US Election 2020

What's at stake for the energy and natural resources sectors?

The 2020 US elections present American voters with a choice between two radically different visions of energy policy.

This page brings together Wood Mackenzie’s research on the possible implications of the election results. It will be updated regularly as new analysis is published.


President Donald Trump opposes attempts to curb global warming, and withdrew the US from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, arguing that it would impose “draconian financial and economic burdens” on the US. He has described his objective as “energy dominance” through maximising production and exports of hydrocarbons, and his administration has focused on attempting to remove the regulatory barriers in the way of that goal.

In his first term, his administration relaxed about 30 significant environmental regulations. If elected for a second term, his officials would continue to pursue that deregulatory agenda, and seek to clear the way for increased production of oil, gas and coal. One particular objective will be opening up new areas for oil and gas development, including the eastern Gulf of Mexico and a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.


Former Vice-President Joe Biden, on the other hand, has described climate change as “an existential threat”, and has pledged to take the US back into the Paris agreement. His stated goal is to “unleash a clean energy revolution in America”, putting the country on course for a carbon-free power sector by 2035, and net zero emissions economy-wide by 2050. He has proposed a new technology-neutral Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard, intended to support the growth of renewable power generation, and more incentives for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

He would reverse some of the deregulation enacted under President Trump, imposing “aggressive” new curbs on methane leakage and flaring, and has pledged to put an end to leasing new areas for oil and gas development. However, unlike some of his rivals for the Democratic nomination, including his running mate Kamala Harris, Biden does not support a ban on hydraulic fracturing.

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