Updated: Feb 23
How do the 2020 Democratic candidates plan to act on climate change? How do they compare on climate history? Kids Fight Climate Change analyzed each candidate. How does Elizabeth Warren compare?
Warren gained her prominence during the financial crash of 2008, which carried over into her developed position on climate change. In September of 2018, she introduced the Climate Risk Disclosure Act, which would require companies to disclose the risk climate change poses to their financial assets. It would also require them to disclose greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel holdings. The bill died, but it is beginning to gain traction among fossil fuel shareholders.
Warren has been a big advocate for Puerto Rico in the wake of, and leading up to, Hurricane Maria in 2017, bringing the conversation into the climate arena. She blamed the government for the lack of food and supplies, saying that,
"There are people who have no food, there are people who have no water, there are people who have no medicine, there are people who need our help. This is the responsibility of our government, the government that is supposed to work for us."
After Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee, the most climate-aggressive candidate in the running, dropped out, Warren met with him to discuss and adopt his multi-part climate action plan. Their ambitious plan calls for all new buildings to have net zero carbon emissions by 2028, 100% carbon-neutral electricity by 2030, and all new cars, trucks, and buses to be carbon-free by 2030. Before she met with Inslee, Warren's climate plan included a $2 trillion budget of green energy research, manufacturing, and exportation to help achieve the targets of a Green New Deal. It includes $1.5 trillion for American-manufactured clean energy material, such as solar panels, wind turbines, and other infrastructure, $400 billion for research funding, and $100 billion for the purchasing of foreign goods to achieve net carbon neutrality. She is clear on where she is getting the money: by reversing Trump's tax cuts, made in 2017. When she adopted Inslee's plan, she added $1 trillion to her platform.
In April, Warren pledged to ban fossil fuels on public lands. She had previously co-sponsored similar legislation, but the Republican Senate didn't accept it.
Warren also has an agricultural platform, in which she calls for an expansion of the voluntary Conservation Stewardship Program, which compensates farmers for sustainable practices that emit less carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere.
While her career was built on economics, she has morphed into an environmental advocate as the environmental and economic impacts of climate change merge.
She was one of the first candidates to sign the No Fossil Fuel Pledge, and has been a leader in climate discussion. When she released a detailed plan on oil and gas in April, other candidates quickly followed her lead. When Biden put out a big climate pledge, Warren was able to trump his. With her latest alignment with Inslee's ideas, Warren is making herself noticed by climate voters.
"Before the 2008 crash, investors and the government failed to address growing risks in our financial system. We're making the same mistake with climate change today—we know it's coming, but we're not doing enough to stop it."
– Elizabeth Warren, September 2018