Tom Steyer on Energy & Oil

Democratic Presidential Challenger; CEO


Supports Green New Deal & carbon-neutrality by 2045

Steyer backs the Green New Deal framework proposed by many Democrats and says that if Congress fails to enact it he would use the emergency powers of the presidency to implement climate policies.

His plan calls for a carbon-neutral economy by 2045. He would invest at least $2 trillion in federal spending over a decade into new infrastructure, transportation systems, and clean energy.

His plan would also create a civilian climate corps, which Steyer says would generate one million new jobs at a cost of $250 billion.

He would dedicate $50 billion to helping workers in fossil fuel industries transition to new careers while ensuring their health care and other benefits.

He promises to rejoin the international Paris Agreement on climate, which Trump withdrew from in 2017. He also pledges more aid to other countries to help them transition from fossil fuel use.

He is skeptical of nuclear power. He favors other technologies such as wind and solar power.

Source: Council on Foreign Relations on 2019 Democratic primary , Dec 24, 2019

Nuclear isn't competitive: focus on wind & solar & batteries

The point about nuclear power is, it's not at the stage in the United States where it's competitive on price. It has a lot of risks to it in terms of disasters and we have no ability to store the toxins that come out of it and last a hundred thousand years. We actually have the technology that we need. It's called wind and solar and batteries. So in fact, what we need to do, we can do. We've got to stop taking a look at this as something that we can't do because we can do this, and we can do it in a way that rebuilds this country on an accelerated basis. Creates millions of union jobs and we come at it from the standpoint of environmental justice. This is our greatest opportunity to reinvent this country, to actually take on the biggest challenge in history and succeed together. You want to pull the country together with all this partisanship? Let's take on the biggest challenge in history and succeed together as a nation. That's what pulls people together.
Source: Newshour/Politico/PBS December Democratic primary debate , Dec 19, 2019

Climate crisis is opportunity for good middle-class jobs

Not only can we clean up the air and water in the black and brown communities where our pollution is concentrated. This is the opportunity to create literally millions of middle-class union jobs well-paid across the United States of America. Our biggest crisis is our biggest opportunity.
Source: Newshour/Politico/PBS December Democratic primary debate , Dec 19, 2019

I've spent a decade fighting oil companies & pipelines

STEYER: I'm the only person on this stage who will say that climate is the number-one priority. I would declare a state of emergency on day one. I've spent a decade fighting and beating oil companies, stopping pipelines, stopping fossil fuel plants, ensuring clean energy across the country. I would make this the number-one priority of my foreign policy. We can do this and create millions of good-paying union jobs. We take on the biggest challenge in history and we do it together.

V.P. Joe BIDEN: I think it is the existential threat to humanity. While I was passing the first climate change bill, while I managed the $90 billion recovery plan, investing more money in infrastructure that related to clean energy than any time we've ever done it, my friend was introducing more coal mines and produced more coal around the world, according to the press, than all of Great Britain produces.

Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta , Nov 20, 2019

We need to lead the world on climate, with allies abroad

The most important international problem that we're facing is climate. We can't solve the climate crisis in the United States by ourselves. It's an international crisis. I've been working on it for 10 years, taking on the corporations. But we have to work with our allies and our frenemies around the world. So if you look at what Mr. Trump is doing, of course he's been bought by the oil and gas companies. But any problem that we're going to do, but specifically climate, we're going to have to lead the world morally, we're going to have to lead it technologically, financially, and commercially. This is the proof that this kind of America first, go it alone, trust nobody and be untrustworthy is the worst idea I've ever heard, and I would change it on day one in every single light.
Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

Ban fracking

Tom Steyer on Fossil Fuels vs. Renewable Energy: Ban fracking. 11 CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Cory Booker; Peter Buttigieg; Bill de Blasio; Tulsi Gabbard; Kirsten Gillibrand; Jay Inslee; Wayne Messam; Bernard Sanders; Eric Swalwell; Elizabeth Warren; Marianne Williamson.

The rise of fracking has enabled energy companies to produce vast amounts of oil and gas from shale rock formations, but the process remains controversial because of the use of chemicals to crack th

Source: Politico "2020Dems on the Issues" , Jul 17, 2019

Departed from Farallon in part due to fossil fuel holdings

More troublesome for Steyer's public image is [his investment] fund's history of investing in fossil fuel projects, including a giant coal mine in Australia that generates vast quantities of carbon emissions. Steyer's critics have long seen his past personal stake in coal mining as hypocritical. Steyer said he left Farallon in part because of its holdings in fossil fuels. "I wish I'd made the move away from fossil fuels sooner," he said.
Source: Los Angeles Times on 2020 Democratic primary , Jul 14, 2019

When I realized the threat of fossil fuels, I divested

Billionaire activist and 2020 presidential candidate Tom Steyer on Sunday defended his past investments in fossil fuels. Steyer was asked on ABC's "This Week" about the investments his hedge fund had made in fossil fuels, though he has more recently spent millions of dollars to fight climate change. "In our business, we invested in every part of the economy, including fossil fuels," he said. "When I realized what a threat this was, I changed. I divested from all that stuff."
Source: The Hill magazine on 2020 Democratic primary , Jul 14, 2019

AdWatch: I left my business to combat climate change

[The Steyer campaign's first] pair of ads are backed up by $1.4 million dollars in spending. They will run nationally on CNN and MSNBC and locally in the four early states--Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada--for two weeks, from July 10 to July 23.

"I left my business to combat climate change, fix our democracy, and hold President Trump accountable," Steyer said in one of his new ads. "Last year, we ran the largest youth voter registration in history, helping double turnout and win back the House."

The $1.4 million buy represents a small chunk of what Steyer has committed to spending on his presidential bid. A Steyer spokesperson said that the billionaire former hedge fund manager will spend "at least $100 million" on the race.

Source: Politico.com AdWatch: 2020 Democratic primary , Jul 10, 2019

Donated $41m for sustainable energy center

In 2008, Steyer and his wife gave $41 million to establish the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy at Stanford University, a program which specializes on the development of affordable renewable energy technologies and promotion of public policies to that end.
Source: Townhall.com on 2020 Democratic primary , Jul 9, 2019

Gave $41 million for sustainable energy program at Stanford

In 2008, Steyer and his wife gave $41 million to establish the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy at Stanford University, a program which specializes on the development of affordable renewable energy technologies and promotion of public policies to that end.
Source: Townhall.com, 2019 interview series , Jul 9, 2019

Cut greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020

Source: Ballotpedia.org on California ballot measure voting records , Jul 2, 2019

NextGen Climate: $170 million to advance renewable energy

Tom Steyer isn't your average California tree hugger. His organization, NextGen Climate, has spent $170 million over the past four years advocating for policies and politicians that help the environment and advance renewable energy.
Source: Nick Stockton in Wired.com on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Mar 23, 2017

Fears current policies will subsidize fossil fuel extraction

The issue is going to be, to an extent, what the new administration will do to subsidize fossil fuels--how they can make dirtier fuel, which is more expensive, more attractive. Maybe that means leasing public lands at low prices. But the only thing they can really do to ensure long-term drilling is put in infrastructure, like pipelines.
Source: Nick Stockton in Wired.com on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Mar 23, 2017

Supports Paris agreement to develop renewable technology

Q: Given what you know about how policy moves markets, what will we give up when Trump pulls the US out of the Paris agreement?

Steyer: OK, so look at the Paris agreement: It's going to force the developed world to change its energy sources. That means the US could be the leader in developing renewable technology for more than a billion people--a huge incoming market--who don't have electricity at all.

Source: Nick Stockton in Wired.com on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Mar 23, 2017

AdWatch: Do even more with endless supply of wind and sun

Tom Steyer jumpstarted his campaign with this ad, running during the Democratic debate, that makes a pitch for clean energy. Steyer himself stars in it and repeats NextGen's demand that 2016 candidates embrace an energy-use goal of 50 percent renewables by 2030 (and all of the Democrats have). What's odd about the ad is how much it sounds like he's running his own campaign for office. Steyer is widely rumored to be considering a run for California governor, after he decided not to run for Senate in 2016.

"I'm Tom Steyer," he says. "With bold leadership and an endless supply of wind and sun, we can do even more. The goal is 50 percent by 2030."

He concludes the ad by saying, "So what are we waiting for?"

We're waiting for Steyer to announce his run, apparently.

Source: The New Republic magazine on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Jul 2, 2015

Proposed 10% on oil extraction to support university system

Tom Steyer wants to bail out California's troubled university system with a 10 percent oil extraction tax. The proposal is to place a 10% tax on oil extraction. It is expected the tax would generate about $2 billion annually. The last attempt to enact such a tax, Proposition 87 in 2006, went down because opponents made the case the new tax would lead to higher gas prices.
Source: Human Events magazine on 2020 presidential hopefuls , May 26, 2015

CPAC panel discussion: "What Tom Steyer Won't Tell You"

Tom Steyer didn't get a lot for his money in the 2014 midterms, but the $67 million he spent last year did win him a title previously held by Al Gore: The Most Hated Environmentalist in Conservative America.

For proof, consider this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at Maryland's National Harbor: An entire panel was devoted to "What Tom Steyer Won't Tell You" about climate change.

Murray Energy claimed that "Tom Steyer, Al Gore and their ilk fabricate about global warming and now climate change."

"Tom Steyer is a billionaire based in California," the Institute for Liberty said. "He argues for greater regulation on his competitors and forces to get subsidies for his green energy boondoggles."

Meanwhile, no one seemed too concerned with how Murray Energy stands to benefit economically from fighting climate change regulations. They were too busy demonizing Steyer--literally. One fifth-year CPAC attendee told me after the panel, "Tom Steyer is the devil."

Source: The New Republic on 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Feb 27, 2015

Safe, secure, sustainable energy instead of oil subsidies

Mitt Romney and I don't share the same vision for the future, especially when it comes to energy. Governor Romney would do nothing to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and much to increase it. He would gut President Obama's investments in clean energy. He wants to keep giving four billion taxpayer dollars to oil companies every year--the very same oil companies pouring millions into the outside groups backing his campaign.

Or we could follow President Obama's long-term plan for the future for an economy fueled by a safe, secure, sustainable energy supply. During the last several years, we've seen tremendous progress on new technologies that can make us energy independent and create thousands of jobs. This is about investing for the long haul, not for a quick-and-dirty buck. This is about taking control of our destiny by doing what Americans do best: out-innovating, out-thinking, out-hustling our competitors. And President Obama has put us on track to do just that.

Source: Speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention , Sep 5, 2012

America's dependence on foreign oil is lowest in two decades

Last week in Tampa [at the Republican National Convention], you didn't hear any plans that would create jobs now or a long-term plan for energy security. You also didn't hear very many facts. So here are a few: America's dependence on foreign oil is the lowest in two decades. Even as we've tightened our belts elsewhere, America has made record investments in clean energy technologies from wind to solar to biofuels. We're modernizing our electrical grid to harness more renewable power sources. We're doubling fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. And domestic production of natural gas is at an all-time high--natural gas, which, if developed safely and responsibly, could help bridge our energy present to our energy future.
Source: Speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention , Sep 5, 2012

Other candidates on Energy & Oil: Tom Steyer on other issues:
2020 Presidential Democratic Primary Candidates:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 GOP and Independent Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
CEO Howard Schultz (I-WA)
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (L-NY,R-MA)
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2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
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Page last updated: Dec 29, 2019