You Ought to Have a Look: Hillary and Jeb Offer Climate Opinion

You Ought to Have a Look is a feature from the Center for the Study of Science posted by Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. (“Chip”) Knappenberger.  While this section will feature all of the areas of interest that we are emphasizing, the prominence of the climate issue is driving a tremendous amount of web traffic.  Here we post a few of the best in recent days, along with our color commentary. 

This week, the royal families of Clinton and Bush offered up their 2016 campaign insights on climate change.  People have been very interested in what they would say because, as Secretary of State, Clinton gave hints that she was even more aggressive on the issue than her boss, and Bush is the son of GHW Bush, who got us into this mess in the first place by going to Rio in 1992 and signing off on the Climate Treaty adopted there.*

Hillary Clinton unveiled her “climate plan” first.  As feared, it’s a step-up over Obama’s, with an impossibly large target for electricity production from renewable energy. While her fans were exuberant, noticeably absent from her plan were her thoughts on Keystone XL pipeline and a carbon tax.

Manhattan Institute scholar Oren Cass (whose take on the carbon tax we’ve featured previously) was, overall, less than impressed. Calling Hilary’s climate plan a “fake plan” in that it really would have no impact on the climate. Cass identifies what Hilary’s “real” plan is—pushing for a $100+ billion annual  international “Green Climate Fund”  (largely populated with U.S. dollars) to be available to developing countries to fight/prepare for climate change. 

Here’s Cass’s take:

Hillary Clinton has a real climate change plan and a fake climate change plan. She released the fake plan earlier this week to predictably rapturous media applause for its “far-reaching” and “comprehensive” agenda.

…The plan is most obviously fake because it is not really a climate plan at all. Clinton offers no estimated reductions in carbon dioxide emissions or future temperatures, probably because her plan cannot achieve any meaningful ones. Her ultimate goal to generate 33 percent of U.S. electricity from renewable sources by 2027 would reduce global emissions by less than 2 percent annually, even if every new kilowatt-hour of renewable power managed to replace coal-fired power. That is only a [tiny-eds] fraction of the increase expected from China during the same period.

Instead of claiming any climate success, Clinton’s campaign material emphasizes health benefits from reducing air pollutants (not carbon dioxide). It promotes job creation (though job losses would be at least as large). And it promises to “make the United States the world’s clean energy superpower,” whatever that means.

The plan is most importantly fake because it obscures an actual climate plan that Clinton has no interest in discussing with voters. The real plan, simply put, is to pay for other countries to reduce their emissions through an unprecedented transfer of wealth from the developed world to the developing world. This plan emerged from the international climate negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009, at which then-Secretary Clinton pledged the United States would help create a Green Climate Fund of at least $100 billion in annual aid – a commitment comparable in scale to all existing development aid from OECD countries.

 Be sure to check out the whole thing, in which Cass concludes:

The silly gap in Clinton’s climate plan is the continuing no-comment on the Keystone XL pipeline. The surprising one is the absence of a price on carbon. But the dangerous one is the omission of what she actually wants to do.

Clearly, Hillary is more interested in influencing public opinion than the actual climate.

Jeb Bush then offered up his thoughts about climate change. In an interview with Bloomberg BNA, Bush said, among other things that “the climate is changing” and that “human activity has contributed to it” but that “we should not say the end is near.”  

Sounds like a solid take!

Bush went on to with his opinions on various aspects of energy regulations currently aimed at climate change. Keystone XL pipeline? “Yes.” Renewable fuel standard? “2022 is the law and is probably the good break point.” EPA’s Clean Power Plan? “[I]rresponsible and ineffective.”

You ought to have a look at the complete set of questions and answers. A refreshing and logical response to the various aspects of the issue.

For example, here’s his full answer to Bloomberg BNA’s question “Is climate change occurring? If so, does human activity significantly contribute to it?”:

The climate is changing; I don’t think anybody can argue it’s not. Human activity has contributed to it. I think we have a responsibility to adapt to what the possibilities are without destroying our economy, without hollowing out our industrial core.

I think it’s appropriate to recognize this and invest in the proper research to find solutions over the long haul but not be alarmists about it. We should not say the end is near, not deindustrialize the country, not create barriers for higher growth, not just totally obliterate family budgets, which some on the left advocate by saying we should raise the price of energy so high that renewables then become viable.

U.S. emissions of greenhouse gasses are down to the same levels emitted in the mid-1990s, even though we have 50 million more people. A big reason for this success is the energy revolution which was created by American ingenuity—not federal regulations.

This is an encouraging stance from a Republican presidential candidate. And one that we think should come to dominate the issue—from both sides. It serves no one to deny that humans are causing climate change, nor to cry that we’re all going to die. Actions should be appropriate to the magnitude of the issue—in other words, lukewarm.

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*Many people advised him not to go. But he did, anyway, probably thinking he would get yelled at if he didn’t, and lose votes in the upcoming Presidential election. How well did that work out for him?