Presidential Candidates: Where Do They Stand On Climate Policy Proposals?

The Christian Science Monitor recently reviewed climate change policy suggestions made by US presidential candidates, to date. Below, is a high level summary that we assembled based on the CSM article as a starting point. After exploring the various candidate websites to corroborate points highlighted in the article, we realized that CSM had missed much. So, we added what we could find in a variety of places. If we missed or mis-stated any policy or program proposals please let us know.

Note: order of presentation does not denote preference; candidates not listed have not posited serious positions on Climate issues; and, we purposefully have not listed party affiliations.

Point of reference: to-date, no US presidential candidate makes environment a top issue, nor would we expect them to. But, it will be fun to see if Al Gore's Nobel gives at least Climate Change some podium lift on the campaign trail.Senator Christopher Dodd favors a corporate carbon tax, supports the Sanders "Cap-and-trade" legislation, would increase efficiency standards for consumer products, would raise fuel economy standards in automobiles to 50 mpg, would impose carbon capture and sequestration on new coal plants, would increase renewable electricity standard to 20% by 2020, would increase investments in Biofuels and other Clean Energy Technologies, would make the Production Tax Credit permanent for clean and renewable sources of energy, would require that all new government vehicles use hybrid, plug-in, or other fuel efficient and alternative technology, would require that all new and existing federal buildings be equipped with the latest energy efficiency technologies, and more.

John Edwards seeks to cap greenhouse gas pollution starting in 2010 with a cap-and-trade system, and reduce it by 15 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050, he would lead the world "to a new climate treaty that commits other countries—including developing nations", he would create a New Energy Economy Fund by auctioning off $10 billion in greenhouse pollution permits and repealing subsidies for big oil companies, and he proposes to meet the demand for more electricity through efficiency for the next decade, instead of producing more electricity.

Senator John McCain has proposed capping cap greenhouse-gas emissions at 2004 levels by 2012 and then reducing them by 65 percent by 2050. He also favors increased spending on nuclear power... Note: there is very little about climate on the McCain website.

Senator Joseph Biden wants to raise vehicle fuel efficiency standards to 40 miles per gallon by 2017, and favors resumed negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Senator Barack Obama has proposed a detailed plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050 (similar to John Edwards). Senator Obama has favored expanding the manufacture of ethanol-capable vehicles, offering tax credits to spur cellulosic fuel production, requiring clean-fueled transit buses be bought with federal dollars, and providing incentives to ethanol plants to invest in E-85 blending equipment on their premises. At one point he also favored Federal funding of "clean coal plants" to produce liquid fuels (current stance uncorroborated). He favored mandating a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the national transportation fuel pool by 2020.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, wants to cut US oil demand 50 percent by 2020, obtain half of all the country's electricity supply from renewable sources by 2040, double the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for autos to 50 miles per gallon by 2020, and cap CO2 emissions at 90 percent below 2006 levels by 2050. Full listing of details is here.

Senator Hillary Clinton has proposed creating a strategic energy fund, investing oil companies' "windfall profits" in renewable energy, and obtaining 20 percent of the nation's electricity from renewable resources by 2020. She also supports a supports a market-based, cap and trade approach to achieve an "80% pollution reduction by the year 2050," proposed to add $50 billion into research, development and deployment of renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean coal technology, ethanol and other homegrown biofuels, and proposes to require that by 2030, all new federal buildings and major renovations would be carbon neutral.

Via::Christian Science Monitor, "Where the '08 contenders stand on global warming" Image credit::University of Michigan 3D Lab, "Podium"