New Analysis Shows the Contrast of Trump vs Biden On Climate, Energy, and Conservation

Washington, D.C. — Tomorrow will be the first time Donald Trump and Joe Biden faceoff on the presidential debate stage. While the climate crisis is not on the list of topics Chris Wallace plans to discuss, climate exacerbates most of the announced topics and is the biggest threat facing the longterm security of our country.

A new Climate Power 2020 analysis of the candidates’ records on climate, energy, and conservation provides a clear picture of what a Biden or Trump presidency would mean for the environment.

On Climate Science: 

Joe Biden recognizes climate change as an “existential threat” and has called for partnerships with local universities and national labs to expand the study of the subject and to use science as a guiding principle when formulating policy.

Donald Trump has repeatedly called climate change a “hoax” and said “science doesn’t know” about climate change. Instead of believing scientists, Trump gets much of his climate change “information” from conspiracy theorists, climate deniers, and Big Oil interests via Twitter, spurring the more than 400 climate lies Trump has told so far this year. 

On Climate Action: 

Biden has announced a $2 trillion plan to build an equitable, clean energy future by creating millions of jobs and achieving 100% clean electricity by 2035.

The Trump administration has never put forward a real plan to address the climate crisis. Instead, Trump has spent his administration rolling back more than 100 climate policies and environmental protections. Rather than working toward climate action, Trump has preferred to spread lies about climate policies like the Green New Deal. 

On Environmental Justice:

Trump has rolled back or gutted many of the policies and laws that worked to protect Black, Brown, and Indigenous individuals from climate injustices. This year, Trump stripped the National Environmental Protection Act, a law that gives communities of color the ability to provide input on major polluting projects and pipelines being built in their neighborhoods. Trump has also repeatedly tried to defund environmental justice enforcement at the EPA.

Biden’s climate plan centers on environmental justice by incorporating funding, assistance, and protection to ensure that communities of color suffering from decades of legacy pollution are front and center in climate solutions. Biden’s plan creates a special division within the EPA and Justice Department to safeguard front-line communities most exposed to pollution. The two agencies would have the ability to pursue criminal charges for pollution and hold corporate executives accountable for the actions of their corporations.

On Clean Energy Development:

Trump has dismissed the successes of clean energy development and has engaged in a longstanding feud with wind energy tracing back to his fight to keep wind turbines away from his coastal golf property in Aberdeen. “I never understood wind,” is an often-repeated Trump refrain. over clean energy sources. Wind energy is one of the cheapest sources of electricity and it’s a major job creator, employing 24,000 manufacturing jobs in 500 factories across 42 states. An analysis of Trump’s energy policies found that 1.1 million jobs were either killed or stopped because of his administration’s preference for fossil fuel resources over clean energy sources. 

A major element of Biden’s plan includes moving to zero carbon pollution from the U.S. electricity sector by 2035 by encouraging the development of “millions of new solar panels and tens of thousands of wind turbines,” according to the campaign.

On International Leadership:

Trump removed the U.S. from the Paris Climate agreement – saying the proposal cost the country too much and did not bring about meaningful change. This is not true. Remaining in the Paris agreement would save the U.S. more than half a trillion dollars annually while doing nothing on climate change comes at an annual cost of $698.77 billion.

Biden has said his administration would again make the U.S. party to the global climate agreement to ensure a leadership role in reducing global emissions and would directly engage with world leaders to secure commitments to reduce carbon pollution.

On Clean Air and Water:

Despite claiming that clean air and water is a priority, Trump and Republicans have no policies or goals to get us there. Air quality is getting measurably worse under Trump, with 15% more unhealthy air days during his administration. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration rolled back Obama-era mileage standards for cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs. Of note, a decrease in standards and an increase in air pollution is estimated to lead to 440 to 990 premature deaths per year.

Biden has called for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and supports the Clean Cars for America plan.

On Holding Polluters Accountable:

Trump tried to slash the EPA’s budget and oversaw a historic drop in inspections, fine, and enforcement actions against polluters. As part of the coronavirus response, Trump pushed a tax law that gave a $25 billion break to Big Oil and has no plans to curb fossil fuel subsidies. 

Biden has pledged to direct the EPA and Department of Justice to pursue polluters and hold corporate executives personally accountable, including jail time when merited. Biden would also have a plan to end the estimated $20 billion the U.S. spends on fossil fuel subsidies annually.

On Conservation and Public Lands:

Trump opened 24 million acres to oil and gas mining and drilling, slashed the rates oil and gas have to pay to extract natural resources, and blocked rules that gave hunters and anglers more of a say in public land management. The Trump administration has attempted to remove protections from nearly 35 million acres of public lands, which has earned him the most anti-nature president in history moniker. 

Biden supports conserving 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030 and would create good-paying union jobs conserving our public lands through a Civilian Climate Corps.