Hillary Clinton’s Plan for Combatting Climate Change and Making America the Clean Energy Superpower of the 21st Century
Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time—and Hillary Clinton has a plan to tackle it by making America the world’s clean energy superpower, taking bold steps to slash carbon pollution at home and around the world, and ensuring no Americans are left out or left behind as we build the clean energy economy of the future.
15 of the 16 hottest years on record have occurred since 2001, and 2016 is on track to reach new highs. Already, American families are seeing the impacts of climate change with their own eyes, from the record drought in California to the frequently flooded streets of Miami and Annapolis. While climate deniers and defeatists continue to ignore settled science because it does not suit their political agenda and doubt America’s ability to meet this challenge, Clinton knows that America is fully up to the task.
Already, U.S. carbon pollution is at its lowest level in more than two decades. Wind power has expanded three fold and solar power 30-fold since 2008. Renewable energy is now the fastest growing source of job creation in the country. Our cars, trucks and buildings are more efficient than ever, saving American drivers billions of dollars a year at the pump and on their energy bills, and electricity prices are lower now than in 2009.[i]
But we need to do more to tackle the climate challenge by meeting America’s pollution reduction goals, and competing for the $13.5 trillion of global clean energy investment unlocked by the international climate change agreement reached in Paris last December.
That’s why on Day One, Clinton will set bold, national goals that will be achieved within ten years of her taking office:
- Generate enough renewable energy to power every home in America, with half a billion solar panels installed by the end of Clinton’s first term.
- Cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals and offices by a thirdand make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world.
- Reduce American oil consumption by a third through cleaner fuels and more efficient cars, trucks, ships and boilers.
Some nation is going to be the clean energy superpower of the 21st century—and Clinton wants it to be the United States. Clinton’s plan will add more power generation capacity to the grid than during any decade in American history, and through clean sources. America will make the most advanced cars and trucks in the world, create millions of good-paying jobs, build more resilient infrastructure and communities, and spur billions in public and private investment.
EMPOWER STATES, CITIES AND RURAL COMMUNITIES TO LEAD
Meeting the climate challenge and becoming a clean energy superpower requires leadership at both the local and federal level. States, cities, and rural communities across America are finding innovative ways fight climate change by expanding clean energy, energy efficiency, and clean transportation. Clinton will create a new Clean Energy Challenge to partner with those states, cities and rural communities that are ready to take the lead, giving them the tools, resources and flexibility they need to succeed. This includes $60 billion in competitive grants to support:
- Clean Power: Clinton will award challenge grants to accelerate the deployment of clean power, whether wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, nuclear or carbon capture and sequestration. This includes efforts to streamline permitting for rooftop or community solar to reduce installation times and to accelerate utility-scale renewables and transmission siting to get low-cost clean energy to market.
- Advanced Buildings: Clinton will support measures to cut energy waste in residential, commercial and public buildings, including adopting and enforcing advanced building energy codes, unlocking private efficiency investment, and saving taxpayer money by upgrading schools, hospitals and municipal buildings.
- Better Transportation: Clinton will encourage innovative local transportation policies that successfully cut oil consumption and pollution, reduce congestion and improve access to employment and education opportunities. This includes creating a national network of electric and other advanced energy fueling stations for the 21st century fleet, using cleaner fuels in ships and trucks, and giving more people access to clean and affordable transit.
- Competitive Industry: American manufacturing is already among the cleanest in the world. Clinton will ensure this continues by supporting investments in energy efficiency, cleaner fuels, and carbon capture and sequestration in the industrial sector, from steel to chemicals to paper to cement. Clinton will ensure that America’s leadership in low-carbon manufacturing is recognized in the market and rewarded in public and private procurement by developing a new “Buy Clean” product labeling system.
INVEST IN INFRASTRUCTURE, MANUFACTURING, INNOVATION AND AMERICA’S GREAT OUTDOORS
Clinton will make the biggest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II, including by investing in infrastructure and revitalizing American manufacturing. Clean energy plays a central role in this plan. Clinton will also invest in making our infrastructure more resilient to the risks of climate change, increase investment in clean energy research and development, and expand renewable energy production on public lands and waters:
- Energy Infrastructure: Clinton will work to build the infrastructure we need to meet the climate challenge and make the United States the clean energy superpower of the 21st This includes modernizing our electric grid, expediting permitting of renewable energy and transmission projects, and repairing and replacing thousands of miles of outdated natural gas distribution pipelines by the end of her first term.
- Climate Resilience: From rising sea levels to more severe storms, heat waves, and wildfires, climate change is already taking a toll on the nation’s infrastructure—leaving taxpayers to pick up the tab. Vulnerable communities are being disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change and the lack of resources to adapt. Clinton will work to ensure that federal infrastructure investments are resilient to both current and future climate risks, and partner with states and communities to develop regionally coordinated, resilient infrastructure strategies.
- Climate and health: Climate change poses serious challenges to public health, from longer and more frequent heat waves, to expanding transmission maps for vector-borne diseases like Lyme disease, Zika virus, chikungunya, and waterborne illness, to increasing the risk of asthma attacks and respiratory disease. Clinton will expand funding for the Climate-Ready States and Cities initiative at the Centers for Disease Control, which is currently working with 18 state and local governments to plan for and address the health impacts of climate change; support improved climate resilience and planning at hospitals and health facilities; and build the cohort of public health professionals with expertise in the health impacts of climate change, including by expanding funding for research at the National Institutes of Health, supporting post-doctoral research, and working with medical schools to teach students about climate and health.
