Climate

Hillary Clinton’s Plan To Combat Climate Change With Half-A-Billion Solar Panels

CREDIT: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton at a campaign event, Sunday, July 26, 2015, at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. On Sunday evening, the Democratic candidate released her plan to fight climate change.

Hillary Clinton is going all in on renewable energy.

On Sunday evening, the Democratic presidential candidate released a fact sheet detailing her plan to fight climate change, and it focuses heavily on promoting clean energy generation across the country.

Among other things, the plan includes a promise to install half a billion solar panels by 2021, or the end of Clinton’s first term. That would represent a 700 percent increase from current installations, she said. Clinton also promised that, if elected, enough renewable energy would be produced to power every home in the country within 10 years.

“We can make a transition over time from a fossil fuel economy, predominantly, to a clean renewable energy economy, predominantly,” Clinton said in Iowa on Sunday, Yahoo reported.

The aggressive transition to renewables proposed by Clinton would be achieved partially through extending and strengthening tax breaks those industries, Clinton said. Last week, the Senate proposed renewing two tax incentives for the wind industry, which are currently expired.

Clinton is expected to explain more details of the plan during a Monday event in Des Moines, according to Yahoo’s report.

A chart provided by the Clinton campaign shows how Clinton's renewable energy goals compare to renewable generation today, and what would be achieved under Obama's Clean Power Plan.

A chart provided by the Clinton campaign shows how Clinton’s renewable energy goals compare to renewable generation today, and what would be achieved under Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

CREDIT: Hillary For America

Though Clinton has been outspoken about the need to address climate change, many environmentalists have expressed doubt that her policies would be as strong as they may like. They often point to her historic “inclination” to approve the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and her support for domestic fossil fuel production, specifically natural gas.

But tackling climate change has been central to Clinton’s campaign so far. In her campaign kick-off speech, she promised to make America “the clean energy superpower of the 21st century” and condemned Republican politicians for willfully ignoring the science behind human-caused warming. Her campaign chairman John Podesta was the architect of President Obama’s plan to tackle carbon emissions through regulations, and Clinton has promised to keep those regulations in place “at all costs.” As ThinkProgress pointed out in April, Clinton’s is the first major presidential campaign ever to make combating climate change a central issue.

That certainly does not mean that Clinton’s is the only presidential campaign that’s put a hard focus on tackling global warming. Indeed, Democratic contender Martin O’Malley arguably has an even more aggressive climate agenda. His plan is to make the country powered completely by renewable energy by 2050 — meaning no fossil fuel use at all. He has condemned President Obama for approving offshore drilling, supporting domestic oil production, and shying away from bold stances on high-carbon tar sands oil from Canada, which would be transported by the Keystone XL pipeline if it were approved.

“We cannot meet the climate challenge with an all-of-the-above energy strategy, or by drilling off our coasts, or by building pipelines that bring oil from tar sands in Canada,” O’Malley wrote in an op-ed published last month.

Clinton’s other Democratic rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) hasn’t released an official climate plan yet. But in an interview with the Washington Post in May, he said he would go further than President Obama has in tackling the problem.

Sanders’ plan, he said, “would look like a tax on carbon; a massive investment in solar, wind, geothermal; it would be making sure that every home and building in this country is properly winterized; it would be putting substantial money into rail, both passenger and cargo, so we can move towards breaking our dependency on automobiles. And it would be leading other countries around the world.”