Power To The People: Heartbreak Hill(ary)

hillary.JPGSenator Hillary Rodham Clinton is a Democrat and the junior US Senator from the state of New York. She is serving her second term in the US Senate. Hillary, as everyone in world probably knows, was the Former First Lady of the United States. She is married to Former President Bill Clinton and they have a daughter, Chelsea.

Senator Clinton has been the perceived front-runner in the Democratic primary since she entered the race. Although, even in New Hampshire where support among registered Democrats remains high for both her and the former President, the race is tightening as we approach the January 8th primary.

She has been to the Granite State on many occasions, and she has brought Bill with her on many of her trips. Her political campaign in NH is heavily populated with Democratic activists and party officials who supported her husband and now support her.

In May, I met Senator Clinton in Manchester and asked her about the role of clean energy in her Administration. Clinton said, “I want to invest in clean energy technologies, and to establish a national program to reduce global warming and increase our fuel efficiency.”

When I followed up with a question about energy independence, she answered instead about climate change, “The United States must be a leader in international efforts to address the problem of climate change.”

Hillary has one of the most comprehensive energy plans of all candidates but she didn’t release it until just last month. John Edwards, Barrack Obama, and Dennis Kucinich all released comprehensive plans earlier than she did but her’s encompasses many more aspects than probably all the others combined.
Her plan states:

  • Hillary proposes a cap-and-trade system that would cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
  • Her plan would auction 100 percent of the pollution permits.
  • Clinton wants to create a National Energy Council to coordinate action across every federal agency.
  • Her political campaign is carbon neutral and she would support making more of the federal government carbon-neutral as well.
  • Using a term that I first heard from Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM), Clinton wants to create an “Apollo-like project to achieve energy independence.”
  • Clinton is a supporter of clean energy technologies – but her definition not only includes renewable energy, plug-in hybrids, and biofuels (which are good), but also includes ‘clean coal’ (which is not so good)!
  • She also supports coal to liquid fuels technology which will still emit carbons into the atmosphere.
  • Hillary wants to eliminate incandescent lightbulbs by 2020.
  • She wants to encourage the creation of 5 million new jobs in clean energy over the next 10 years.
  • She does oppose drilling for oil in ANWR as well as off the Outer Continental Shelf.
  • She does, however, reluctantly support using nuclear power. As she said in a debate in NH, the nuclear power option has to remain on the table.
  • She wants to adopt a 20% National Renewable Electricity Standard by the year 2020.
  • Hillary wants to require that all federal buildings be carbon neutral by 2030.
  • She would cut foreign oil imports by two-thirds from projected levels by 2030.
  • She would raise CAFÉ standards to 55 miles per gallon by 2030.
  • Clinton would become an international leader on global warming by signing the Kyoto Treaty and exceeding US targets.

Hillary’s plans are very comprehensive and well-detailed, just like her candidacy. But will her support of nuclear power and ‘clean coal’ break the hearts and cost her the support of the environmental community? That remains to be seen. But with less than 3 weeks to go, and with lots of snow on the ground, the presidential primary is heating up New Hampshire.

I have really enjoyed covering the candidates views on clean energy and energy independence for both the Green Options blog and for sustainabog and I want to thank David and Jeff and everyone who makes this all possible.

I’ve done my job; now it’s up to the voters to decide.

SmartPower – the national, non-profit marketing organization that is leading the creation of a voluntary market for clean energy and energy efficiency.

Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Website

Image Credit: Flickr – Senator Clinton Campaigning in Hampton, NH

Mike Garofalo’s Previous “Power To The People’ Columns

  1. Brett

    I’m not certain that I agree with her devoting additional money and resources to coal and nuclear power. The process that burns both coal and other items that contain small percentages of petroleum still emits greenhouse gas, though not as much as burning for consumption. I want to see a candidate offer more than similarities to the Kyoto Protocol, because a cap-and-trade system that would cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 80 percent just isn’t very realistic. That is counting on a lot of major economies helping other smaller, developing countries buy RECs, adopt carbon projects, etc. And that entails counting on countries such as China to help neighboring economies, which I don’t see happening any time soon.

  2. Stacy Feldman

    Thanks for this Mike. And you’re right to second guess Hillary’s dubious plans on dirty coal. Here’s our analysis of Clinton on climate change over at SolveClimate: http://www.solveclimate.com/profile/hillary+clinton

    In a nutshell: Clinton’s plan will pump immediate funding into building ten large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) plants. Problem is that even government research is revealing that CCS technology is a smokescreen for business-as-usual.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *