Hillary Clinton talks climate change, gas and exports to friendly energy crowd - Darren Goode - POLITICO.com - Liar Liar!
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Hillary Clinton talks climate change, gas and exports to friendly energy crowd - Darren Goode - POLITICO.com

LAS VEGAS — Hillary Clinton expounded on climate change, energy exports, natural gas drilling and green energy Thursday — all while managing to play it safe. At Sen. Harry Reid’s National Clean Energy Summit, Clinton called climate change “the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face as a nation

She also cited the potential benefits of producing and exporting natural gas and oil.

“Assuming that our production stays at the levels, or even as some predict, goes higher, I do think there’s a play there,” she said, noting it could help Europe and Asia amid continuing problems with Iran. “This is a great economic advantage, a competitive advantage, for us. … We don’t want to give that up.”

But she also cautioned on the need for “triggers” around export policies, and holding sufficient energy reserves in order to protect American manufacturing jobs.

Similarly, she said natural gas can be a bridge to a greener economy but that “challenges” exist regarding methane leaks that contribute to global warming, and determining when and where to drill.

“The boom in domestic natural gas production is an example of American innovation changing the game,” she said. “With the right safeguards in place, gas is cleaner than coal,” she said, adding that expanding production also creates jobs.

“It’s crucial that we put in place smart regulations and enforce them, including deciding not to drill when the risks are too high,” she said. That includes regulations to capture and contain methane leaks.

And she complained that “tax incentives for alternative energy investments are unpredictable at best, while generous subsidies for fossil fuels are still too easy to come by.”

Clinton said she and President Barack Obama “negotiated with nations around the world to begin phasing out these costly subsidies,” she said.

“But I know we can do better,” she added.

That includes targeted tax incentives, research and development and policies to “encourage rather than undercut clean renewable sources of energy” that will benefit new power plants, smarter grids and greener buildings.

“At this point, we actually know a lot of what actually works,” she said.

Clinton, already seen as the likely Democratic front-runner in the presidential campaign in 2016, avoided divisive topics like the Keystone XL oil pipeline and any significant differences with Obama on climate and energy policy.

“She wasn’t throwing any bombs. I wouldn’t expect her to throw any bombs at this point,” former Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope said. “This was not a campaign speech where [she] was attacking an opponent. This was a speech laying out her basic framework for approaching this issue. I was impressed.”

Clinton complimented Obama’s climate strategy and proposed EPA controls for power plants for having “put us in a strong position.”

She recounted a story detailed in her memoir “Hard Choices” about the time she and Obama barged into a meeting between China’s delegation and other world leaders in order to reach a compromise at the 2009 United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen. “The president and I literally had to crash a secret meeting,” she told the audience at Reid’s event.

In contrast to that meeting, it’s hard to imagine a friendlier setting for Clinton to expound on her energy views than Thursday’s summit at Mandalay Bay’s cavernous convention center.

“When the history is written of the 20th and 21st century, there will be a special place for Hillary Clinton in the world leader category,” Reid said in introducing her.


 

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