Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fighting Global Warming US Style

Web Research 101

It’s Super Tuesday in the US Primaries this week. Time to look at the Big 4 candidates’ global warming policies as presented on their official websites.

Republicans: The Once and the Future Deniers

John McCain

McCain claims to be a warrior against global warming but his official website is disappointing. His environment policy lives under Stewards of Our Nation's Rich Natural Heritage. No irony intended! The accompanying video sounds more like John Howard’s last position: more nuclear energy, anti-Kyoto, vague on concrete proposals. He even talks about a new Kyoto that must include China and India. A furphy that sounds very familiar.

He is in favour of a cap and trading but there are no details or targets to be found here. The claim is:
He has offered common sense approaches to limit carbon emissions by harnessing market forces that will bring advanced technologies, such as nuclear energy, to the market faster, reduce our dependence on foreign supplies of energy, and see to it that America leads in a way that ensures all nations do their rightful share.
(A warning about his videos: It’s hard to stay awake.)

Mitt Romney

No surprises on Romney’s website. It does not even list the environment as one of the key issues, much less global warming. A site search for ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’ produced no meaningful responses. His energy policy is about achieving “independence” from foreign oil.

There is a relevant February 2007 Press Release on the site:
Unfortunately, some in the Republican Party are embracing the radical environmental ideas of the liberal left. As governor, I found that thoughtful environmentalism need not be anti-growth and anti-jobs. But Kyoto-style sweeping mandates, imposed unilaterally in the United States, would kill jobs, depress growth and shift manufacturing to the dirtiest developing nations.

Republicans should never abandon pro-growth conservative principles in an effort to embrace the ideas of Al Gore. Instead of sweeping mandates, we must use America's power of innovation to develop alternative sources of energy and new technologies that use energy more efficiently.
It’s George W. Bush four years ago.

Democrats: Me Too

Barack Obama

Obama’s website has lots of rhetoric and lots of detail. A sample:
At a Glance

* Reduce Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2050
* Invest in a Clean Energy Future
* Support Next Generation Biofuels
* Set America on Path to Oil Independence
* Improve Energy Efficiency 50 Percent by 2030
* Restore U.S. Leadership on Climate Change
Sounds good. He always does. Classy video. Like Rudd he has a plan.

Hillary Clinton

Clinton sounds like someone who has known AL Gore for a long time. Her plan is detailed and has lots of overlap with Obama's.
Centered on a cap and trade system for carbon emissions, stronger energy and auto efficiency standards and a significant increase in green research funding, Hillary's plan will reduce America's reliance on foreign oil and address the looming climate crisis.
Where to now?

Let’s assume a Democrat win in November (anything is possible in US politics – look at George W’s amazing career). How will the Congress embrace a “war on global warming”? For many of them it is a sub-category of the “war on terror”. Obama has the potential to take the people with him. Hillary seems more capable of getting practical results. We can expect lots of misinformation from the conservatives, before and after November, whoever the Democrat candidate turns out to be.

Watch this space!

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Peter said...

Interesting. Both Democrat contenders have very ambitious targets by 2050, which I believe is good.

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