Thursday, September 22, 2016

Energy policies of the U.S. presidential candidates

Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump


Nos problèmes de civilisation et les solutions proposées viennent le plus souvent des Etats-Unis, car ils sont une émanation, réussie jusqu'à ce jour, de l'Europe occidentale. Voici un article sur la politique énergétique et le changement climatique vue par les deux candiats à la la présidence: Clinton et Trump


“There is still much that needs to be investigated in the field of ‘climate change’”, says one. “When it comes to climate change, the science is crystal clear”, says the other. “Save the coal industry”, says one. “Quickly move to make a bridge from coal to natural gas to clean energy,” states the other. Allan Hoffman, author of the blog Thougts of a Lapsed Physicist, investigates the positions of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on climate and energy, including nuclear power, fracking, renewable energy and energy independence – with fascinating results.

When I was born Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was President of the United States. Since then I have lived through many presidential elections, but none as strange as the one currently underway in the United States. It is truly one for the history books, and many articles, books, and PhD theses will be written about it in years to come.
It has been a nasty campaign so far, and is likely to get even nastier as we approach November 8th, Election Day. As a result, it is often hard to focus on policy issues that differentiate the two principal candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The level of invective is high, and issues of temperament and trustworthiness are often grabbing most of the attention.
Nevertheless, energy policy is important and has had and will have a major impact on the U.S. economy, its environment, and its national security. Therefore, there has been increasing attention recently to the energy policies of the candidates – e.g., the search of their websites in July by an analyst for the American Council on Renewable Energy to measure their interest in renewable energy. As reported by Forbes in August: “The search produced 55 results on Hillary Clinton’s website – it jumped to 92 as she published more detailed plans – and only one on Donald Trump’s site.”
“When we met in Copenhagen in 2009 and, literally, President Obama and I were hunting for the Chinese, going throughout this huge convention center, because we knew we had to get them to agree to something”
In this blog post I will add to this effort by identifying and and comparing the energy policies of the two candidates based on their published positions and their public statements. The reader can draw his or her own conclusions.
I will approach this task by using questions prepared by Science Debates (sciencedebate.org), an organization that is “asking candidates to hold a debate exclusively about major issues in science, engineering, health and the environment.” They know that will not happen in 2016 (they also tried unsuccessfully in 2008 and 2012) but have put together a set of 20 questions that the candidates have answered in writing. I have selected two of the questions as the basis for my comparisons.
Question #1: “The Earth’s climate is changing and political discussion has become divided over both the science and the best response. What are your views on climate change, and how would your administration act on those views?”
Donald Trump’s response to Science Debates
“There is still much that needs to be investigated in the field of “climate change.” Perhaps the best use of our limited financial resources should be in dealing with making sure that every person in the world has clean water. Perhaps we should focus on eliminating lingering diseases around the world like malaria. Perhaps we should focus on efforts to increase food production to keep pace with an ever-growing world population. Perhaps we should be focused on developing energy sources and power production that alleviates the need for dependence on fossil fuels. We must decide on how best to proceed so that we can make lives better, safer and more prosperous.”
The following statements are direct quotes from the Trump website (www.donaldtrump.com): 
“Rescind all the job-destroying Obama executive actions including the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.”
“The oil is there for the taking; we just have to take it”
“Cancel the Paris Climate Agreement (limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius) and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.”
The following are public statements made by Donald Trump: 
“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” (tweet, November 2012)
“Ice storm rolls from Texas to Tennessee – I’m in Los Angeles and it’s freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax! (tweet, December 2013)
“We should be focused on clean and beautiful air – not expensive and business closing GLOBAL WARMING a total hoax!” (tweet, December 2013)
“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.” (tweet, January 2014)
“Maybe some climate change is man made, but not all.” (June 2015)
Hillary Clinton’s response to Science Debates
“When it comes to climate change, the science is crystal clear. Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time and its impacts are already being felt at home and around the world. That’s why as President, I will work both domestically and internationally to ensure that we build on recent progress and continue to slash greenhouse gas pollution over the coming years as the science clearly tells us we must.
I will set three goals that we will achieve within ten years of taking office and which will make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st century:
Generate half of our electricity from clean sources, with half a billion solar panels installed by the end of my first term.
Cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals and offices by a third and make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world.
Reduce American oil consumption by a third through cleaner fuels and more efficient cars, boilers, ships, and trucks.
“I will look at everything, but there are some tough questions you’d have to answer with respect to nuclear”
