Amy Klobuchar on Climate Change: Where the Candidate Stands

How do the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls compare on their climate history and promises to solve the crisis? ICN is analyzing their records.

Amy Klobuchar. Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat running for president. Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

"The people are on our side when it comes to climate change. Why? Because like you and I, they believe in science." —Amy Klobuchar, February 2019

Been There

Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaks of Fran, a woman she met in Pacific Junction, Iowa, along the Nebraska border during recent flooding. "Hanging there on her neck was this pair of binoculars. She had me look through them and she says, 'This is my house, I bought it with my husband, our 4-year-old twins, we were going to retire in this house, and now it's halfway underwater.'" It's a personal connection, but is it enough to elevate the Minnesota senator above the other candidates?

Candidate profiles

Done That

Months into her first Senate term in 2007, Klobuchar introduced a bill to start a carbon-tracking program as a step toward a cap-and-trade system to address climate change. Another bill of hers called for an expansion of renewable energy tax credits, provisions of which later became law as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.

Candidate profiles

Getting Specific

  • Klobuchar co-sponsored the Green New Deal resolution, but calls it aspirational rather than prescriptive, telling CNN that it doesn't make sense to her to "get rid of all these industries or do this in a few years," while it does make sense to "start doing concrete things, and put some aspirations out there on climate change." She supports putting a price on carbon, but told the Tampa Bay Times "it would have to be done in some way that is not at all regressive.
     
  • She answered a Washington Post questionnaire on fracking by saying she doesn't want to ban the method of extracting oil and gas, but would like to regulate it better. She has said that "safe nuclear power" along with "cleaner coal technologies" should continue to be developed as part of a comprehensive energy strategy, according to an issue brief on her Senate website.
     
  • She supports research into carbon capture and storage technology and co-sponsored a 2017 bill to expand a tax credit to help carbon capture research.
     
  • Klobuchar signed the No Fossil Fuel Funding pledge in May.

Our Take

Klobuchar describes herself as a progressive who can still win moderate voters in swing states such as Iowa and Wisconsin. On climate issues, however, her tone and positions mean that the majority of the field is to her left. She is a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal resolution but says it shouldn't be taken literally, and she shies away from stances that could be branded as extreme, such as banning fracking. But she can argue that her actions on climate and the environment are progressive, as shown by her 96 percent lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters and her early support for a cap-and-trade program.
 

Read Amy Klobuchar's climate platform.
Read more candidate profiles.

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