We have now been through four debates in this election cycle — three for president and one for vice president — and there has not been a single question posed to any candidate on energy and climate change.
At Preserve the Beartooth Front, we believe that this is the key issue facing the United States over the next 20-30 years. It is central not only to energy policy, but to economic development, national security, immigration, infrastructure, and much more.
It is deeply concerning that these issues have not taken center stage in the campaign. Failure to debate them publicly lessens our chances of coming to consensus about a course of action that will enable the US to become an effective leader in reducing the impacts of climate change, and to transform our economy to take advantage of the dramatic shifts in energy technology that will occur in the coming decades.
We have tracked the candidates’ positions on energy and climate change for over a year, and have many questions we would pose to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump if we had the chance. Here are ten. Please feel free to contribute your own in comments.
- What is the role of science in developing energy and climate policy? How will you reconcile the gap between climate science and the public’s perception (and Congress’) of that science?
- What specific policies, e.g. carbon tax, incentives for adoption of efficient energy technology, stimulus, would you propose to accelerate the adoption of clean energy technologies?
- What is the role of fracking in the transition of US energy policy to clean energy?
- What is an achievable timeline for the transition of US energy utilization from fossil fuels to clean energy? How does this apply specifically to coal, natural gas, and oil?
- How will you ensure US compliance with the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015? Is compliance with this agreement sufficient to avert the negative impacts of climate change?
- Science has shown that fracking has disproportionately negative environmental and community health impacts on the communities in which it takes place. What rights should local communities have to regulate fracking?
- For Hillary Clinton: You have proposed aggressive targets for adoption of solar, wind and other technologies, yet have not made this an issue in the campaign and have proposed no plan for action on this in your first year in office. Is this a serious goal, and, if so, how do you plan to achieve it?
- For Donald Trump: You have previously stated that climate change was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Please state whether you believe that
- Global temperature rise is occurring?
- If it is occurring, to what extent is it manmade?
- If it is manmade, what is the role of government in developing policies to address it?
- Describe your vision for energy use in the US in 2030. How will transportation, home energy use, and infrastructure be different from today?
- Your grandchildren will likely be alive in the year 2100. Science tells us that if we do not act quickly, climate change will cause major impacts in their lifetimes in sea level rise, drought, food and water availability, and more. Have you given any thought to what you will tell them about your role in keeping that from happening?