“Trump’s view of the environment is dangerously ignorant at a time when our nation, and the world, needs intellectually agile leaders.”
By Linn Smith
July 14, 2016—-(Revised from the March 26, 2016 article, “Presidential Candidates 2016: Views and Agendas on Climate Change and Clean Energy”)
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 on enegy would be if they were to become president in 2017. I have taken information directly from each candidates website when available.
The following information is taken from DonaldTrump.com. It states his 100 day action plan if elected, followed by my comments:
1. Trump will rescind the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of U.S. Rule.
The problem with this agenda? If we do nothing the planet will heat up. We need a comittment from all facets of society to make the Climate Action Plan work. “Left unchecked, the human and economic cost of climate change, already evident, is sure to grow. If you doubt that, check out the $19.5 billion price tag for New Your City’s climate program.” (Huffington Post)
2. Trump will save the coal industry (See my article, From Coal to Renewables, June 17, 2016)
Why is this a problem? Millions of dollars have been allocated to develop programs to retrain workers in the coal industry through the U.S. Dept of Labor’s “Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce Grants.” The grant retrains coal workers and workers down the coal production chain. This act will “diversify economies, create jobs in new and existing industries, attract new sources of jobs, create investments and provide a range of workforce services and skills training, resulting in training for high quality, in demand jobs.” Trump’s “Save the Coal Industry,” to put coal miners back to work is obsolete. We need to move forward Mr.Trump!
3. Trump will renew the permit application for the Keystone Pipeline. (See my article “The Keystone XL Pipeline: Why It’s a Bad Idea!” August 6, 2015)
Why is this a problem? Processing the tar sand of Canada and sending it through the XL Pipeline for household use requires a processing that generates 12% more greenhouse gases per barrel than conventional oil. Currently, oil is not produced from tar sand on a large, commercial basis, but the XL Pipeline would change that, opening the spigot to allow the flow of “dirty oil” around the world.
4. Trump will lift moratoriums on energy production in federal areas.
Why is this a problem? We can’t drill or mine our way to a healthy planet!
5. Trump will revoke policies that impose restrictions on new drilling technologies
The impact and health of nearby residents where fracking is taking place is still unknown. Research has shown that methane leaking from the fracking wells wipes out any benefit of using natural gas as a cleaner energy. Also, drilling rigs are popping up very close to homes and schools, impacting the quality of life and lowering property values.
6. Trump will cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.
Greenhouse gases escaping into our atmosphere effect the entire planet, not just the U.S. Solomon Hsiang, of University of California, states, “If the U.S. does not contribute reciprocally to global actions, we will be free-riding on the hard work of other nations!”
7. Trump says any future regulations will go through a test: Is it good for the worker? If it doesn’t pass this test, the rule will not be approved.
As Bernie says, it’s time to put clean energy before the profit of billionaires benefiting from the fossil fuel industry. It’s time to retrain workers in clean energy and for the fossil fuel wealthy to ask themselves what kind of planet they want to leave for future generations, for their children and grandchildren. We all need to work together to make the change and we each need to make the sacrifice of what stands in the way of moving forward. Big money needs to stop making the decisions!
Here’s Hillary’s energy plan according to 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.
Our Children’s Future is at Stake–Clean Energy for the Future.
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.