Both Democratic candidates for United States President support the Green New Deal – what does that mean for their plans to address climate change and make it possible for more people to drive an electric vehicle?
As we continue to emit ever-increasing amounts of greenhouse gases year after year, voters in the U.S. are becoming more concerned about climate change. According to 2019 surveys, 57% of Americans consider climate change a major threat to the country’s well-being, up almost 20 points since 2013. 84% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents and just over one-quarter of Republicans think climate change is a major threat to the country’s well-being.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a demystifying special report in 2018 with a clear message: we must act quickly to avoid the most catastrophic effects. And while President Obama and other world leaders had made a significant (albeit insufficient) step by signing the Paris Agreement in 2016 – ironically, the agreement entered into force just 4 days before then-candidate Trump was elected – President Trump will have effectively removed the U.S. from the agreement by November of 2020, just in time for the next presidential election.
This brings us to Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. As two of the three remaining Democratic candidates (Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign continues with a mere 2 delegates), Sanders and Biden will face increasing pressure to provide a clear plan of action on climate change. Let’s see how they compare.
Comparing the candidates’ plans for vehicle electrification
Comparing the candidates’ plans to address climate change
What’s The Verdict?
The most striking difference between the two plans is that Sanders is aiming for 100% renewable energy by 2030 while Biden has a goal of 2050. Additionally, Sanders plans to invest 10 times more public dollars – at $16.3 trillion – to decarbonize the U.S. economy.
In terms of vehicle electrification, Sanders has a clearer vision with the goal of full electrification by 2030 by investing large amounts in charging infrastructure and lowering the cost of new EVs. Biden, on the other hand, has centered his vehicle electrification plan around the federal EV tax credit and building 500,000 new public charging stations by 2030.
The Trump Administration has acted decisively to cut environmental regulations, deny climate change, and reduce emissions standards. A President Sanders or President Biden would offer strikingly different rhetoric, leadership, and policy on climate change and electric vehicles than Trump. If Democrats manage to win in November – regardless of whether it’s Sanders or Biden – the federal government will rely heavily on partnerships and innovations from state and local governments, OEMs, electric utilities, and charging network service providers to reach its decarbonization and vehicle transportation goals.