AlterNet: Environment: There Are Green '08 Candidates, and Then There Are Some That Aren't ... at All
By Tara Lohan, AlterNet. Posted February 4, 2008.
If you're not sure where presidential contenders, Democratic or Republican, stand on environmental issues -- it's not surprising. There has been little discussion in the debates.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Action Fund, you're more likely to know what a candidate thinks of UFOs than their position on what we should do about global warming. On Tim Russert's Meet the PressThis Week and Bob Schiefffer on CBS's Face the Nation. CNN's Wolf Blitzer had two questions out of 402 and Chris Wallace on Fox also had two out of 563. there have been 827 questions to candidates and zero mentioned global warming. Same for George Stephanopoulos on ABC's
Despite mainstream media's coverage, the candidates' positions stand on global warming and our energy future should be a pressing concern for voters. And there are differences between the candidates.
What are the main issues?
Let's start with Clinton. The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has given Clinton a lifetime score of 90 (out of 100) points in her record on the environment and her policies. She is a co-sponsor of the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, considered by many to be the strongest global warming legislation introduced in the Senate.
In many instances she falls right in step with LCV's guidelines. Like LCV, to deal with global warming she supports a mandatory cap on emissions and an 80 percent reduction on carbon emissions by 2050. This is the language that most environmental groups are supporting, including the popular Step It Up and 1Sky campaigns.
Obama, who has a score of 96 from LCV, and is also a co-sponsor of the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, has the same position. These two Democrats fall right in step with the mainstream environmental movement on this point.
For Republicans, the story is different. McCain (LCV score of 26), has billed himself as the most enviro-friendly of his party and was recently endorsed by Gov. Schwarzenegger at a solar roofing company, of all places. The governor said of McCain, "He's a crusader, has a great vision in protecting the environment and also protecting the economy."
McCain introduced legislation (with Joe Lieberman) in the Senate, called the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act, which would cap emissions at 2004 levels by 2012 and then decrease them by 30 percent by 2050, a much less ambitious plan than what many environmental organizations and leading scientists have said is necessary.
The rest of the Republican field doesn't offer much. Huckabee (no score from LCV) said he would support cap and trade but hasn't given any specifics; Ron Paul (LCV score of 30) does not support cap and trade; and Romney (no score from LCV) says no unless the rest of the world also participates in the system -- so much for the United States taking a leading role in world politics on this one.