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Democratic presidential candidates offer climate crisis plans at town hall

Democratic presidential candidates offer climate crisis plans at town hall. Wednesday night, ten Democratic presidential candidates took part in CNN’s Climate Crisis Town Hall, discussing climate change and their plans for the future of the environment. 

The Town Hall lasted for seven hours with each candidate given 40 minutes to discuss the environment and answer questions. 

Many candidates offered ambitious plans, but at a time when climate change demands action, ambitious and even expensive policies may be the only way to mitigate catastrophic warming and sea-level rise. 

Here’s what the candidates had to offer:

Julián Castro went first and set the stage for the rest of the candidates. The former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development has a ten trillion dollar climate plan that first involves rejoining the Paris Accord. 

A carbon pollution fee, stopping fracking on federal land, and promoting renewable energy are all on Castro’s climate to-do list. 

Importantly, Castro highlighted how climate change unfairly impacts marginalized and minority communities and justice for minorities is a cornerstone of the candidate’s campaign.

California Senator Kamala Harris made a bold splash when she promised to abolish the Senate filibuster in order to see the Green New Deal passed. Harris’ $10 trillion plan includes ending fossil fuel emissions by 2030 and having a carbon-neutral economy by 2045. 

“I strongly believe this is a fight against powerful interests,” Harris said on Wednesday night. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden wants to lead the world in the fight against climate change, but his plan was one of the least expensive compared to the trillions pledged by other candidates. 

Among Biden’s climate goals, he wants to invest $1.7 trillion into clean energy, reverse GOP tax cuts and invest in green jobs, fine serial polluters, and have zero-emission energy production by 2050. 

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s climate plan has a price tag nearly double that of Biden or Pete Buttigieg. 

Like Biden, though, Warren wants to reverse GOP tax cuts to help pay for climate mitigation. 

Much of Warren’s climate plan adopts from former 2020 candidate Jay Inslee including retiring coal-fired electricity, having zero-emission cars and trucks by 2030, and zero-emission energy production by 2035. 

Senator Bernie Sanders, no stranger to the presidential race, had an even more ambitious and costly plan. 

Sander’s $16 trillion plan would invest more in green energy than any other candidate, and his climate policies include banning fracking, fining major polluters, and having zero-carbon emissions by 2050. 

“We are fighting for the survival of the planet Earth, our only planet. How is this not a major priority?” Sanders asked.

As the 2020 presidential election looms closer, these climate policy plans could make or break a candidate’s campaign. 

Regardless of the price tag or ambitious energy investments, the question is how much climate action can we expect if these candidates take office, and is there a plan B to ensure climate mitigation takes priority? 

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer 

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Image Credit: Shutterstock/24Novembers

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