Candidate Positions on Climate Change


"My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us." --October 2011

Not too reassuring to me. Yet, as governor you helped develop a climate change action plan for Massachusetts, closed old coal-fired power plants and encouraged the development of renewable energy. What happened? Your stance on climate change has done an about face.

Also, your choice of Paul Ryan for a running mate -- someone with a voting record that is decidedly anti-action on climate change, doesn’t do much to shore up your bona fides on the environment.

Barack Obama: Democratic Party Candidate

Your website: You have eights issue tabs on your website, one of which is “Energy and the Environment.” This page begins with the statement that you have made “protecting the environment" a priority. You have made a commitment to nearly doubling automobile mileage per gallon by 2025 from where it was at when you took office, cutting in half automobile greenhouse gas emissions. You have issued the first ever-national standards for mercury emissions (setting high pollution standards for clean air), and have taken clear serious steps to advance renewable energy generation, with emphasis on wind and solar power and job creation in these new areas.

Your “all of the above” energy program sounds ambitious to me, however. I personally have yet to see proof that “clean coal” is possible, and I believe that the requirements for ensuring that fracking can be done safely (if this is even possible) should be put in place, BEFORE we open up vast areas of our country to fracking by gas companies.

You have protected the EPA from serious attacks and supported and developed programs to create more jobs in a green economy.

Quotes from the past four years on climate change/global warming:

"This is not fiction, this is science. Unchecked, climate change will pose unacceptable risks to our security, our economies, and our planet." --December, 2009

“Today, our world faces the major global environmental challenge of a changing climate. Our entire planet must address this problem because no nation, however large or small, wealthy or poor, can escape the impact of climate change. The United States can be a leader in reducing the dangerous pollution that causes global warming and can propel these advances by investing in the clean energy technologies, markets, and practices that will empower us to win the future.” --April 2011

There will always be people in this country who say we’ve got to choose between clean air and clean water and a growing economy, between doing right by our environment and putting people back to work. And I’m here to tell you that is a false choice. With smart, sustainable policies, we can grow our economy today and protect our environment for ourselves and our children.” --March 2012

“I suspect that over the next six months, this is going to be a debate that will become part of the campaign, and I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we’re going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way.” --April 2012

While the following quote is not in your own words, I found it extremely interesting.

“Mr. Obama has said that the most important policy he could address in his second term is climate change; one of the few issues that he thinks could fundamentally improve the world decades from now.” --The New Yorker, June 2012

I would like to hear this from you directly.

Green Party Candidate Jill Stein’s Green New Deal is the primary focus of her website. The premise behind the program is to create communities that are sustainable and healthy;  moving away from a fossil fuel based economy to one that is focused on renewable energy, green jobs and a sustainable economy.

Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party nominee and former New Mexico Governor  lists nine issue tabs on his site, with no mention of the environment or climate change.

Connecting the dots between jobs, security, the economy and climate change continues to be the white elephant in the room that is too often overtly and categorically ignored. The US Department of Defense has identified climate change as a key issue of national security. The warning bells being rung by scientists around the world, telling us that humans are causing our climate to change at a dangerously unprecedented pace and scale never before seen in the history of our planet, are deafeningly loud. The real world evidence that nature is showing us and the damage and destruction that is piling up in our neighborhoods, communities and hometowns from extreme weather events is overwhelming.

So, in absence of a debate and a discussion on the issues, I have the facts above to consider, but I would LOVE to hear directly from our candidates, in their own words on what they think about climate change and what they plan to do about it.

Make this a question in the debates this fall and depending on your answer, you may get my vote.

We don’t have four more years to wait.

~Harriet Shugarman

Executive Director, ClimateMama


Editor's note: This post was updated by the BlogHer editorial staff to include links to and a summary of Romney's just-released energy plan. -- Julie


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