Energy

Jim Webb Is Basically A Republican When It Comes To Global Warming

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

Not a lot of people had heard of former Sen. Jim Webb before Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate, but based on his response to a question on global warming voters can assume he’s much farther to the right than his fellow Democrats on the issue.

“You’re pro-coal, you’re pro-offshore drilling, you’re pro-Keystone pipeline. Are — again, are you — the question is, are you out of step with the Democratic party?” CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked the former Virginia senator during the debate.

Webb responded that he was an “all-of-the-above energy voter” while in the U.S. Senate, adding that he supported nuclear power. Most importantly, however, Webb stressed the point that global warming would not be solved by the U.S. alone — a point most Democrats seem to ignore in the climate debate.

“And really, we are not going to solve climate change simply with the laws here,” Webb said. “If you look at China and India, they’re the greatest polluters in the world. Fifteen out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in one of those two countries. We need to solve this in a global way.”

Webb also took a swipe at the “illusory” agreements between the U.S. and China that have been announced in the last year. Webb argued that the Chinese have been vague on what they would do right away to fight global warming.

“It’s a global problem and I have been very strong on — on doing that,” Webb said. “The — the agreements — the so-called agreements that we have had with China are illusory in terms of the immediate requirements of the — of the Chinese government itself. So let’s solve this problem in an international way, and then we really will have a — a way to address climate change.”

Webb’s answer during Tuesday night’s debate makes him a stand-out among his Democratic opponents on global warming. All of the other candidates have pushed for unilaterally reducing fossil fuel use while ramping up green energy — regardless of what China does.

In fact, Webb’s insistence that China and India need to cut emissions mirrors what Republican presidential candidates have said about their position on global warming.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said, “we have a moral responsibility to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy” to protect future generations. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley kept referring to his plan for a “100 percent clean electric grid by 2050.”

“We did not land a man on the moon with an all-of-the-above strategy,” O’Malley said.

Clinton agreed with Webb that China and India need to cut their emissions to truly fight global warming, but the former secretary put forward her own plan earlier this year to install half a billion solar panels across the country. Her plan would also have the U.S. get 33 percent of its electricity from green energy by 2027 and reduce fossil fuel use as well.

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee told CNN’s Cooper that he wanted to address global warming and that he’s proud he’s an enemy of the coal industry.

Chaffee’s website states he’s against the Keystone XL pipeline and Arctic drilling. Webb’s website, on the other hand, doesn’t even have a section for his views on the environment.

Webb’s stance on global warming — judging by his debate comments — is much closer to any Republican candidate than to what his Democratic counterparts espouse.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said in April that U.S. must “[b]e cognizant of the fact that we have this climate change issue and we need to work with the rest of the world to negotiate a way to reduce carbon emissions.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said during the second Republican presidential debate that “America is not a planet.” Rubio argued that we “are not going to destroy our economy, make America a harder place to create jobs, in order to pursue a policy that will do nothing, nothing to change our climate, to change our weather.”

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina told Yahoo News anchor Katie Couric that regulating emissions here “will make not difference at all, yet we’re destroying people’s lives and livelihoods.”

“So I think the answer to this problem is innovation, not regulation,” Fiorina said. “China could care less. In fact, China is delighted that we are not spending any time or energy figuring out clean coal, because they’re going to go do it.”

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