Skimm2020PUBLISHED JAN 27, 2020

2020 Election: Climate Change

Climate Change

The Story

It’s getting hot in here. And it could affect the future of civilization.

The Background

The US is one of the largest contributors to the carbon emissions that are fueling climate change. And international outrage, particularly among young people, about a lack of action has made it a high-profile issue in the 2020 race. The United Nations has issued multiple reports warning about the potential “catastrophic” effects of climate change if countries don’t do more to keep Earth’s temp from rising. Like more frequent droughts and flooding, and extreme heat that could lead to things like food shortages and potentially affect hundreds of millions of people.

The Trump administration has taken many steps to roll back Obama-era climate policies, like loosening regulations for carbon emissions and pulling the US out of the Paris climate deal. Meanwhile, the Dem candidates pretty much all agree that climate change is a dire problem that needs to be addressed stat. But they have different ideas about the best solutions. You’ll likely hear them talking about their plans for achieving net-zero emissions. That means the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere doesn’t exceed the amount taken out. Taken out how, you might ask? Through methods like reducing the use of diesel cars, cutting meat and dairy consumption, and even planting trees.


Climate change is a bigger issue than it’s ever been in a presidential race. Its effects – like more frequent wildfires and flooding – are hitting home for voters in a way they haven’t in the past. Some candidates are making climate a cornerstone of their campaigns, while others don’t see it as a top concern. Here's where the candidates stand:

Editor's note: This page will be updated as the candidate field narrows

Donald Trump Republican
President Donald Trump
  • Started the process of pulling the US out of the Paris climate deal, which will be completed by Nov 2020

  • Worked to weaken Obama-era environmental rules (think: auto and methane emissions, water pollution regulations)

Read more
Joe Biden Democrat
Former VP Joe Biden
  • Has been saying 'mayday' since the 1980s, sees it as security threat

  • Would rejoin Paris climate deal

  • Work toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

Read more

PS: We’ve Skimm’d a few issues related to climate change. Like the role it plays in food security, how to recycle, and how to reduce your carbon footprint

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Economy 2020