“Vote…..while being mindful of leaving a healthy planet for present and future generations.”
By Linn Smith
March 25, 2016—-Even though the earth has experienced climate change throughout its history, the current rate of warming hasn’t been seen in 1,300 years. Satellites have enabled scientists to see the big picture of how fast global warming is taking place. According to NASA, global sea levels rose 6.7 inches in the last century. Data collection since the 1880’s, reveals that the 20 warmest years have occurred since 1981 and the 10 warmest years have occurred in the past 12 years. 2015 was the earth’s warmest year on record!
Concerned? Time has shown that most people won’t care about climate change until it’s in their own backyard—until they are personally affected. People are dealing with day to day living. Most of us have grown up taking our source of energy for granted, flip the switch—the lights come on, turn the facet–water comes out, turn the heat up–furnace kicks in, turn the air conditioner on–we feel cooler……….. gas prices drop and it’s time for a bigger car! But extreme weather conditions are now happenng in our own backyard–and these weather events are likely to become more severe and unpredictable.
Because our next administration in the U.S. will play an important role in whether we meet our goals in reducing fossil fuels, I’ve decided to summarize what each U.S. Presidential candidate’s agenda would be if they were to become president in 2017. My purpose is not to offend anyone, just to state the facts. I have taken information directly from each candidates website when available.
Here’s what Hillary states on her website, “I won’t let anyone take us backward, deny our economy the benefits of harnessing a clean energy future, or force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change.”
1. Create clean energy jobs, produce enough clean energy to power all homes in U.S.
2. Cut energy waste in homes, schools, and hospitals by 1/3 and reduce U.S. oil consumption by 1/3.
3. Continue meeting the goals the U.S. set at the Paris Climate Conference in December, 2015, and back the Clean Power Plan developed by the EPA to meet these goals
4. Launch a Clean Energy Challenge to “partner with states, cities and rural communities and give them the tools and resources they need to go beyond federal standards to cut carbon pollution and expand clean energy.”
5. End the billions in tax subsidies for oil and gas companies.
6. Stop the Keystone Pipeline which would pass through the U.S. from Canada.
On Bernie’s website he states, “Enough is enough. It’s time for a political revolution that takes on the fossil fuel billionaires, accelerates our transition to clean energy, and finally puts people before the profits of polluters. If we do nothing, the planet will heat up five to ten degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. That would cause enough sea level rise from melting glaciers to put cities like New York and Miami underwater. Executives and lobbyists for coal, oil, and gas companies have blocked every attempt to make progress on climate change, and have thrown unprecedented amounts of money (through subsidies) at elected officials to buy their loyalty.”
1. Cut U.S. carbon pollution by 40 percent by 2030 (and by over 80 percent by 2050) by putting a tax on carbon pollution.
2. Repeal fossil fuel subsidies and make massive investments in energy efficiency and clean, sustainable energy such as wind and solar power.
3. Create a Clean-Energy Workforce of 10 million good paying jobs by creating a 100% clean energy system.
4. Return billions of dollars to consumers impacted by the= transformation of our energy system by taxing the polluters and protect the most vulnerable communities in the country suffering the ravages of climate change.
5. Ban fossil fuels lobbyists from working in the White House.
6. Create a national environmental and climate justice plan that recognizes the heightened public health risks faced by low-income and minority communities.
7. Fight to overturn Citizens United. In a 5-4 decision in 2010 in the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court opened the floodgates for corporations and the super wealthy to spend unlimited and undisclosed money to buy our elected officials.
Kasich believes that energy from all sources needs to be continued, whether they are fossil fuels or clean energy, with limited environmental regulations, (his grandfather was a coal miner.) Kasich states, “An exclusive focus on unnecessary environmental regulation drives up energy costs and keeps energy independence out of reach.”
1. An energy policy that encourages more energy production from a broad base of sources. “At the same time we need environmental regulations that strike the right balance between needed protection and the need for jobs.”
2. Keep energy affordable and reliable by pursuing all sources of energy.
3. Diversifying our energy supply is the best strategy for economic growth. Government policies that encourage or discourage energy from any single source are economically counterproductive.
4. Sourcing all our energy from North America and eliminating our reliance on overseas energy makes America safer and stronger. Approve the Keystone XL pipeline to help make this happen.
5. He states, “Washington assumes authority that does not exist in pursuit of reckless regulations that will kill jobs. I will bring common sense and science to energy regulation.
6. Encourage research in new technologies.
At the twelfth Republican debate on March 10, 2016, Kasich discussed his stance on climate change and energy production, saying, “Well, I — I do believe we contribute to climate change, but I don’t think it has to be a, you know, either you’re for some environmental stringent rules or, you know, you’re not going to have any jobs. The fact is, you can have both… We want all the sources of energy. We want to dig coal, but we want to clean it when we burn it. We believe in natural gas. We believe in nuclear power. And you know what else I believe in? I happen to believe in solar energy, wind energy, efficiency, renewables matter.”
I scrolled through Trump’s website but found nothing about a clean energy plan–or any energy plan. So I turned to other websites (energyfuse.org and U.S.News) to put together what Trump would most likely do in the energy field if he were to become president.
According to U.S. News Trump has repeatedly stated he does not believe in climate change. He did post this statement on his Twitter account in 2012: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
When confronted by Sanders on this statement Trump said in January 2016, “Well, I think that climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax. A lot of people are making a lot of money. I know much about climate change. I’d be–received environmental awards. And I often joke that this is done for the benefit of China. Obviously, I joke. But this is done for the benefit of China, because China does not do anything to help climate change. They burn everything you could burn; they couldn’t care less. They have very-you know, their standards are nothing. But they, in the meantime, they can undercut us on prices. So it’s very hard on our businesses.” and on Dec. 30, 2015 he stated, “Obama’s talking about all of this with the global warming and…a lot of it’s a hoax. I mean, it’s a money-making industry, OK? It’s a hoax, a lot of it.”(Taken from politifact.com)
Trump’s Goals (not from website):
1.Trump is a vocal supporter of fracking, as a strategy to end dependence on imported oil. “Fracking will lead to American energy independence. With the price of natural gas continuing to drop, this can be at a tremendous advantage.”
2. Keystone XL: In 2012, Trump said that he found it “disgraceful” that a permit for the pipeline had not been approved.
3. Energy Independence. “The really right way is to drill our own oil. We have so much of it we don’t know what to do. Between natural gas and oil and lots of other things, we should be doing our own.”
4. Renewable Energy? He sued unsuccessfully to block construction of offshore wind turbines near one of his golf resorts in Scotland, arguing the turbines kill birds and the “finances and environment of countries and communities.”(See Planet Earth Weekly’s 2013 article, ” Scotland’s Wind Power–Not if Trump Gets His Way.”). But when campaigning in Iowa he was asked what he thought about wind subsidies by a woman who’s husband was employed in the industry. He stated, “Well, I’m okay with it. It can be hard for wind to be competitive in energy production particularly when prices for fossil fuels are so low.”
I could find nothing on Cruz’s website about his energy plan. So I turned to the website, ballotpedia.org, and from this website took some facts:
1. Cruz sponsored S.2170 – the American Energy Renaissance Act of 2014, which proposed lifting multiple regulations on energy producing industries.
2. During his 2012 Senate campaign, Cruz proposed revoking the offshore drilling moratorium.
3. In 2014, Cruz co-sponsored S.2280 – “A bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.
4. In August 2015, Cruz accused government researchers of “cooking the books” to make it appear that global warming was supported by scientific data. “If you look at satellite data for the last 18 years, there’s been zero recorded warming.The satellite says it ain’t happening,” Cruz said.
I have tried to summarize each candidate’s views on energy plans, searching first the candidate’s website for information–searching other websites when none available. Hopefully each citizen of the United States will educate themselves, not only on the views of the 2016 candidates for U.S. president, but also on the facts of climate change—and vote for the candidate who fits their values, while being mindful of leaving a healthy planet for present and future generations.