Energy Efficiency

Understan the climate change debate for the upcoming election!

Climate Change Debate Critical in 2016 Election


For those who pay attention to environmental scientists, the upcoming presidential election might rank as the most important in history.

Certainly, many scientists have stated it clearly: Either the next United States president takes action to prevent further damage to the planet, or everyone will pay a price.

“It’s urgent and the timeframe is critical and it has to be right now,” Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center at Georgetown Law, told U.S. News and World Report. “We can’t lose another four years, much less eight years.”

The issue has become at central part of the campaign for both Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump – although in very different ways.

The Democrats’ Position on Climate Change

Climate Change DebateThe emphasis on climate change in the two major parties started with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sander made a run for the Democratic nomination for president, eventually losing to Clinton. During the primary, Sanders made climate change a big issue. He referred often to the need for changes in how countries deal with climate change and even called the 2016 election “the election of climate change.”

The Democrat party platform adopted at this summer’s convention calls for levying a charge on businesses responsible for carbon pollution. And Clinton said in the first presidential debate she believes in manmade climate change.

“I think the science is real, and I think it’s important that we grip this both at home and abroad. And here’s what we can do. We can deploy half a billion more solar panels. We can deploy enough clean energy to power every home. We can build a new modern electric grid. That’s a lot of jobs,” Clinton said.

The Republicans Position on Climate Change

During their convention this summer, Republicans took a very different view. As part of their party platform, they adopted language that calls climate change “a triumph of extremism over common sense,” according to the New York Times.

As for Trump himself, in a Nov. 2, 2012 Tweet he said, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” He has since said he meant the Tweet as a joke and denied during the debate that he believes China is behind global warming.

The day after the debate, Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said Trump believes climate change occurs naturally, not because of manmade influences.

In the first debate, Trump said that the U.S. wasted money backing a solar panel company, Solyndra, which eventually went bankrupt.

Trump’s website does not contain a section on the environment. However, as noted by many different media outlets, Trump has repeatedly called the idea of manmade climate change a “hoax.”

Clearly, voters face a tough decision this November, but the climate change issue offers a clear line between Clinton and Trump. One plans to move forward with the belief that climate change is real, while the other does not believe man’s actions affect the global climate change.

For some voters, this could represent the deciding issue in the election.


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