September 27, 2019

lt is time for America to lead on climate

Climate change presents the definitive global challenge of our era. How we respond will determine the ability for people everywhere to thrive for generations to come. 

From day one of my administration, I will center the climate crisis at the heart of my foreign policy. We see under President Trump how open hostility from the U.S. undercuts collaboration on the global stage and gives other nations additional excuse for inaction on climate change. On my first day in office, I will declare a climate emergency and begin to implement my Justice-Centered Climate Plan. In this plan, I have committed to a rapid and equitable transition to a clean energy economy in the U.S. that will transform the American economy. As we redouble our efforts at home, I pledge to reestablish the U.S. at the forefront of global climate leadership. I will re-enter the U.S. in the Paris Agreement and work with that strong coalition of nations to execute a comprehensive response to the intensifying climate crisis, accelerate the transition to a fully decarbonized and sustainable global economy, and shepherd a secure, peaceful future. 

Let me be clear: in all our work on the international stage, we must prioritize actions to accelerate a clean energy future. We must hold those who thwart these efforts accountable for their actions. We must — as moral imperative — draw on the knowledge of and lift up every community, particularly those who will most feel the impacts of a changing climate and who did the least to cause this crisis. We can and will work with partner nations to build global consensus and chart this unprecedented path. Then together, through both positive incentives and strong accountability, we can hold our fellow nations to the high standard of ambition demanded by the science.


Here is how we proceed.

Reinvigorating our engagement on the global stage 

Diplomacy must be at the center of our international strategy. We must engage with the world. We must be strong in our morals and unafraid to lead, but acknowledge that if we are to meet the climate crisis, we cannot act alone. 

I was there when the historic Paris Agreement was negotiated. I served as a co-leader  of a public-private sector delegation advocating for a strong global compact. I saw first-hand the transformative power of global collaboration that brings all parties to the table around a shared problem, spurred to greater ambitions by advocates, the private sector, and leading cities and states. 

My administration will prioritize strong working relationships with allies and potential allies to tackle the toughest challenge — climate change. Since the UN was founded in 1945 in my hometown of San Francisco, we have seen it and other multilateral institutions work to ensure peace and broad prosperity. My administration will increase support for enabling institutions for international cooperation and international assistance while pursuing ambitious multilateral and bilateral compacts with our allies. 

At the same time, there is no higher priority for the Commander in Chief than keeping America safe. To achieve that goal, our armed forces must be climate-ready. Climate change exacerbates conditions already challenging national security, and it has been identified consistently by the military as a threat multiplier. My administration will again prioritize planning and strategic investments to ensure that every branch of the U.S. military is ready for accelerating climate impacts to our bases, equipment, and personnel. We will decrease our armed forces’ reliance on fossil fuels — already a source of far too many casualties and conflicts. We will prepare for new types of conflict, appropriately approach disaster response missions worsened and altered by a changed climate, and engage in peacetime initiatives to help improve climate resilience at home and abroad. 


We rejoin and increase our commitment to the Paris Agreement by: 

  • Recommitting fully to the Paris Agreement. 
  • Meeting our pledged Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of a 26-28% reduction in climate pollution by 2025 compared to 2005 levels through implementation of the Justice-Centered Climate Plan. 
  • Releasing, immediately upon gaining office, a strengthened NDC of at least 40% reduction in emissions by 2030, as should be delivered to the 2020 COP, and joining both the Powering Past Coal Coalition to end all US coal by 2030 and the International Solar Alliance to catalyze $1 trillion in investments by 2030.
  • Paying in arrears the $2 billion pledged by President Obama to the Green Climate Fund, and pledging at least $1 billion per year to this fund to help recipients build resilience to climate impacts, avoid future carbon lock-in, and develop sus- tainably.

