Based on announced plans from the candidates for the presidency, carbon emissions would rise 16 percent more after two terms under Trump than under Clinton, according to analysis from Lux Research. The analysis firm observed that Clinton’s plans, which include massive scaling of solar power, would help the US continue to reduce its emissions, in accord with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change—which the US ratified, while Trump’s plans would send emissions rising.
“Climate change hasn’t been front-and-center in media coverage of this election but voters should be aware of the implications of their choice on this important issue,” said Yuan-Sheng Yu, Lux research analyst. “As independent analysts, we don’t endorse candidates, but the data and analysis clearly show that energy policy and the resulting emissions will go in very different directions under Clinton and Trump.”
Under Clinton’s plans for the environment and clean energy, she envisions creating a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge and installing roughly 500 million more solar panels across the US in her first term. Conversely, under Trump’s plans for energy in the US, his site said he would: “Unleash America’s $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, plus hundreds of years in clean coal reserves.” Trump would produce more energy from fossil fuels and mentions renewables only in passing—including nuclear as a renewable energy. Lux said it found that Trump’s plans would amount to 3.4 billion tons of greater emissions over the next eight years.
While Lux said the plans are still theoretical since neither candidate has yet been elected and neither of their plans has been implemented, its analysis shows the potential high-level impact of each candidate’s plans for energy and the environment. Bottom line, Clinton would follow President Barack Obama’s goal of reducing emissions by up to 30 percent by 2025. On the other hand, Trump has said he would seek to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and cancel Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
Looking deeper into each of their plans, Lux anticipated that Trump’s plans would make it harder for coal power to make a comeback—despite his promises to bring it back—because he also plans to lift regulations on gas extraction, including fracking. Under Clinton’s plans, reliance on coal would continue to decline and natural gas would be seen as a bridge to more renewable energy.
Trump hasn’t explained plans for the expansion of renewable energy saying that “The government should not pick winners and losers.” Under Clinton Lux anticipated a shift from utility-scale solar to commercial- and residential-scale generation. It also would help create a new value chain including energy storage and distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS) to manage renewable intermittency.Tweet