Solar, Wind Power

Hillary Clinton Outlines Renewable Energy Proposals; Will Further Obama Climate Goals

Hillary Clinton on Sunday set two “bold national goals” to combat climate change, promising that if she’s elected president, she would set the United States on a path toward producing enough clean renewable to power every home in America within a decade.

She would also initiate a process that would bring the total number of solar panels installed nationwide to more than half a billion before the end of her first term, her campaign said in a fact sheet released Sunday as it also posted a video in which Clinton lays out her ambitions.

The video is a first step in framing Clinton’s views on climate and energy issues, aides said, and more details about her specific positions will be unveiled in the coming months. 

Clinton supports extending and adding to existing tax credits to encourage the production and use of energy from renewable sources. Twenty-eight percent of Iowa’s power comes from wind, and the state trails only Texas in wind power production. 

“Those people on the other side, they will answer any question about climate change by saying, ‘I’m not a scientist.’ Well, I’m not a scientist either. I’m just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain,” she said to laughter and cheers.”

Clinton has repeatedly avoided taking a position on whether the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline should be approved by the Obama administration, saying she wants to let the State Department-led process run its course without her interference. Others running for the Democratic presidential nomination, though, have been more clear, going right for the liberal activist base that has rallied against the project in what’s become a symbolic fight for both sides. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley both say they’re opposed to the pipeline and have attacked Clinton for not doing the same.

“I have helped lead the opposition against the Keystone pipeline,” Sanders told reporters earlier this month as Clinton visited Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill. “I don’t believe we should be excavating or transporting some of the dirtiest fuel on this planet. I think Secretary Clinton has not been clear on her views on that issue.”

O’Malley’s campaign, meanwhile, prebutted Clinton’s Sunday announcement with a memo on “what real climate leadership looks like” that recaps his opposition to Keystone and to offshore and Arctic drilling, as well as his proposals to create millions of jobs by boosting the clean energy industry.

Also in her memo, Clinton pledged to defend from legal or political attack the Obama administration’s rule to cut carbon pollution from the nation’s fleet of power plants and go even further, rewarding communities that speed rooftop solar panel installation, backing a contest for states to go beyond RPS minimums, and boosting solar and wind production on federal lands.

The four-page campaign fact sheet said the goal was to increase the share of U.S. power generation from renewable sources to 33 percent by 2027, compared to 25 percent under Obama’s carbon plan.

The early announcement of Clinton’s climate plan contrasts with the last presidential election cycle, in which neither major-party nominee highlighted the issue. Environmental advocates started a social media effort to try to get both campaigns to at least talk about climate.

Since winning re-election, Obama has made fighting climate a top priority and introduced a series of measures. He said this month that getting a global deal on cutting greenhouse-gas emissions is the remaining top priority of his tenure.

©2015 Bloomberg News

Lead image: First step. Credit: Shutterstock.