We affirm our intention to transition by 2045 to a fully carbon neutral economy by: 

  • Joining the Carbon Neutrality Coalition, a pioneering group of nations that pledged to work together to meet the scientific goals of the Paris Agreement: full economy decarbonization by mid-century. 
  • Creating a working group within the Carbon Neutrality Coalition to plan and execute upon a managed fossil fuel phase out globally with strong protections for workers and affected communities. 
  • Helping other nations, in partnership with innovators and the private sector to rapidly decarbonize every sector of the economy, including the energy sector, transportation system, and built environment with technical assistance and finan- cial aid. 
  • Expanding access to clean energy and clean transportation in the Least Developed Nations through technology transfer, technical assistance, and aid. 
  • Ending the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in the United States and instituting a ban on fossil fuel exports from US ports. 

We strengthen the Department of State to lead on the global climate crisis: 

  • Rebuilding the US climate negotiations staff and technical assistance capacity across agencies and the national labs to support, galvanize and assist other countries to meet and strengthen their NDCs — including major emitters like China, India, and the European Union. 
  • Creating an Office of Subnational Diplomacy to engage more deeply with multi-level stakeholders from cities and states, nonprofits, and the private sector. 
  • Installing in each American embassy in the top-20 polluting nations a Special Assistant for Climate and Energy to foster economic cooperation and political mo- mentum for collaboration of the clean energy transformation. 
  • Doubling the size of the Peace Corps as a part of my New National Public Service Plan and including a climate justice training for all corps members. 
  • Co-founding a Standing Committee on the Climate Crisis at the G7 and the G20 to collaboratively address the risk of climate change to global financial stability.
  • Working bilaterally and within the G20 and other international forums to end foreign financing of the fossil fuel industry globally, including fossil fuel financing that comes through development programs like China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

We will work with international partners to define environmental crimes against humanity and ensure accountability for those who commit them by: 

  • Recognizing, with our friends and allies, environmental crimes against humanity under International Law and developing a process to hold states and multina- tional corporations accountable for extreme degradation acts against the global commons. 
  • Directing federal law enforcement agencies to investigate and hold accountable U.S. persons or corporations acting domestically or abroad, and state actors acting within the U.S., that have knowingly and intentionally spread false information or engaged in other illegal acts, including election interference in efforts to stop or slow efforts to enact meaningful climate change policy. 
  • Making the prosecution of environmental crimes a priority domestically in all rele- vant agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice. 
  • Creating an Environmental Justice Division in the Department of Justice, clearly defining criteria for identifying acts of environmental racism, ensuring equal pro- tection against environmental harms, and prosecuting environmental civil rights violations in actions under every agency’s jurisdiction. 

We protect the security of our nation by decreasing our military’s dependence on fossil fuels and removing this significant source of conflict by: 

  • Making all non-combat military operations, facilities, and contracts carbon-neu- tral by 2030. 
  • Increasing the proportion of defense research and development funding that goes to clean energy technologies and strengthening the tech transfer pipeline to take new inventions from military to civilian use at scale. 
  • Reducing the risk to military personnel, contractors, and allies associated with fossil fuel convoys by, to the maximum extent possible, developing sustained remote operational capabilities that are not dependent on fossil fuels. 
  • Directing the Department of Defense to examine the strategic significance and risks associated with troop deployments and installations for the primary purpose of safeguarding fossil fuel supplies and to study how eliminating global dependence on fossil fuels alters the strategic landscape. 

We increase military readiness to meet the expected impacts of climate change by: 

  • Instructing the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC) to assess how the growing threat of climate exacerbates conflicts and create a strategy for monitoring. 
  • Creating a Climate Security Intelligence Center within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 
  • Instructing each branch of the U.S. military to develop a detailed climate resilience plan which outlines the current and future risks posed by extreme weather events at all bases at home and abroad and ensuring that every project receiving funds has been planned to withstand future climate conditions and minimize carbon emissions. 
  • Expanding the National Guard’s training and capabilities for disaster response and preparedness operations. 
  • Revising Army Corps of Engineers guidance to include holistic and forward looking climate resiliency metrics for all projects and to prioritize nature based solutions and green infrastructure where these approaches are available. 
  • Establishing a Special Representative for the Arctic in the Department of Defense, responsible for improving U.S. preparedness in response to security issues in the Arctic linked to climate change. 

Partnerships for a climate ready world 

To meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, we must transform the global economy without delay. We must unleash the ambition, creativity and talents of every nation, industrial sector, and individual. That is why my administration will prioritize robust, working partnerships with other nations to tackle specific aspects of climate action such as scientific research, short lived climate pollutants, heavy industry and transport, management of natural and working lands, and ocean sustainability. Such collaborations — both existing and new — will benchmark global ambition, create knowledge sharing networks and technical assistance hubs, unlock financing to limit global emissions and increase resiliency, and hold bad actors accountable for their failure to act. 


We unleash the scientific capabilities of the United States to better understand the ecological and biophysical systems that sustain us, to predict the expected impacts of the climate crisis, and to research and develop the technologies that will help realize a carbon neutral future by: 

  • Quadrupling U.S. investment in the development and deployment of break through clean energy technologies and working through the Clean Energy Ministerial and the Mission Innovation Ministerial to galvanize global research networks, identify tech transfer needs, and promote collaboration on technical energy policy design. 
  • Triple funding to the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, and National Institutes of Health focused on air pollution and climate-related public health challenges and joining the Breathe Life campaign to provide healthy, clean air for all. 
  • Launching climate pollution detection satellites —starting with those that detect methane emissions – to provide real-time transparency worldwide into both national and corporate compliance with global climate emission goals and clean air standards. 

We marshall the world’s financial resources to fund the clean energy transition by: 

  • Committing to renewed, ongoing investment of $20 billion per year for ten years to the Green Climate Fund and the Global Green New Deal Fund, a new US-led global climate finance vessel to catalyze new private capital into green technologies and projects, particularly in rapidly developing nations. This total of $200 billion for new climate funding will leverage private capital and end the delays and gridlock to climate financing while ensuring that the global transition, like the domestic transition, is just and equitable. 
  • Instituting a firm green screen on all foreign aid and development funds including USAID, OFDA, and USDFI originating from the US so that projects minimize emissions and design in response to predicted future climate conditions. 
  • Ending coal financing and strengthening the human rights standards for projects funded by the IMF and World Bank and ending, in its entirety, US funding for fossil fuel infrastructure and extraction. 
  • Collaborating with the Financial Stability Board to institute recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-Related Disclosures to promote financial system stability and resilience to climate change.
  • Adopting a federal “Buy Clean” standard and adopting border carbon adjustments for imported goods to ensure that the United States’ purchasing power not only incentivizes decarbonization domestically, but on a level playing field worldwide.

We reduce pollution from the cooling and refrigeration industry by: 

  • Submitting the Kigali Amendment to the Senate for ratification and investing in safer alternative refrigerants that are developed domestically. 
  • Building on the Global Cooling Prize by investing in Department of Energy science programs to drive down the cost of low-energy, zero-HFC residential air conditioning systems appropriate for emerging markets and build tech transfer partnerships for industrial, commercial and residential cooling units. 
  • Investing — in partnership with the Montreal Protocol Multilateral Fund, the Green Climate Fund, the Multilateral Development Banks and the private sector– in low-GHG cooling access in countries experiencing extreme heat. 

We will reduce pollution from the aviation sector by: 

  • Commiting to full implementation of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) agreement adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). 
  • Tripling federal investment in research, development, and deployment of innovative clean aviation fuels, light-weighting materials, and aviation electrification. 
  • Creating a Low Carbon Aviation Standard and recruiting other nations to join suit, requiring a 40% reduction in emissions intensity of aviation fuels by 2030, backed by a market-based credit trading mechanism. 

We reduce black carbon by: 

  • Pushing the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to accelerate the decarbonization of international shipping and cruise ships by increasing ship efficiency standards; reducing speeds; creating accountability; and tripling R&D funding in the sector to spur the hybridization and electrification of ships. 
  • Creating a global low carbon fuel standard for international shipping to reduce emissions intensity by 40% by 2030. 
  • Championing access to cleaner cookstoves and clean electricity for the 3 billion people who cook over open flame each day by providing grants and development loans.
  • Tripling research and develop funding to design and deploy the next generation of electric or biofuel mid- and heavy-duty trucks. 

