It’s “Super Tuesday” according to the 2016 Republican candidate schedule with voting primaries being held in Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and other southeastern states today (March 1).
As Republican candidates battle it out for the November presidential spot, Climate Messenger has been investigating the top five candidate’s views on climate change and their contentious tweets.
The Climate Messenger has noted that none of the presidential candidates have an independent section designated for the issues of energy and none address climate change.
Ted Cruz – U.S. Senator from Texas
Ted Cruz denies global warming is happening and even rebukes NASA’s study that climate change is real.
To justify this scientific ignorance, Cruz points to a period of 17 years of satellite data that registers no change, but fails to mention the effects of the recurring warm wave El Nino or the general macro trends in data.
On his website, Cruz addresses energy consumption in relation to jobs only – as do most of the other candidates.
Under his “Energy Renaissance” subheader, he states he wants to “embrace” the “bountiful resources in this land [USA] – from oil to natural gas to ethanol.”
This would include approving the controversial Keystone Pipeline that would increase consumption of tar sands in Canada.
Tar sands are a particularly polluting energy source – producing four times more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil extraction – according to lead scientists at The Sierra Club Canada Foundation.
By some of their estimates, 80% of known fossil fuels need to remain in the ground to ensure the 2 degree Celsius global warming threshold remains low.
Like all the the Republican candidates, Cruz, opposes the Obama-Biden energy plan, which intends to make the U.S. “a leader on Climate Change.”
As idealistic as the energy plan may be, a greener US does not seem as high on the Republican agenda as the issue of climate change demands.
Ben Carson – Physician, Author and Citizen Politician
Carson does not believe climate change is a problem.
In many of Carson’s interviews he subscribes to an “obligation” to protect the environment.
There is no point looking at the politics to determine how environmental protocols can be enforced however.
Carson has continuously reiterated that the issue of climate change should not be politicised.
Carson told an audience at the University of New Hampshire that “climate change” is what happens any time temperatures fluctuate.
Carson said: “Of course there’s climate change,”
“Any point in time, temperatures are going up or temperatures are going down.
“Of course that’s happening.
“When that stops happening, that’s when we’re in big trouble.”
Setting aside his lack of political experience, Carson’s unwillingness to tackle environmental issues within the political spectrum is undoubtedly a problem for environmentalists.
John Kasich – Governor of Ohio
It would appear that on climate change, Kasich is more reserved than some of the other Republican candidates, and possibly the most friendly vote for environmentalists.
In an interview with Under Current last year, Kasich said that in his own state of Ohio, carbon emissions were reduced by 30% over the decade.
On part of his website, buried under the jobs and opportunity issues, Kasich believes “tearing down barriers to increased energy production,” is key to revitalising the economy.
The U.S. crude oil output has increased by over 80% since 2008 – an increase of over 4 million barrels a day – largely to do with the new developments of the shale industry in the States i.e. fracking.
With Iran’s trade sections lifted, the US and OPEC oil glut has created a freefall in oil prices that have plummeted 95%, with crude oil currently trading at just over $ 32 a barrel.
As OPEC battles to regulate and freeze market production it is clear that none of the Republicans will want to lose America’s influence on the market.
Marco Rubio – U.S. Senator from Florida
Rubio accepts that climate change is happening but, like Kasich, is unclear about the man-made factors.
Alongside the issue of oil, agricultural production is an enormous dilemma for climate change activists.
One controversial policy that Rubio intends to enforce is the overruling of the “US Water Rule” – federal control over the waterways.
According to The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website, “The rule protects clean water without getting in the way of farming, ranching, and forestry.
“Farms across America depend on clean and reliable water for livestock, crops, and irrigation.
“Activities like planting, harvesting, and moving livestock have long been exempt from Clean Water Act regulation, and the Clean Water Rule doesn’t change that.”
In Rubio’s world, devolved management is a good thing, but if accountability is lost in the relationship between the agricultural industry, local authorities, and farmers, Climate Messenger envisages a scenario where huge “dead-zones” of land could form from farm waste.
The Scientific American journalist David Biello states, “These nitrogen and oxygen molecules that crops need to grow eventually make their way into rivers, lakes and oceans, fertilizing blooms of algae that deplete oxygen and leave vast ‘dead zones’ in their wake.”
In short, the likelihood of chemical run-offs from fertilisers, pesticides and silage, could contaminate more ground water in the US as well as poisoning lakes, rivers and estuaries.
Agricultural output is a huge concern for environmentalists like Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, who have highlighted the key issues in their documentary Cowspiracy, released July 2014.
Among other statistics, their film highlighted the fact that 65% of the world’s Nitrous Oxide (N2O) comes from animal agriculture – a gas 296 times greater for global warming capacity than carbon dioxide.
The EPA has stated that, “Nitrous oxide molecules stay in the atmosphere for an average of 114 years before being removed by a sink or destroyed through chemical reactions [in the stratosphere].
“The impact of one pound of N2O on warming the atmosphere is almost 300 times that of one pound of carbon dioxide.”
When CO2 is released into the air, the rate at which it dissipates through carbon sinks varies between 20–200 years.
There are so many ways that farming affects the climate and environment at large.
They are complex, but Climate Messenger will aim to explore these aspects more thoroughly in future blogs.
Donald Trump – Businessman
Trump is surging ahead in the primaries and caucuses – gaining nearly double the amount of delegate votes than the other candidates combined .
The business mogul emphatically denies climate change, in the past describing it as, “weather.”
As the world watches the rise of his boisterous political campaign, we show you the tycoon’s tweets in narrative form.