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Image credit: Kyle Field | CleanTechnica
Image credit: Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

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

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.”

Related Stories:

Three Major Trends Driving Accelerating Change In US Energy System

Politics Threatens World’s Largest Solar Power Project

There May Be 500,000,000 Solar Panels On US Roofs With Hillary Clinton At Helm

Solstice Initiative Works Toward Affordable Solar Through Community Solar

Featured image credit: Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

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Written By

Cynthia Shahan started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. (Several unrelated publications) She is a licensed health care provider. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education, mother of four unconditionally loving spirits.


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