Climate Change: A Hot Topic in the Next Presidential Debate

Climate Change a Hot Topic in the Next Presidential Debate
USA Presidential Debate in America

For a short time this year, climate change took a break from the headlines. But it is back on the radar. Topics for the upcoming Presidential Debate (airing Oct. 22) have been released, and climate change made the list. If this debate is anything like the last one, it is hard to understand what each candidate is saying while they talk over each other. Here is a short rundown of where each stands on climate change, energy and the environment.

Biden on Climate Change, Energy, and the Environment

If elected, on day one, Biden has vowed to sign a series of executive orders. These orders will go far beyond anything seen during his stint as Vice President. He will demand that Congress enact legislation that will:

  • Establish an enforcement mechanism that includes milestone targets of no later than the end of his first term
  • Make a historic investment in clean energy and climate research and innovation
  • Incentivize the rapid deployment of clean energy innovations across the economy, especially in communities most impacted by climate change

He has been quite vocal in distancing his Clean Energy Plan from the Green New Deal. The main difference between the two is that his gives more time for transitioning away from fossil fuels. Here are the main points of the Biden Clean Energy Plan:

  • Build modern infrastructure
  • Position the auto industry to win the 21st century with technology invented in America
  • Achieve a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035
  • Make dramatic investments in energy efficiency in buildings – including four million retrofits and building 1.5 million new affordable homes
  • Pursue a historic investment in clean energy innovation
  • Advance sustainable agriculture and conservation
  • Secure environmental justice and equitable economic opportunity

In addition to the above, Biden would begin the transition away from fossil fuels by barring any new drilling, including fracking, on public lands.

Where Trump Stands on the Issues

President Trump does not point out what he will do if re-elected as much as what he has already accomplished during his first four years. 

  • Approved the infrastructure and provided the resources needed for unleashing oil and gas production
  • Approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines
  • Rescinded Obama’s very expensive Clean Energy Power Plan and proposed instead the Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE)
  • Rescinded many other costly Obama administration regulations
  • Removed the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement

President Trump’s ACE Rule has more than a few differences from Biden’s Clean Energy Plan. It will reduce emissions of CO2, mercury, as well as precursors for pollutants like fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone. In 2030, the ACE rule is projected to:

  • Reduce CO2 emissions by 11 million short tons
  • Reduce SO2 emissions by 5,700 tons
  • Reduce NOx emissions by 7,100 tons
  • Reduce PM2.5 emissions by 400 tons
  • Reduce mercury emissions by 59 pounds
  • EPA projects that ACE will result in annual net benefits of $120 million to $730 million, including costs, domestic climate benefits, and health co-benefits
  • With ACE, along with additional expected emissions reductions based on long-term industry trends, we expect to see CO2 emissions from the electric sector fall by as much as 35% below 2005 levels in 2030
  • Empower the states
  • Promote energy independence
  • Facilitate job creation

That is where the two candidates stand on the issues. Where do you stand? Make sure to watch the debate, and don’t forget to vote.