We respond as a good neighbor to climate-influenced disasters: 

  • Expanding weather forecasting systems from 10 to 30 days and overlay topographical data to create climate disaster early warning systems for developing countries. 
  • Joining CARICOM to increase collaboration between the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and other Carribean countries, particularly to speed disaster response and recovery and share best practices for climate adaptation in light of strengthening tropical weather systems. 

We secure the health of agricultural and forested lands by: 

  • Promoting, alongside partners, agricultural and forestland conservation world wide as well as their sustainable management. 
  • Joining the Four per Thousand Coalition to affirm the importance of a low-carbon agricultural standard and soil carbon sequestration targets and expand assistance by 2.5x to increase agricultural productivity on cultivated lands, through technical assistance to smallholder farmers and family farms. 
  • Creating the Climate Agriculture Ministerial to bring together agricultural ministers from around the world to share best practices, policies, programs and new technologies advancing soil carbon and soil health, low-carbon agricultural practices, smallholder and family farming, animal agriculture, organic waste, and food security. 
  • Stopping deforestation through results-based payments for conservation and ecosystem services, improving forest management practices for ecosystem health and carbon, and promoting reforestation and afforestation by setting a goal to incentivize the planting of 1.2 trillion trees by 2040 and enforcing accountability mechanisms against nations wantonly degrading or destroying forestlands. 

We protect intact ecosystems and the bountiful biodiversity of the world by: 

  • Setting the goal of protecting 30% of the earth’s land as biodiversity and ecological reserves by 2030 en route to protecting half of the earth’s land area 2050 by working with national and tribal governments and local communities to establish bio-reserves with strong transparency, accountability, and forward-thinking management practices through a process that respects the rights, traditions, and sovereignty of tribal and indigenous peoples, empowers local communities, and promotes overall ecosystem health and resilience.
  • Engaging with our traditional allies on the Arctic Council to prevent global oil and gas companies from drilling in the Arctic; to prevent seabed mining as Arctic sea ice clears; to better understand through scientific collaboration how thawing permafrost and polar ice caps will impact our climate; to maintain and protect intact arctic ecosystems and the subsistence livelihoods practiced by Arctic indigenous communities.
  • Advocating that critical environments such as the Amazon and the Arctic to be recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites to offer legal protections to irreplaceable global ecosystems while maintaining the rights of Indigenous Peoples to the traditional and sustainable use of their homelands. 

We restore and protect the oceans, coastal ecosystems, and the blue economy by: 

  • Protecting and restoring blue carbon sinks, including mangroves, tidal marshes, seagrasses, coral reefs and other coastal and estuarine system, while supporting nature-based resilience for communities facing rising seas and intensifying storms. 
  • Designating and collaboratively managing Marine Protected Areas — expanding the US oceans National Monuments — as biodiversity refuges, fisheries nurseries, and blue carbon repositories. 
  • Safeguarding livelihoods and staving off hunger by sustainably managing ocean fishing and aquaculture by promoting seafood traceability and transparency, increasing enforcement, and ending ocean acidification and agricultural runoff that causes hypoxia. 
  • Dedicating a portion of US development and aid funds to blue economy efforts to establish regenerative ocean agriculture and the establishment of Marine Protected Areas in key global fisheries. 
  • Expanding carefully-sited marine renewable energy production in US waters and holding polluting corporations responsible for fully decommissioning offshore fossil fuel production facilities while creating accountability for community and worker protection programs. 

Ensuring global equity 

Justice will be at the core of every policy. As we transition rapidly toward a clean energy economy, we must leave no one behind. Globally, this means addressing the urgency and global nature of the climate crisis while working tirelessly to achieve each of the Sustainable Development Goals

Climate change is happening now, faster and stronger than predicted. I pledge to work with anyone who is serious about addressing this crisis. I will fight to ensure that the global transition to a clean energy economy will create good jobs, provide everyone with clean air and clean water, ensure an inclusive process for workers, respect tribal sovereignty, and prioritize nations and communities that for far too long have been treated as an environmental dumping ground. 

