Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Election 2012: A Mandate for Action on Climate Change

Although not everyone agrees, some environmentalists see the election of 2012 as an endorsement of action on climate change. As reported in a Guardian article, "activists say that it would be wrong to read the election as a stamp of approval for four more years of business as usual. They argue that voters have sent a clear signal that they want more aggressive action on the environment during the president's second term."

Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp is amongst those environmentalists who say that the election provides a mandate for aggressive action on climate change. After the election Krupp issued a statement on Wednesday November 7 saying:

“Exit polls confirm that for millions of American voters, Hurricane Sandy and climate change were decisive factors in this election. As the historic storm just reminded us, we have no time to waste; we must get serious about climate solutions in order to protect our loved ones and communities from terrible impacts -- extreme weather disasters, droughts, heat waves, and other dangerous consequences of global warming. Especially in the wake of Sandy, which demonstrated that doing nothing about climate change is much costlier than taking action, this issue clearly should be a top priority for our leaders in government.”

The same day Frances Beinecke, the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council echoed these sentiments saying:

"By rejecting Big Oil's candidates, voters sent a message loud and clear that they want more clean energy, less climate denial and an end to the $4bn in taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuels."

Predictably, officials from the oil and gas industry have a different interpretation of the results. Despite the decisive defeat of Republican challenger Mitt Romney, they say the election was about the economy. While there is no doubt that the economy is an important issue for Americans, it would be a mistake to interpret the election as an affirmation of business as usual.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Election 2012: Implications for Coal and Natural Gas
The 2012 Election Saw the Rise of Environmentalists as a Political Force
Republicans Need a Serious Policy Review
Hopes for Environmental Action in President Obama's Second Term
President Obama's Victory Speech: "The Best is Yet to Come"
A Vote for Obama is a Vote for Survival
The State of Government Sustainability Efforts
What is ESG and Why is it Important
How Governments can Show Support for Cleantech

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