GREENPEACE CLIMATE RANKING UPDATE: As CNN Climate Town Hall Approaches, Democratic Candidates Scramble to Improve Greenpeace Scores


September 4, 2019

Just in time for tonight’s CNN Climate Town Hall, Democratic presidential candidates Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Julián Castro, and Kamala Harris have all released new climate plans, causing a flurry of movement on Greenpeace’s 2020 Climate Ranking. The most significant movement comes from Elizabeth Warren, who is now in second place behind Bernie Sanders. Also making big jumps are Kamala Harris, who is now in fifth place, and Julián Castro, who is now in eighth place. 

The updated top ten in Greenpeace’s 2020 climate ranking is:

  1. Sanders, 87/100, A
  2. Warren, 84/100, A-
  3. Booker, 82.5/100, A-
  4. Steyer, 79/100, B+
  5. Harris, 72.5/100, B+
  6. Biden, 72/100, B+
  7. Gabbard, 69.5/100, B
  8. Castro, 68.5/100, B
  9. Buttigieg, 66/100, B
  10. Williamson, 64/100, B
  11. O’Rourke, 60.5/100, B-
  12. Klobuchar, 52.5/100, C+
  13. Yang, 47/100, C+

The climate crisis has emerged as a top issue in the 2020 election. In the most recent Quinnipiac poll, a majority of registered voters said climate change is an “emergency” and 67 percent said they believe that the United States under the Trump administration is not doing enough to address the problem. 

In response to the new plans and rankings, Greenpeace USA Senior Climate Campaigner Jack Shapiro said:

“As fires rage in the Amazon and Hurricane Dorian threatens the Southeast after pummeling the Bahamas, the gravity of the climate crisis is impossible to ignore for everyone but Donald Trump. At this stage in the race, no serious candidate can afford to put climate policy on the backburner. Voters are demanding to know how the next president will protect communities from further climate-fueled storms, droughts, heatwaves, and fires. We’re glad to see these candidates bringing their contributions to the table this week, and we look forward to seeing them answer important questions about their platforms at tonight’s CNN Town Hall.

“With the rush of new plans over the past few days, we can now see how grassroots pressure has helped move the baseline climate positions for serious Democratic presidential candidates. Nearly every real contender for the nomination now has a plan that includes a strong emphasis on justice and equity for communities on the frontlines of climate disasters, a commitment to securing a future for workers with family-sustaining, union jobs with benefits, and a promise to end tax giveaways, federal leases, and new permits for fossil fuel extractors.

“Despite this extraordinary progress, we still have yet to see a candidate match Jay Inslee’s gold standard commitment to ending the era of fossil fuels for good in the United States by phasing out production. The remaining contenders still have room for improvement, and we hope they’ll continue to listen to grassroots activists and communities with the most to lose from the climate crisis. 

“We were notably impressed by the sections of Kamala Harris’s plan which included the novel proposal to convene a global negotiation on a managed decline of fossil fuel production. Her plan also included a push to end global financing and subsidies for fossil fuels, as well as a phase-out of existing US federal leases. We also noted Cory Booker’s proposal to reform bankruptcy rules for fossil fuel companies so they can’t escape obligations to workers and the environment.

“At the end of the day, the real question to ask is: who is willing to use all the tools of the federal government to invest in an unprecedented but absolutely necessary transformation away from fossil fuels to an equitable and 100% renewable future? That’s what we hope to hear in detail during tonight’s Town Hall, and it’s what we’ll continue to push for as we head into the general election against one of the most disastrous administrations for climate and the environment we’ve ever seen.”

Additional changes covered in this update to the ranking include Amy Klobuchar moving into twelfth place, and Pete Buttigieg jumping up to ninth place. 



[1] The interactive candidate scorecard is available here, a detailed breakdown by candidate is available here, and the scoring methodology is available here. We’ve included the Democratic candidates who qualified for the first two DNC debates and remain active members in the race, as well as the two major Republican candidates, in this update. 

[2] To maintain independence, Greenpeace USA does not endorse or oppose any political party, candidate, or elected official. We work to hold all candidates for office to the standard that science says is necessary to avert climate crisis, which means supporting a Green New Deal and ending fossil fuels.

Contact: Ryan Schleeter, Senior Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 (415) 342-2386, [email protected]


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