2020 Vision: Joe Biden’s Climate Plan

Estrella Pacheco, Staff Writer

With the 2020 election heating up, there are many topics floating around, and many discussions about the presidential nominees and their policies. The topic most frequently addressed by the younger generations of voters: the climate crisis. On September 20th, 2019, 600,000 American youth took to the streets demanding climate action and pledging to not support politicians with ties to the fossil fuel industry. One thing little discussed is Joe Biden’s clear ties to the very industry charged with destroying our climate. Despite Biden’s pledge to re-join the Paris Agreement as well as his support of the Green New Deal, climate activists have criticized aspects of his supposedly “middle ground” environmental plan.  

The top concerns involve Biden’s lack of a plan to ban fracking, his involvement with the fossil fuel industry, and the history of his environmental adviser, Heather Zichal.  Biden has previously stated that he does not think that a federal ban on fracking is realistic. Fossil fuels account for 76% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in the US, according to the US Energy Information Administration. As such, Biden’s no ban policy has raised quite a bit of concern. However, considering Biden’s connection with the natural gas industry, it is not at all surprising. These ties range from those with his own son, to political alliances with men such as Andrew Goldman, and even to his own campaign’s environmental advisor. Hunter Biden until recently served on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company, something that has come to the center stage surrounding the Ukraine scandal. Heather Zichal, Biden’s environmental advisor, was on the board of Cheniere Energy, another natural gas company that frequently supports Republican politicians. She earned over a million dollars during her time on the board. According to the Sunrise movement, she has earned several million from the fossil fuel industry. 

At CNN’s climate crisis town hall, a young voter asked Biden why they should trust him to follow through with his pledge to not accept money from the fossil fuel industry when he was planning to attend a fundraiser hosted by Andrew Goldman.  Goldman is the co-founder of Western LNG, a gas company based in Texas. Biden denied knowing of Goldman’s profession, and still attended the fundraiser. 

Since then, Biden has begun to take money from SuperPACS in order to keep up funding on his campaign, many with ties in the fossil fuel industry. Meaning he is now taking fossil fuel money to fund his campaign. He has yet to tell voters that he has decided not to follow through with his no fossil fuel pledge, but currently his actions and words are not quite in alignment. 

Additionally, despite Biden’s frequently mentioned positive environmental track record– he introduced the first Senate Bill on Climate Change and has been instrumental in pushing conservation policies–he has missed a few key votes.  He voted against raising standards for tailpipe emissions, five times. In the early 90’s Biden declined to sponsor a bi-partisan bill co-sponsored by 36 of his colleagues, that was pushing for boosting fuel efficiency standards. In the same decade he also squashed proposals aiming to lower ozone and GreenHouse Gas pollution. Which are the most immediate source of the Climate Crisis. 

A Sunrise Movement representative, one of the most prominent climate activist groups in the states, recently confronted Biden on these issues. Biden deliberately evaded the representative’s question, patted her hands, stuttered a “Thank you for being… for admiring me so much.” and walked away. 
The younger generations have some of the highest voter registration in history, and are expected  to turn out to the polls as never before. This election has a lot on the line for American youth, as it could completely change the course of our lives, and it might just be that Biden’s climate action won’t be quite enough for us to have a livable future. 


2020 Vision: The Tidbits


  • Bernie Sanders has had a surge in Iowa and New Hampshire that some speculate could lead him straight for the nomination, as in recent history six democratic nominees have won in Iowa and five in New Hampshire (Washington Examiner).  Additionally, 50% of Biden’s supporters would also consider Sanders a satisfactory nominee, according to Insider Polling. 


  • Elizabeth Warren was endorsed by Julian Castro after he dropped out of the race. However, she has recently lost support, with a drop in the polls and the hashtag #refundwarren trending, followed by an announcement from ActBlue that they were experiencing an unusually high amount of refund requests. 


  • Buttigieg has recently had a surge in early states, yet some say his campaign will be undercut by the Black Lives Matter Movement who have begun to follow his campaign, as they dont believe he can be trusted with the concerns of the Black community. One protester went as far as to compare him to Trump saying, “To me, Mayor Pete is the equivalent of Trump,” Ms. Redding told The Washington Times. “I feel like Trump is very aggressive with his racism, and I think Mayor Pete is very passive with his racism.”


  • Obama has reportedly said that he will not endorse Joe Biden, and according to the NY post once said about the presidential candidates, ‘And you know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden.’


  • Billionaire Bloomberg and  says that he is willing to put in 1 billion dollars to defeat Trump, no matter who the Democratic nominee is. He is currently polling around the same level as Warren. 


  • Impeachment has raised concerns as to Trump’s reelection as no president has ever been impeached while seeking a second term. 



  • Cory Booker has dropped out of the race, but says he won’t be making an endorsement just yet. It’ s unclear who the majority of his supporters will get behind as 76% would be satisfied with Warren, 69% with Biden, 64% Buttigieg, 61% with Sanders, and 48% with Klobuchar, as the Democratic nominee. 



  • Andrew Yang was not on the most recent debate stage, leaving the stage without a single person  of color. A fact that he pointed out during a previous debate, saying that it demonstrates wealth inequities, as many people of color don’t have disposable income.