Monday, October 20, 2008

If Elected... The Candidates on the Climate

What would Barack Obama and John McCain do to tackle the climate crisis if elected president? Andy Revkin has a great article in last Friday's New York Times that takes tries to answer that question, taking a close - and fair - look at both presidential candidates positions. While both candidates agree on the need for action, the devil, as usual, is in the details, and Revkin has the best expose I've seen in the mainstream press to date.

Here's an excerpt:

Mr. McCain, of Arizona, has repeatedly pointed to his longtime focus on global warming, including a fact-finding trip with other lawmakers to the thawing Arctic and his co-authorship, in 2003, of the first comprehensive legislation seeking mandatory limits on heat-trapping gases.

But in recent weeks he has taken heat from some environmental activists for statements on the stump implying that he might not seek mandatory emission cuts. His campaign has not said how the ailing economy would affect his climate agenda.


A high priority is helping revive the nuclear-power industry because nuclear plants produce no greenhouse gases, once built. Mr. McCain claims a byproduct of his nuclear push would be the creation of thousands of new jobs.

Mr. Obama, of Illinois, insists that his energy plan, which is largely framed around measures that could have climate benefits, would remain a top priority even in the face of economic troubles.

Rather than increasing joblessness, he says, his proposals to create federal programs to cut energy waste and to help Detroit retool and retrain to make fuel-sipping hybrids would create jobs.

A top environmental goal of both candidates is enactment of climate-change legislation centered on a “cap and trade” mechanism that sets a ceiling on emissions that declines over time. Businesses and institutions that cannot hit the targets must buy permits from those that achieve bigger cuts than required.

But the devil on such bills is in the many details. (A fight over such details also contributed to the death of a climate bill that the Senate debated earlier this year.)
Read the full story here...

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