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The Republican and Democratic 2016 Party Platforms


November 1, 2016


Washington, DC (and webinar)

An ELI Member Seminar

As the 2016 Presidential and Congressional elections near, the two major parties have outlined positions on key energy and environmental issues in their respective platforms. Unsurprisingly, there is stark contrast between the Republican and Democratic positions. The Republican platform states that the party will no longer tolerate “commanders who tell their soldiers that their first duty is to fight climate change.” The Democratic platform says climate change presents an immediate threat to our nation and believes the U.S. should be a global leader in addressing the crisis. The Republican Party platform generally argues that environmental issues have been overregulated, particularly at the federal level, and that more authority should be given to states by restructuring EPA into an independent, bipartisan commission. Additionally, the GOP supports the development of “all forms of energy that are marketable in a free economy without subsidies,” including coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear energy, and hydropower. The Democratic platform primarily supports expansion of clean energy production. The party has proposed reducing GHG emissions by more than 80% below 2005 levels by 2050, as well as generating 50% of electricity from clean energy sources within the next decade.

Despite substantial differences, there are some aspects of the platforms that suggest opportunities for consensus-building. The Republicans cite conservation as being inherent to conservatism. Both parties mention the need to modernize the electrical grid, support increasing access to public lands, and recognize the important role of farmers to the country’s conservation efforts.

Our speakers discussed the environmental and energy priorities of the major political parties, their potential implications post-election, as well as areas for potential coalition-building.

John Pendergrass, Vice President, Programs and Publications, ELI (moderator)
Patrick J. Michaels, Director, Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute
Tiernan Sittenfeld, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, League of Conservation Voters

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