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Climate Change

Tackling the Climate Crisis

The climate crisis is one of the defining challenges of our time. Americans are already living with the effects of climate change. We see longer fire seasons and more destructive natural disasters. Yet Donald Trump and dark money groups representing the energy industry have taken us backward by gutting pollution standards, expanding drilling into sensitive areas, and abandoning our global leadership.


Steve will immediately take significant action to get America running on clean energy, re-engage with the world on tackling climate change, and continue to create good jobs addressing climate change.


Immediate and Durable Action

  • Rejoin the Paris Agreement on Day One, which was agreed to by nearly 200 countries.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, but Steve believes we should aim to beat that by a decade or earlier.
  • Require each federal agency to develop a plan to reduce carbon emissions each year of his administration. 
  • Aggressively expand clean energy like solar and wind power as well as significantly expanding energy conservation efforts.
  • Reverse Trump’s weakening of automobile fuel efficiency standards. Then strengthen those standards, so the auto industry starts investing more in fuel-efficient cars that save us money on gas and reduce pollution.
  • Direct the Departments of Interior and Agriculture to achieve net-zero emissions on our public lands by 2030. This can achieve significant reductions through forestry, aggressive restoration of grasslands and wetlands to capture carbon, as well as responsibly deploying clean energy projects.
  • Take on the energy industry and stop dark money groups like those bankrolled by the Koch Brothers. These special interest groups flood our elections with outside dollars and prevent Washington from taking even the first step to address climate change.
  • Recruit top climate scientists to work in federal agencies after increased departures during the Trump Administration.
  • Set realistic emissions reduction targets for the U.S. military. One study pegs the U.S. military’s greenhouse gas emissions at the equivalent of 25,000 kilotons of carbon dioxide. This means a significant investment into biofuels (especially for aircraft) and new energy technologies.


Aggressively Transition to Cleaner Energy

  • Expand clean energy like wind and solar power. 
  • Improve our Renewable Fuel Standards to maximize environmental benefits.


Invest in Our Future

  • Increase research investments to unleash American innovation in our colleges, labs, small businesses, minority- and women-owned businesses, and farms and ranches to catalyze a nationwide clean energy boom.
  • Work with state governments, the private sector, and unions to update our national electric grid – the oldest energy technology and equipment still operating. An updated grid will create jobs, modernize delivery, and spur economic growth across the country.
  • Follow the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recommendation and invest in new carbon capture technologies. These innovations can capture and use carbon in advanced ceramics, cement, or other products key to commerce and infrastructure. These advancements can drastically cut carbon pollution while creating sustainable jobs in the clean-energy economy.
  • Direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture to revitalize federal research so that farmers and ranchers can cut costs, boost productivity, and improve the environment.
  • Invest in efficient infrastructure and homes, which can reduce carbon pollution by at least 20%. This means reducing pollution, replacing leaking methane pipes, and driving more efficient energy use in our heating, cooling, lighting, and mechanical systems. This not only makes our homes and businesses more comfortable, it lowers utility bills for families across the country.


Leave No Community Behind

  • Invest in the workers who powered our country for generations so they lead the way in the new clean energy economy.  
  • Direct the Department of Labor to strengthen training and credentialing programs for workers in communities that are going through economic transition.
  • Engage farmers and ranchers – the original conservationists who know first-hand the importance of dealing with a changing climate. Steve will work with them and draw on their expertise to develop the next generation of biofuels, better leverage carbon-reducing cover crops to improve soil health, restore forests and wetlands to build resilience to extreme weather, and further incentivize reductions in greenhouse gases.
  • Direct the Department of Agriculture to work cooperatively with farm and ranch trade groups to see how they can develop models like the U.S. dairy industry’s plan to cut greenhouse emissions by 25% from 2010 levels by next year.

Building on a Record of Climate Action

  • Joined the U.S. Climate Alliance and established the Montana Climate Change Council.
  • In 2016, The Governor’s Energy Blueprint laid a path for the state to expand clean energy solutions, quadrupling the state’s installed solar capacity and doubling wind generation during Steve’s tenure.
  • Established the Montana Renewables Development Action Plan, a first-of-its kind partnership with the Bonneville Power Administration and regional partners that creates a future for Montana renewable energy.   
  • Opposed the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Fostered national leadership on renewable energy and lowering carbon pollution emissions through co-chairing the Governors’ Wind and Solar Energy Coalition.
  • Joined seven other western states in signing the REV West MOU to provide an Intermountain West Electric Vehicle (EV) Corridor, so that citizens, commerce, and tourists can travel the West in electric vehicles without having to worry about if electric vehicle infrastructure exists.
  • As power markets transition from coal to cleaner energy, Steve secured $5.6 million in federal POWER grants to retrain workers in Colstrip, Montana, to help the community and families succeed.
  • As coal plants retire, Steve signed a new law that gives workers in coal mines and coal plants the first crack at new cleanup and reclamation jobs (with a prevailing wage requirement).  
  • Co-chaired the bipartisan State Carbon Capture Work Group and the Governors’ Partnership for Carbon Capture, helping ensure these innovative technologies realize their potential as part of our national energy, economic, and environmental strategy.
  • Vetoed bills in every legislative session that would have weakened the state’s renewable energy laws.
  • Blocked bills that undermined renewable energy development in rural areas.
  • Vetoed bills that would have harmed Montana’s rooftop solar industry by eliminating “net metering.”
  • Vetoed bills that gave special treatment to the oil, gas, and coal industries by allowing them to degrade Montana’s clean air and water, get out of paying their fair share in taxes, and weaken the public’s right to know where they operate.
  • Vetoed legislation that would have made it more difficult to use an electric car.