Election Issues: Energy and Climate Change
by findingDulcinea Staff
Both presidential candidates have recognized the need to address climate change and adjust the nation’s policies to prevent an energy crisis. Learn more about their stances in findingDulcinea’s survey of key issues in the November election.
With soaring gas prices coinciding with a newfound public awareness of global climate change, revamping the nation’s energy policy has become a top priority for each candidate. John McCain has broken with Republican orthodoxy and embraced the existence of man made climate change—proposing a plan to curb American carbon emissions. Although Barack Obama offers a plan to do the same, he advocates a different approach for meeting the goal.
John McCain supports a 60 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through a cap-and-trade system that would give a limited number of permits to corporations that agreed to invest revenue in green energy development. His television advertisements contrast his position with that of President Bush, who was not in favor of any cap-and-trade legislation. An interview with Grist further illuminates his environmental and energy views.
Barack Obama also supports a cap-and-trade plan, but he plans to have the government auction off the permits. Opponents of the plan argue that sale of the permits by the government will slow the economy, but Obama believes that government reinvestment in new forms of energy will offset any slowdown. He favors a deeper cut in emissions, aiming for an 80 percent decrease by 2050.
As the summer has heated up, so has the candidates’ rhetoric on energy policy. John McCain came out in favor of drilling off the U.S. coast as a means of reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Barack Obama dismisses this policy as a “gimmick” that will both harm the environment and play no real role in creating more manageable oil prices for consumers.