Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Climate Change

by Elizabeth Broadbent
Originally Published: 

The Maldives are sinking. El Nino lasts longer and stronger. The East Coast faces more polar vortexes, the South more flooding, the West more drought. Evidence of climate change is all around us. Scientists sound almost apocalyptic when they discuss it, and it’s an issue of vital importance to all voting demographics – especially Millennials.

According to Politico, Hillary has assembled over 100 people – a “virtual army of formal and informal advisers on energy, the environment and climate change — and the names on the list indicate she fully aims to continue President Barack Obama’s push to green the economy and take on global warming.” Clinton is planning to use her executive power to act on climate change and green energy, rather than waiting for legislators to send her bills. The Guardian says Hillary is “running on the strongest climate change proposal ever”, and her “record and stances are cut from the same cloth as Obama’s.” Hillary herself says that she “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.”

Climate change, says Hillary’s website, “is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time.” On day 1 of her presidency, she would set in motion goals that will be achieved within 10 years of taking office: “generate enough renewable energy to power every American home; … Cut energy waste … and make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world; and reduce American oil consumption by one-third.”

Without relying on legislators, Hillary will keep Obama’s promise at the Paris Climate Accords: to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 percent in 2025 relative to 2005 levels and put the country on a path to cut emissions more than 80 percent by 2050.” She would “launch a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge to partner with states, cities, and rural communities to cut carbon pollution and expand clean energy, including for low-income families.” And she would put capital into clean energy “infrastructure, innovation, manufacturing and workforce development.”

She would cut billions of tax subsidies to oil and gas companies and use the money to invest in clean energy; she would also cut methane emissions. Moreover, Hillary would “take environmental justice and climate justice central priorities by setting bold national goals to eliminate lead poisoning within five years, clean up the more than 450,000 toxic brownfield sites across the country, expand solar and energy efficiency solutions in low-income communities, and create an Environmental and Climate Justice Task Force.” She also plans to “keep public lands public” and increase access to parks.

Revitalizing coal communities is also on her list, and she has a plan to do it all the way down to supporting local arts collectives.

She does support drilling for oil and natural gas in the US, as well as potentially-dangerous and polluting fracking. Her family’s charitable foundation has taken a lot of money from companies like Exxon Mobile and ConocoPhillips, and from countries like Saudi Arabia. While only 1.01% of her campaign donations have come from oil companies, including oil company exces and employees, her SuperPAC (which she does not control) has taken in 3.25 million from the same, which is still only 5.85% of the money collected.

Trump, on the other hand, told a South Carolina audience that global warming was “a hoax, a lot of it,” and in 2013 tweeted that it was “bullshit.” He also wants to dismantle the Paris Accords. Moreover, when asked about climate change on ScienceDebate, “Trump implied that the US shouldn’t waste “financial resources” on climate change.” He also implied that he did not believe in the science behind climate change, something widely accepted by scientists worldwide.

According to The Hill, as of Sept. 26, Trump has tapped Myron Ebell to lead the adminstration’s transition efforts for the EPA. Ebell, “director of energy and environment policy at the conservative think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute”, is an “outspoken, longtime skeptic of the scientific consensus that human activity is dramatically changing the climate” who calls global warming “climate alarmism.” He will be the one leading the daunting task of dismantling all of Obama’s climate reform, including the Paris Climate Accords.

According to the Sierra Club, if elected, Trump would be the only world leader who denies climate change.

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