So far, 2008 is off to a great start. On the first day of the year, the lead editorial in one of the nation’s leading newspapers, The New York Times, picked up on the League of Conservation Voters’ call to bring more attention to global warming and to press the presidential candidates on the issue.
In its opinion piece, titled “The One Environmental Issue,” The Times calls climate change “the overriding environmental issue of these times” and says voters “deserve an honest accounting, and the candidates should be prepared to give it.”
The Times editorial also cites the League of Conservation Voters’ YouTube video and Web site, www.whataretheywaitingfor.com, which criticizes the five main political television talk show hosts for their failure to interview the candidates on their plans to combat global warming. The video, which has been viewed by thousands, points out that while the talk show hosts have collectively asked 2,275 questions of the candidates, only 24 of them touched even remotely on global warming.
Other news organizations, including The Associated Press, Reuters and CBS News, as well as many environmental bloggers, also have reported on the video and on the recent release of the League’s 2008 Presidential Primaries Voter Guide, which takes a critical look at candidates’ plans for dealing with global climate change.
And in the days leading up to tomorrow’s Caucuses here in Iowa, we have had success raising the issue in the local press. The Des Moines Register reports that environmental issues are getting “unprecedented focus” in the campaigns, with Democratic candidate Barack Obama running a television ad saying the “planet is in peril” and rival Hillary Clinton running one in which she is wrapping “alternative energy” as a Christmas gift.
In addition, members of The Associated Press voted global warming the sixth most important news story of the past year - ahead of the presidential race, which ranked 8th, and the immigration debate, which ranked 9th.
Meanwhile, as The New York Times pointed out, governors in more than two dozen states are working on regional agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the federal courts have ordered the executive branch to regulate such emissions and the U.S. Senate is working on a bill to reduce emissions 65 percent by 2050.
Clearly, there is still much more to be done if we are to avert global climate change, and time is running out. But this is not a bad start for 2008!