Monday, July 27, 2015

The First Climate Change Presidential Election?

Hillary Clinton says she will reveal details today
on her plans for climate change if she's elected president.  
This will be the first U.S. Presidential Election in which climate change is a huge campaign issue.

Yes, it's come up in every election since at least the early 1990s, but this time, it's front and center.

Today in Iowa, Democrat Hillary Clinton said she would reveal details of her climate change platform, and said she wants to make the issue a major focus of her administration, should she win the White House

Clinton teased today's expected climate agenda during the weekend, says 

"I want more wind, more solar, more advanced biofuels, more energy efficiency....."And I've got to tell you, people who argue against this are just not paying attention."

Climate change won't be as big an issue during the primaries. Democrats are pretty much in agreement that this is an issue that needs to be an important part of their would-be administrations.

The people in the very crowded Republican field in general say human-induced climate change is either not a major factor, or doesn't even exist.  They're not unanimous on that, though. Rand Paul has acknowledged the existence of man-made climate change and might support regulations that aren't ad odds with job loss, says Huffington Post. 

The fireworks will start when Republicans and Democrats start to clash over what, if anything to do about climate change.  It'll be almost as if the heat of the battle will itself intensify global warming.

The fight has already begun.

Last week, Demoratic candidate Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland, linked the Syrian conflict and the rise of ISIS in part to climate change.  He said a possible climate change related drought in Syria helped destabilize the region and you get the mess you have now.

Republicans pounced, saying the link was ridiculous.

At first glance, O'Malley's comments do seem like a little bit of a stretch. But a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences earlier this year said the drought worsened water security and agricultural problems, causing 1.5 million rural Syrians to flee to urban areas.

This migration and disruption was one factor in creating the Syrian civil war, and by extention, the subsequent rise of ISIS.

I bet the Republicans will go after Bernie Sanders on climate change, too. Sanders is quite the climate hawk, and has suggested increasing taxes on fossil fuel producers.

I remember back in early 2013, when I worked at the Burlington (Vt) Free Press, Sanders summoned me to his Burlington office on an oddly warm January day to discuss his climate change legislation that would have increased taxes on fossil fuel corporations and boost the prospects of green energy companies.

Republicans in Congress didn't go for this, but still.

Given the HUGE difference, say between Clinton and the Republicans or Sanders and most Republicans on climate change, you're going to hear a lot about the issue between now and election day 2016.

Let's hope the debate generates light instead of more heat, but I'm not counting on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment