In the weeks leading up to the election, In Theory is asking policy experts to weigh in on the critical questions our presidential candidates should be addressing — but often aren’t. This week we’re discussing climate-change policy.
President Obama made global warming a key issue throughout his administration, arguing that anthropogenic climate change can lead to “dangerous” ideologies and pose a security threat to the United States. With little support from Republicans in Congress, his administration has relied on executive action to address the problem, working to organize last year’s Paris accords and implementing the Clean Power Plan, which is partially stalled by the Supreme Court.
While environmentalists have lauded Obama’s initiatives, it’s clear that their success will rely on the next president, who needs to not only maintain current policies but also work to fulfill the promise to reduce the United States’ contribution to global warming.
Donald Trump, who is “not a big believer in man-made climate change,” is not likely to do that. Hillary Clinton, however, has vowed to build on Obama’s policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 percent in 2025. Her plan is to continue implementing the Clean Power Plan and to invest in clean energy infrastructure.
Given the legal challenges to Obama’s executive actions on the issue, how should the next president’s address climate change? How much should we be willing to spend on clean energy, and what approach might work best to get legislation through Congress?