Monday, February 01, 2016

Climate Visions Clash in Iowa

Iowans caucus today in the first major nominating process to choose the next president. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, shown here at a campaign event in Mount Pleasant, is running neck-and-neck with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (Photo Credit: AP Images) Click to Enlarge.
The struggle to expand or restrict the nation's action on climate change in the next presidency intensifies today in Iowa.

In tonight's caucuses, Democrats are fighting in part for the title of the best climate candidate.  All three presidential candidates propose strong action on clean energy as a sign of their commitment to advance President Obama's unmatched efforts to address climbing temperatures and to attract core voters.

Republicans promise the reverse.  Most have pledged to roll back Obama's rules to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent in America's electricity sector.  Some say the climate is changing.  But the two leading Republicans say it's not because of people.  A few say that humans contribute to warming; none argue that it requires a strong response.

That election landscape is creating one of the sharpest divisions on global warming in recent memory, according to observers.  That gap didn't exist in 2008, when both Obama and Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) campaigned to enact a carbon price.  In 2012 the issue was barely mentioned by either Obama or Republican Mitt Romney.

Tonight, Iowa voters will set the next struggle in motion.

The caucuses helped spring Obama to the White House in 2008.  Now Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is hoping for a similar boost.  Following Obama's example eight years ago by beating Hillary Clinton in Iowa could accelerate him into the New Hampshire primary next week, where he holds a strong lead.

Sanders' campaign is describing him as a dramatically ambitious climate candidate who supports a carbon tax, opposes fracking and promises to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies.  Clinton's camp sketches her as a practical torchbearer for Obama's historic efforts to cut carbon emissions.  She has pledged to derive half of the nation's energy from nonemitting sources by 2030.  Unlike Sanders, she isn't proposing a carbon price.

Read more at Climate Visions Clash in Iowa

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