Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders vs Martin O’Malley (Climate Plans Chart)

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The 2016 presidential election and primaries are heating up, and one of the hottest topics at the moment is who should and will get the Democratic nomination — Hillary Clinton or Bernie SandersThinkProgress has created a simple but illuminating chart that illustrates the climate plans of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, as well as Martin O’Malley. Personally, I try to choose candidates who have proof they care to protect and improve human rights for all, so it is nice to see someone dig beneath the rhetoric.

I believe there are many kinds of human rights issues. Clean energy, renewable energy, freedom from permeating air and water pollution, and the rights of children (everywhere) to have pure water and breathable air along with adequate nutrition are critical issues.

How does your candidate of choice stand under the umbrella protecting us from such things global warming and climate change? I am trying to decipher this as well, and ClimateProgress has offered a great help, after noting that “Hillary Clinton released a fact sheet detailing her plan to fight climate change,” which “her presidential campaign characterized… as ‘bold.'”

Well, many appreciate Hillary’s voice on the subject. However, Emily Atkin for ClimateProgress shows it doesn’t break down as well as those of her political rivals in the Democratic primary. The practical goals Clinton outlined in the plan, such as a 700% increase in solar installations by the end of her first term, sound nice. Enough renewable energy to power every home in the country within 10 years looks beautiful. But it’s not the full story.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has far more comprehensive and complete climate goals. His campaign sent an email to reporters titled, “What Real Climate Leadership Looks Like,” just before Clinton’s plan was released.

We do want to know what solid climate leadership is, and we want it implemented. Beyond solar energy, we must not overlook Arctic drilling, fracking, the Keystone XL pipeline, and various other topics. O’Malley’s climate plan does not. It details committed stances on those topics. Atkin points out, “The plan Clinton released on Sunday does not.”

Continuing, Atkin’s notes, “Clinton’s plan does include ways to achieve her stated goals in solar energy production, including awarding competitive grants to States that reduce emissions, extending tax breaks to renewable industries like solar and wind, and investing in transmission lines that can take renewable power from where it’s produced to where it’s needed for electricity.”

Well, good that she also proposed cutting some tax breaks to fossil fuel companies to pay for her plan — very rational and becoming progressive. Can this be improved as well? Yes, Atkin points out. Sanders and O’Malley have improved plans. Visuals sometimes cut through any confusion, so check this one out.

Atkin reminds us that “many presidential candidates haven’t fully fleshed out their policy strategies yet.” Clinton is saying this first release addressed only the “first pillar” of her announcements to come regarding climate and energy.

Atkin also notes, in contrast, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — Clinton’s chief contender for the Democratic nomination — hasn’t formally released a climate policy plan yet. Sanders is not näive to climate and other environmental concerns. He has stated his positions on many of the most critically identified environmental issues, and he has been a leading climate hawk in congress.

So, realize that the checklist is ongoing and voters must stay attentive to issues. As it is, though, Sanders has said he supports many of the policies Atkin checked.

And perhaps Clinton hasn’t yet included some of these issues but will in a future plan. What we do know from the Obama administration, is that even if a representative candidate supported progress coming into office, even if she or he wants this progress, the president alone may not be able to achieve it. “It’s also worth mentioning that just because O’Malley has included all of these things in his climate plan doesn’t mean he’ll be able to achieve them. His plan leans steeply to the left of even the Obama administration’s climate strategy, which the Republican-led Congress is fighting tooth-and-nail to dismantle.”

Atkin continues hitting the proverbial nail on the head with this problem:

That a Democratic presidential nominee might have a difficult time achieving their climate goals, however, can be said about any of the candidates — especially considering the fact that more than 56 percent of current congressional Republicans don’t believe climate change exists at all. For environmentalists and climate hawks, that may mean that the candidate with the most aggressive goals represents the safest option.

In the end, though, the majority should and will come on board. Well, it is on board already, but it will prevail. After the Obama administration issued its Clean Power Plan, CleanTechnica republished an article from RMI Outlet‘s Jules Kortenhorst. He clarifies the matter quite well:

… not everyone shares the arguments supporting the urgent need for this plan. Republicans, the fossil fuel industry, and coal-producing states argue that the plan will lead to a massive increase in electricity prices, that it will put the reliability of our electricity grid at risk, and that it will costs jobs and hurt the competitiveness of the U.S. economy. Nothing is further from the truth. This plan will help the U.S. embark on an energy transformation putting it on the path towards a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future.”

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Featured image credit: Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

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Cynthia Shahan

Cynthia Shahan, started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. Words can be used improperly depending on the culture you are in. (Several unrelated publications) She has a degree in Education, Anthropology, Creative Writing, and was tutored in Art as a young child thanks to her father the Doctor.

Cynthia Shahan has 946 posts and counting. See all posts by Cynthia Shahan

28 thoughts on “Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders vs Martin O’Malley (Climate Plans Chart)

  • Almost feels disingenuous to post incomplete strategies though hopefully it will at least prompt candidates to focus more on climate change / environmental issues. It’s definitely a key deciding factor for me and I’m sure many others on this site.

    • On the other hand, if the candidates aren’t putting out strong statements and plans in the primaries, who expects them to get further progressive in the general election when they try to pull in more Republicans? I’m psyched about Hillary’s renewable targets, esp since she is favored to win the primaries, but I’ve long felt wary about her ties to fossil fuel industries and unwillingness to take a stand against them. I don’t think she would be better than Obama on this side of the story.