To get there, my administration will implement and build on the range of pollution and efficiency standards and clean energy tax incentives that have made the United States a global leader in the battle against climate change. These standards are also essential for protecting the health of our children, saving American households and businesses billions of dollars in energy costs, and creating thousands of good paying jobs.
These standards set the floor, not the ceiling. As President, I will launch a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge to partner with those states, cities, and rural communities across the country that are ready to take the lead on clean energy and energy efficiency, giving them the flexibility, tools and resources they need to succeed.”
The relevant climate change material on the Clinton website is similar to the above answer to Science Debates and so will not be reproduced here.
The following is a public statement by Hillary Clinton: 
(What will you do about climate change?) “I have been on the forefront of dealing with climate change, starting in 2009, when President Obama and I crashed a meeting with the Chinese and got them to sign up to the first international agreement to combat climate change that they’d ever joined.” (Q: Are you referring to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen?) “When we met in Copenhagen in 2009 and, literally, President Obama and I were hunting for the Chinese, going throughout this huge convention center, because we knew we had to get them to agree to something. Because there will be no effective efforts against climate change unless China and India join with the rest of the world. They told us they’d left for the airport; we found out they were having a secret meeting. We marched up, we broke in, we said, “Let’s sit down and talk about what we need to do.” And we did come up with the first international agreement that China has signed.”
(Source: Democratic primary debate, October 2015)
Question #2: “Strategic management of the U.S. energy portfolio can have powerful economic, environmental, and foreign policy impacts. How do you see the energy landscape evolving over the next 4 to 8 years, and as President, what will your energy strategy be?”
Donald Trump’s response to Science Debates
“It should be the goal of the American people and their government to achieve energy independence as soon as possible. Energy independence means exploring and developing every possible energy source including wind, solar, nuclear and bio-fuels. A thriving market system will allow consumers to determine the best sources of energy for future consumption.
Further, with the United States, Canada and Mexico as the key energy producers in the world, we will live in a safer, more productive and more prosperous world.”
The following statements are direct quotes from the Trump website (they touch on both energy and global warming issues): 
“Energy reform—
– Rescind all the job-destroying Obama executive actions including the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.
– Save the coal industry and other industries threatened by Hillary Clinton’s extremist agenda.
– Ask Trans Canada to renew its permit application for the Keystone Pipeline.
– Make land in the Outer Continental Shelf available to produce oil and natural gas.
– Cancel the Paris Climate Agreement (limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius) and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.
– Lift restrictions on American energy to increase:
Economic output by $700 billion annually over the next 30 years,
Wages by $30 billion annually over the next 7 years,
GDP by more than $20 trillion over the next four decades, and
Tax revenues by an additional $6 trillion over 40 years.”
The following are published statements or public comments by Donald Trump:
“There has been a big push to develop alternative forms of energy–so-called green energy–from renewable sources. That’s a big mistake. To begin with, the whole push for renewable energy is being driven by the wrong motivation, the mistaken belief that global climate change is being caused by carbon emissions. If you don’t buy that–and I don’t–then what we have is really just an expensive way of making the tree-huggers feel good about themselves.”
(Source: Crippled America, by Donald Trump, November 2015)
“The most popular source of green energy is solar as several decades after installing solar panels to get your money back. That’s not exactly what I would call a good investment. Even if that number is only half right, what kind of investment do you want to make that takes 20 years before you break even.”
(Source: Crippled America, by Donald Trump, November 2015)
“We do need nuclear energy, and we need a lot of it fast”
“Right now, green energy is way behind the times. You look at the windmills that are destroying shorelines all over the world. Economically, they’re not good. It’s a very, very poor form of energy.” (March 2012)
“Among all the gifts that God gave to America was an abundant supply of natural energy. According to the Department of Energy, the natural gas reserves we have in the ground could supply our energy needs for centuries.
Researchers at Rice University in Houston, Texas, have estimated we might have two trillion barrels of recoverable oil, enough to last the next 285 years. Technology has changed so much in the last few years that a Goldman-Sachs study has estimated that by 2017 or 2019, we could overtake both Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s largest oil producer. The oil is there for the taking; we just have to take it. I’ve never understood why, with all of our own reserves, we’ve allowed this country to be held hostage by OPEC, the cartel of oil-producing countries, some of which are hostile to America.
(Source: Crippled America, by Donald Trump, November 2015)
“I’m very strongly in favor of nuclear energy. You know, it’s sort of interesting. If a plane goes down, people keep flying. If you get into an auto crash, people keep driving. There are problems in life. Not everything is so perfect. You have to look very carefully, though, at really taking care; having the best people in terms of safeguards for nuclear energy. But we do need nuclear energy, and we need a lot of it fast.
(Source: interview, March 15, 2011)
Hillary Clinton’s response to Science Debates
“The next decade is not only criticabl to meeting the climate challenge, but offers a tremendous opportunity to ensure America becomes a 21st century clean energy superpower.
