climate change

Would you eliminate fossil fuel subsidies?

Yes

Yes, eliminate

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet told The Post he supports eliminating many federal subsidies for fossil fuels, including “intangible drilling costs, percentage depletion, deductions for tertiary injectants and credits for enhanced oil recovery.” His climate plan said he’ll use the saved money to “offer retrofits and access to zero-emission energy like community solar” for struggling families.

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Michael Bennet
Bennet

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“There is simply no excuse for subsidizing fossil fuel, either in the United States or around the world,” Biden‘s climate change plan said. “In fact, a 2015 International Monetary Fund study showed that efficient fossil fuel pricing would have reduced global carbon emissions by nearly 30%. Biden will build on the achievements of the Obama-Biden Administration to get G20 countries to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. By engaging key leaders, including in China, Biden will secure a global commitment to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies by the end of his first term. He will lead by example, with the United States cutting fossil fuel subsidies at home in his first year and redirecting these resources to the historic investment in clean energy infrastructure.”

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Joe Biden
Biden

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“Yes. I am a cosponsor of the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act and believe we can go further towards eliminating fossil fuel subsidies,” Booker told The Post. In his climate plan, Booker pledged to “accelerate the end of fossil fuels by immediately eliminating all fossil fuel subsidies.”

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Cory Booker
Booker

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

“I would eliminate tax write offs for fossil fuel companies,” Buttigieg told The Post.

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Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro favors eliminating federal subsidies for fossil fuels, he told The Post. His climate plan said, “we will immediately stop the exploration and extraction of fossil fuels on public lands and end all taxpayer subsidies of fossil fuel production.”

Jan. 12: “We’re gonna say no to subsidizing big oil and say yes to passing a Green New Deal.”

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Julian Castro
Castro

Bill de Blasio (Dropped out)

Mayor, New York City

de Blasio is no longer running for president. De Blasio supports eliminating federal subsidies for fossil fuels, he told The Post.

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Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney supports ending subsidies for fossil fuels and said “use the subsidies to invest in direct air capture to remove CO2 directly from the air.”

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John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

“Yes, I’m in favor of eliminating all federal subsidies for fossil fuels. I don’t believe in government welfare for rich and powerful multinational corporations that represents the worst of crony capitalism,” Gabbard told The Post. “The American people should not be footing the bill for an industry that destroys our environment and quality of life.”

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Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. Gillibrand “believes that our tax policy should be changed to incentivize investment away from fossil fuels and towards clean and renewable energy,” a campaign spokesman told The Post.

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Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris “will end federal subsidies for fossil fuels and hold Big Oil accountable for its role in the climate crisis,” her climate plan said. “As Kamala holds polluters accountable, she will ensure that the hardworking employees of these companies become the builders of the clean economy of the future. That’s why the families of fossil fuel workers are included in her Climate Equity Act, which will ensure that these workers help form the policies that will create millions of new jobs.” She co-sponsored the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act.

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Kamala Harris
Harris

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. “Yes, we need to move away from fossil fuel subsidies over time as we must take a phased approach so that workers in these industries are not unduly impacted and are able to transition to new jobs,” Hickenlooper told The Post.

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John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. “Yes. As president, I will eliminate all subsidies for fossil fuel companies, full stop,” Inslee told The Post. “And we must go further – in addition to monetary subsidies, we must get the federal government out of the business of fossil fuel giveaways that unfairly and irresponsibly sustain industries that are endangering the future of our country and world. The gravy train must be over.”

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Jay Inslee
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar favors eliminating federal subsidies for fossil fuels, her campaign told The Post. She co-sponsored the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act.

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Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. “Yes. The more than $15 billion that we spend subsidizing the fossil fuel industry will end during my administration,” Moulton told The Post. “We also subsidize fossil fuels to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars by not charging for the pollution they put into our atmosphere. By incorporating a carbon price into the cost of fossil fuels, we will gradually eliminate the largest subsidy to the industry and lower the cost future generations will have to pay.”

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Seth Moulton
Moulton

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke's plan “would finally end the tens of billions of dollars of subsidies that are currently given to fossil fuel companies,” a campaign spokesman told The Post. “In particular, he would focus on closing tax loopholes aimed at fossil fuel companies and changing royalty rates to reflect climate costs.”

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Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

“Yes. Currently, direct, permanent fossil fuel subsidies are approximately $2 billion higher than temporary subsidies for renewable energy,” Ryan told The Post. “I would support cutting direct production subsidies for fossil fuels and would redirect those funds to investing in renewable energy production, distribution, and storage.”

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Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“When [Sanders] is in the White House, he will end all federal subsidies that benefit fossil fuel companies,” a campaign spokesman told The Post. “When fossil-fuel companies are racking up massive profits, it is absurd to provide huge taxpayer subsidies to pad their already enormous earnings. After all, it is immoral that some in Congress advocate harsh cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security while those same people vote to preserve billions in tax breaks for the most profitable corporations in America.”

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Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak supports eliminating federal subsidies for fossil fuels, he told The Post.

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Joe Sestak
Sestak

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

“End all forms of government giveaways to big polluters at the expense of American taxpayers, including unlimited and unpriced global warming pollution, direct subsidies, tax breaks, lax and under-enforced environmental and worker protections, and the sale of public resources at giveaway prices,” Steyer's climate plan framework said.

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Tom Steyer
Steyer

Eric Swalwell (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, California

Swalwell is no longer running for president. “Yes, I am in favor of eliminating these subsidies as an important step towards transitioning from fossil fuels to low-carbon technologies,” Swalwell told The Post. “Among those that should be eliminated: writing off intangible drilling costs, writing off depletion of oil and gas wells, ending tax expenditures which allow oil companies to deduct taxes during the oil-well development process, and domestic manufacturing deductions and deductions for fossil fuel exploration.”

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Eric Swalwell
Swalwell

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“I oppose subsidies for fossil fuel companies,” Warren told The Post. “I’ve co-sponsored bills, like the American Energy Innovation Act and Senator Schatz’s FAIR Energy Policy Act, which would get rid of these subsidies.” She co-sponsored the Close Big Oil Loopholes Act.

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Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

“Yes — all of them,” Williamson told The Post.

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Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“I’d get rid of them all. Why would you leave any of them?” Yang said when asked at a CNN town hall if he would eliminate some fossil fuel subsidies. On his campaign website, Yang pledges to “end the current tax benefits and cuts given to fossil fuel companies which give them an unwarranted competitive advantage over alternative energy sources.”

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Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“In recent years, the energy industry has spent $354 million to influence our elections and government while they received $29.4 billion in federal subsidies,” Bullock told The Post. “Addressing the influence of dark money spending in our elections is one of the first steps in addressing climate change. I would support a comprehensive review of energy extraction, exploration, production and distribution taxation to determine reforms that equitably address the need for low and zero greenhouse gas emission technologies.”

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Steve Bullock
Bullock

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Background The federal government subsidizes fossil fuel exploration and production through a number of tax breaks. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that these tax breaks cost $4.6 billion in 2016. The Trump administration proposed a rule that would prop up coal by crediting power plants that keep a 90-day supply of fuel; it was rejected by regulators.

How we compiled candidate positions

The Washington Post sent a detailed questionnaire to every Democratic campaign asking whether they support various climate change policies. We organized candidates with similar stances into groups using a combination of those answers, legislative records, action taken in an executive role and other public comments, such as policy discussion on campaign websites, social media posts, interviews, town halls and other news reports. See something that we missed? Let us know.

The page will update to reflect candidates’ positions as they become more clear. We expect candidates to develop more detailed policy positions throughout the campaign, and this page will update as we learn more about their plans. We will also note if candidates change their position on an issue.

At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president or an exploratory committee by June 1. Wayne Messam, mayor of Miramar, Fla., reported $0 in spending during the 3rd quarter of 2019. As a result, he is no longer considered a "major candidate" in the Post's 2020 coverage and has been removed from this project.