With five Democrats and 16 Republicans competing to win their respective races for the primary nomination, the variety of positions on the environment is expansive. So, for all the environmental advocates out there, here are some of the most popular candidates at the moment and their views on the climate change as well as other environmental issues.
Republican Party Candidates
Judging by his tweet from January 1, 2014 that read, “This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps, and our GW scientists are stuck in ice”, Donald Trump is clearly not the biggest proponent of the environment. He has also claimed that the Keystone XL Pipeline would have “no impact” on the environment.
Carson, the famous brain surgeon, is similarly not convinced that global warming is a threat or proven trend. He claims the climate change debate to be “irrelevant.” However, he has shown a better attitude on other environmental issues.
In his book America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great, Carson says that “protecting the environment is neither a Democratic nor a Republican position, but rather it should be a LOGICAL position for capitalists AND socialists, because everyone should be looking out for the interests of future generations and trying to protect their own health as well” (p. 76).
The former Florida governor agrees that the climate is changing, but is unsure as to whether or not human actions are to blame. Bush is actually one of the few Republican candidates to acknowledge the existence of climate change.
Throughout his years of governing Florida, Bush signed legislation for the restoration of the Florida Everglades, creation of a marine sanctuary to protect the Florida Keys, and opposed off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. However, he has shown repeated support for the Keystone XL Pipeline and for hydraulic-fracking. Bush is definitely sending mixed messages when it comes to environmental policy.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz may be the very worst candidate for America’s environment. Cruz has claimed multiple times that climate change isn’t real, claiming it to be a “pseudoscientific theory.” Cruz has introduced legislation that would expand oil and gas drilling, approved the Keystone XL Pipeline and has even tried to cut back on EPA regulations.
In a speech this past January at the Iowa Freedom Summit, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee actually referred to climate change as a “sunburn”. But, Huckabee has a track record showing support of conservation bills, so maybe he just needs some extra lessons in science.
Current Florida Senator Marco Rubio has been running this race strategically, particularly regarding his environmental standpoint. He accepts that climate change is happening, but admits that he is unsure of the role that humans play in this.
His week-kneed stance doesn’t necessarily turn away environmentalists, but he doesn’t do much to convince us to support him either.
Carly Fiorina, as one could expect based on her background in the private sector, looks at climate change through via a classical economic perspective. In an interview with reporter Katie Couric, Fiorina essentially argues that America can’t make a difference in the impacts of climate change, so why should we make poor economic choices to regulate something that will produce no impact.
Clinton began proposing plans to support renewable energy and boost subsidies for solar panels back in July. In a video for her campaign website she also stated that, “I personally believe climate change is a challenge of such magnitude and urgency that we need a president who will set ambitious goals.”
During her time as secretary of state, Clinton promoted fracking while abroad. Also, though she has supported offshore oil drilling in the past, she recently came out opposed to the Keystone XL Pipeline. It would be safe to claim Clinton’s positions on environmental issues are scattered and not set in stone.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont may have the best environmental policy yet. In fact, Sanders was ranked the No. 1 climate leader in the Senate for the 113th Congress, which ended in January, and was in the top 10 percent for other sessions, according Climate Hawks Vote. Sanders was the leader in opposing the Keystone XL project and has secured $3.2 billion in the economic stimulus package for grants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Of all the people who have announced their candidacy for president, Sanders has proven to be the strongest in terms of all things environment, and seems to take the boldest steps towards the change our planet needs to see.