Welcome to Exact Solar’s ‘How Green is the 2016 Presidential Election?
The Nation, a weekly political magazine, and 350 Action have teamed up and asked major political candidates in the Democratic, Republican and Green parties to “neither solicit nor accept campaign contributions from any oil, gas or coal company.”
We know that it’s early in the 2016 presidential race, but this election has the potential to truly revolutionize energy in America. We at Exact Solar feel that politics are at the heart of the green movement. So we are going to do all of the dirty work and research for you to provide you with the breakdown of the greenest and not-so-eco-friendly candidates so far.
Since our first evaluation of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, she has changed her tune, or at least been much more vocal about her stance, regarding fighting climate change and embracing renewable energy.
Clinton was the first presidential candidate to respond to Obama’s Clean Power Plan. She called the plan “a significant step forward in meeting the urgent threat of climate change” and promised to defend the plan if elected.
On July 26, Clinton announced her plan to spread solar across America. She promised that, if elected, she will ensure that half a billion solar panels would be installed in America by the end of her first term, and that enough renewable energy to power every home in the country will be produced within ten years of her taking office. Her plan also includes measures to encourage communities to eliminate “red tape” that slows solar installation projects, expand the use of renewable energy sources on federal buildings and public lands, and extend federal tax incentives for renewable sources, to name a few.
But the debate over whether or not Clinton’s plan is actually feasible is still ongoing. Fortune Magazine argues that the workforce and time needed to install enough renewable sources to power all of the homes in America with renewables just doesn’t match with her plan. But Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Americas chief, Ethan Zindler, argues that the plan is “entirely doable given the rapidly improving economics of renewables generally and solar particularly.”
Clinton was also largely criticized for not taking a stance on the Keystone XL Pipeline, a proposed pipeline that would transport toxic, tar sands oil from Canada to refineries in Texas and along the Gulf Coast. But on Tuesday, September 22, she finally voiced her disapproval for the pipeline at a campaign event in Iowa.
I think it is imperative that we look at the Keystone XL pipeline as what I believe it is: a distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change, and, unfortunately from my perspective, one that interferes with our ability to move forward and deal with other issues,” Clinton said at a campaign event in Iowa. “Therefore, I oppose it. I oppose it because I don’t think it’s in the best interest of what we need to do to combat climate change. I think it is imperative that we look at the Keystone XL pipeline as what I believe it is: a distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change, and, unfortunately from my perspective, one that interferes with our ability to move forward and deal with other issues,” she said. “Therefore, I oppose it. I oppose it because I don’t think it’s in the best interest of what we need to do to combat climate change.”
Then on Wednesday, September 23, she unveiled additional plans to fight climate change. These details included replacing and repairing infrastructure such as oil and gas pipelines, as well as rail tracks used to transport fossil fuels, in an effort to avoid spills, leaks, and other hazardous accidents. She also promised to forge a “North American Climate Compact” with Canada and Mexico that would ensure the three countries worked together to battle climate change. The full details of this plan can be found here.
Clinton has clearly realized that taking a stance on climate change and renewable energy is a key to her success in the 2016 presidential election. After months of being criticized for not taking a stance, she has stepped up her game and is answering the naysayers with detailed plans. Only time will tell if these plans are enough to land her a seat in the White House.
Written by Sarah Bergen. Sarah is a writer and editor from New Jersey. She enjoys writing about environmental issues, sustainability, and health. She can be reached at [email protected]