July 26, 2019

Steyer and Gillibrand Climate Plans Heat Up Candidate Climate Race in the Lead Up to Long-Awaited CNN Climate Town Hall

(Washington D.C.) Thursday night marked an exciting night for the promise of climate leadership, with Presidential candidates Tom Steyer and Kristen Gillibrand both introducing their climate plans on the same day that CNN announced a 2020 climate crisis town hall.  With Gillibrand deeming climate change “this generation’s moonshot” and Steyer backing a “justice centered climate plan,” both politicians added to a growing list of Democratic presidential candidates with appropriate ambitions to take action at the scale of the climate crisis.  Borrowing from the best of other candidates’ plan, both Gillibrand and Steyer have in common a commitment to net-zero emissions by putting trillions towards public investment in a green economy. They both support a Green New Deal paired with cuts to fossil fuel subsidies, and a just transition prioritizing frontline and indigenous communities most impacted by the climate crisis. 

Despite their similarities, the candidates diverge in some key ways. Gillibrand, like Inslee, supports holding the fossil fuel industry financially accountable for the climate crisis. Paired with her focus on climate impacts in rural communities, the ‘Moonshot’ plan provides a strong model for how to meaningfully reduce the fossil fuel industry’s influence on politics, while demanding they be responsible for supporting communities’ recovery.  Steyer pursues a different route, with a plan that hits a lot of high notes. We see in his “justice-centered” plan, a focus on community consultation, investment in local businesses, and working to prevent climate calamities from deepening inequality.

The following is a statement from 350 Action’s North America Director Tamara Toles O’Laughlin

“350 is encouraged by the commitments of candidates Gillibrand and Steyer and the latest CNN decision to center climate in election programming. What Steyer and Gillibrand have brought to the table responds to our calls for climate leadership.  It is the direct result of the tireless work of many within the powerful movement for climate and environmental justice. The candidates’ plans have reinforced that the climate crisis isn’t isolated from the multiple movements demanding justice and equity across the U.S. Our movement has set a new bar for climate action, where dialogue is matched to the demand. Climate  deniers and fossil fuel lobbyists have been given criminal license over American politics, we continue to push the next President to embrace bold climate policy, and demand that the media cover it. 

“In spite of the DNC’s negligence, activists have put a climate forum on the 2020 agenda. As there is a growing awareness within the party that climate justice isn’t a single-issue topic, we urge thoughtful, public discussion that helps strengthen climate action. Read together, the 2020 Democratic candidates’ climate plans demonstrate that climate change is a deep, multi-layered, issue where policy has widespread community impacts.  CNN’s climate crisis town hall is an important step in establishing where each candidate stands and the strength of their commitment to climate justice. Activists in the climate movement, not politicians, are the ones to thank for this achievement.”


Press Contact: Monica Mohapatra, U.S. Communications Specialist, monica.mohapatra@350action.org