Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Ignorant Anti-Environmental Views of the Remaining GOP Presidential Candidates

A Republican President would be a devastating blow to the environment and the green economy. Mitt Romney's primary victories in Michigan and Arizona at the end of February solidifies his status as the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination. However, although Romney's stated environmental views make him the best of the four evils, like the rest of the field of GOP presidential candidates, he can best be described as anti-environment.

The GOP presidential race has been a roller coaster ride, we have seen contenders come and go. Cain, Perry and Bachman all arrived to great fanfare only to see their campaigns come to an ignominious end.

When it comes to the environment, all GOP presidential candidates oppose progressive energy legislation and they all want to see a diminished role for the EPA. The resistance of Republicans to the EPA is summarized in a letter written by Eric Cantor. In this letter the House Majority Leader called on Republican party members to fight 10 “job-destroying regulations.” According to Cantor, seven out of those 10 are EPA rules.

Opposition to efforts that seriously combat climate change unifies the remaining gang of four Republican presidential candidates. Even though this view has proven to be false, GOP candidates contend that environmental protection and regulation inhibits job creation.

According to a July, 2011 report from the Brookings Institution, The chief conclusion of the Brookings study is that green technology is the driving force behind jobs. According to the Brookings study, there are now 2.7 million Americans who work at green jobs, this is more than work in the fossil fuel industry. The US Conference of Mayors estimates that number of green jobs will almost triple by 2040.

Contrary to assertions by GOP presidential hopefuls, a UNEP study reveals that investing in the green economy will spur growth. This reinforces the conservative fallacy that the greening of economies is a drag on growth. Taken together these studies show that the green economy will create growth and good jobs.

Although Romney may be amongst the least egregious of the gang of four, he shares the view that regulation is holding the economy back. This perspective is ironic when you consider that it was a lack of regulations that caused the recession of 2008 and the nightmare of climate change.

As reported in Climatico, here are the environmental views of the remaining slate of Republican Presidential candidates.

Mitt Romney

Romney supports drilling for more oil and gas including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He does not believe that greenhouse gases should be regulated by the EPA, as was decided in the landmark 2007 Supreme Court case, Massachusetts vs. EPA. In 2004, he supported an emissions reduction plan for Massachusetts, but in 2006, decided not to support a similar plan because of high costs.

Rick Santorum

Santorum dismisses climate change as “junk science.” He has consistently voted against an increase in renewable energy and regulations for cleaner air, and he has supported a limit increase on mercury emissions from power plants.

Newt Gingrich

Gingrich spoke out against the Waxman-Markey climate bill and currently opposes EPA regulation of carbon. Although he previously has supported programs that reduce carbon emissions, including providing incentives for carbon sequestration technology development. His latest statements include his desire to shut down the EPA and rename it the Environmental Solutions Agency.

Ron Paul

Paul supports supports offshore drilling but to his credit he also supports renewable energy. He believes in measures to reduce pollution, such as energy efficient vehicles, but he is against federal government regulation of the oil industry. Paul voted against cap and trade, both because he is against regulation and also because he believes it would cause jobs to move away from America. Paul wants to dismantle the EPA, preferring that environmental protection and solutions occur through private property rights, the courts, and private enterprise.

No matter which of the remaining gang of four is the GOP presidential nominee, the planet and the economy will suffer if Republicans win the White House in 2012.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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