Climate change has always been a hot topic, but as of late, it seems to have been put on the back burner. People will insist that the environment is a priority, but all you ever hear about in the news is talk about immigration, ISIS, and who’s currently fighting with Donald Trump. Whether you believe in climate change or not, it’s hard to deny that we could stand to take better care of our Earth. But when Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar, he used his acceptance speech to talk about climate change. With his speech came renewed media attention, which will hopefully force the presidential candidates to take stronger stances on environmental issues. With the campaign for the presidency heating up, it’s time to be more informed about where each of the major candidates stands on environmental issues.
Here is each candidate’s current stance on climate change:
Hillary believes climate change is an “urgent challenge,” and plans to continue with Obama’s Clean Power Plan. She plans to expand upon this by installing nation-wide solar panels and to revitalize coal communities as the country starts to rely less on fossil fuels and more on renewables. The reduction of arctic oil drilling and an increase in the use of renewable resources for fuel from 13% to 33% are also among her objectives.
Bernie considers climate change to be one of our biggest national security threats. Sanders has been considered an environmental activist since his early days in the Senate, and as such, has been called “the most consistent and proactive voice in the Keystone fight” (a large oil pipeline that would run from Alaska to the Gulf coast,which would allow for more oil to be transported from the source to the refineries, but could also have severe environmental repurcussions). Sanders doesn't believe that Obama's Clean Power Plan is doing enough, and would like to take his plans for the environment further. Bernie plans to tax companies with large carbon footprints and to invest more in renewable energy sources.
Trump does not believe in climate change, or "weather" as he calls it. He strongly opposed the development of a wind farm near a golf course he owns in Scotland, and opposes all federal policies to do with wind energy. In November, he seemingly retracted these sentiments, saying that he thought it was "amazing" how energy could be made from wind power and that he was "fine with it."
Ted Cruz calls himself a "skeptic" when it comes to climate change. He plans to open federal land to oil drilling and exportation. His plans would also prevent the EPA from regulating emissions.
Until there is a conclusion about the "sensitivity of the climate", Rubio does not believe climate change is a pressing issue. He would continue drilling for oil as opposed to using renewable resources for energy. However, in the past, he viewed clean energy as a priority, pushing for a cap and trade program in Florida that would lower the usage of fossil fuels. He also supported a carbon tax program.
John Kasich believes that climate change is a problem, but doesn't think that it's a problem that needs immediate attention. He says that we should "be sensitive to climate change," but not at the expense of people's jobs for a "theory that is not proven." Kasich is opposed to Obama's energy plans but would support drilling for oil in "non-sensitive" public areas.
There you have it folks. Of course, climate change isn’t the only major issue that’s important. If you’d like to find out which candidate’s plans align with your own values, click here. If you’d like to find out more about each candidate in general, click here.