Climate change is the single greatest threat facing our planet.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 7, 2016
Believe it or not, Donald Trump has now made a very important policy statement. Introducing what he billed as an “energy plan,” Trump promised to “cancel the Paris Climate Plan.” Unlike so much of what comes from Trump on policy, this is a genuinely clarifying moment, with potentially enormous long-term implications.
The near-term political consequences of this will — or should — be that there is now no chance whatsoever that Bernie Sanders will do anything at all on his way out that could imperil party unity in a way that makes a Trump victory more likely. I don’t believe Sanders has any intention to do that, by the way, but this should theoretically render it an impossibility in his mind, because it dramatically increases the stakes for a relatively smooth resolution of the Democratic primaries. Indeed, I believe it’s likely Sanders will see it this way, too.
To get all the details on Trump’s full energy plan, read Brad Plumer’s piece. Trump would pursue a mostly standard-issue GOP agenda of “fewer regulations and more fossil fuel production.” More important, with some reporters wondering what Trump’s actual views are on global climate change, he clarified them: He is utterly indifferent to its existence and would roll back the main things we’re currently putting in place to deal with it.
Trump said that the current environmental challenges that the Obama administration is trying to tackle are “phony.” He added that he would “rescind” the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which would curb carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants, and is key to the U.S.’s ability to meet its commitments as part of the global climate deal. He would withdraw the U.S. from participation in that global accord.
As I’ve reported before, there are complexities that could make it harder than expected for a Republican president — even one as masterfully competent and strong as Trump — to roll back the Clean Power Plan and/or withdraw from the Paris climate deal. But it’s possible that Trump could accomplish one or both of these, which would be a tremendous setback.
The idea that Sanders voters could even conceive of voting for Trump is completely insane. That they would consider voting for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson is only slightly less idiotic. I know people have an unreasonable and unquenchable hatred of Hillary Clinton. Even though Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton share many of the same policy points and are not that far apart on most others, they see Clinton as literally Satan and Bernie as a heavenly savior to the nation. That’s completely nuts on both ends. But fine, hate Hillary Clinton all you want to. The other choice is Donald Trump. Once again, the other choice is Donald Trump. If you believe in Bernie Sanders then you probably believe that climate change is one of the greatest threats facing America today, if not the greatest. And Hillary Clinton has not really made climate change one of her most important issues. But you know that she is going to follow up on Obama’s commitments on this issue. So you might think, like Bernie, that that Paris climate deal doesn’t go far enough. That’s absolutely true. But it’s also the best we have right now. So the choice is going to be a) Hillary Clinton, who will at least keep us on the same path in terms of preparing to do something about climate change even if it’s not enough or b) Donald Trump, who is totally down with doing even more to cause it.
How is your vote in November not an obvious choice?