Author and New York Sun co-founder Ira Stoll attacked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's new climate change plan for focusing on installing solar panels instead of setting emissions limits or investing in battery storage technology. Stoll apparently didn't realize that those policies are included in Clinton's plan, too.
In a July 27 Sun op-ed, which was also published on conservative news sites NewsMax and Reason.com, Stoll lectured Clinton that her goal of installing more than half a billion solar panels by the end of her first presidential term isn't a "serious" climate change strategy. According to Stoll, if Clinton "really wants to fight climate change," she should abandon her solar panel goal and instead pursue other policies, such as "fund[ing] research and development for battery storage" or "set[ting] emissions goals and let[ting] utilities or states decide the cheapest and best ways to meet them" (emphasis added):
If Mrs. Clinton really wants to fight climate change or cut carbon emissions, there are plenty of ways to go about it. She could fund research and development for battery storage. She could set emissions goals and let utilities or states decide the cheapest and best ways to meet them. She could allow more hydrofracturing that replaces coal-fired plants with cleaner oil and natural gas. But counting solar panels? Come on, Mrs. Clinton. Get serious.
But Clinton's proposal actually includes both of those things.
In a briefing fact sheet that she released as part of her climate change plan, Clinton announced that her "Clean Energy Challenge" would include funding "clean energy [research and development], including in storage technology" (emphasis added):
As part of the Clean Energy Challenge, Clinton will ensure that every part of the federal government is working in concert to help Americans build a clean energy future. This includes:
Innovation: Increase public investment in clean energy R&D, including in storage technology, designed materials, advanced nuclear, and carbon capture and sequestration. Expand successful innovation initiatives, like ARPA-e, and cut those that fail to deliver results.
And Clinton also confirmed that she would make it a "top priority" to defend and implement the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan, which sets the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants. As the EPA has explained, the Clean Power Plan involves "EPA setting a goal and the states deciding how they will meet it. Each state will choose the best set of cost-effective strategies for its situation."
Stoll's only other climate policy suggestion -- that Clinton "allow more hydrofracturing" -- ignores evidence that methane leaks may eliminate any of the potential climate benefits of extracting natural gas via hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. And Stoll's claim that oil-fired power plants are "cleaner" than coal-fired plants is an exercise in exceedingly low expectations, since the carbon-intensity of oil-fired plants is only marginally better.
There's also one other reason Clinton shouldn't take Stoll's advice on how to best address climate change: He doesn't accept that it is a particularly serious problem. According to Stoll, "Secretary Clinton assumes that man-made climate change is a risk serious enough to try to mitigate and that America should try to mitigate it by reducing its carbon emissions. These are big 'ifs,' but ones I will grant for argument's sake."
If only he would also grant Clinton all of the proposals that are included in her climate change platform.
Image at top by Paul Morse and taken from Flickr using a Creative Commons License.
New York Sun reporter Eli Lake wrote that in a May 27 speech on nuclear safety, Sen. John McCain said "he favored the creation of an international repository where all spent nuclear fuel could eventually be sent," which Lake described as a "position that could win him votes in Nevada." However, Lake did not note that McCain has previously supported storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
Numerous print publications -- including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times -- continued a longstanding practice of referring to Sen. John McCain as a "maverick" in their coverage of the February 5 presidential primaries and caucuses.
A New York Sun article stated that at the October 30 Democratic presidential debate, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was "questioned about language in the 2002 letter that discussed the possibility of withholding some records about the former first lady." In fact, in the debate question, Tim Russert falsely claimed that the letter "specifically ask[ed] that any communication between you and the president not be made available to the public until 2012" before asking Clinton, "Would you lift that ban?"
A New York Sun editorial claimed that Sen. Barack Obama and "many Democrats" advocate that the United States "abandon economic sanctions" against Iran. In fact, Obama introduced the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act on May 17, which would "authorize State and local governments to direct divestiture from, and prevent investment in, companies with investments of $20,000,000 or more in Iran's energy sector."
In a recent article, The New York Sun uncritically reported the false assertion by Rep. James Walsh's campaign that a Majority Action ad claims that Walsh "favors a ban on stem cell research." Similarly, the National Journal reported Walsh's claim that the ad is "false and misleading," without noting that Walsh in fact opposes federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.