Climate Clowns v. Realists - The Candidates Ranked

Posted by Amy Guinan

Mar 23, 2016 10:56:22 AM

Photo: Charles Ommanney, Washington Post

2016 Campaign

During this campaign season, the presidential candidates have done and said things that are downright laughable.  From hand size comparisons to steak sales,  it's been a very strange ride.  Many issues - such as climate change - are of critical importance to our communities, country, and planet, and we believe should be treated seriously.  Check out the presidential climate clowns and realists, in their own words, where they stand on climate change and the environment.  

Donald Trump - Climate Clown

Donald Trump is the ultimate climate denier.  Calling global warming a "hoax," Donald Trump has made it clear his policies would  involve scaling back the powers of the EPA, expanding oil drilling, and crushing any attempts at cap and trade policies.  Trump further contends that climate change is “very low” on the list of major modern-day problems

In Trump's own words:  

  • “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.” (Nov 2012)
  • "Its freezing and snowing in New York.  We need global warming." (Nov 2012)
  • "It's incredible how slowly we're drilling for oil." (Mar 2011)
  • "No Cap-and-Tax: oil is this country's lifeblood." (Dec 2011)
  • "Cut the EPA; what they do is a disgrace." (Oct 2015)

Ted Cruz - Climate Clown

Ted Cruz is an unapologetic climate change denier.  He doesn't believe in the science behind climate change research and has called climate activists  “alarmists."  Cruz has been criticized for promoting "bogus" talking points about climate change at debates and rallies.  

In Cruz's own words:

  • “If you look at global warming alarmists, they don’t like to look at the actual facts and the data.  The satellite data demonstrate that there has been no significant warming whatsoever for 17 years. Now that’s a real problem for the global warming alarmists. Because all those computer models on which this whole issue is based predicted significant warming, and yet the satellite data show it ain’t happening.” (2014)
  • “Many in the media reflexively take the side of the global warming alarmists.  Public policy should follow science and evidence and data.” (2014)
  • “Climate change, as they have defined it, can never be disproved, because whether it gets hotter or whether it gets colder, whatever happens, they’ll say, well, it’s changing, so it proves our theory.” (2014)

John Kasich - Climate Juggler

Gov. John Kasich is the rare GOP presidential candidate who has acknowledged that climate change is a real problem requiring us to “protect” the “creation that the Lord has given us.” He has historically voiced his support for climate science; however, he continues to waffle on decisive action and changes position depending on his audience.

In Kasich's own words:

  • We don't want to destroy people's jobs, based on some theory that is not proven." (Aug 2015)
  • “I think that man absolutely affects the environment, but as to whether, what the impact is… the overall impact — I think that’s a legitimate debate.” (Aug 2015)
  • “I am just saying that I am concerned about it, but I am not laying awake at night worrying the sky is falling.” (2012)

Hillary Clinton - Climate Realist

Since she first ran for Senate and her preceding presidential bid in 2008, Clinton has shown a resounding commitment to supporintg green energy and tackling climate change. In 2015, Clinton called for a North American Climate Compact where the US would partner with Canada and Mexico on aggressive initiatives to reduce the continent’s carbon footprint.

In Clinton's own words:

  • "Our planet is warming, with potentially cataclysmic results: The scientific community has established beyond doubt that global warming is occurring; the 20th century’s last two decades were the hottest in 400 years. The IPCC has further predicted that the average temperature will rise by three to nine degrees by the end of the century, and as a result sea levels will rise between 7 and 23 inches, dramatically affecting the one hundred million people who live within 3 feet of the mean sea level. Security experts believe that these impacts will pose a serious national security threat by increasing instability in some of the world’s most volatile regions." (2007)
  • "There are climatic changes that are so-called natural, but we have so changed the atmosphere that it has a ripple effect...Yes, there are natural reasons why the climate may get warmer but we put so much CO2 into the atmosphere that that changes the natural forces..." (2008)
  • "We shouldn’t be building a pipeline dedicated to moving North America’s dirtiest fuel through our communities — we should be focused on what it will take to make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st century." (2015)

Bernie Sanders  - Climate Realist

Consistent with his campaign platform, Sanders blames unchecked corporate power and greed for driving climate change.  Sanders’ proposed energy plan includes decreasing carbon emissions 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, taxing carbon, and issuing a moratorium on nuclear plant licenses.  Bernie has pledged to not support fracking,  to ban fossil fuel lobbyists from the White House, and “bring climate deniers to justice.

In Sanders' own words:

  • "Climate change is the greatest threat to national security" (2015)
  • "Climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism." (2015)
  • "Let’s be clear: the reason we haven’t solved climate change isn’t because we aren’t doing our part, it’s because a small subsection of the one percent are hell-bent on doing everything in their power to block action. Sadly, they have deliberately chosen to put their profits ahead of the health of our people and planet." (Dec 2015)


As the presidential campaign swings into full gear, we can only hope that science, facts, and logic continue to drive the candidates, their policies, and the voting patterns of the American public.  

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