Hillary Clinton released Sunday the outlines of how she would tackle climate change if elected president, proposing two ambitious goals.
First, she would install half a billion solar panels across America by the end of her first term.
It would represent an approximately 546%-increase from current production levels. The average solar panel produces 200 watts, and current U.S. solar photovoltaic output was 18.3 gigawatts as of January 2015 according to GTM Research.
This would be part of a larger plan to allow every home in the U.S. to be powered by renewable energy within a decade of her taking office. Currently the residential sector consumes 40% of total electricity output in the U.S, and electricity accounts for 40% of all U.S. energy consumption.
She's calling it the "Clean Energy Challenge," and published this chart to show how much renewable energy would be generated compared with proposals set forth in President Obama's Clean Power Plan:
The goals would be funded through "competitive grants and other market-based incentives" according to the factsheet detailing the plan. She would also work to extend expiring renewable energy tax credits.
"Through these goals," the campaign says on its website, "we will increase the amount of installed solar capacity by 700% by 2020, expand renewable energy to at least a third of all electricity generation, prevent thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of asthma attacks each year, and put our country on a path to achieve deep emission reductions by 2050."
However, she does not propose ending fossil fuel consumption. Instead, she says she wants to, "reduce the amount of oil consumed in the United States and around the world," and to make sure it is being produced in a "safe and responsible."
No further details were provided on these points.
Many GOPers including Marco Rubio have responded to questions about how they'd address climate change with variations on "I'm not a scientist" (that group also includes Jeb Bush, though he also acknowledged that climate change was occurring but that a balance had to be struck between addressing it without incurring major economic costs).
At an Iowa campaign event Sunday, the Wall Street Journal's Colleen McCain Nelson reported, Hillary mocked the "scientist" remarks.
"I’m not a scientist either—I’m just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain…I know that if we start addressing it, we’re going to actually be creating jobs and new businesses.”
Last week, renowned climate scientist James Hansen issued one of the most dire climate warnings in years, finding that glaciers at both poles are melting 10-times faster than previously believed, the result of a feedback loop of cold water from already-melting glaciers forcing warmer saltwater underneath remaining glaciers.
As a result, the seas are going to rise way faster, and sooner, than anyone is prepared for.
"We conclude that continued high emissions will make multi-meter sea level rise practically unavoidable and likely to occur this century," he wrote. "Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization."
We are now just four months away from the Paris Climate Conference, at which countries are supposed to come up with a sweeping agreement to address climate change.
But as Slate climate correspondent Eric Holthaus reports, the policies being floated in advance of the summit would actually lead to 3.1 degrees Celsius-temperature-rise this century, according to Climate Action Tracker, a group of independent climate research organizations, with both the U.S.'s and China's CO2 reduction plans rated as inadequate.
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.