What Are The 2020 Democratic Candidates Doing About Man-Made Climate Change?

Joe Biden remains one of the top contenders to attain the highest office in the world, but from an environmental point of view he might be one of the least ambitious. While he does plan to reduce emissions to zero by 2050, and that sounds good, the science says that we don’t have nearly that much time to make it happen. 2030 might not be politically realistic, but as Washington Governor Jay Inslee said to Biden: “Survival is realistic.”

Inslee is the candidate with the most explosive plan for battling man-made climate change. Other top-tier candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have offered their own, but they aren’t nearly as detailed as Inslee’s. His entire campaign is about this one issue, because he (rightfully) believes it’s the most important obstacle humanity has ever faced.

Speaking to Biden at one of the Democratic debates, he said: “These deadlines are set by science. The science says we have to get off coal in ten years. Your plan does not do that. We have to get off of fossil fuels from our electric grid in fifteen. Your plan simply does not do that.”

Biden’s plan really does provide people with something to chew on: his policy idea to double the number of offshore turbines is a good one until you find out that the United States only has one working — and doubling the number to two won’t do us much good. His idea to make sure we have 500,000 charging stations for electric cars sounds great until you find out that the U.S. has nearly 300 million gas guzzling vehicles on the road — and a half-million charging stations won’t really make a dent.

Inslee’s ideas are far more concrete, and far more based on what we can actually achieve — even though they sound far-fetched. Perhaps the most controversial idea he has is actually killing the Senate filibuster so Democrats have a better chance of implementing new policies in the future.

What other policy proposals are found within Inslee’s plan? First and foremost, he wants to bring back and then invigorate the environmental protections dismantled by the Trump Administration. He would build a stronger EPA. He would go after corporations for the damage they’ve done to our fragile environment. He would hold people who pollute accountable for their actions. Fracking, fossil fuel subsidies, coal and oil: they would all become stories of a terrible past.

He plans to make all new vehicles and buildings 100 percent net zero-emission by 2030. All electricity would be made carbon-neutral within the same time period.

Are these dreams big and bold? Yes. But they’re what we need right now. Any less, and our world may not make it through the century.