As I have discussed previously on this blog, fixing the environmental problems that we currently face will require political action to fix. Lucky for us, there is a major election coming up in 2016 that may really foster in some political change. With an open Presidential seat anything is possible.
As of the day I am writing this, there are four candidates that are definitely running for President. There is one Democrat that has announced and three Republicans. The Democratic candidate is Hillary Clinton. The Republican candidates are Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. I thought it would be interesting to look at these candidates and ascertain their perspectives on the environment because one of these people may be the next president of the Unites States.
While Ted Cruz recently acknowledged that climate change does exist to some degree. But Cruz still has his doubts that climate change is happening right now. Also, Cruz holds that climate change is definitely not a human caused phenomenon. In fact, recently Cruz said on Late Night with Seth Meyers that debates upon this scientific issue should rely on scientific fact. According to Cruz satellites show that the globe is not warming (although climate scientists disagree).
Cruz also believes that Cap-and-trade has no impact of global temperatures. He also supports investment in know energy resources rather than alternative energy. Cruz also voted no to protecting ocean, costal and Great Lake ecosystems.
As a true-blue (or rather red) conservative libertarian, Rand Paul thinks that the government should not have a role in regulating the environment. Paul is against the EPA and does not think that it should be able to put regulations on any private citizen or corporation. He also has voted against animal-welfare legislation multiple times. Basically, Rand Paul wants no part of environmental issues, because in his opinion the government should not have any responsibility to the environment.
Marco Rubio, like his republican contenders, agrees that climate does not exist. If it does, he definitely does not believe that climate change is caused by human activity. Rubio also doubts that any actions that we take now would not change the future of the climate or the world. In Florida, the state that Rubio represents in the Senate, the citizens see first hand the effects of climate change. With rising sea levels and saltwater contaminating drinking w ater supplies. Floridians are tired of Rubio denying the very climate change that is affecting their lives.
Additionally, Rubio has said he wanted to support fossil fuel industries and would not support alternative energy initiatives. Rubio is also against the regulation the EPA. On the bright side, Rubio does support tax breaks on energy efficient appliances.
As the only Democrat in the race thus far, it is to be expected that she will have quite a different stance on environmental issues. Clinton believes the science of climate change. Clinton believes that global warming is real and that humans cause it. Clinton supports many of the environmental issues that President Obama has introduced. One example is Obamas power plant rules that aim to reduce carbon emissions. In addition, Clinton also realizes the connection between empowering women and climate change. Clinton realizes that the secret to stopping climate change is empowering women and if elected she would continue those initiatives.
There are some troubling parts of Clinton’s environmental policy as well. She supported fracking world wide while Secretary of State as a way to decrease poverty worldwide. Clinton’s charitable foundation also takes a lot of donations from oil companies. Further, in the past Clinton supported offshore drilling. Finally, Clinton has stayed silent about the Keystone XL Pipeline making environmental activists wonder whether or not she would allow it to be built.
But as expected, Clinton is generally more accepting of government initiatives to preserve the environment.
In many ways, the future of our planet will undoubtedly be affected by who is chosen as the next leader of the free world. That is why I implore you all to stay informed on all candidates that are introduced to the race. And then on that first Tuesday in November I implore you all to go out and make your voice be heard. It is possibly more important now than it has ever been before.