The outcome of the 2008 presidential
election could very well have a big impact on a wide range
of environmental issues, especially climate change.
All of the Democratic candidates—Hillary Clinton, Barack
Obama, John Edwards, and Dennis Kucinich—support reducing
carbon dioxide emissions nationally upwards of 80 percent by
2050 in order to stave off global warming. Likewise, each would
like to see fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks
raised to at least 40 miles per gallon within the next few decades.
Meanwhile, only one of the major Republican contenders, John
McCain, has even articulated a position on the issue of global
warming, with most favoring expanding our base of greenhouse
gas-spewing coal-fired power plants.
As for specific track records, Clinton has an impressive record
of introducing pro-environment legislation into Congress, and
for her time in the Senate scores a 90 (out of 100) on green
voting from the nonprofit, nonpartisan League of Conservation
Voters (LCV). Obama is newer to the politics of the environment,
but scored a 96 for his two years in the Senate from LCV, and
has garnered kudos from environmental leaders for the aggressive
climate and energy plan he unveiled in October 2007.
John Edwards was the first candidate to make his campaign carbon
neutral in March 2007, and greens consider him perhaps the most
progressive of all Democrats on the climate issue.
On the Republican side, the environmental bright spots are few
and far between. McCain is really the only choice with any declared
concern for the environment. In 2003, he co-sponsored the first
Senate bill aimed at mandatory economy-wide reductions. While
the bill didn’t garner enough votes to pass, it set the
stage for future iterations that could put the U.S. on par with
European nations as leaders in the fight to cut carbon emissions.
McCain is also the only Republican candidate opposed to drilling
for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Mike Huckabee scores some points with greens for his willingness
to consider a specific increase in automotive fuel efficiency
standards and for his (limited) embrace of alternative energy.
Mitt Romney is willing to consider a cap on emissions, but only
if enacted on a global basis (including China and India, that
is). The remaining Republicans (Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson,
and Ron Paul) have been noncommittal on climate change and environmental
issues in general.
For more information visit lcv.org/voterguide.