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February 12, 2016 Comments (0) All Other Stories, Features

What our Presidential Candidates Say About the Environment

By Amanda Hermans

Election season is here, and in order to prepare everyone for the important civic duty of voting, here is ION’s run down of the presidential candidates on the environment and climate change.


                           Jeb Bush


“There are people well-intended on climate change but they need to be careful to not paint the apocalypse. Because we are not there. But we should be adapting.”

Bush is not against the idea of climate change, but believes it’s not the place of the government to take care of it. He wants to rely on free market trade to regulate carbon emissions and pollution, and he does support low levels of research spending on low-carbon options.

                          Ben Carson 

Ben Carson

“I don’t care whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, a liberal or a conservative, if you have any thread of decency in you, you want to take care of the environment because you know you have to pass it on to the next generation. There is no reason to make it into a political issue.”

Carson has reduced the severity of climate change down to a claim that temperatures are always changing and that this change is normal. He believes the topic is over politicized, saying too much climate rhetoric is based on ideology and not on evidence. He does believe that humans have a responsibility to the earth, but that it is not the government’s place to enforce it.

                             Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz

“Climate change is not science. It’s religion.”

Despite the fact that more than 97 percent of peer-reviewed papers maintain that climate change is in fact real, Cruz has repeatedly tried to bring doubt on the science and the scientists behind climate change. He supports the Keystone XL pipeline and other similar projects, and supports drilling for oil and natural gas in the U.S.

                        Jim Gilmore

Jim Gilmore

“I would like it to be shown that it’s man-made, and if it is, then at that point I think that we have to address how we deal with it.”

Gilmore has doubted the motives of climate scientists, and also doubted their conclusions. He has said he believes the markets should take care of energy usage, and that the government should not support cap-and-trade or invest in clean energy.

                         John Kasich

John Kasich

“Do I think that human beings affect it? I do. How much? Not enough for me to go out and cost somebody their job.”

Kasich doubts some of the scientific specifics behind climate change, but has acknowledged that it is human-caused. He wants to see increases of clean energy sources along-side traditional, carbon emitting sources.

                        Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio

“The way we’re gonna clean up our environment, the way we’re gonna lower carbon emissions, is not through government mandates. It’s through the American innovator. And that’s what anything we do should be based upon. Not big government mandates like they do in Europe and California.”

Rubio believes that lowering emissions and fossil fuel use through government mandates such as cap-and-trade is bad for the economy, and has blamed Obama for destroying jobs with environmental policies in the past. He believes that innovation and competition will spur green energy growth, along with traditional energy growth. He would approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

                      Donald Trump

Donald Trump

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

Trump has called global warming a hoax, and denies that climate change is real or has any human-caused origins. He has mentioned cutting the EPA and environmental regulations in the name of job growth.


                    Hillary Clinton


“We shouldn’t be building a pipeline dedicated to moving North America’s dirtiest fuel through our communities.”

Clinton proposes what she sees as practical solutions to climate change, including a pledge to have fifty percent of U.S. energy come from non-emitting sources by 2030. She has committed to updating existing energy infrastructure, reducing the amount of oil used by the U.S. while providing support for coal workers, and to protecting U.S. conservation lands from development. She is also opposed to the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

                      Bernie Sanders

 Bernie Sanders

“CEO’s are raking in record profits while climate change ravages our planet and our people — all because the wealthiest industry in the history of our planet has bribed politicians into complacency in the face of climate change.”

Sanders paints himself as an ambitious climate candidate, pledging to tax carbon, oppose fracking, and eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. He is a supporter of research in clean energy like wind, solar, and geothermal, which he says will create new jobs.

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