Monday, September 19, 2016

How Green Grows Clinton?

But what does Clinton’s actual record say about her commitment to green issues. In the election campaign she says the right things. However, as US environmental activist Bill McKibben noted environmentalism has never been one of the hallmarks of Clinton's political campaigns or public service. "Your rhetoric has been correct but eye-glazing, dominated by phrases like 'urgent' and 'moral' and 'grandchildren' - the words skillful politicians use to signal interest without committing themselves to actual policies," he wrote. "Climate change feels like a late add-on."

In 2010, while she was secretary of state, Clinton launched the Global Shale Initiative to help other countries explore for shale gas using a now controversial method of extraction called hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Since more evidence of environmental impacts has come to light, Clinton has been quiet on the subject.

Clinton's State Department also had to weigh in on whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport crude oil from Canada to the United States. The department stalled on approval, but Clinton said she was "inclined" to support it. In the first months of her campaign, Clinton refused to say whether she supported it or not. But at the end of the year, she announced that she opposes it - prompting accusations of a "flip-flop" from Sanders.

Clinton was secretary of state during the disastrous 2009 United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen, which collapsed in failure after the US and China could not agree to a deal both could sign.

Chuck Schumer, the man tipped to lead the Senate if Democrats win control, has floated the possibility of Congress passing a carbon tax if he's in charge. That's unlikely, given the filibuster and unenthusiastic moderate coal state Democrats. One of Clinton's advisors has said she's not very interested in pushing for a carbon tax, the staffer added. "I think she'd be open to one if it came to her desk, but I don't see that happening."

"Obviously, there would be huge concern from the global climate movement if Trump were elected - but at the same time, Hillary Clinton hasn't necessarily shown the kind of global leadership that is required," Asad Rehman, a senior climate campaigner with Friends of the Earth, told DW. Rehman believes the climate issue has been "pushed onto" Clinton, including due to pressure from the Sanders camp. "We're not extremely confident - we recognize there are domestic constraints that exist for President Obama, and these will exist for her," he added.

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