Where the presidential contenders stand


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: February 20, 2020

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 

Nature Meditations