    • Definitely agree, Kyle. Making this public now, early in the primaries, is a necessary step, and I think it will push all three of these guys to be clear on their goals.

      • Just saw this –

        Al Gore might be testing the water for a 2016 run. “Insiders are talking….”


  • Hillary has refused to publicly oppose the Keystone pipeline, and oppose offshore and Artic drilling. I’m voting for Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton has shown that she simply is a continuation of Obama’s all of the above energy policy that allows natural gas fracking, Mountain top removal mining, offshore, and Artic drilling. We need bold leaders, not leaders like Hillary who want to keep us addicted to dirty fossil fuels, and drill for oil in pristine areas that we could never clean up a spill.

    • Bold leadership may be tackling the things that make the biggest impact vs taking a hard point on every issue. I’m hoping this is the case with Hillary but agree that Bernie seems like a better bet. #ihatepolitics

  • I don’t think it is intentionally biased, just based on what the reporter felt solid about. But I think we all know Bernie is a standout climate hawk, and O’Malley doesn’t have a shot at the nomination.

  • it’s clear that both O’Malley and Sanders are way ahead of Clinton on these issues.
    Until this morning, I would have conceded the Democratic nomination to Clinton and supported her next fall against what is certainly a horrifying Republican platform.

    But her State Department email scandal has suddenly grown larger and Sanders
    has just surged ahead in New Hampshire primary polling. For environmental issues, energy policy and so much more beyond that, it’s time for some “Berne Factor.”

    • Quite honestly there is just something about him, for me, that seems to show his authentic care for Human Rights.

    • There is no scandal;only the relentless Republican campaign to remove Mrs. Clinton from the race so they can easily beat Bernie. The disaster for the planet will be a Republican in the White House.

      • The process by which the Americans’ major parties choose their nominees is lengthy. It won’t become clear how electable Sanders is until more of the electorate becomes familiar with him.

        • True enough. There’s plenty of time for Bernie or a yet unknown to grab the lead. It happened in 2008.

  • The infographic above would actually look exactly the same if it also included all the Republican candidates…

    • Then in the chart, as in real life, they would largely count as ‘wasted space.’

    • Lol

      To be fair 1 of those 17 GOP candidates (the one who isn’t going to win) actually believes in climate science. I think he would have at least two heads on that chart. Maybe 3.

      I wish he would spend more time calling out his colleagues. It would probably help his poll numbers too since I’m sure it would grab some attention if he repeatedly said the other 16 didn’t believe in science at all.

        • Especially when it comes to starting more wars. At least if President Trump demanded a war, most of us would realize that a clown was calling for the likely cumulative deaths of a million people. People like Graham are experts in making that appear to be a mature and sensible action.

        • I was referring to Graham*. Yeah he certainly is not a good choice as far as climate is concerned. But at least he is a tiny bit better than the other 16**.

          I have some high hopes that regardless of who we get in the WH solar/wind/EVs will take off anyways. Lucky some states like CA are influential enough on their own to make a national difference. And it seems that the business community is waking up to renewables too.

          *I wasent going to mention his name because I didn’t want people to think I was endorsing him by any means.
          **He lost my vote for other reasons unrelated to the climate.

    • You mean an extension of the white and grey lines,
      with no face button dots inside?

  • Interesting.

  • Cynthia Shahan makes the mistake of conflating the stronger message with the ability to deliver it . The messenger most likely to get through the hostile Presidential race is Mrs. Clinton as much as I like Bernie. Bernie ,by many measures , not the least of which is he will be 75 in 2016, is an avowed Socialist [ a pejorative for conservative democrats and independents ] , and he does not have the support in the minority groups that Mrs. Clinton has , is not likely to win against the Republican candidate .

    The only true disaster for renewable energy and the planet is the election of a Republican ; I’ll accept the slightly weaker message of Mrs. Clinton now knowing that her supporters will insist on stronger action when she is elected.

    • It’s still very early in the process. No one is inevitable and no one is “unelectable.” At least the topic in Democratic debates is occasionally relevant, thanks to Bernie.

      I will add for clarification, that I would love to be able to vote for an “avowed socialist”. Don’t you think, at long last, that enough of us have matured beyoond the trite commie-bashing fears of our predecessors?

      Ye shall know him by his words and deeds. By that measure, there’s not a better Senator, serving. And he seems hale enough for a term or two. Hillary is 67.

      • Keithl, The answer to your question is, unfortunately, no. You give American voters far to much credit.

      • Socialism is not Communism. But what do I know being European.

    • Thank you for your comments. It is nice that you stir on further commentary. I also appreciate your criticism.

    • He is not a socialist –Sanders is a Democratic Socialist, much like FDR who took our country out of the great depression

      • FDR did not believe in public ownership of the means of production, and I don’t believe Bernie Sanders does either. I don’t believe either one is or was a socialist, democratic or otherwise. The countries Sanders admires in Scandinavia don’t have public ownership of the means of production either, at least not all the means of production. True, Sanders would like to socialize at least one industry, the health insurance industry, and to re-socialize the prison system. That doesn’t make him a true socialist.

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