Forbes – July 27, 2016
by Ken Silverstein
While Donald Trump is out mocking climate change and those who would seek to mitigate its harmful effects, Hillary Clinton is out discussing the issue and trying to find workable solutions. The irony here — if you can call it that — is that a lot of conservatives are rallying to Clinton’s side, saying that free market fixes do exist.
None of this is to say that reaching a legislative milestone in the U.S. Congress is possible, at least in the near term. For that to happen, the market forces calling for change must become so swift and irreversible that even the biggest skeptics would be swept up by the cause. That point will eventually arrive. But until then, political contributions will carry more weight than the prevailing science.
The Republican Party platform is calling for the abolition of regulations to curtail emissions from coal-fired power plants while also saying that the fuel source is a “clean” energy form. Meantime, its presidential nominee is saying that climate change is a “total hoax.” The Democrats, meanwhile, are calling for the country to generate half of its electricity from clean energy sources within a decade.
“The difference between the parties has a great deal more to do with the potential winners and losers during this transition than it does with the science itself,” says John Farrell, the director of the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, in an interview. “Follow the money. That’s a good way to understand the party platforms.”
Democrats see the issue of climate change and of moving nimbly into the New Energy Economy as a moral imperative, he adds, while the Republicans are more concerned about the perceived high cost of addressing climate change. But as renewable energy becomes more and more competitive, Farrell says that the gap between the parties will shrink.