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What The Presidential Candidates Are Saying About The Environment

Shadows of future climate troubles are being cast at increasing length, with once-in-a-thousand-year rains in South Carolina, an immense El Nino weather pattern in the Pacific, and news that the ice sheets of Antarctica are likely to catastrophically collapse before the end of the century. No one weather event can be definitively tied in a causal way to climate change, but the growing number and intensity of meteorological extremes can.

So, what are the major presidential candidates of our time saying about environmental issues? The following chart shows the relative emphasis of the top candidates on the environment, displaying the number of times the different candidates use the word “environment” on their campaign web sites.

environment presidential campaign 2016

Ben Carson comes in with a single use of the word “environment”, but it’s in order to talk about the “healthcare environment”, not to address any matters of ecology. Donald Trump mentions “environment” when he blames the Environmental Protection Agency for industrial pollution by corporations.

Bernie Sanders mentions “environment” 265 times on his campaign web site, and writes, “The United States must lead the world in tackling climate change, if we are to make certain that this planet is habitable for our children and grandchildren. We must transform our energy system away from polluting fossil fuels, and towards energy efficiency and sustainability. Millions of homes and buildings need to be weatherized, and we need to greatly accelerate technological progress in wind and solar power generation.”

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein mentions “environment” 36 times on her web site, but also talks about ecological issues without using the word “environment”. She pledges to, “Lead on a global treaty to halt climate change. End destructive energy extraction: fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, and uranium mines. Protect our public lands, water supplies, biological diversity, parks, and pollinators. Label GMOs, and put a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe. Protect the rights of future generations.”

Hillary Clinton mentions “environment” just 26 times on her campaign web site, though her campaign promises that “In the coming months, Hillary will lay out a comprehensive energy and climate agenda to help America transition to a clean energy economy and meet the global climate crisis.”

2 thoughts on “What The Presidential Candidates Are Saying About The Environment”

  1. Tom says:

    There is no political solution to climate change because it would entail the end of civilization (a heat engine) as a start.

    1. Dave says:

      Tom, you are right about this. Jill Stein seems to have her heart in the right place, unlike Sanders whose solutions are centered on more government money for union jobs (weatherizing buildings) and boondoggles (wind and solar power), but her solution seems to be getting 318 million Americans to refuse living in an industrial society. Even “green” solutions require iron and steel, pvc, latex, fuels of various sorts, transportation.

      Our best bet will be to catch a solar wind and colonize some of these other rocks in space.

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