Hillary Clinton was one of the first potential 2016 candidates to voice support for President Barack Obama's decision to take executive action on immigration, but was remarkably silent when Obama reached a deal with China on greenhouse gas emissions.
Her silence was striking in light of Clinton's
declaration at September's National Clean Energy Summit that climate change represented "the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face as a nation and a world."
Yet, like her presidential aspirations, Clinton has chosen to keep her comments noncommittal and generic enough not to offend either environmentalists or labor unions, both of whom are important Democratic constituencies who disagree on a range of energy issues.
But she soon may find herself facing uncomfortable questions.
Tonight, for example, Clinton will raise funds for the Dec. 6 runoff campaign of Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, an opponent of Obama's emissions plan and who also supports the Keystone Pipeline project.
She will then be the featured speaker at a gathering hosted by the League of Conservation Voters, reports the National Journal.
The agreement on greenhouse gases deal, which call for a 28 percent reduction in coal emissions by 2025, is particularly thorny because the targets were devised by White House official John Podesta, who is said to be Clinton's choice for campaign manager if she runs.
It would be politically difficult for her to oppose targets that were developed by her campaign manager, but supporting the agreement would invite attacks from Republicans.
"They’re giving Republicans fertile ground for attack. Overregulation is clearly a job killer and jobs and the economy and middle-class wages are going to be a huge issue in the 2016 presidential. And it does seem like an inside job, with Podesta setting up Hillary’s position. Politically, they’re going to put themselves in a weak position on this," Republican political consultant Mike Murphy told The New York Times in November.
Her statement on climate change already has earned criticism from at least one potential GOP presidential candidate.
"For her to be out there saying that the biggest threat to our safety and to our well-being is climate change, I think ... goes to the heart of the matter or whether or not she has the wisdom to lead the country, which I think it's obvious that she doesn't," said Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, according to the National Journal.
Environmentalists are also holding their cards close to their vests.
Following Paul's criticism, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) came to Clinton's defense.
"In her remarks yesterday, Secretary Clinton demonstrated a clear and compelling vision of a new clean energy economy, and made it clear that fighting climate change is a top priority," LCV President Gene Karpinksi said in a statement.
The LCV is one of several groups which wrote a May 21 letter calling on Clinton to take a firm position on the Keystone Pipeline, The Wall Street Journal reported.
On the Keystone Pipeline project, which is adamantly opposed by many environmental groups, but is supported by labor unions, Clinton has taken a hands-off position.
In a June interview with Canada's Globe & Mail,
Clinton adopted a diplomatic stance, saying that Keystone was a "very difficult one because there are so many factors at play."
The former secretary of state continued to avoid taking a position by citing her role in the initial stages of the proposal.
"I can’t really comment at great length because I had responsibility for it and it’s been passed on and it wouldn’t be appropriate, but I hope that Canadians appreciate that the United States government —
the Obama administration —
is trying to get it right. And getting it right doesn’t mean you will agree or disagree with the decision, but that it will be one based on the best available evidence and all of the complex local, state, federal, interlocking laws, and concerns," she said.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.