Hillary Clinton Vows to Defend, Extend Obama Climate Policy

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Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waits to be introduced at a house party on July 26, 2015 in Carroll, Iowa.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton said she would both defend and go beyond the efforts by President Barack Obama to address climate change in the first detailed description of her potential environmental polices if elected president.

Clinton released what her campaign said was the opening salvo of the Democrat’s energy and climate change agenda Sunday, while she was campaigning in Iowa.

Among other things, Clinton pledged to defend from legal or political attack the Obama administration’s rule to cut carbon pollution from the nation’s fleet of power plants.

A Clinton administration would go further, rewarding communities that speed rooftop solar panel installation, backing a contest for states to go beyond the minimums called for in the environmental rules, and boosting solar and wind production on federal lands.

A four-page campaign fact sheet said the goal was to increase the share of U.S. power generation from renewable sources to 33 percent by 2027, compared to 25 percent under Obama’s carbon plan.

The announcement “makes it more clear than ever that she cares deeply about climate change and will make it a top priority throughout her campaign,” Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, said in a statement.

State Mandates

The majority of U.S. states had already established their own renewable power goals by 2012, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.

California has a goal of buying 33 percent of its power from renewable energy resources by 2020. The state describes this renewables portfolio standard on its website as “one of the most ambitious” in the country.

The early announcement of Clinton’s climate plan contrasts with the last presidential election cycle, in which neither major-party nominee highlighted the issue. Environmental advocates started a social media effort to try to get both campaigns to at least talk about the the climate.

Since winning re-election, Obama has made fighting climate a top priority and introduced a series of measures. He said this month that getting a global deal on cutting greenhouse-gas emissions is the remaining top priority of his tenure.

The mix of policies laid out by Clinton include a pledge to produce enough renewable energy in a decade to power every U.S. home, and to curb gasoline demand, neither an easy task. U.S. gasoline usage is up this year, as lower prices boost driving. The campaign’s plans don’t include any actions aimed specifically at helping oil, natural gas or coal producers.

Clinton said she would help coal-dependent communities, such as those in West Virginia or eastern Kentucky, cope with the transition away from the carbon-heavy fuel. Obama had made a similar pledge in his most recent budget.

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