The stage is set for climate change to feature prominently in the upcoming presidential election. The science has never been clearer. The public is more concerned than they’ve been in over a decade. Young people are leading a new wave of activism that is gathering pace, including in the U.S. And a newly emboldened progressive wing of the Democratic party is calling for a Green New Deal of far-reaching climate, industrial, social welfare and employment policies.
Against this backdrop, the expectations and opportunities for climate leadership are greater than ever before. Among the growing pool of Democratic candidates, all accept the science and believe climate change is a threat that demands a response. However, many voters now expect candidates to demonstrate a much higher level of commitment to ambitious and urgent action on climate.
So how do we measure climate leadership? It’s easy to do quick tests on pledges and positions. But how do the candidates really stack up against one another? This is the question Climate Advisers’ Democratic Candidates Climate Race seeks to answer by looking at four key criteria:
- To what extent is the candidate building a mandate for climate action?
- Is the candidate putting forward detailed policies?
- What does the candidate’s past leadership look like?
- Has the candidate signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge?
Observations after Fifth Update:
- Two of the top three candidates in the overall polls have ranked in the top three of the Candidates’ Climate Race, Sanders and Warren, are leading the pack.
- Sanders’ previously strong score, along with newly viral climate change tweets pushes him to the top spot with an overall score far above the rest of the candidates.
- Warren has, in her own words, picked up Jay Inslee’s mantle and has joined the top three for the first time.
- Andrew Yang received significant media attention after the last debate, he ranked second out of all the candidates. However, his fractured climate plan leave him trailing in second to last place.
- Joe Biden remains in the middle of the pack with a strong suite of policies, but relatively weak media pick up or social media engagement about climate change.
- Julian Castro’s moderate proposed policy package and relatively small social media following leaves him in last place.
Based on our criteria, here are the current standings (19 November 2019):
The race is on
As the primary continues to unfold, there’s time for candidates to improve their position in the race. With that in mind, the race is split into a series of legs that will finish before key milestones on the journey to the convention, such as the first televised debate, the Iowa Caucus and Super Tuesday. If a candidate finishes poorly, she or he has the chance to improve in the next leg.
Initial Standings – 17 May 2019
First Update – 4 June 2019
Second Update– 24 June 2019
Third Update– 25 July 2019
Fourth Update– 4 September 2019
Candidates’ Rankings Will be Updated Prior to Each of the Following Milestones:
December 2019 TBD- Sixth DNC Debate
3 February 2020- Iowa caucuses
11 February 2020 – New Hampshire primary
3 March 2020 – Super Tuesday
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