Eight presidential candidates participated in a first-of-its-kind climate change forum hosted by the Weather Channel, discussing their wide-ranging plans to address extreme weather's impact on jobs, the economy, national security.
"I have seven grandchildren," Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said. "And I don't want to be in a position, 20 years from now, or have anybody else in that position, to have our grandchildren say to us: 'You knew what was going on.'"
During the one-hour, pre-taped special, which aired Thursday night, the candidates — including leading Democrats Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; and Republican challengers to Trump, including former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford — were interviewed about their approach to combating climate change.
Former Vice President Joe Biden did not participate in the event because of scheduling conflicts, according to his campaign. Trump declined an invitation to partake.
Take a closer look at the different proposals that top Democratic candidates plan to enact if they’re elected in 2020.
At the beginning of June, Biden unveiled a climate change plan that he said would cost $1.7 trillion over a decade. It’d be funded largely by repealing the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul that Trump signed into law in 2017, reducing incentives for tax havens and ending tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry.
The Vermont senator introduced his $16 trillion climate change proposal — the most ambitious yet from a presidential contender on climate change — in mid-August, calling for sweeping transformations to the country's energy system and economy. The plan built upon the Green New Deal, which was released earlier this year by New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It would be paid for by forcing the fossil fuel industry to pay for pollution via litigation, fees and taxes; eliminating federal fossil fuel subsidies; scaling back military spending and new income tax revenues from new jobs in the renewable energy industry.
Warren rolled out an aggressive $3 trillion blueprint in early September to address climate change, also echoing sentiments proposed in the Green New Deal. She also explicitly adopted ideas from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a climate hawk who dropped out of the Democratic primary in August. Warren, like Biden, said she'd pay for the plan by repealing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which slashed rates for wealthy individuals and corporations.
The South Bend, Ind., mayor rolled out a three-pronged plan that would cost somewhere between $1.5 to $2 trillion, his campaign said. The proposal would create an estimated 3 million clean energy jobs. The proposal outlined several federal investments, which would theoretically bring in trillions more in private, state and local investment.
With a $10 trillion price tag, the California senator has one of the most expensive proposal to address climate change, second only to Sanders. The campaign did not specifically address how the plan would be paid for but pointed to several ways to raise revenue, including creating a pollution fee and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies.