Tom Steyer gives presidential candidates climate demand

Tom Steyer gives presidential candidates climate demand
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Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer wants presidential candidates to lay out visions for a low-carbon future in order to get donations from his political action committee.

2016 hopefuls will have to pledge energy policies that would lead to half of the country’s electricity coming from zero-carbon sources by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.

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“We will call on candidates to lay out policies that will get us to this goal,” Steyer, founder and president of NextGen Climate PAC, told The New York Times Friday. “That’s the hurdle candidates have to get over to win our support.”

Steyer declined to tell the Times how much he will spend in the election, but a NextGen spokesman said the group would “double down” on its mission. Steyer donated $67 million in the 2014 election to NextGen, by far the largest chunk of the group’s funding.

He also did not say specifically how he would push candidates to follow his request.

“This ambitious — but achievable — goal will accelerate America’s transition to a clean energy economy, improve public health by reducing pollution, lower energy costs for families and businesses, create jobs here at home, spur innovation and drive our country’s economic growth for decades,” Steyer said in a Friday statement.

The strategy is likely focused on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who is by far the front-runner so far for the party’s nomination. She has yet to outline her energy and environmental platform, though aides have hinted that such a platform will come this summer.

Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley, former Maryland governor, has already laid out a vision for 100 percent renewable electricity by 2050, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)  has made climate change a central piece of his campaign.

NextGen’s activity thus far in the 2016 election has been focused on calling attention to Republican candidates’ climate platforms — or lack thereof — and their connection to the billionaire conservative Koch brothers.