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: February 20, 2020


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: 

  • Restore America’s leadership in fighting the global climate crisis
  • Propel the United States toward a 100% clean energy future
  • Make environmental justice a national priority
  • Ensure 100% of new vehicles are pollution-free by 2035
  • Green our buildings to  save Americans money on their heating and energy bills
  • Invest in projects to reduce and protect against climate impacts, including wildfires

Public lands and waters:

  • no position yet stated 

     

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: 

  • Protect at least 30% by 2030
  • Achieve net-zero emissions by 2030
  • Ban new fossil fuel leases on federal lands and waters
  • Ensure robust conservation funding

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 

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:

  • 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 

  •  Stop all new drilling and mining on public lands