Presidential Candidates' Position on Issues – Environment

We continue our series on where the presidential candidates stand on various issues. This week we take on the candidates’ agenda on the environment.

After the early threat of Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore’s candidacy, Democratic presidential hopefuls quickly trotted out comprehensive approaches to the looming climate crisis. Even Republican candidates have had to soften their anti environment stances after an international body of scientists concluded that global warming was one of the major threats to global peace and stability. Here are the front-runners’ agendas.


Hillary Clinton: Senator Clinton currently serves on the Committee on Environment and Public Works in the Senate. She has said that she supports a green building fund and green-collar job training. She would not allow drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge.
Her plan would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of global warming, and cut foreign oil imports by two-thirds from 2030 projected levels. She has suggested a $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund and doubling investment in basic energy research.
However, it must be noted that President Bill Clinton did not submit the Kyoto protocol to the Senate for approval though Senator Clinton did vote on ratifying Kyoto in 2000.
The League of Conservation Voters(LCV), an independent political voice for the environment rates Hillary 89% on the environment, indicating a pro-environment record.

Barack Obama:  Obama has a record of supporting environment friendly bills. He is against drilling in the ANWR. He has taken the stance that global warming is human-caused.
He has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by creating a market-based cap-and-trade system. He is a strong believer in ethanol and other biofuels. Obama also has plans for improving air and water quality through reduced pollution levels.
He has voted YES on reducing subsidies for oil and gas exploration. Obama has also gone on record as supporting nuclear power if appropriate safeguards can be developed. Senator Obama has an impressive voting record on the environment, scoring a lifetime score of 96% with the LCV with a 100% score in 2006.

John Edwards: John Edwards has made global warming one of the linchpins of his candidacy even though LCV gives him a pretty low score of 59%, indicating a mixed voting record on the environment. Edwards has endorsed the widespread goal of 80% reductions of greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by the year 2050. He has advocated capping emissions, reducing the cap every year, and auctioning off the right to emit a certain quantity of greenhouse gases. He would then use this money, an estimated $10 billion, to fund research for alternative energy sources in an effort to end the United States reliance on foreign crude oil.

Joe Biden: Senator Biden has a policy that involves capping emissions, increasing renewable fuels, and requiring better fuel economy for automobiles. He wants to cap emissions at 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

One concrete proposal he suggests is  an executive order that the federal government would not purchase one single automobile for its fleet that gets less than 40 miles to the gallon. “ I would not build a single solitary federal project without it being a green project. That would have the effect of getting states to do the same thing, and that would create a pot of somewhere between a third and a half a trillion dollars that would be a lure to every major business in America to go green.”
“We should be able to get to 40 miles per gallon by 2017. I think we should have every single vehicle in America have to get one mile per year additional fuel economy, based on the class and size of the automobile, not on CAFE [corporate average fuel economy] standards.”


Rudy Giuliani: Giuliani believes the planet is indeed warming up. He commented on Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, that he feels the film did not go far enough to the describe the ways in which to combat the warming of the planet in the United States. His website does not offer any specific approaches to solving the climate crisis.

Mitt Romney: Romney supports regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through voluntary measures. He issued a 72-point Climate Protection Plan. His staffers spent more than $500,000 negotiating the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI–pronounced "Reggie"), which Romney praised in November 2005, saying "I'm convinced it is good business." As plan details were being worked out, Romney began pushing for a cap on fees charged to businesses who exceed emission limits, citing concerns of increased consumer energy costs. This ongoing disagreement eventually led Romney, in December, 2005, to pull out of RGGI.
Romney opposes the Cape Wind offshore Cape Cod wind farm proposal[35] because of its visual detriment to Nantucket, saying that Nantucket "is a critical location for the state, and placing wind turbines there would be detrimental. Romney also supports drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
On the official Romney website, plans to achieve energy independence are vague and involve promoting nuclear power and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Mike Huckabee: This dark horse has suddenly achieved national prominence with his affable nature and social conservatism. Like the other Republican candidates, Governer Huckabee’s policy focuses on energy independence taher than preserving the environment. Specifically, he says, “We have to explore, we have to conserve, and we have to pursue all avenues of alternative energy: nuclear, wind, solar, hydrogen, clean coal, biodiesel, and biomass.” In what can be construed as hubris, he claims that he will be able to achieve energy independence by the end of his second term!

Fred Thompson: Fred Thomson is not one of the front-runners, but his comments are entertaining enough to warrant inclusion in this article.
On a radio program in March he had the following to say –“Some people think that our planet is suffering from a fever. Now scientists are telling us that Mars is experiencing its own planetary warming: Martian warming. It seems scientists have noticed recently that quite a few planets in our solar system seem to be heating up a bit, including Pluto.
NASA says the Martian South Pole’s “ice cap” has been shrinking for three summers in a row. Maybe Mars got its fever from earth. If so, I guess Jupiter’s caught the same cold, because it’s warming up too, like Pluto.
This has led some people, not necessarily scientists, to wonder if Mars and Jupiter, non signatories to the Kyoto Treaty, are actually inhabited by alien SUV-driving industrialists who run their air-conditioning at 60 degrees and refuse to recycle.
Silly, I know, but I wonder what all those planets
, dwarf planets and moons in our SOLAR system have in common. Hmmmm. SOLAR system. Hmmmm. Solar? I wonder. Nah, I guess we shouldn’t even be talking about this. The science is absolutely decided. There’s a consensus.
Ask Galileo.”

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