WASHINGTON, D.C. - In last night's Republican presidential debate from Boca Raton, Florida, veteran NBC newsman Tim Russert asked two direct questions about global warming of candidates Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. Good for him and good for the voters who deserve to know where the candidates stand on this critical issue.
In response to Russert's first question, Giuliani offered little more than a continuation of the failed policies of the Bush Administration -- long on rhetoric, short on action. Giuliani said he opposes a mandatory cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a system which successfully reduced acid rain-causing pollution.
McCain's response was, in a word, confusing. When Russert asked if he supported "a mandatory cap" on greenhouse gases, McCain said, "No." But he then went on to say he favored a cap-and-trade system. The confusing part is that under McCain's own plan, all polluters would be mandated to participate in a system where credits can be traded or bought by polluters who do not meet reduction targets.
Congratulations, Mr. Russert. We are already beginning to see the negative impacts of global warming. As the economy struggles under the weight of record profits by big oil, $100 per barrel and $3 per gallon costs to consumers and a staggering balance of trade deficit to oil-producing nations, it is clear America needs a new energy future -- a future of clean, renewable energy with millions of green jobs and without the worst calamities of a pending climate crisis.
We hope last night’s debate is a sign of things to come. Now, let's see if Russert's colleagues follow up in future debates and on this Sunday’s political talk shows. Next up is Wolf Blitzer and CNN with back-to-back debates in Southern California on Wednesday and Thursday.
Tally of Wolf Blitzer’s Questions (As of Jan. 24, 2008)
Total Number of Interviews & Debates: 43
Total Number of Questions: 440
Questions That Mention Global Warming: 2