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Updated February 28, 2024

What have the 2024 presidential candidates said about energy and the environment?

A majority of Americans say that global climate change is affecting their local community. Two-thirds of Americans support the increased development of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, by federal incentives. The same share also supports taking steps to become carbon neutral by 2050, meaning that no more carbon dioxide would be released into the atmosphere than removed. Though support for nuclear power is stronger among Republicans, a majority of Americans also favor more nuclear power plants to generate electricity in the US.  

Still, America is divided on the government’s role in addressing these issues and goals. Economic concerns complicate the transition to renewable energy; two-thirds of Americans want to keep a mix of fossil fuels and renewable energy sources. More Democrats prioritize alternative energy sources to address America’s energy supply. No clear majority believes that the government should either encourage or discourage oil and gas drilling. Further, Americans are divided on climate policies by age with younger Americans in both parties showing support for phasing out fossil fuels.



Joe Biden (D)

Though Biden has focused on reversing Trump's environmental policies, he has allowed fracking during his time as President. Notably, he gave formal approval for the Willow Project, a drilling project in Alaska.

Donald Trump (R)

His administration enabled the expansion of offshore drilling. He made it easier to lease public land for oil and gas drilling and proposed making 85% of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska available for oil and gas drilling.

Cornel West (Ind.)

He wishes to establish a moratorium on fracking and cancel the Willow Project. He also hopes to halt all oil and gas leasing projects on federal land.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Ind.)

"Mr. Kennedy recognizes that an immediate and total ban on fracking would devastate the US economy, and is therefore unrealistic," his campaign told Fox News Digital in September. "He favors a gradual phase-out of the practice, starting with the removal of subsidies and a moratorium on new exploration."

Carbon Emissions

Joe Biden (D)

His administration returned to an Obama-era method for calculating benefits to the climate when making regulatory decisions; this gave more weight to the benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He also rejoined the Paris climate agreement, which the Trump administration had departed from. He set a climate target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

Donald Trump (R)

His administration rolled back more than one hundred environmental rules and regulations. Most prominently, he withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accords; the aim of these accords was to keep global heating to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. He proposed revisions to carbon dioxide emissions standards for new power plants, abandoned efforts to reduce emissions from large sewage treatment plants, and lowered the calculated social cost of carbon, which seeks to tally the money spent and lives lost due to climate change.

Robert F. Kennedy (Ind.)

No stance found.


Joe Biden (D)

During his presidency, he wound back fossil fuel subsidies and redirected them to green energy production. He signed the Inflation Reduction Act which sought to reduce 50% of greenhouse emissions by 2030 by guaranteeing loans to projects that repurpose old energy infrastructure or enable existing infrastructure to avoid or sequester air pollutants. He created executive orders to either review or undo the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and the removal of wildlife protections. He hopes to develop new nuclear technologies and transition to renewable energy while focusing on new job creation.

Donald Trump (R)

His administration approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access interstate natural gas pipelines. He canceled the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions. He streamlined approval for mines and fossil fuel production permits on public lands. He boosted fossil fuel production by rolling back regulations on the industry. He has advocated for energy independence based on fossil fuel use, but also supported the expansion of nuclear energy.

Cornel West (Ind.)

He hopes to nationalize the fossil fuel industry.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Ind.)

Once a leading environmental lawyer, he now distrusts the EPA and its regulations. He describes his energy approach as free-market based and opposes top-down control. 

This blog was written by Harry Ding, content intern (Center bias). It was reviewed and edited by Henry A. Brechter (Center bias), Malayna Bizier (Right bias), Johnathon Held (Lean Right bias), and Joseph Ratliff (Lean Left bias).