Staying politically informed is necessary as students, citizens and voters, regardless of which party you adhere to. And as the California primary draws closer, educating ourselves on every climate viewpoint is part of doing just that.
Previously, we identified the seven leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidates and their stances on climate change. Now, we bring you the stances of the two Republican candidates, President Donald Trump and his lone competitor, Bill Weld, in addition to the position of the Republican Party, or the GOP. Here’s where they stand on the climate crisis:
Since Trump was elected president, his stance on climate change has been made pretty clear. He used his executive authority to withdraw the United States from the international Paris Agreement, and he replaced former president Obama’s Clean Power Plan with the Environmental Protection Agency’s, or the EPA’s, Affordable Clean Energy rule, which allows states to govern their own coal-fired power plants under the rule’s established emission guidelines. Trump has also allowed oil drilling in native lands and off of coastlines.
Before his presidency, Trump’s main outlet for climate skepticism was Twitter. On Nov. 6, 2012, for example, he tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Years later, Trump rejected modern efforts to combat climate change. In a video clip of Trump speaking in Davos, Switzerland during his opening address at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Trump said, “But to embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, we must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse,” according to a Jan. 21 White House statement.
Over the course of the past three years, the Trump administration has completed 58 environment rollbacks and has 37 rollbacks in process, according to the New York Times. And in his 2020 State of the Union Address, Trump remarked that the country had never made stronger efforts to produce natural gas and oil, attributing this success to his administration and its rollbacks, according to InsideClimate News.
Former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld understands climate change as, “an existential threat to our planet, and so (it) must go to the top of the list for concerted action by the nations of the world,” according to his campaign website. Although Weld agrees with Democrats that actions must be taken, he thinks they need to be “relentlessly rational.” For the former governor, this means rejoining the Paris Agreement, establishing a carbon price and forming an agreement with China to prohibit coal export subsidies.
Weld’s climate plan stresses the role of the market in reducing carbon emissions, arguing that a carbon tax is a more realistic way to combat the crisis, as reported by The Hill. Although different from the climate plans of the Democratic candidates, Weld’s attention to climate needs still radically differs from Trump’s, stressing the “moral obligation in our stewardship of our planet and our protection of a fragile ecosystem,” according to his campaign website, evoking the ideals of Theodore Roosevelt’s Grand Old Party at a speech given at Saint Anselm College in 2019.
According to the official website of the GOP, the Republican agenda on “environmental progress” includes creating jobs, shifting environmental regulation to individual states and turning the EPA into an independent bipartisan commission. Rejecting the agendas of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, the GOP also argues that environmental issues are best solved through the development of new technologies, not “through top-down, command-and-control regulations,” according to its official website.
Democrat? Republican? Somewhere in between? What are your views on the climate crisis?
Don’t forget to register and vote March 3!