Where the Candidates Stand On Energy: Democratic Nominee for North Carolina Senator Cal Cunningham

In this blog, we examine the policies and position of Cal Cunningham, the Democratic nominee for North Carolina's Senator. Also in this series we profile Thom Tillis, the current Senator and Republican nominee for the seat.

Jennifer Rennicks | August 18, 2020 | Elections, Energy Policy, North Carolina

This post is part of a series of blogs examining where 2020 Southeastern candidates for state and federal offices stand on key energy and climate issues. Note: The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy does not support or oppose candidates or political parties. Links to reports, candidate websites, and outside sources (such as this response tracker on science-related policy questions from NC State) are provided as citizen education tools.

READ THE  ‘WHERE THE CANDIDATES STAND’ BLOG SERIES

In this blog, we examine the policies and position of Cal Cunningham, the Democratic nominee for North Carolina’s Senator. Also in this series we profile Thom Tillis, the current Senator and Republican nominee for the seat.

James Calvin (Cal) Cunningham III is an American politician, lawyer, and veteran who served as the North Carolina State Senator from the 23rd district from 2001 to 2003. He is a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army Reserve. Cunningham graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BA and earned his law degree from University of North Carolina School of Law.

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Cunningham has stated his goals are to have a carbon-neutral economy by the year 2050 and to cut carbon and public pollution in half by the year 2030 by investing in wind and solar as a way to transition the economy. “This is going to be an issue that I talk a lot about — that Thom Tillis is going to be on the other side of,” Cunningham said. “I think this is a place where we are going to have a fairly spirited debate.”

Cunningham is a proponent of solar energy because it provides, “good-paying jobs for our workers and economic investment in rural areas. North Carolina has the research facilities to design the next generation solar panels and the manufacturing base to lead on solar energy.”

Cunningham’s support for renewable energy is highlighted in a video interview that’s part of his ‘Voices of North Carolina‘ series when he notes, “imagine every city and town in NC powered in part by an energy that is entirely our own and a thriving green energy industry employing thousands of workers” and “From the collapse of the Texas oil fields to our dependence on foreign oil to the growing realization we have to find alternative sources of energy that are clean, renewable and will create millions of new jobs. But the reality is that America is falling farther behind in research and development of clean energy. Developing clean energy jobs is a vital component of my economic plan.”

Climate Change

Cunningham acknowledges that “historic storms and flooding” are evidence that climate change is already impacting North Carolina and believes it (climate change) is one of the most urgent issues facing North Carolinians. His campaign website clearly states, “to combat this crisis, we need to invest in a clean energy economy that will create good-paying jobs, reduce carbon pollution, and make North Carolina a leader.”

Electric Transportation

We were unable to confirm the candidate’s position on this energy-related issue in published media, public records, or the campaign website.

Energy Equity and Energy Burden

We were unable to confirm the candidate’s position on this energy-related issue in published media, public records, or the campaign website.

High-Risk Energy (Coal, Nuclear, Oil, Gas)

While a state senator, Cunningham co-sponsored and supported the landmark Clean Smokestacks Act of 2002 that has helped to reduce harmful pollutants from coal-fired power plants by over 80%.

In the ‘Voices of North Carolina‘ video on Green Energy Cunningham shares three energy priorities which is proposes to fund by ending big tax give aways for oil and gas companies:

  • create clean energy business zones
  • create incentives for energy efficiency
  • invest in next-generation fuels to reduce our dependence on foreign oil

If you are interested in learning more about where your state’s candidates for federal and state office stand on energy, click here to access the entire 2020 blog series. We encourage readers to register to vote well before registration deadlines, which are in early October but vary by state, and vote in the general election on or before November 3, 2020. For voting information in North Carolina, including updates about the impact of COVID-19 on voting, click here. Stay tuned for more posts in this series to come!

READ THE ‘WHERE THE CANDIDATES STAND’ BLOG SERIES

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Jennifer Rennicks
Since 2006 Jennifer has worked with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Action Fund to to advance stronger federal, state, and utility clean…
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