With the 2016 Presidential elections fast approaching we are becoming bombarded with all of the election talk and ads from the candidates on TV. Most of the ads on TV focus on the candidates positive track records and what they can do for the country if elected. All of the debates seem to focus on what the candidates economic strategies are and how they would handle foreign policy. Don't get me wrong those are all important items to focus on when electing a president, but what about energy policy and climate change?
The Nations energy future seems to get the raw end of the deal when it comes to election time. Our current administration has made energy and climate change a large priority over the past eight years. And so Americans have made climate change a high priority and a critical issue when it comes to electing our next president. You would think that each candidate would come out swinging when it comes to the topic of energy and climate change then. So with that being said I will go ahead and lay out where each candidate stands on energy policy and climate change. Hopefully it will give you a better picture of who you might be voting for.
First we will start with those that have taken a clear stance on the issue and have a plan to continue to combat climate change. This group contains a majority of Democrats and one lonely Republican. That lone Republican is Governor Jindal who believes in the science of climate change and combating warming temperatures. He has laid out small scale projects like forest management and the energy efficiency of airlines. Then for the three Democrats those would be Hillary Clinton, Senator Sanders and Martin O'Malley. All three believe in climate change and believe that we need to act now to combat it. Clinton would like to install a half billion solar panels by 2020 while also generating 33 percent of America's electricity from renewables. Senator Sanders on the other was quoted in a USA Today op-ed as saying "we have a moral responsibility to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy and leave this planet a habitable planet for our children and our grandchildren."O'Malley has a plan to phase out fossil fuels by 2050 and switch to clean energy.
Then we move on to the candidates that fall in the middle of the climate debate Senator Graham, George Pataki, Jeb Bush and Governor Christie. Senator Graham is one that believes that we as a country need to act on climate change and he would like to do that in a business- friendly way. As for George Pataki has a long history of supporting climate change. Back in 2007 he was the co-chair of the Independent Task Force on Climate Change. He is also has become an advocate for climate change and green-friendly enterprise. Jeb Bush has stated that he believes humans contribute to global warming, but believes that the current energy policy needs tweaking to not hurt the economy. Governor Christie has been known to flash his states position in the solar energy production realm while also being the one that withdrew the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is a cap and trade program for the states within the Northeastern part of the US.
We now begin to face the candidates that have taken a stance that climate change is not man made. Those candidates being Senator Rubio, Ted Cruz, Senator Rand Paul and Jim Gilmore. Senator Rubio has stated that he does not believe that human actions are causing global warming, but has at least acknowledged that climate change is real. He also has come out with his own energy policy that would include affordable fuel alternatives. So Rubio in my mind falls right in the middle of the road. As for Ted Cruz he is one that believes in climate change but also believes that there hasn't been any warming as of lately. Ted Cruz may want to step back and check out a few of the maps below that clearly show that 2015 was one of the hottest years on record. Senator Paul and Jim Gilmore both believe in climate change and believe that we should act on it even if we do not know what may be causing it.
To round out the group we have the candidates that are at the opposite end of the spectrum on climate change. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina are ones within this group that can swing in both directions. Both candidates agree with climate change, but either don't believe humans are causing it or that we can't make a difference on it as a nation. Ben Carson after his statement to the SF Chronicle that climate change is not man made cause the California Governor to send him a thumb drive that was loaded with climate research. Then we move to the candidates that have taken a hard stance on climate change being a hoax. Those candidates would be Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum. These candidates all have come out with different words to describe climate change as not being real. With that being said since they don't believe in climate change they don't believe in doing anything to combat the issue.
Everyone has their own views on if climate change exists and how it is caused. Every one and every candidate is entitled to their own opinion on the issue, but when it comes to running a country and implementing a plan for or against climate change the game has changed. Our newly elected President in 2016 will direct the Country on its energy and climate future. This will dictate how us Americans will live our lives for at least four years during their term. When you go into the voting booth make sure you are well informed on where each candidate stands on each topic.