- Clean Energy Innovation and Manufacturing: At the Paris climate change conference in 2015, the United States joined twenty other countries in committing to double public investment in clean energy innovation. Clinton will make good on this commitment and seek to go further, expanding U.S. research and development on clean energy, including storage technology, designed materials, advanced nuclear power, carbon capture and sequestration and other carbon removal technologies. Through her $10 billion “Make it in America Partnerships,” Clinton will invest in domestic clean energy and advanced vehicle manufacturing, to create jobs and bring new innovations to market.
- Public Lands and Waters: Clinton is committed to making our public lands and waters engine of the clean energy economy and reinvesting in America’s great outdoors. As President, she will set a goal of increasing the amount of renewable energy production on public lands and waters ten-fold within ten years of taking office, and accelerate project siting and development to make it happen. As we expand renewable energy development on public lands, we also need to reform fossil fuel leasing and end wasteful taxpayer subsidies for oil and gas companies. Clinton opposes offshore oil and gas development in the Arctic and Atlantic. Clinton will reform onshore coal, oil, and gas leases to ensure taxpayers are getting a fair deal by raising federal royalty rates, which currently lag below the rates on state and private lands, and closing loopholes.
BUILD A CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE
Clinton is committed to making sure no one is left out or left behind in the transition a clean energy economy and making jobs in the clean energy economy good-paying jobs that can support a family.
- Environment and Climate Justice: Across America, low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately exposed to air pollution, water pollution, and toxic hazards. Clean energy and energy efficiency technologies can help combat environmental injustice by reducing pollution and fighting energy poverty, but too often these solutions are out of reach. Clinton has a comprehensive plan to fight for environmental and climate justice, including by prioritizing challenge grants that overcome barriers that prevent low-income families from reducing energy costs through rooftop solar and residential energy efficiency; support community solar projects in both urban and rural America; and reduce urban air pollution by investing in clean transportation.
- Revitalize Coal Communities: Clinton has a $30 billion plan to reinvest in the coal communities so they can continue to be an engine of economic growth in the 21st This includes guaranteeing coal miners and their families get the benefits they have earned and deserve, expanding broadband and other infrastructure in coalfield communities, repurposing abandoned mine lands and power plant sites for new economic activity, providing tax credits to attract new jobs and investment, and creating a new Coal Communities Challenge Fund to support locally-driven economic development strategies.
- Raising Labor Standards: Clinton supports the right of all workers in clean energy and advanced vehicle manufacturing to join or form a union. She will support project labor agreements on infrastructure projects that utilize skilled labor and help recruit and train members of the local community, emphasizing construction career pathways for people of color, women and veterans. She will work with the clean energy community to increase apprenticeships through jointly managed, DOL-registered programs and emphasize procurement of contractors and project owners/sponsors with solid safety and performance records.
DEFEND AND EXTEND COMMON-SENSE POLLUTION AND EFFICIENCY STANDARDS
Clinton will defend, implement and extend common-sense carbon pollution and energy efficiency standards that protect the health of our families, accelerate clean energy deployment, reduce oil consumption and strengthen our economy. This includes:
- The Clean Power Plan: We limit the amount of mercury, arsenic and other pollutants our power plants can emit—now we need to limit carbon pollution from the power sector. Clinton will defend the Clean Power Plan from partisan attack and give states flexibility in choosing how to cut carbon pollution, will preventing thousands of premature deaths and more than 100,000 asthma attacks each year.
- Methane Regulations: Methane is the second largest source of emissions after carbon pollution. Clinton will cut methane emissions through standards to reduce leaks from both new and existing oil and gas production, and develop emission reduction strategies for other sectors as well.
- More Efficient Cars and Trucks: Landmark fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks are reducing U.S. oil consumption by 1.8 billion barrels and saving the average driver $130 to $180 a year. American companies are now making the cleanest and most advanced vehicles in the world. Clinton will continue U.S. leadership in clean transportation by defending these standards through their midterm review and extending them beyond 2025.
- The Renewable Fuel Standard: Over the past decade, domestic renewable fuels production has expanded by more than 350% with enough supply in the market today to fuel more than 30 million cars. But there is more we can and must do to cut emissions and reduce our dependence on oil. Clinton will get the Renewable Fuel Standard back on track in a way that provides investors with the certainty they need, protects consumers, improves access to higher biofuel blends and effectively drives the development of cellulosic and other advanced biofuels.
- Building Codes and Appliance Standards: To cut carbon pollution and energy bills for American families and business, Clinton will support the development of model building energy codes and benchmarking and transparency programs. She will ensure that energy efficiency improvements are factored into federal mortgage underwriting, which will createthousands of jobs and save American households $1.3 billion a year on their energy bills. And she will defend and extend national energy efficiency standards for appliances and equipment that drive innovation and save American consumers $63 billion a year on their utility bills.
SECURE AMERICA’S POSITION AS A GLOBAL CLIMATE LEADER
Clinton believes United States must be a leader in international climate action. Her domestic energy and climate strategy will put the United States on track to meet or exceed its pollution reduction commitment under the Paris Climate Agreement, and on track to deliver a greater than 80% reduction in US greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. She will use every diplomatic avenue to make sure that the Paris agreement and other climate agreements are fully and robustly implemented. She will make climate change cooperation a key diplomatic priority for the United States, including by forging a new North American Climate Compact that will drive and accelerate continent-wide action, and will work to help the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations to better withstand and recover from the damaging impacts of climate change.
[i] Data from the Energy Information Administration (www.eia.gov), the Solar Foundation (http://www.thesolarfoundation.org/), the American Wind Energy Association (http://www.aweay.org) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov). Electricity prices are adjusted for inflation.