Where the presidential contenders stand

Candidates

Where presidential candidates stand on public lands and climate

Polling shows that Americans are increasingly concerned about climate change and recognize the importance of developing renewable energy—and rightly so. More presidential contenders than ever are meeting those concerns by issuing full climate and energy plans as part of their pitch to voters.  

A truly comprehensive climate plan will draw down fossil fuel leasing, develop renewable energy in responsible places and take advantage of wildlands’ capacity for reducing carbon pollution

We believe that public lands have a vital role to play in addressing the climate crisis. Nearly one-quarter of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions originate from energy projects on public lands, making our federally managed backyard an obvious starting point for developing solutions. A truly comprehensive plan to avoid the worst consequences of climate change will address these emissions sources by drawing down fossil fuel leasing, developing renewable energy in responsible places and taking advantage of wildlands’ natural capacity for absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. 

Here’s a look at Democratic presidential candidates whose climate change platforms have a role for public lands. We've also included any other significant proposals that relate to conserving public lands and waters or guaranteeing public access to them.  

Last updated September 26, 2019


Climate and energy: 

  • Achieve 100% clean, net-zero emissions no later than 2050 

  • Accelerate permitting for renewable energy projects on public lands and waters, with the goal of increasing renewable energy capacity to 150 gigawatts by 2030, enough to power nearly 45 million homes 

  • Convene world leaders at a global climate summit to restore the U.S. to a leadership position in setting emissions reduction targets 

Public lands and waters: 

  • Conserve 30% of America’s lands and oceans by the year 2030


Climate and energy:

  • Halt new oil and gas permitting on federally managed public lands and waters and increase development of renewable energy projects 

  • Ensure that federal infrastructure investments reduce greenhouse gas emissions; require federal permitting decisions to consider the effects of federal activities on climate change 

  • Modify energy royalties to account for climate costs 

Public lands and waters:

  • Conserve 30% of America’s lands and waters by the year 2030 

  • Permanently protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other public lands and waters negatively affected by Trump administration policies 

  • Establish national monuments and parks that protect America’s natural heritage 


Climate and energy: 

  • Place a moratorium on oil and gas drilling on public lands 

  • Bar construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure if renewable alternatives are available; require consideration of climate change impacts in permitting new fossil fuel infrastructure 

  • Halt federal subsidies for fossil fuel production 

  • Unleash natural climate solutions through massive reforestation, coastal wetlands restoration and planting trees to sequester carbon 

  • Implement a requirement for fossil fuel companies to stop methane leaks from both new and existing sources 

  • Directly invest over $3 trillion dollars by 2030 to fund the transition to a 100% carbon-neutral economy by no later than 2045 

  • Rejoin the Paris Agreement within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change 

Public lands and waters: 

  • Protect 30% of all U.S. lands and waters by 2030; restore protections for cultural and natural areas including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and land near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness 

  • Rescind Trump’s executive orders to shrink national monuments  

  • Provide permanent full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund 


Climate and energy: 

  • Achieve net-zero emissions from public lands by the year 2030 by responsibly deploying renewable energy projects on public lands and undertaking carbon sequestration and landscape restoration projects 

  • Invest in repairs to remedy methane leaks, among other energy infrastructure improvements 

  • Require federal agencies to develop plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 

  • Rejoin the Paris Agreement within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and set earlier benchmark dates for greenhouse gas emissions reductions 

Public lands and waters: 

  • Work with the Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture to protect national parks and other public land 

Climate and energy: 

  • Close public lands to new fossil leases 

  • Become a net-zero emissions society no later than 2050 in part by using every available executive authority 

  • Quadruple money spent on research and development (to at least $25 billion a year) to strengthen renewable energy development 

  • Establish “resilience hubs” to provide climate data to help communities understand risks 

  • Rejoin the Paris Agreement within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change 

Public lands and waters: 

  • no position yet stated 

Climate and energy: 

  • End leasing of federal lands for fossil fuel exploration and extraction  

  • Rejoin the Paris Agreement within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change 

  • Achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2045 and at least a 50% reduction by 2030 

  • Require all federal actions to be reviewed for environmental and health impacts on low-income and marginalized communities 

  • Expedite permitting and siting in reclaimed sites for clean energy and infrastructure projects 

  • Plant 30 billion trees by 2050 as part of a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 

Public lands and waters: 

  • Expand protected areas through national monuments, parks and wildlife refuge designations as part of a goal to protect 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 and 50% by 2050. 

  • Restore the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments 

  • Fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million a year 


Climate and energy: 

  • Invest in research to increase renewable energy production and energy efficiency 

  • Use taxes and dividends to achieve 90% greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2050 

  • Employ carbon sequestration, reforestation and other means to reduce greenhouse gases 

Public lands and waters: 

  • no position yet stated 

Climate and energy: 

  • Ban offshore drilling and hydraulic fracturing 

  • End subsidies to big fossil fuel corporations 

  • Invest more in renewable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal 

Public lands and waters: 

  • no position yet stated 

Climate and energy: 

  • Immediately halt all new fossil fuel leases on federal lands and waters and work with Congress to phase out existing leases 

  • Cap methane flaring among other strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 

  • Accelerate renewable energy development and meet 100% of our electricity demand with carbon-neutral power by 2030 

  • Increase renewable energy production on public lands where appropriate, including by creating a Public Land Renewable Energy Zone Strategy to responsibly expand renewable energy capacity on public lands while protecting habitat and endangered species 

  • Protecting and restore our natural systems to capture and store carbon 

  • Re-enter the Paris Agreement within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and set additional emissions reduction targets 

  • Require environmental and climate-related rules and regulations that have significant impacts on frontline communities to undergo an additional level of review to mitigate negative impacts 

Public lands and waters: 

  • Protect 30% of our lands and oceans by 2030 

  • Use authority under the Antiquities Act to protect critical landscapes 

  • Restore environmental protections rolled back by Trump, including restoring protections to Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument 

  • Work with underrepresented communities, including tribes, communities of color, the LGBTQ community and others to identify and honor sacred sites and places of historic and cultural significance to ensure that our national parks and monuments honor and tell the stories of all Americans 

  • Create a new Office of Outdoor Recreation to coordinate outdoor opportunities across federal, state and local governments 

  • Increase funding for outdoor recreation and green spaces in cities


Senator Amy Klobuchar

Climate and energy: 

  • Promote rural renewable energy development 

  • Rejoin the Paris Agreement within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change 

  • Undertake a comprehensive review and restore environmental protections repealed by the Trump administration 

Public lands and waters: 

  • no position yet stated 

Climate and energy: 

  • Stop new fossil fuel leases on public lands as part of a goal to achieve net-zero emissions from public lands by the year 2030 

  • Accelerate development of renewable energy, including on public lands 

  • Require federal permitting decision to fully account for climate costs 

  • Reduce methane leaks from existing oil and gas operations 

  • Rejoin the Paris Agreement within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change 

  • Recognize the value of well-managed ecosystems to reduce and defend against climate-related risks 

Public lands and waters: 

  • Protect more of the Arctic along with other sensitive wildlands 

  • Establish national monuments and parks that more fully and completely tell stories about American history 

  • Invest in national service grants to restore forests and build habitat resilience 


Climate and energy:

  • Ban new fossil fuel leases on public lands 

  • Block new fossil fuel infrastructure and all hydraulic fracturing as part of transition away from fossil fuels 

  • Ban drilling in the Arctic Circle and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 

  • Require fossil fuel corporations repair leaking infrastructure, including methane leakage from natural gas and oil pipelines and drilling sites 

  • Invest in infrastructure and programs to protect the frontline communities most vulnerable to extreme weather and other climate change impacts 

  • Reach 100% renewable energy for electricity and transportation by no later than 2030 and complete decarbonization by 2050 

  • Rejoin the Paris Agreement within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change 

Public lands and waters: 

  • Spend $900 million to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Corps 

  • Perform more than $25 billion of repairs and maintenance on roads, buildings, utility systems and other structures and facilities across the National Park System 


Climate and energy: 

  • Stop issuing leases for fossil fuel mining, drilling and fracking on public lands, offshore, and in the Arctic and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 

  • End federal permitting for new fossil fuel infrastructure ad responsibly wind down existing fossil fuel production nationwide 

  • Achieve 100% clean electricity by 2040; all new sources would be required to be zero-carbon by 2030 

  • Mobilize $130 billion for ecosystem resilience, carbon sequestration and other purposes; manage forest and ocean systems to optimize carbon sequestration and overall ecosystem health 

  • Set a goal of providing 10% of American electricity generation from renewable energy projects on low-impact public lands or offshore 

  • Reinstate the methane rule to limit methane pollution from existing oil and gas operations 

  • Rejoin Paris Agreement within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change 

  • Require corporations to disclose climate change risks from their activities 

Public lands and waters: 

  • Make national parks free for every American and dedicate $25 billion to upgrading and maintaining parks facilities and sites 

  • Restore and expand national monuments under attack by Trump and expand coastal and ocean monuments and protected areas 

  • Provide communities with the tools and funding they need to provide public access to safe and healthy parks or open space within a half-mile of every home 


Climate and energy: 

  • Total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases, including drilling offshore and on public lands 

  • Set a goal of providing 10% of American electricity generation from renewable energy projects on low-impact public lands or offshore 

  • Reinstate the methane rule to limit methane pollution from existing oil and gas operations 

  • Rejoin Paris Agreement within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change 

  • Require corporations to disclose climate change risks from their activities 

Public lands and waters: 

  • Restore full protection to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments and other public lands targeted by the Trump administration 

  • Make funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanent, eliminate the public land maintenance backlog and fully fund public lands agencies 

  • Expand access to public lands, including by making entry to national parks free 

  • Ensure the Department of the Interior includes tribal stakeholders in the management of public lands 


Climate and energy: 

  • End all new oil and gas leases on public lands and waters as part of transition to halt all new fossil fuel development and use 

  • Reduce carbon emissions to net-zero by the year 2050 

  • Use carbon sequestration, wetland restoration and other practices to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere 

  • Rejoin the Paris Agreement within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and push for further emissions cuts 

Public lands and waters: 

  • no position yet stated

Climate and energy: 

  • Stop providing fossil fuel leases on public lands and move to end current leases as quickly as possible 

  • Prevent further investment in pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure 

  • Invest in reforestation and restoring landscapes that can sequester carbon from the atmosphere 

  • Propose a carbon emissions fee as part of a plan to achieve an emissions-free electrical grid by the year 2035 

Public lands and waters: 

  • Restore public lands protections rolled back by the Trump administration 

  • Maintain protections for currently designated public lands and monuments and explore the designation of new land protections 

  • Oppose takeover of public lands by states and appoint a secretary of the Interior who pledges not to give public lands to private interests 

  • Expand the Every Kid in a Park initiative to give fourth graders free access to national parks 

  • Quintuple the U.S. Forest Service budget and specifically tailor it to focus on wildfire prevention