Saturday, October 25, 2008

America Votes: Environmental Politics

Tuesday November 4, Americans will be voting in Federal elections. Here is a summary of the two parties environmental policies.

As reported in Grist, Obama supports a cap-and-trade system that would reduce emissions by 80% below 1990 levels, and opposes off shore drilling unless tied to incentives for renewable energy. He supports investment in renewable energy to meet 10% of American electricity needs by 2012, (25% by 2025) and 150 billion dollars of federal investment in renewables, efficiency and clean tech over 10 years (producing 5 million new jobs). He also offers qualified support for nuclear and clean coal, while oppossing traditional coal facilities.

McCain supports a cap-and-trade system that would reduce emissions by 60% below 1990 levels. He also supports enforcing existing fuel efficiency standards, lifting the ban on off shore drilling, nuclear energy (45 facilities), nonspecific support for biofuels and clean coal.

The Bush administration appears committed to its deplorable environmental record until the bitter end. To illustrate this administration's belligerent disregard for the environment, as a parting gift, the President's appointees have proposed giving coal companies the right to dump tons of debris directly into rivers and creeks. (Before this takes effect, there is a 30-day period for public comment and review).

Given McCain's environmental policies and the environmental legacy of the current Republican administration, it is easy to understand why the Democrat's message of change is resonating with voters.

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