Election Crash Course 2016: Candidate Quotes on Climate and Energy

Donald Trump

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” – 2016

“I’m in favor of nuclear energy, very strongly in favor of nuclear energy. If a plane goes down people keep flying. If you get into an auto crash people keep driving.” – 2011

“But [the Democrats] want to absolutely knock out fracking. And you do that, you’re going to be back into the Middle East and we’re going to be begging for oil again. It’s not going to happen. Not with me. We’re going to open it up. We’re going to be energy independent. We’re going to have all sorts of energy. We’re going to have everything you can think of, including solar.” – 2016

“I want [Keystone XL] built, but I want a piece of the profits.” – 2016

“I want clean coal, and we’re going to have clean coal and we’re going to have plenty of it. We’re going to have great, clean coal. We’re going to have an amazing mining business.” – 2016

Jill Stein

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“It is the US and major industrialized countries that are primarily responsible for climate change. We have both a moral and legal responsibility to compensate other countries for the damages we have inflicted and to enable them to find sustainable paths to development that will raise their standards of living…” – 2015

“Nuclear energy is dirty, dangerous and expensive and should be ruled out for all those reasons. Fukushima is the poster child of the nuclear power industry. You can put it in someone else’s back yard or on the other side of the world but we are all endangered by it.” – 2016

“Fracking is a national threat to our water, our health, and our future. It’s time to work for a national ban on fracking and a just transition to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030.” – 2016

“End destructive energy extraction: fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, & uranium mines.” (Stein has been arrested protesting Keystone XL) – 2016

“A ‘bridge’ from coal to natural gas to clean energy is not enough. We need to transition straight to renewable energy now.” – 2016

Gary Johnson

“I’m not smart enough to say whether or not global warming is man made, certainly there is climate change.” – 2016

“I’m a free market guy when it comes to energy. In a free market approach to energy I don’t know if we build any new nuclear facilities given that no private underwriter is going to underwrite the liabilities associated with nuclear. I am open to seeing the government in a role to do that. It is an exciting notion to me that we have zero carbon emission from nuclear and the new electrical generation facilities are a one refuel for fifty years of life. To me that’s a really exciting prospect.” – 2011

“I have spoken to my former environmental secretary … I thought he was terrific … and what he says regarding fracking is that it’s only 10% effective, that there are environmental concerns, and that he believes that more research needs to be done on fracking. Number one, it could become much more effective, meaning it could have a much higher yield. So it sounds very pragmatic to me, but that would be where I’m at.” – 2016

“If the Keystone pipeline is an issue of eminent domain – no, the government should not get involved or I’d have to really have a look at that. If it’s rules and regulations that we’re talking about, then, yes, rules and regulations can make and should make and I would support making the Keystone XL pipeline happen.” – 2012

“I do believe that the free market has really taken it to coal. Coal has been bankrupted.” – 2016

Hillary Clinton

“I believe in science. I believe that climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs.” – 2016

“I think nuclear power has to be part of our energy solution … We get about 20% of our energy from nuclear power in our country … other countries like France get much much more, so we do have to look at it because it doesn’t put greenhouse gas emissions into the air.” – 2007

“Now part of that bridge will certainly come from natural gas. There are challenges here to be sure, but the boom in domestic gas production is an example of American innovation changing the game, and if we do it right, it can be good for both the environment and our economy.” – 2014

“You know, we know that if you are learning, you’re going to change your position … I never took a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone.” (Clinton opposes it, now) – 2015

“So for example, I’m the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country. Because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business, right? And we’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people. Those people labored in those mines for generations, losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories. Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on.” – 2016

JOSHUA FRANK is the managing editor of CounterPunch. He is the author of the new book, Atomic Days: The Untold Story of the Most Toxic Place in America, published by Haymarket Books. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank.