Hillary Clinton agrees with climate activists that we need to shift our electric grid to run on renewable energy. But she doesn’t agree with some of the more hard-core green groups on how quickly a full switchover can be achieved and what policy steps we should be pursuing to make that happen.
Two main points of dispute stand out: Should the federal government continue to allow fossil fuel extraction on public land in the interim? Clinton says yes, activists say no. And do we need natural gas to serve as a “bridge” fuel between coal and clean energy? Again, Clinton says yes, activists say no.
Where we are now
To understand the disagreements, it helps to look at the electricity system we have in place currently. Last year, coal and natural gas each generated about 33 percent of electricity in the U.S., according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, while nuclear was responsible for 20 percent. Renewables contributed only 13 percent, and nearly half of that came from hydropower, which does not have much room to grow.
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