Update: Coverage of the second GOP debate.
Given that Trump's chances of winning the Republican nomination have been upgraded from "impossible" to "surely still impossible, right? guys?" I thought I'd take a quick look at his thoughts on the issues of climate change and clean energy.
Trump hasn't yet issued a policy platform. Or proposed many actual policies, per se. But he has made policy-adjacent noises about forcing Mexico to build a border wall, giving power back to the police, and shutting down the government to defund Planned Parenthood. This excellent piece from Washington Post's David Fahrenthold rounds up some expert reactions to his proposals so far, featuring such thoughtful analysis as, "That is sheer lunacy on so many counts, it’s hard to start."
But when it comes to climate and energy, Trump has mostly confined himself to stray comments here and there. Mostly on Twitter.
Let's start with climate change. Long story short: Trump's not buying it. A chronological account:
It’s snowing & freezing in NYC. What the hell ever happened to global warming?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2013
Ice storm rolls from Texas to Tennessee - I'm in Los Angeles and it's freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2013
We should be focused on clean and beautiful air-not expensive and business closing GLOBAL WARMING-a total hoax!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2013
NBC News just called it the great freeze - coldest weather in years. Is our country still spending money on the GLOBAL WARMING HOAX?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2014
Any and all weather events are used by the GLOBAL WARMING HOAXSTERS to justify higher taxes to save our planet! They don't believe it $$$$!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2014
He offered this more nuanced take to the Palin Update radio show:
The real climate change is going to be nuclear climate change if we’re not smart and tough and very, very careful because that’s a big danger and that’s a real danger. I think Obama just said that the biggest threat that we have on the planet today is climate change, and a lot of people are saying, did he really say that? We have people chopping off heads and he’s talking about climate change. I call it weather. I call it weather. You know, the weather changes.
You look back and they were calling it global cooling and global warming and global everything, but if you look back and the biggest tornados were in the 1890s, the biggest hurricanes were in the 1860s and 1870s. It’s weather. You’re going to have bad weather. So often I watch the evening newscasts and every time there is a rainstorm some place, and then they wonder why they don’t do well, they say, ‘It’s raining here and it’s raining there,’ usually leading the program. I call it weather. Maybe there’s a little bit of change, I don’t happen to believe it’s manmade.
Perhaps it makes more sense if you hear it:
Trump's other theory about climate change is that the Chinese dreamed up the whole thing to gain a competitive manufacturing advantage:
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
(Let us pause for a moment to envision the leaders of the People's Republic of China, sitting around a table, racking their brains about how to gain advantage on the US. "Wait," one of them exclaims. "I've got it!")
Fracking will lead to American energy independence. With price of natural gas continuing to drop, we can be at a tremendous advantage.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2012
And I think it's fair to say he does not support new regulations on fracking that might slow its pace:
The shale boom is saving our economy http://t.co/dnZXz1RyIU Good for jobs, national security & trade balance. Frack Now & Frack Fast!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2013
He believes the US can and should defeat the Islamic State by taking their oil. Literally: "Take back their wealth. Take back the oil. ... You bomb the hell out of them and then you encircle it, and then you go in. Once you take that oil, they have nothing left. And it’s so simple." (Trump also wants to steal oil from Iraq and Libya.)
Trump thinks the Keystone XL pipeline should be approved:
Will the Keystone XL pipeline finally be approved? Will create over 100,000 jobs and make us more energy independent.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2013
He thinks Canada has "superior leadership to ours," as evidenced by Obama's "disgraceful" refusal to issue the pipeline permit:
(Potentially relevant detail: Trump has at least $250,000 worth of stock in TransCanada Pipelines.)
Though he supports Keystone, he believes, as he says in the clip above:
We don’t even need Canadian oil if we did it right. The really right way is to drill our own oil. We have so much of it we don’t know what to do. Between natural gas and oil and lots of other things, we should be doing our own."
It's not clear how this vision of self-sufficiency squares with stealing all the Middle East's oil; we must await the white paper.
As for clean energy, Trump is definitely not a fan of the clean energy loan program:
And he really, really doesn't like wind power:
Wind turbines are a scourge to communities and wildlife. They are environmental disasters.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2012
Like, at all:
Windmills are destroying every country they touch--- and the energy is unreliable and terrible. http://t.co/wxrkXRsv— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 14, 2012
He also doesn't think much of solar, as he says in a segment on Fox:
Solar, as you know, hasn't caught on because, I mean, a solar panel takes 32 years -- it's a 32-year payback. Who wants a 32-year payback?
And finally, he's no fan of the EPA:
@BarackObama has increased the EPA budget by over 150%. The EPA is an impediment to both growth and jobs. It sends jobs overseas.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2011
Assessing the evidence offered herein, there are two things one may safely say about Donald Trump's views on climate change and energy:
- They are incorrect.
- They are, for the most part, mainstream Republican positions.