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Trump, Clinton on the environment: a handy guide

Dan Farber, professor of law | June 10, 2016

Here’s a handy chart comparing Trump and Clinton on environmental and energy issues. I’ve assembled the relevant statements by the candidates below the summary table.




Is climate change real? Yes, an urgent threat.  No, it’s a hoax.
Support Clean Power Plan?  Yes  No
Support Keystone XL pipeline?  No  Yes
Drill in Arctic?  No  Yes
Support Paris Agreement?  Yes  No
Favors renewables?  Supports  expansion  Skeptical


Here’s the evidence:

Is climate change real?

CLINTON: “Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time.” [campaign website]

TRUMP: “This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps, and our GW scientists are stuck in ice.”

Support Clean Power Plan?

CLINTON: “As president, Hillary will: Defend, implement, and extend smart pollution and efficiency standards, including the Clean Power Plan.” [campaign website].

TRUMP: Attacks Obama for “Draconian climate rules that, unless stopped, would effectively bypass Congress to impose job-killing cap-and-trade.” [5/26/16 speech]

Support Keystone XL pipeline?

CLINTON: “I think it is imperative that we look at the Keystone pipeline as what I believe it is — a distraction from important work we have to do on climate change. And unfortunately from my perspective, one that interferes with our ability to move forward with all the other issues. Therefore I oppose it.” [CNN]

TRUMP: “But President Obama has done everything he can to keep us dependent on others. Let me list some of the good energy projects he killed. He rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline . . . “ “I’m going to ask Trans Canada to renew its permit application for the Keystone Pipeline.” [5/26/16 speech]

Drill in Arctic?

CLINTON: ‘“The Arctic is a unique treasure. . . Given what we know, it’s not worth the risk of drilling.”’ [Washington Post]

TRUMP: “[Obama has] taken huge percentage of the Alaska petroleum – and you take the reserve; he’s taken if off the table.” [Alaska Dispatch News]

Support Paris Agreement?

CLINTON: “Hillary’s plan is designed to deliver on the pledge President Obama made at the Paris climate conference last December.” [campaign website]

TRUMP: “This agreement gives foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use right now in America. . . .We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.” [5/26/16 energy speech]

Incentives for renewables?

CLINTON: Pledges to “Fight to extend federal clean energy incentives and make them more cost effective both for taxpayers and clean energy producers.” [campaign website]

TRUMP: “We will get the bureaucracy out of the way of innovation, so we can pursue all forms of energy. This includes renewable energies and the technologies of the future. It includes nuclear, wind and solar energy – but not to the exclusion of other energy. The government should not pick winners and losers. Instead, it should remove obstacles to exploration.” [5/26/16 speech]

“The problem with solar is it’s very expensive. When you have a 30-year payback, that’s not exactly the greatest thing in the world. . . . Without subsidy, wind doesn’t work. . . If you go to various places in California, wind is killing all of the eagles. If you shoot an eagle or you kill an eagle, they want to put you in jail for five years. And yet the windmills are killing hundreds and hundreds of eagles. One of the most beautiful, one of the most treasured birds and they’re killing them by the hundreds and nothing happens. So wind is a problem.” [Fox News]

Cross-posted from the environmental law and policy blog Legal Planet.

Comments to “Trump, Clinton on the environment: a handy guide

  1. Dan, back in the 60s the UC elite proved Ike’s grave 1961 Farewell Address warning when they marginalized Linus Pauling because he was a champion of Peace: “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.”

    Nothing has changed, and that intellectual culture has created a failure mode for the human race. As Hofstadter and Dirks said “—so many intellectuals don’t want to take on the sort of complications and impurities that come with being public.”

    Thus Trump’s incredibly successful campaign has proved once again that far too many We The People do not believe the academic elite when we need to learn from you more than ever before, as documented today on NPR Science by Prof. Tania Lombrozo in “For Some, Scientists Aren’t The Authority On Science.” today:

    What are we waiting for now that increasingly rapid arctic ice melting is a major threat to life on earth today!

    • So far, I’ve heard her waver. Her main message (if it’s even fair to assign one) is that we need to gather more evidence before placing a full stop on all fracking. In other words, frack first, regulate later.

    • She has said that she will not approve any further fracking until more evidence is gathered that ensures that it will not cause substantive damage to the environment.

  2. Dan, once again, you prove that the answer to the 2006 CALIFORNIA alumni magazine question:

    “Can We Adapt In Time” continues to be NO ten years later.

    We spend all of our time and resources defining the problems and none on implementing long-term solutions that will guarantee an acceptable quality of life for all future generations.

    You keep proving that the human race has no social, political or economic institution that can save us.

    • When the two largest carbon emitters refuse to acknowledge the need for a long-term solution (U.S. and China), it’s clear that the people in power in both instances are short-sighted and irresponsible.

      Until the leaders of both of our major political parties accept the need for a long-term solution and the dire necessity for compromise on the way we make that policy, you’re absolutely dead on that our institutions are entirely incompetent to prevent global disaster.

      • Connor, actually “Until the leaders of both of our major political parties accept the need for a long-term solution and the dire necessity for compromise on the way we make that policy” is one proof that I’m absolutely correct to conclude something similar to what you said “our institutions are incompetent to prevent global disaster” today.

        The paramount fact in our favor is that our academics are members of the best institution the human race has to inform and motivate us to implement long-term solutions that will guarantee an acceptable quality of life for all future generations while we still have enough time and resources to do so.

        Once our intellectuals unite to overcome the failures of our politicians, then we shall meet the challenges of change we are experiencing today, as discussed by the most famous historians Will and Ariel Durant.

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