Fiorina: 'Innovation' will fix climate change

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said the United States needs to innovate its energy industry, rather than regulate it, if there’s any hope of confronting climate change.

Ahead of the second GOP presidential debate on Wednesday night, Fiorina told NBC that she doesn’t think a global push to confront climate change will be effective. 

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“The only answer to this problem, according to the scientist, is a three-decade global effort, coordinated and costing coordinated effort,” the former Hewlett-Packard CEO said. “It’s impossible, are you kidding? A three-decade effort, costing trillions of dollars, coordinated with current technology? It’ll never happen.”

Instead, she said, the U.S. should be the “global energy powerhouse of the 21st century” and let energy industries, including fossil fuels such as coal, take the lead on cutting their carbon emissions.

“We need to become the global energy powerhouse of the 21st century for so many reasons,” she said. “To create jobs, to make the bad guys less bad, and so we have industries, including the coal industry, that are powerful enough to be able to innovate. That's how you’re going to solve an intractable problem.” 

Asked if she thinks a United Nations climate change conference this year is “baloney,” Fiorina said, “Yes, yes I do.”

“When the Chinese said to Obama, 'Oh we’re going to come with a deal for you, we’re going to stop increasing our global greenhouse gas emissions by 2025,' you know what they were doing? They were simply lifting a goal out of a five-year plan and saying 'we’ll play along.' They're not playing along.”

Fiorina was referring to a deal between the Obama administration and Chinese leaders reached last year. Both countries — the world’s two leading greenhouse gas emitters — agreed to begin cutting their emissions within the next 15 years. 

That agreement came ahead of the U.N.’s climate conference planned for this December in Paris, where officials hope to agree on global goals for cutting carbon emissions. 

Obama’s climate agenda centers on a set of regulations designed to slash emissions from the U.S. power sector by 32 percent by 2030. Those rules are expected to force utilities to shut down coal plans and begin the transition to renewable energy. 

But Fiorina said that’s not the right way to address climate change. 

“The answer is innovation, and the only way to innovate is for this nation to have industry strong enough that they can innovate,” she told NBC.