A Trump Presidency Could See 3.4 Billion Tons More US Carbon Emissions Than Clinton Presidency

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A new analysis of policies promised by US Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump by Lux Research has shown that US carbon emissions could be 3.4 billion tonnes higher under a Trump Presidency than if Hillary Clinton wins the White House.

“As independent analysts, we don’t endorse candidates, but the data and analysis clearly show that energy policy and the resulting emissions will go in very different directions under Clinton and Trump,” explained Yuan-Sheng Yu, Lux Research Analyst. “Climate change hasn’t been front-and-center in media coverage of this election but voters should be aware of the implications of their choice on this important issue.”

Specifically, the analysis of the individual candidates’ respective energy policies and plans shows that after two terms of Donald Trump energy policies, US carbon emissions would be 16% higher then they would be after two terms of Hillary Clinton policies, which would nominally keep the US carbon emissions on a downward trajectory.

That would result in an extra 3.4 billion tons of carbon emissions under a Donald Trump Presidency.


More specifically, Lux Research found that:

  • Coal will continue to play second fiddle to natural gas. Despite Trump’s rallying cry for the coal industry, his plan to lift regulations on gas extraction will only make coal’s comeback even more difficult as fracking expands, keeping down gas prices and disadvantaging coal. Of course, Clinton staying the course on Obama’s Clean Power Plan would also help to continue coal’s slide.
  • Renewables will spur storage and an entirely new utility value chain. Renewable energy capacity has quickly grown in the U.S. but Clinton’s ambitious target will likely promote a shift from utility-scale to commercial- and residential-scale generation. A new distributed generation value chain is emerging, including energy storage and distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS) to manage renewable intermittency.
  • The oil and gas industry will continue to innovate under either administration. Trump’s plan to open drilling in the Arctic is unlikely to result in a surge of Arctic drilling due to the capital intensity and complexity of those projects. The largest difference between administrations would be in onshore regulations, where under Clinton, new pipeline mandates and restored water regulations would drastically affect both operators and service companies. Regardless, the industry will still push to reduce emissions in order to maintain competitive operating margins in global markets.

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Joshua S Hill

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