U.S. Senate candidates on the issues: Climate change

Last month, we asked our readers what issues they wanted to hear the candidates running for office address ahead of November’s general election. Based on the input we received, we developed a five-item questionnaire for candidates running for the open U.S. Senate seat in Kansas.

We have been publishing the candidates’ responses to one item per day, each day this week. Today we’re publishing the candidates’ responses to the final item:

Climate change continues to be a major concern for Shawnee Mission Post readers. What steps should the federal government be taking now to address the impact of the changing climate in the coming decades? How would you work to see those steps enacted?

Jason Buckley (Libertarian)

ringing the troops home will cut U.S. greenhouse gasses. The U.S. military emits more greenhouse gas than 140 countries. Remove government barriers to replacing coal-burning and oil-burning power plants. The federal government gives billions every year to oil and coal companies. They also receive cheap public land leases at a higher rate. All energy subsidies should end and let the free market work.

Barbara Bollier (Democrat)

Science tells us that climate change is real. Just look around our country right now: we see extreme weather, damaging storms, floods, wildfires and more. We must address this challenge in a bipartisan way. I do not support the Green New Deal, but I do support rejoining the Paris Agreement, training workers for green jobs, and expanding incentives to develop renewable energy.

Specifically, I support a comprehensive plan to reduce carbon emissions by half in the next decade, and to net-zero by 2050. Looking at our power and transportation sectors, we have an opportunity to make rapid improvements without disrupting our farm economy. Wind energy is one route that would both promote clean energy and bring about economic growth. Kansas has been a leader here, with the second-highest wind energy potential of any state.

The bottom line is that to get this done, leaders in Washington from both parties must work together. I am tired of partisan bickering and would work with both sides of the aisle to solve these problems that will impact the future of our world.

Roger Marshall (Republican)

You’d never believe it listening to some in D.C., but America has meaningfully reduced our carbon emissions in recent years. Our carbon footprint today is 10 percent lower than it was a decade ago — and it’s an overall 25-year low.

This is proof that one-size-fits-all-policies and regulatory overreach are not the answer. I don’t support the Green New Deal because it would wipe jobs and destroy our very way of life in Kansas. And I supported the decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords because it disproportionately targeted America while doing nothing to reduce emissions in China and India.

Rather than more government and one-sided deals, we need to look to free-market innovation, conservation, and some good Kansas common-sense to continue reducing emissions.

We should increase our use and production of biofuels in Kansas. We should plant more trees. And we should lean on innovations — not regulations — to cut emission levels across industries. If we do that, we will continue to make meaningful strides.

As a farm kid and avid outdoorsman, I’ve seen the power of good conservation techniques, improved farming practices, and environmentally friendly energy production. My family and I have personally planted more than 20,000 trees. I’ve introduced legislation that would lead to planting 1 trillion tree worldwide and, through executive authority, the White House has put that plan into action very recently. I helped write and negotiate a Farm Bill that included record funding for conservation practices. And I’ve seen the great work researchers are doing at universities, like Kansas State, to shrink our overall environmental footprint.
Our lakes, streams, and air are all cleaner today than when I was a boy. We can continue this progress, but it cannot be done through a Green New Deal that amounts to nothing more than an onerous government takeover with no real solutions.

Review the U.S. Senate candidates’ responses to four other issues raised by our readers:

Question #1: Responding to the Black Lives Matter protests

Question #2: Addressing the federal debt

Question #3: The federal COVID-19 response 

Question #4: Health care spending