Super Tuesday is just hours away and most of us probably by now have our minds made up on which candidate will be getting our vote. I have to admit I have been completely immersed in all the debates, for both sides in fact. Although the economy, the war, homeland security, education, healthcare, and all the other issues affecting us Americans are vitally important; Iíve been really keeping my ear to the ground or rather TV to see which candidates are paying attention to our environmental issues as well!
I do not wish to turn this article into a political piece on who to vote for or not, as I believe that is personal matter, but just to give an update on where each candidate stands on the environment.
Barack Obama - Senator Obama introduced an energy and climate plan in 2007. He calls for improving energy efficiency in the U.S. by 50 percent by 2030, and all new buildings in the US to be carbon neutral by 2030. He supports a phase-out of incandescent light bulbs by 2014. He proposes investing $150 billion over 10 years in research and development for biofuels, renewable energy, and other clean technologies. He supports raising fuel-economy standards for automobiles to 40 mpg and light trucks to 32 mpg by 2020. He was a co-sponsor of the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, and he calls for cutting U.S. carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. He hopes to accomplish this through a cap-and-trade system that would auction off 100 percent of emissions permits, making polluters pay for the CO2 they emit.
Hillary Clinton- Senator Clintonís campaign has been carbon neutral! She supports a goal of the U.S. getting 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. She supports raising fuel-economy standards to 40 mpg by 2020 and 55 mpg by 2030. She wants the US to cut its consumption of foreign oil by two-thirds of projected levels by 2030. She also proposes a cap and trade system similar to Senator Obamaís; to reduce U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and would auction off 100 percent of the emission permits as well as other measures. Senator Clinton has been a huge advocate for energy independence throughout her campaign.
John McCain - Senator McCain has been a leader on cutting greenhouse gas emissions and is probably the greenest Republican candidate of the group! He too supports a cap and trade system for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and opposes the carbon tax. Heís against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He supports the use of nuclear power as an alternative energy source and a way to reduce carbon emissions and he wants to find a way to use our coal resources without emitting more greenhouse gases. Global warming would be a top issue for his presidency. He spoke out against the current administrations lack of action on the climate change issue!
(In my quest to try and be fair I will do my best to report the support of environmental issues these last three candidates have taken which are really lacking, very vague, and severely misguided)
Mitt Romney - Former Governor Romney supports more conservation and energy efficiency although it is hard to figure out where he really stands on the issue as he gives vague answers when asked. He calls for more ethanol and other biofuels. He acknowledges climate change but is unsure on how humans have contributed to it. He supports the expansion of nuclear power. He also supports offshore drilling and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge!
Mike Huckabee - Former Governor Huckabee is also unsure if humans are responsible for climate change but supports the cutting of greenhouse gas emissions because itís the right thing to do. He supports raising fuel economy standards to 35 mpg by the year 2020. He supports the expansion of nuclear power. He believes we have a moral and religious obligation to protect the earth and says as president he will send Congress his comprehensive plan for energy independence (what is it?)!
Ron Paul - Former Congressman Paul doesnít have much to say on environmental issues at all. He thinks the free market/private companies should have more control of it and the government should stay out of it and see what happens. He supports all offshore drilling. He too doesnít believe humans have contributed to climate change. He would end any special benefits to energy companies.
As the hours tick down to Super Tuesday I would invite all of you to go to your favorite candidateís website and get a better understanding of where they stand, not only on the environment, but all the issues as I have only provided you a mere glimpse. One thing is for sure and that is we need a president who will be strong on environmental issue for without a planet everything else would just cease to exist!