Environmental Views of the Presidential Candidates

Written by Sophia Anner, ESLLC 2016-2017


With the deadline soon approaching, most of us have already decided which presidential candidate to vote for. Actually, most people already who to vote for a while ago, and so it may seem inappropriate to write about it so close to the voting deadline, but this is more of an informative article so that once our president is elected, we know the fate of our environment. I will attempt to keep personal bias out of this. Without further ado, our candidates:

Hillary Clinton (Democratic Party):

Clinton does believe in climate change. She recognizes that it causes major weather events, and that communities will have to prepare for these by investing in infrastructure. She has a goal to make America a 21st century clean energy superpower. She also supports the Paris Agreement strongly. She believes that mitigating climate change will also help the economy with new jobs. She has also promised that half of the US’s energy sources will come from clean energy by 2030. She opposed the Keystone XL pipeline, though she was a little unsure about this issue originally, and she also opposed drilling in the arctic. She also wants to set up half a million more solar panels by the end of her first term. In addition, by the end of her first term she also plans to have enough clean energy to power every home in America. She’s not explicitly against fracking, but instead says she’s against it in certain cases (such as if a local community is against it). Clinton somewhat approves of GMOs, at least in the sense that they can help famined countries that need drought resistant seeds. She also supports GMO labeling.

Donald Trump (Republican Party):

To start, Trump doesn’t really believe in climate change. He seems to go back and forth about whether he truly believes it, but overall consensus is that he doesn’t truly believe that there will be big impacts. He once perpetuated a climate change myth, claiming that how can there be global warming if it’s colder than forecasted at the current moment? Trump also believes that the Paris Agreement gives foreign countries control over how much energy America is using, and that they will abuse that, even though that is not what the Paris Agreement says. He also said that in his first 100 days, he’ll cancel the Paris Agreement. He would rather spend money on the military than mitigating climate change. He would also rescind the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S., which is a rule under the Clean Water Act. Trump also recently said there is not a drought in California. He supports the Keystone XL pipeline, saying it doesn’t have any environmental impact. Trump has said that he doesn’t think coal causes climate change, and that renewable energy sources like solar panels are not a sound investment. Trump supports GMOs and opposes GMO labeling.

Jill Stein (Green Party):

Stein is a strong advocate for a greener economy, and clean energy, and wants to invest in water infrastructure. Stein also protested against the Dakota Access pipeline, even receiving misdemeanor charges for vandalizing construction material. Stein claims that with the money saved from health improvements after fossil fuels are eliminated, we can pay for all the jobs necessary for a clean energy transition. She plans on the US being completely run on clean energy in 15 years, and that the economy will just make an easy switch from fossil fuel dependent to clean energy. She thinks the Paris Agreement isn’t enough, and demands harsher legislation. Stein supports GMO labelling.

Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party):

Johnson says energy developments should be taken on by the market, and is in support of environmental regulation. He does not agree with carbon capping. Johnson supports the EPA, and believes the government really needs to step in to protect specific locations, like national parks. Johnson only opposed the Keystone XL pipeline if eminent domain were necessary. He says the government needs to protect citizens from “bad actors” who would pollute our water sources. He claims that coal manufacturing is dead, and that that is due to a decrease in demand. He supports carbon taxing in the sense where it would become self-regulating, and he does believe in climate change. He also is in support of fracking. Once, when asked about long terms effects of climate change, he responded “Should we take the long-term view when it comes to global warming? I think that we should. And the long-term view is that in billions of years, the sun is going to actually grow and encompass the Earth, right. So global warming is in our future”. In 2012, Johnson said we really have to rely on traditional energy sources, like coal and nuclear. He claimed that going for renewable energy sources won’t provide us with enough energy. Johnson supports GMO labeling.

I hope this helped clear up some facts about the candidates! In addition, I read an incredible article explaining the candidates’ views on many more aspects of science, and instead of transferring information from there to here, I thought I would just link to it so you can read it for yourself!









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