A Stark Contrast: Clinton v. Trump on Climate Policy

Clinton wants to cut carbon emissions, Trump wants to raise them.

Forty percent of millennials don’t see a difference between Clinton and Trump on environment, energy, or climate policy.  That’s just wrong — so wrong that it’s hard to believe anyone is that misinformed.  The candidates are as different as day and night on those issues.  As Paul Krugman said on Friday, “there is a huge, incredibly consequential divide on climate policy.”

Trump’s enthusiasm for fossil fuels, and his opposition to climate policy, aren’t just a matter of a few stray tweets.  It’s memorable that he has called climate change a hoax.  In August, he said that no one “knows for sure” whether the planet is getting warmer or cooler. But it may be more significant that his environment and energy transition team is headed by Myron Ebell, a man who has devoted his entire career to denying the existence of climate change. The transition lead for the Department of Energy is a Koch lobbyist, and Trump has turned for energy advice to men like Harold Hamm, an Oklahoma oil tycoon, and Robert Murray, CEO of the Murray coal company.  Not to mention a former aide to Senator Inhofe, the man who once brought a snowball to the Senate floor to disprove climate change.  Trump has called for drastic expansion of U.S. production of oil, gas, and coal. It’s not surprising that Trump has pledge to eliminate Obama’s carbon restrictions and back out of the Paris Agreement.  If you want more carbon in the atmosphere, Trump is definitely your guy.

Clinton has been just as clear about her belief in the seriousness of climate change.  In her acceptance speech, she made her position totally clear:

“I believe in science.  I believe that climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs.”

She has strongly endorsed Obama’s Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement.  As Secretary of State, she helped lay the groundwork for Paris in discussions with Chinese and Indian leaders.  As a Senator, she is said to have been a “very focused, very diligent” member of the environment committee.  She had a lifetime score of 82% from the League of Conservation Voters.  (Trump hasn’t held an office so he doesn’t have a score; Pence’s lifetime score was 4%) Her transition leaders include Ken Salazar, formerly Secretary of Interior, and Jennifer Granholm, who has made renewable energy a personal crusade.

How you vote, or whether you vote, is your decision.  But don’t make the mistake of thinking their policies are the same. One wants to increase the use of fossil fuels; the other wants to fight climate change.  Elections have consequences.

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Reader Comments

8 Replies to “A Stark Contrast: Clinton v. Trump on Climate Policy”

  1. Trump’s opposition to Obama’s climate policies are part of a much deeper and very broad societal opposition to overreaching regulatory abuse and maleficence in the EPA. Climate activists have only themselves to blame for lost credibility. Climate is not an important issue in this election and has not been an effective argument against Trump.

    1. In other words, ‘The fossil fuel industry, as well as the Republicans they buy and the media loyal to them, have been successful in misleading enough of the electorate.’

      Your consistent avoidance of addressing any literature that disagrees with your point of view is just one example of their success.

  2. Dan, in the newest NATURE CONSERVANCY “THE CLIMATE ISSUE,” in Pres/CEO Mark Tercek’s column “Moving the Needle on Climate Change” he concluded with:

    Every day I ask myself, “Are we being bold enough to effectively tackle the climate challenge?” My answer is, “No.”

    I know you folks consider me to be a troll for saying this repeatedly, but I’m never going to give up on saying the following:

    Academics refuse to join together to inform and educate the general public because, as Chancellor Dirks documented:

    “so many intellectuals don’t want to take on the sort of complications and impurities that come with being public.”

    Climate changes prove daily that the human race is at increasingly grave risk because of this cultural failure.

    Either we find a better way to communicate and motivate the general public, or the consequences for our newest generations shall be totally unacceptable and inexcusable.

    Intellectuals like you folks at Legal Planet are among the best there are at explaining what we need to know to protect our future, but right now you are all doing it on separate soap boxes and that is totally failing to effectively tackle the climate challenge.

    1. Anthony said;
      “…..Intellectuals like you folks at Legal Planet are among the best there are at explaining what we need to know to protect our future, but right now you are all doing it on separate soap boxes and that is totally failing to effectively tackle the climate challenge……”

      Dear Anthony,
      We must accept the fact that intellectuals like the folks at Legal Planet have done their best and there is nothing more they can do to effectively tackle the climate challenge. For that, we would need for Hillary to impose more regulatory controls on carbon dioxide emissions, instead she offers renewable energy projects which do not mitigate the global climate. Hillary cannot be trusted on climate issues.

      Hillary, intellectuals at Legal Planet, Anthony St John, the EPA and Obama Administration, collectively do not have the knowledge and do not know how to effectively mitigate global climate, and they refuse to admit it.

          1. Note that the Uppsala article on denial in the http above concludes with:

            “The question then is how the issue of climate change can best be presented to people with a high SDO to convince them of the need for action.”

            Today, one inconvenient irony about global warning denial is that “intellectuals don’t want to take on the sort of complications and impurities that come with being public.”

  3. We keep proving that we may well be a culture of NORC, especially when it comes to protecting our newest and all future generations from unlivable consequences of climate changes that we are experiencing today.

    But there is hope at last, Hillary has asked Al Gore to champion our cause, and he has proven to be one person who might be able to make the right things happen by at least galvanizing young voters on climate change.

    I hope that Legal Planet contributors shall join with Al Gore in this effort.

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About Dan

Dan Farber

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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