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The Battle Lines are Drawn

By:
Edward A. Reid Jr.
Posted On:
Aug 30, 2016  at  at 8:59 AM
Category
Climate Change

Climate change is the most politically charged scientific issue of our time. The positions of the parties are summarized from their platforms below in the direct quotations below.

 

Republican Party Platform 2016

Information concerning a changing climate, especially projections into the long-range future, must be based on dispassionate analysis of hard data. We will enforce that standard throughout the executive branch, among civil servants and presidential appointees alike. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a political mechanism, not an unbiased scientific institution. Its unreliability is reflected in its intolerance toward scientists and others who dissent from its orthodoxy. We will evaluate its recommendations accordingly. We reject the agendas of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, which represent only the personal commitments of their signatories; no such agreement can be binding upon the United States until it is submitted to and ratified by the Senate.

 

Democratic Party Platform 2016

Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time.

Democrats share a deep commitment to tackling the climate challenge; creating millions of good paying middle class jobs; reducing greenhouse gas emissions more than 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050; and meeting the pledge President Obama put forward in the landmark Paris Agreement, which aims to keep global temperature increases to “well below” two degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We believe America must be running entirely on clean energy by mid-century.

Democrats believe that carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases should be priced to reflect their negative externalities, and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy and help meet our climate goals. Democrats believe that climate change is too important to wait for climate deniers and defeatists in Congress to start listening to science, and support using every tool available to reduce emissions now.

All corporations owe it to their shareholders to fully analyze and disclose the risks they face, including climate risk. Those who fail to do so should be held accountable. Democrats also respectfully request the Department of Justice to investigate allegations of corporate fraud on the part of fossil fuel companies accused of misleading shareholders and the public on the scientific reality of climate change.

 

Libertarian Party Platform 2016

Competitive free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Governments are unaccountable for damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection. Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights and responsibilities regarding resources like land, water, air, and wildlife. Where damages can be proven and quantified in a court of law, restitution to the injured parties must be required.

 

The Republican Party Platform focuses on hard data, Executive restraint and Congressional re-involvement.

The Democratic Party Platform calls for an increasingly aggressive shift from fossil fuels, assisted by a tax on GHG emissions, continued Executive actions to bypass Congress, as well as continuation and expansion of the legal (?) attack on those who do not accept “the scientific reality of climate change”.

The Libertarian Party Platform restates broad Libertarian principles, but avoids specifics with regard to climate.

The differences between the major party platforms are clear. However, it is unclear how significant a role climate will play in the upcoming campaigns. Interestingly, that might well be determined by ISIS, should it clearly assert itself as a challenge greater than climate change in the eyes of the American voting public.