The Two Parties Are (Still) Not The Same On Climate Change

Bill Scher

It may be that Hillary Clinton is not as progressive as Bernie Sanders. And it may be that Donald Trump holds some positions, such as opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that hold sway with economic populist.

But when it comes to the climate, there’s no debate. Clinton and Sanders are on the side of addressing climate change, and the Republican candidates are on the side of doing nothing.

I’ve written before about the nuances that separate the two Democratic candidates’ position on climate: Sanders proposing more ambitious goals and Clinton offering a more politically pragmatic approach.

And I’ve written about how Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are outright climate science deniers, while John Kasich merely refuses to give up coal.

With Trump you could never be completely sure if what he says yesterday will be consistent with what he says today. But he has been consistent for a long time about climate change: in 2013 and 2014 he declared global warming a “hoax.” He said in 2012, inaccurately of course, that, “wind farms are hurting the country” and “solar, as you know, hasn’t caught on because, I mean, a solar panel takes 32 years — it’s a 32-year payback.”

Now Trump and Cruz have filled out a survey for the fossil fuel-friendly American Energy Alliance in which they line up perfectly with right-wing orthodoxy on energy issues.

They oppose Obama’s Clean Power Plan to limit emissions from power plants. They oppose calculating the social cost of carbon emission when determining the cost of government regulations. They oppose subsidies for renewable energy. They oppose a carbon tax.

Sanders and Clinton have their differences, but their differences are over how best to combat climate change, not whether to do it at all. Perhaps some day, we’ll have a Republican Party that accepts science so we can debate with their leaders the finer points of how to contain carbon emissions. But that day is not today.

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