Watching the race to presidency unfold over this spring has definitely been a whirlwind, with a lot of ‘is this really happening?’ moments. Last summer, prior to the Paris Climate talks, the issue of climate change was already set as a major issue for the elections. President Obama’s climate change legacy will be determined by the actions the next president will take, especially after the Supreme Court’s decision to suspend the rules for carbon emissions outlined in the Clean Power Plan.
It’s obvious that the next US president will have to lead and work with global leaders on issues concerning environmental policy. And yet, sadly, climate change as an issue hasn’t really appeared at the debates.
For scientists and engineers, the attitude of the next president towards investment in renewable energy will influence the funding of projects across academia and industry. No matter how you look at it, the presidential stance on climate change will greatly impact our futures.
So, how do the remaining candidates stack up? If the election was based solely on the issue of climate change, I believe your vote should be for the democrats, and really, for Bernie Sanders. The following is a breakdown of not only beliefs about IF climate change is real…but IF SO, what can we do about it?
In general, the republican candidates either deny climate change completely, or claim it is simply not occurring today. None of the candidates have much to say about the issue –except for the most enigmatic candidate –so here’s a brief breakdown.
Ted Cruz claims that climate change is simply, “on hold” and supports his claim with supposed satellite data showing that there “has not been significant global warming for the past 18 years.” John Kasich seems confused about the issue, as during one GOP debate he admitted that humans contribute to climate change…but then quickly retracted saying actually “we don’t know how much humans actually contribute.”
Okay, and the candidate that is scarily becoming the favorite…Donald Trump. On the positive note, Drumpf “believes there’s weather.” But denies climate change as a “total, very expensive hoax!” through his twitter. Furthermore, he once stated “global warming was created by and for the Chinese.” That was a few years ago, and Trump has retracted saying OK maybe the Chinese didn’t invent it…but it certainly is “just a very, very expensive form of tax.” Perhaps that’s a sign of progress.
Both democratic candidates not only recognize climate change, but acknowledge it as one of the most pressing issues. Their approaches in how to take on climate change are similar, but how committed are the candidates, and will they be able to realistically achieve their goals?
Bernie Sanders: Bernie is pretty straight to the point with his climate change policies. He advocates to block fossil fuel industries from lobbying and making campaign contributions to remove their influence on decision making. Bernie has vowed to ban fracking, Arctic oil drilling, offshore drilling, exports of natural gas and oil, and pipeline projects such as the Keystone XL (an issue Clinton has changed her position on). Like Clinton, he has vowed to make investments into solar energy and alternative energy projects. Sanders also extends his commitment to become a leader in facing climate change internationally through partnerships with China, Russia, India and addressing climate change as not only an environmental issue, but as an issue of global national security.