This piece was originally published at GenFKD.com.
According to the Hillary Clinton energy plan, America’s time to transition into a renewable energy economy is running low. The presumptive Democratic nominee’s campaign has set out three goals for pioneering a lasting clean energy industry that will put less stress on the environment.
On her “Vision for Renewable Power” fact sheet, Clinton emphasizes solar energy’s pertinent role in battling the global climate crisis and hopes to decrease the nation’s dependence on oil. She outlines each of the goals on her official campaign website.
Goal 1: By the time Clinton’s first term is completed, over 500 million solar panels will have been installed in the United States, enabling a 700 percent increase in solar energy capacity. Within ten years of Clinton’s becoming president, the United States will have harvested enough renewable energy to power every home in the nation.
Goal 2: The United States will cut energy waste by a third and work to ensure that it’s at the top of the international clean energy game.
Goal 3: The United States will cut its oil consumption by a third by promoting more efficient transportation, manufacturing, and cleaner fuels.
Though solar power is definitely the star of Clinton’s clean energy show, it’s accompanied by some other viable sources of renewable energy including wind, hydro, and geothermal among others.
The government will have to be completely on board with clean energy efforts if Clinton’s plan is to come to fruition. Though installing solar panels is becoming cheaper as the years pass, the investment can be pricey in the initial stages. For that reason, Clinton has suggested the government offer tax incentives for both taxpayers and larger scale renewable energy producers.
And in order to ensure environmental justice in lower income households and communities, Clinton wants to launch a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge that will help fund the expansion of clean energy and nudge cities to reduce carbon pollution. Some of those funds will come from the elimination of tax subsidies on oil and gas companies.
Clinton’s plan also requests that federal building and government-funded infrastructure make the switch towards clean energy. Additionally, renewable energy capacity will be magnified on publicly owned land and especially in dams capable of generating hydropower.
The Clinton campaign “climate change” page states that by 2025, the candidate will slash greenhouse gas emissions, bringing them down to 30 percent below the 2005 level, which amounted to 7,379 MMT CO2 Eq. That number decreased by nine percent in 2014 and has continued to dwindle since then, according to the Environment Protection Agency’s emissions inventory.
The picture’s longer-term goal is to put America on track to cutting emissions by more than 80 percent by 2050.
Though environmentalist groups have praised Clinton’s plan, many maintain that it doesn’t do enough to discourage less efficient manufacturers or gas and oil industries to change their ways. Bill McKibben, head of international environmental organization 350.org, explained the dilemma surrounding Clinton’s plan with CBS News.
“Hillary Clinton is just half the way there,” McKibben said. “At the end of the day, growth in renewables doesn’t mean enough if we’re simultaneously kicking the decarbonization can down the road with more pipelines and more extraction on public lands.”
Unlike her positions on the Keystone Pipeline and fracking (which have been blurry at times), Clinton has advocated for a transition into clean energy since she began campaigning for president in 2007. Framing it as one of the most logical ways to spruce up a stagnant economy and to create jobs, she hoped to attract both environmentalists, as well as those who prioritize economic and fiscal concerns.
While environmentalists would like to see an even more aggressive plan, Clinton’s desire for broad support means she needs to play within the boundaries of the current political environment (a Republican majority), which has not has not always been conducive to energy transition.
Cross-Posted from GenFKD.com.
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