WASHINGTON, DC – Republican presidential hopeful John McCain is far and away the GOP candidate most committed to addressing global warming and the nation’s energy challenges, according to the 2008 Presidential Primaries Voter Guide released today by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV).
The Voter Guide, which takes a critical look at candidates’ plans for dealing with global climate change, makes clear that collectively, the Democratic candidates have outlined more comprehensive and aggressive plans than any presidential candidates in history and have made a point of telling primary voters that combating global warming is a top priority. Among Republicans running for president, the guide says, “Sen. McCain holds the distinction of being the only candidate to make global warming a part of his campaign agenda and to regularly address it on the campaign trail.”
While nearly all of the GOP Candidates acknowledge that global warming is a problem, only Sen. McCain has proposed a comprehensive plan for addressing it. In 2003, he introduced the first Senate bill attempting to curb global warming pollution and reintroduced similar legislation in 2005 and 2007. He supports reducing greenhouse gas emissions 65 percent by 2050. None of the other Republican candidates – Mayor Giuliani, Sen. Thompson, Gov. Romney and Rep. Paul – have offered any plan to address global warming. Gov. Huckabee, while also not putting forward a plan, has expressed support of a cap-and-trade system and would mandate a 35-mpg standard for vehicles.
On the Democratic side, all of the candidates competing for the presidential nomination have shown strong commitment to addressing global warming, though the details of their plans differ. Sens. Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Obama and Rep. Kucinich have co-sponsored the strongest global warming bills in Congress. Each of the candidates, including Gov. Richardson and former Sen. Edwards, have proposed comprehensive plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050, which is what science tells us we must meet or exceed to avoid environmental catastrophe.
Sen. Edwards was the first candidate to propose a global warming plan, describing the crisis as “one of the great moral imperatives of our time.” Gov. Richardson’s plan is the most aggressive, calling for a 90 percent reduction in emissions by 2050, a 50-mpg standard for vehicles by 2020 and using 30 percent renewable energy by 2020 and 50 percent by 2040.
The Presidential Voter Guide also provides the candidates’ lifetime LCV scores, and their positions on key environmental issues such as clean water, roadless national forests, oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and support for Superfund cleanups and environmental enforcement.
“After nearly eight years of a presidential assault on environmental protection, the nation demands a new commitment to addressing the single greatest challenge of this generation: global warming,” LCV President Gene Karpinski said. “We hope this guide will arm the American people with the information they need to choose our next president – one committed to dramatically reducing global warming pollution, increasing mileage per gallon standards for U.S. cars and trucks, decreasing energy consumption and increasing utilities’ use of clean, renewable sources of energy.
“No matter who is nominated by each political party, LCV plans to work to elect the candidate best qualified to take on the issue of global warming as president,” Karpinski said. “A comprehensive plan for confronting this problem is good for jobs, good for the economy, good for national security, good for the consumer and good for the planet.
“But it’s not enough to just have a plan that looks good on a web site. It’s important for the candidates to campaign on the issue as a top priority so that whoever wins the White House will have a clear mandate to take action immediately,” Karpinski said.
The complete Voter Guide is available online at www.lcv.org/voterguide
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The nonprofit League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is the independent political voice for the environment. To secure the environmental future of our planet, LCV’s mission is to advocate for sound environmental policies and to elect pro-environmental candidates who will adopt and implement such policies.