and maintain public services, while investing in infrastructure and
educational opportunities in areas that experience job loss. As part of any
carbon pricing system, she will create a significant manufacturing tax
incentive to encourage investment in rural communities or communities that have
faced or are about to face job losses. To make it easier for workers to find
new jobs, Senator Klobuchar will create a new tax credit for companies that
hire workers who had previously depended on the fossil fuel industry for
employment. Workers will also be able to take advantage of Senator Klobuchar’s
previously announced plan to provide tuition-free one- and two-year community
college degrees and technical certifications and expand student loan
forgiveness programs to workers in in-demand occupations.
Reestablish U.S. International Leadership on Climate.
When it comes to global leadership on climate change, the United States has
abdicated its leadership role under the Trump Administration. As President,
Senator Klobuchar will reassert U.S. global leadership to confront the climate
Get the United States back in the Paris International
Climate Agreement on day one. On day one of Senator Klobuchar’s presidency
she will get the United States back into the Paris International Climate Change
Agreement, and she will immediately begin working with global leaders to
strengthen the agreement so that the United States maintains global leadership
to address the climate crisis.
Build on the Paris International Climate Agreement to
achieve global emissions reductions we need. Senator Klobuchar will work
with international leaders to build consensus around stronger goals to limit
global warming to no more than 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. She will also recommit
to controls on other greenhouse gasses through agreements like the Kigali
Amendment. And she will increase U.S. support for the Green Climate Fund.
Establish meaningful enforcement of international climate
goals. The United States is the second largest emitter of greenhouse
gasses, but still only accounts for about 15 percent of global greenhouse gas
emissions. Preventing catastrophic global warming will require meaningful
enforcement mechanisms to ensure other countries also meet their emission
reduction goals, which means making accountability for climate commitments a central
part of our international agenda, taking on China’s efforts to promote dirty
energy sources in other countries, and considering climate goals in all types
of international assistance.
Protect our national security. As President
Senator Klobuchar will elevate the voices of our military and security experts
who have repeatedly warned that climate change will increase the risks of
international conflict and humanitarian crises. She will work with our allies
to support countries most affected by climate change, including addressing
global food and water shortages, supporting climate resilient development,
helping countries adapt to the effects of climate change, and preparing for the
increased risk of natural disasters.
To pay for these critical investments, Senator Klobuchar
Work with Congress to put a price on carbon that does not
have a regressive impact on Americans. We know that carbon pollution has
significant costs, but for too long the public has been forced to bear those
costs while those responsible for the pollution have paid nothing. Most
economists agree that the most efficient way to promote a transition away from
fossil fuels is by putting a price on carbon. As President, Senator Klobuchar
will work with Congress to put a carbon pricing system in place that does not
have a regressive impact on Americans.
Develop Clean Energy Bonds. As President, Senator
Klobuchar will create Clean Energy Bonds that will support investment in clean
energy projects. Investors would earn back their full investment as well as
interest from energy savings to the government and loan repayments for clean
energy projects. Estimates suggest that these clean energy bonds could raise up
to $50 billion and leverage $150 billion for clean energy innovation and the creation
of over 1 million jobs.
End federal fossil fuel subsidies. For too long,
taxpayers have subsidized the massive profits of fossil fuel companies. Senator
Klobuchar will end federal tax subsidies for fossil fuel exploration and
Make a series of corporate tax reforms. To pay for a
green infrastructure investment worth hundreds of billions of dollars, Senator
Klobuchar will make a series of corporate tax reforms including adjusting the
corporate tax rate to 25%, closing loopholes that encourage U.S. companies to
move jobs and operations overseas, establishing a financial risk fee on our
largest banks, and increasing efforts for tax enforcement.
Increase the capital gains rate. To support and
create new opportunities for workers and communities that have depended on the
fossil fuel industry, Senator Klobuchar will raise the capital gains rate for
Americans who make over $200,000.
Close the trust fund loophole. To support updating
our buildings and providing consumers support through programs like LIHEAP and
rebates, Senator Klobuchar will close the trust fund loophole.