On November 8, Americans will have the chance to go to the polls and elect the next president of the United States.
Both major parties, Republican and Democrat, will make their cases to voters in the coming weeks.
The candidates’ positions on environmental issues are very different.
We’ve rounded up their statements publicly and on their websites to find out how the two stack up on environmental issues.
On her campaign site, Clinton calls climate change an “urgent threat” to “our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures.” She wants to uphold the Paris Agreement that sets targets to reverse the worst effects of global warming, which nearly 200 countries agreed to last December.
“When it comes to climate change, the science is crystal clear,” Clinton said on ScienceDebate. “That’s why as President, I will work both domestically and internationally to ensure that we build on recent progress and continue to slash greenhouse gas pollution over the coming years as the science clearly tells us we must.”
Clinton has proposed investing in clean energy and more efficient vehicles, cutting energy waste by implementing more robust efficiency and pollution standards, and cutting subsidies on oil and gas as ways of dealing with climate change.
Trump doesn’t accept the overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change is real and wants to dismantle the Paris Agreement.
In response to a question about his views on climate change on ScienceDebate, Trump implied that the US shouldn’t waste “financial resources” on climate change and should instead use them to ensure the world has clean water, eliminate diseases like malaria, increase food production, or develop alternative energy sources.
“There is still much that needs to be investigated in the field of ‘climate change,'” he said. “We must decide on how best to proceed so that we can make lives better, safer and more prosperous.”
Over the past several years, the western states have suffered from one of the worst droughts in US history. California is in its fifth straight year of severe drought, which has put considerable stress on crops and water use. The American Society of Civil Engineers has given infrastructure across the country “D” grades for dams, drinking water, and wastewater.
Clinton wants to establish a Western Water Partnership to coordinate water use among agencies and states in the Western US, and a Water Innovation Lab to use and reuse the resource more efficiently.
In addition, Clinton has called for increased investments in water infrastructure to, “repairing, replacing and expanding” existing infrastructures that are often more than 100 years old.
“Chronic underinvestment in our nation’s drinking and wastewater systems has sickened and endangered Americans from Flint, Michigan, to Ohio and West Virginia,” Clinton said on ScienceDebate. “Outdated and inadequate wastewater systems discharge more than 900 billion gallons of untreated sewage a year, posing health risks to humans and wildlife life, disrupting ecosystems, and disproportionately impacting communities of colour.”
Trump says clean water may be the “most important issue we face as a nation for the next generation,” and it will be a “top priority” for his administration.
“We must make the investment in our fresh water infrastructure to ensure access to affordable fresh water solutions for everyone,” he said on ScienceDebate. “We must explore all options to include making desalinization more affordable and working to build the distribution infrastructure to bring this scarce resource to where it is needed for our citizens and those who produce the food of the world.”
Clinton wants to “keep public lands public,” combat wildlife trafficking around the world, encourage the humane treatment of pets and livestock, and “modernise” how we protect natural resources, including national parks.
“Conserving biodiversity is essential to maintaining our quality of life,” she said on ScienceDebate. “We need to collaborate across all sectors and at all levels to conserve our natural resources and maintain the viability of our ecosystems.”
Clinton has further called for efforts to reverse or slow the decline of at-risk wildlife species.
Trump has said he wants to keep public lands in the control of the federal government, a position that his Republican opponents criticised him for during the primary. He hasn’t announced positions on other conservation issues.
“In a Trump administration, there will be shared governance of our public lands and we will empower state and local governments to protect our wildlife and fisheries,” he said on ScienceDebate. “Laws that tilt the scales toward special interests must be modified to balance the needs of society with the preservation of our valuable living resources.”
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