We must move from an extraction economy — where fossil fuel companies strip value from people and communities — to a regenerative economy, where we invest in people and places for the long term. And while doing so, we must build community-led resilience to ensure a stable peace. 

We will respect and support tribal and indigenous leadership by: 

  • Committing the United States to the UN Declaration of Rights for Indigenous Peoples and holding accountable foreign governments that violate the rights of Indigenous Peoples. 
  • Pledging to respect treaty rights and tribal sovereignty for Indigenous people, and to ensure the benefits, incentives, and rights to self determination for communities on tribal lands. 
  • Requesting the Secretary General to appoint a Special Envoy for Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change. 

We will support and uplift youth voices by: 

  • Designating an Intergenerational Equity Commission that would provide a formal place at the negotiating table within the UNFCCC to youth representatives from all nations. Joining as part of their nations’ delegation, these youth commissioners would work with each other to present recommendations to negotiators on the state of ambition from global youth. 
  • Joining the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and working both to ratify the convention and to align US policies and climate actions with the Convention. 

We will stand up for the rights of journalists by: 

  • Steadfastly protecting and defending, at home and abroad, the rights of journalists to report on the facts — especially environmentalist journalists, thirteen of whom have been killed for their reporting on extraction economies in the past decade. 

We recognize climate refugees and prepare for increasing global migration by: 

  • Working to help people recover from disasters in place by contributing funding, equipment, and expertise to help countries improve disaster response, alleviate critical short-term resource scarcities, and institute an effective recovery. 
  • Reducing the need for migration by focusing serious attention and support on ameliorating climate-driven threats, and other threats, in vulnerable or environmentally degraded regions. 
  • Establishing new categories to ensure persons fleeing from climate related disasters and conflicts are eligible for legal entry to the United States under the Temporary Protected Status program and permanent resettlement as refugees. 
  • Restoring, in the first year of my administration, refugee admission to the US to the levels maintained under the Obama Administration and thereafter increasing to levels commensurate to the climate challenge and preserving the United States’ historic role as a welcoming land for those seeking freedom and safety. 
  • Developing, with partner nations, a new global framework to recognize climate refugees and internally displaced people, and providing financial incentives to other nations to aid in the resettlement and integration those displaced. 

We support the rights of workers around the world by: 

  • Working to reduce the underlying causes of climate related geographic displacement by contributing funding, equipment, and expertise to help countries improve disaster resilience and alleviate critical resource scarcity. 
  • Enforcing and negotiating worker protections, minimum wage, and safety standards in international trade agreements, including conditioning future agreements and revising current agreements to reflect enforceable wage, safety and freedom from sexual violence and harassment, right to organize, non-discrimination, and anti-compulsion and anti-child labor provisions. 
  • Establishing and sharing best practices and resources through the Carbon Neutrality Coalition, for preventing fossil fuel worker displacement and providing stable pathways to re-employment for workers who have spent their careers in these industries. 

We support the defense and expansion of rights and opportunities for women and girls to fully participate in an equitable global climate-safe economy by: 

  • Defining education as a fundamental right of girls and women. Work with other nations to ensure girls can enroll in inclusive, affordable, accessible, and high-quality primary and secondary schools and have equal access to higher education or technical training. And finally, we must end the practice of child marriage. 
  • Setting a level playing field for women to thrive economically by ensuring equal access to finance for women entrepreneurs and individuals, and working with multinational companies to close the gender wage gap. 
  • Improving women’s access to land, agricultural technologies, equitable business models like cooperatives, and technical assistance in order to build climate resilient food systems and economic security for the women who make up 43% of the agricultural workforce in developing nations. 
  • Ensuring access to quality healthcare, including reproductive healthcare, for all women. 
  • Directing the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues in the Department of State to make Women and Climate Change a priority focus area. 
  • Increasing the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative Fund and adding a pillar to the Fund’s mission to invest in women-led climate resilience.