Posted by: ericgrimsrud | July 28, 2015

Will it be Hillary or Bernie on climate change?

A couple days ago Hillary Clinton came out with her statement on Climate Change (see it at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/28/us/politics/hillary-clinton-lays-out-climate-change-plan.html?_r=0  I had expected her to say pretty much what she did say and was thereby disappointed. We have already seen too much of “all of the above” approaches to the energy question.  While she is clearly in favor of our continued development of alternate means of energy production, she did not say enough about our need to discourage future use of fossil fuels.  Most significantly, she did not even mention our need for a tax on future carbon emissions.

Hillary is a shrewd and experienced politician, of course, and I am sure she knows that if she does not win the specific election in question, her long term agenda will not get to first base.  Therefore, I could envision that if and when she is in office, she might gradually take a much firmer stance against fossil fuel use.  I don’t know that, of course, and am only guessing here about her real plans. Without that guess, however, I would not vote for her at the present time.

This is because we now have another candidate, Bernie Sanders, who is “all the way there” with respect to what I believe has to be done – as soon as possible – that is, instantly upon election – if we are to have any hope in the battle against global warming.  Bernie is forcefully behind the only factor that will really make a difference.  That is an increasingly stiff tax on the combustion of all fossil fuels (see his stance at:  https://berniesanders.com/issues/climate-change/).   We cannot continue to use our atmosphere as a free-of-charge dump for the disposal of carbon dioxide.  It already has way too much of this greenhouse gas in it and the extra we add to it every day will remain there for several centuries.  Only a stiff charge for the continued disposal of that waste will enable us to develop the carbon-free energy and financial systems we absolutely must have within the next decade.

So my question to myself is:  who should I vote for – the seemingly powerful candidate that would very probably win and whose outlook might possibly get all the way to a carbon free economy later – or the one who is clearly already all the way there but might not have the political clout to defeat his Republican opponent in the 2016 Presidential election?  It’s a good thing that I still have more than a year to watch and decide.  If Bernie’s level of public support continues to increase – that would pull me in his direction.  If Hillary shows me that she “get’s it” concerning the real problem before us – that would also affect my vote.

I should add here that if Vice President Joe Biden decides to throw his hat in the ring, I would also consider voting for him. I have the highest respect for Biden and the service he has provided to our country throughout his long career.  In addition, if he were to run, I am sure that his views on climate change and how to address it would be just as forceful as those of Bernie Sanders.

Concerning other potential candidates who might have a clue concerning the looming problem of climate change – the GOP has made things far too simple for me.  It still appears than any candidate that makes it through their “vetting” process will have to be either an actual or a pretend scientific retard who will have to show his or her disdain for our nation’s scientific organizations. They will have to be in sync with the “I am not a scientist” and “its all a big hoax” national leadership of their party.

This last point made above is, perhaps, the saddest part of the dilemma in which we now find ourselves.  How the United States of America in the 21st  Century came to have one of its only two major political parties reduced to such a state of utter anti-intellectualism would be enough to make many of its founders, certainly including Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin, to be ashamed of what they have produced.  How is it possible that over those more than two centuries, the understanding of our natural surroundings by approximately half of our political representatives has actually “advanced” backwards? God help us if any of those scientific Neanderthals of the GOP is elected in 2016!


Responses

  1. Hillary or Bernie are Democrats. The engine that pulls the U.S. economy is the private sector. I’m looking for a Republican this time – someone who appreciates salesmanship, economics, market driven solutions and science.
    Science is about truth, but truth alone isn’t accomplishing much this time.
    As for a carbon tax – taxes are less popular than rebates. Rebates at least
    give the impression of a sale. The tax label is a none-starter. Read my lips –
    rebates to carbon-free energy production/sales but no new taxes.

    [Response from EPG:
    Dave, I am not usually a single issue guy – as I now am. If we don’t fix the AGW problem none of the other issues will matter. The nuclear industry charges for the disposal of their waste and so should the fossil fuel industry. That one single point is the cause of our present problem with AGW. With the level playing field of a carbon tax the free market system could work without the subsidy games.

  2. Some have noted that I did not mention the Keystone XL pipeline here and did not call attention to the fact that Hillary has not yet declared her view on that controversial project. My reason for that omission is that I see that question to be a soft one relative to whether or not she would be in favor of a stiff carbon tax. Such a tax would kill the Keystone XL pipeline and many other marginally productive uses of fossil fuels. The question of whether or not a candidate favors a stiff carbon tax that would affect all future efforts for energy production is most important and possibly the only one worth asking, in my opinion.


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