Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Where the Candidates Stand on the Environment, Part II

In an earlier blog post I wrote about the stands that the three remaining major presidential candidates have on environmental issues. This article from Slate online magazine evaluates each of their positions (excerpts below):
With all the rancorous bloviation that's infected the Democratic race of late, it's easy to forget that Obama and Clinton are essentially kinfolk when it comes to policy. Sure, there are wonky differences between their stances, particularly on health care. But there are precious few discrepancies between the front-runners' eco-plans, both of which focus primarily on energy. If you're looking for reasons to favor one over the other, you'll need to drill exceedingly deep....

Overall, Clinton's plan is a little better on nitty-gritty details. The Lantern likes her specific shout-outs to plug-in hybrid vehicles and light-emitting diodes, as well as her adoption of Al Gore's idea for a federal agency (dubbed Connie Mae) that will facilitate the development of green homes. The plan's language is also more pragmatic than Obama's, with lots of emphasis on the phrase market-based in order to appeal to laissez-fairers and a whole section dedicated to explaining how the "green economy" will reinvigorate American industry.
Obama, on the other hand, seems to regard environmentalism as more of a moral obligation than an economic opportunity. He's shorter on specifics, particularly when it comes to financial breakdowns, but he discusses some pressing big-picture concepts—for example, the environmental consequences of urban sprawl, a phenomenon that has been encouraged by misguided tax incentives. And he gets points for thinking not just about energy, but also several issues near and dear to green-minded voters: As elucidated in
this supplementary fact sheet, Obama's team hopes to tackle lead poisoning, toxic runoff from livestock operations, and sustainable solutions to Western drought....

McCain hasn't released a comprehensive environmental platform. All we can go by at present is this page from his Web site, which is full of sweet platitudes but woefully short on specifics. Given the lack of crunchiness among his base, McCain generally avoids any language that might smack of "Save the Whales" do-goodism. He instead favors variations on the concept of "stewardship," a catchphrase popular among admirers of Theodore Roosevelt as well as climate change skeptics.
Based on his record in the Senate, McCain seems mildly green.

Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 25 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at http://www.theregenerationproject.org/State.
Find discounts on energy saving products at http://www.shopipl.org/

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