US Presidential Candidates' Environmental Records


Our friends at the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) released their 2007 National Environmental Scorecard today, and it reveals some good and bad news. First of all, the 110th Congress demonstrated solid movement toward a clean energy future for our country, including passing the energy bill in December (which included higher fuel-efficiency standards).

We enjoyed looking at the scores of the presidential candidates. From the LCV news release:

"The presidential candidates' scores all suffered from the occupational hazard of absenteeism. Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) missed four votes each in 2007, although both made a point of being on hand for the key vote that would have allowed a version of the energy bill to move forward that included a provision to repeal billions of dollars in tax breaks for big oil and put that money toward clean energy programs. Clinton’s score in 2007 was 73 percent (87 percent lifetime); Obama’s was 67 percent (86 percent lifetime)."Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) scored 0 percent in 2007 (24 percent lifetime) due to missing all 15 votes scored, including the key vote on repealing tax giveaways to big oil – a measure that failed by only one vote."

Zero percent in 2007, Sen. McCain? Ouch. This is surprising for a senator who's said he's very much for fighting global warming. (Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope has blogged twice now on McCain's words and actions - read "John McCain Should be Ashamed" and "Is John McCain Really Unclear on the Concept."

The LCV Scorecard is for 2007, but Sen. McCain did not start out 2008 aiming for a high score either, what with his missing the expanded stimulus package vote two weeks ago, which would have included clean-energy incentives, and which lost by -- get this -- one vote. (we discussed that vote in our Feb. 7 post.

All very interesting from someone who claims the leadership mantle on climate change (See: Greenwire - by subscription only.)

Beyond the presidential candidates, the new LCV report gives scores to all members of Congress, and you should definitely check out the ratings of your own leaders. How'd they do? While you're at it, yes McCain missed the expanded stimulus package vote, but how did your senators vote? You can thank or spank them here, depending on the answer. But most importantly, find out where your decision-makers stand on the issue.