These are the responses of the 2016 Presidential candidates to the third of the twenty questions posed to them earlier.
I posted the responses to the first question (concerning innovation) at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 1”.
The responses to the second question (concerning research) are at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 2″.
I hope that you will take the time to look at these responses and offer your own thoughts. My own thoughts and analysis are at the end of the post.
- Climate Change
The Earth’s climate is changing and political discussion has become divided over both the science and the best response. What are your views on climate change, and how would your administration act on those views?
Hillary Clinton (D)
When it comes to climate change, the science is crystal clear. Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time and its impacts are already being felt at home and around the world. That’s why as President, I will work both domestically and internationally to ensure that we build on recent progress and continue to slash greenhouse gas pollution over the coming years as the science clearly tells us we must.
I will set three goals that we will achieve within ten years of taking office and which will make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st century:
- Generate half of our electricity from clean sources, with half a billion solar panels installed by the end of my first term.
- Cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals and offices by a third and make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world.
- Reduce American oil consumption by a third through cleaner fuels and more efficient cars, boilers, ships, and trucks.
To get there, my administration will implement and build on the range of pollution and efficiency standards and clean energy tax incentives that have made the United States a global leader in the battle against climate change. These standards are also essential for protecting the health of our children, saving American households and businesses billions of dollars in energy costs, and creating thousands of good paying jobs.
These standards set the floor, not the ceiling. As President, I will launch a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge to partner with those states, cities, and rural communities across the country that are ready to take the lead on clean energy and energy efficiency, giving them the flexibility, tools and resources they need to succeed.
Donald Trump (R)
There is still much that needs to be investigated in the field of “climate change.” Perhaps the best use of our limited financial resources should be in dealing with making sure that every person in the world has clean water. Perhaps we should focus on eliminating lingering diseases around the world like malaria. Perhaps we should focus on efforts to increase food production to keep pace with an ever-growing world population. Perhaps we should be focused on developing energy sources and power production that alleviates the need for dependence on fossil fuels. We must decide on how best to proceed so that we can make lives better, safer and more prosperous.
Jill Stein (G)
Climate change is the greatest existential threat that humanity has ever faced. Here is how we will act to address it:
Enact an emergency Green New Deal to turn the tide on climate change, revive the economy and make wars for oil obsolete. Initiate a WWII-scale national mobilization to halt climate change, the greatest threat to humanity in our history. Create 20 million jobs by transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture, conservation and restoration of critical infrastructure, including ecosystems.
- Implement a Just Transition that empowers those communities and workers most impacted by climate change and the transition to a green economy. Ensure that any worker displaced by the shift away from fossil fuels will receive full income and benefits as they transition to alternative work.
- Enact energy democracy based on public, community and worker ownership of our energy system. Treat energy as a human right.
- Redirect research funds from fossil fuels into renewable energy and conservation. Build a nationwide smart electricity grid that can pool and store power from a diversity of renewable sources, giving the nation clean, democratically-controlled, energy.
- End destructive energy extraction and associated infrastructure: fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, natural gas pipelines, and uranium mines. Halt any investment in fossil fuel infrastructure, including natural gas, and phase out all fossil fuel power plants. Phase out nuclear power and end nuclear subsidies. End all subsidies for fossil fuels and impose a greenhouse gas fee / tax to charge polluters for the damage they have created.
- Support a strong enforceable global climate treaty that limits global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius and provides just financial compensation to developing countries.
- Support organic and regenerative agriculture, permaculture, and sustainable forestry.
- Enact stronger environmental justice laws and measures to ensure that low-income and communities of color are not disproportionately impacted.
Okay, let’s start with Trump’s answer, or rather his non-answer. He simply did not answer the question, offering distracters. Granted each of the distracters is something that must be addressed but you don’t answer a question by giving non-answers. And considering how much he wants to spend on other issues, stated that we have limited resources is sort of contradictory. And there is the fact that his answer shows that he doesn’t consider climate change a reality.
The answers by both Clinton and Stein are oriented towards energy policy but you can’t differentiate between the two areas.
Stein’s answer does, I believe, provide a better relationship between energy and climate change. But neither Clinton nor Stein offer complete answers.
If we remove crude oil from the energy equation, what will we use? Stein takes nuclear energy out the equation which reduces the capability of producing energy and stresses the other options; interesting enough, she did not appear to push for fusion research. (And it should be noted that production of alternative energy can be as “dirty” as traditional energy).
Both Clinton and Stein understand the impact of climate change and have offered a solution. I don’t think that the solutions offered are sufficient but they will work. In this case, Donald Trump doesn’t have a clue as to what is going on.