'08 hopefuls tout climate-change plans
Polls show that most Americans think global warming is a serious problem, and candidates are being pressured on their positions by interest groups.
(Page 2 of 2)
Among likely Republican candidates, the proposals may be less specific, but most acknowledge that global warming is a major worry. And none are pooh-poohing what most experts say are increasing temperatures caused at least in part by human activities, such as power generation and transportation. As reported in the Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World and elsewhere, Sen. Sam Brownback (R) of Kansas said earlier this year in Iowa:Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
"It seems to me just prudent that we recognize we have climate increase and temperature change. We have CO2 loading, and we need to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere."
Even if the warnings about climate change can't be proved at this point, says former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) of Arkansas, as quoted in the National Journal's Hotline blog, "We ought to act as if that is the case."
"There is never a downside when it comes to conserving national resources," Mr. Huckabee says.
The US-government-sponsored Voice of America reported on a "debate" on global warming earlier in April between Sen. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts, a 2004 presidential candidate, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who's been mentioned as a 2008 GOP candidate. But Messrs. Kerry and Gingrich agreed on many key points, including that "urgent" steps should be taken to reduce CO2 emissions. Said Gingrich:
"The evidence is sufficient that we should move towards the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon loading of the atmosphere."
Why all the campaign talk about climate change?
For one thing, writes Washington Post political blogger Chris Cillizza, "Polling suggests that the American public is far more aware of global warming than they were even last year." In a recent Post poll, he observes, "one in three voters said global warming was the single biggest environmental threat facing the world – double the number who said that in a similar survey in March 2006."
Advocacy groups are needling candidates on climate change too.
The League of Conservation Voters Education Fund has a new program called "The Heat Is On" Among other things, it tracks where the candidates stand on a carbon cap, fuel efficiency, renewable sources for electricity, and other issues, urging voters to send letters and emails.
Meanwhile, student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) recently launched a "What's Your Plan?" initiative to directly confront candidates on climate change.
Given the increase in young voters during recent election cycles, candidates may well pay attention. Said Courtney Fryxell, national coordinator of the League of Conservation Voter's student program:
"This is a critical election for our generation and for climate legislation, and our next President has the greatest power to lead the way. But to lead the way, candidates need to have a comprehensive plan, one that has substance, not just hot air."