I reject the notion that we as a country are forced to choose between our economy, our environment, and our security. The truth is that with a smart energy policy we can advance all three simultaneously. I will set the following bold, national goals – and get to work on Day 1, implementing my plan to achieve them within ten years of taking office:
Generate half of our electricity from clean sources, with half a billion solar panels installed by the end of my first term.
Cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals and offices by a third and make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world.
Reduce American oil consumption by a third through cleaner fuels and more efficient cars, boilers, ships, and trucks.
My plan will deliver on the pledge President Obama made at the Paris climate conference—without relying on climate deniers in Congress to pass new legislation. This includes:
Defending, implementing, and extending smart pollution and efficiency standards, including the Clean Power Plan and standards for cars, trucks, and appliances that are already helping clean our air, save families money, and fight climate change.
Launching a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge to partner with states, cities, and rural communities to cut carbon pollution and expand clean energy, including for low-income families.
Investing in clean energy infrastructure, innovation, manufacturing and workforce development to make the U.S. economy more competitive and create good-paying jobs and careers.
Ensuring the fossil fuel production taking place today is safe and responsible and that areas too sensitive for energy production are taken off the table.
“By the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places where fracking will continue to take place”
Reforming leasing and expand clean energy production on public lands and waters tenfold within a decade.
Cutting the billions of wasteful tax subsidies oil and gas companies have enjoyed for too long and invest in clean energy.
Cutting methane emissions across the economy and put in place strong standards for reducing leaks from both new and existing sources.
Revitalizing coal communities by supporting locally driven priorities and make them an engine of U.S. economic growth in the 21st century, as they have been for generations.
The relevant statements on the Clinton website are essentially a restatement of her answer to Science Debates and so will not be reproduced here.
The following are public statements by Hillary Clinton: 
“We need to implement the president’s executive actions and quickly move to make a bridge from coal to natural gas to clean energy. That is the way we will keep the lights on while we are transitioning to a clean energy future.” (Source: 2016 PBS Democratic primary debate, March 2016)
(Re fracking) “#1, I don’t support it when any locality or any state is against it. #2, I don’t support it when the release of methane or contamination of water is present. I don’t support it, #3, unless we can require that anybody who fracks has to tell us exactly what chemicals they are using. So by the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places where fracking will continue to take place. And I think that’s the best approach, because right now, there are places where fracking is going on that are not sufficiently regulated. So first, we’ve got to regulate everything that is currently underway, and we have to have a system in place that prevents further fracking unless conditions like the ones that I just mentioned are met.”
(Source: Democratic primary debate in Flint, Michigan, March 2016)
“We do have enough money in LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) to help consumers pay their bills. We should have a crash program on weatherization to help to drive those bills down. We need to do more to investigate, and we might even have to look at the strategic petroleum reserve, which the Bush administration has been filling up beyond any expectation of need for the short term. We also have to have a serious move toward energy efficiency and conservation. We need to get people to be more conscious to do it for themselves.
(Source: Democratic primary debate at Drexel University, October 2007)
(Would you rule out expanding nuclear power?) “No, but it would not be one of the options that I favor, unless, number one, the cost can get down for the construction and operation; number two, that we have a viable solution for the nuclear waste. I voted against Yucca Mountain. I’ve spoken out against Yucca Mountain. I think that recently the discovery–there’s an earthquake fault going under the proposed site at Yucca Mountain–certainly validates my opposition. So there are a lot of very difficult questions. But we’re going to have to look at the entire energy profile, in order to determine how we’re going to move away from our dependence upon carbon-based fuels. And I will look at everything, but there are some tough questions you’d have to answer with respect to nuclear.”
(Source: Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College, September 2007)
In the above compilation I have tried to let the candidates speak for themselves. It is clear that there are major policy differences between the two candidates with respect to our energy future and our response to global warming and climate change. Based on what I have said previously in this blog I am clearly not neutral in this debate. I strongly support Secretary Clinton’s vision of a clean energy future that moves us quickly away from dependence on fossil fuels and towards an energy system increasingly dependent on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Donald Trump’s vision is very different. The American people have a clear choice to make in the upcoming election on these and other issues.
Editor’s Note 
This article was first published on Allan Hoffman’s blog Thoughts of a Lapsed Physicist and is republished here with permission.
Hoffman is former Senior Analyst in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and physicist by training. See his author’s archive on Energy Post for a slection of his blog posts, which deal with issues at the intersection of energy technology, policy and markets.

Source: energypost.eu

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