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Since President Trump is inevitable, let's look at his views on climate and en...oh god why

"All that oil ... just sitting over there ..."
"All that oil ... just sitting over there ..."
(Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

Donald Trump is apparently a thing. He will appear in the first Republican primary debate tomorrow, and journalists are starting to take him seriously.

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:

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:

(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!")

As for energy, Trump is a very big supporter of nuclear energy and fracking:

And I think it's fair to say he does not support new regulations on fracking that might slow its pace:

In February 2014, he said that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo would greenlight fracking in the state "because I mentioned it" to Cuomo. That December, the state banned fracking outright.

Trump thinks that OPEC speculators are manipulating the price of oil and "laughing at us." (Trump is certain that all sorts of people are laughing at us, including IranChina, and Mexico.)

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:

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:

Like, at all:

(Possibly relevant fact: Trump was involved in an extended legal battle with a Scottish offshore wind project that he said would ruin the views from one of his golf courses. He lost.)

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?

Who indeed?

And finally, he's no fan of the EPA:

Assessing the evidence offered herein, there are two things one may safely say about Donald Trump's views on climate change and energy:

  1. They are incorrect.
  2. They are, for the most part, mainstream Republican positions.

Thanks to the Fuse and Ryan Koronowski for help rounding up these links.


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