Sunday, February 10, 2008

You Learn Something New Every Day

I found watching the "Hot Politics" special to be incredibly beneficial to me. Being born in '85, I never really paid much attention to what went on during the first Bush and Clinton administrations. It was interesting, as well as sad, to see how inneffective they were at tackling the problem of global warming. I guess being naive I thought this problem was only a more recent 21st century issue.
Learning that the government had known about the issues and still did nothing about it adds more frustration to the fact that no one has been able to make substantial progress to a solution. I just feel that it is crazy that there have been three administrations and nothing. What Webber said in class the other day that everyone is just waiting around for January '09 makes a lot more sense to me now. The Bush administration is done with regard to creating any sort of substantial policy dealing with global warming.
Here's to hoping the 4th time is the charm!


Bonnie Beavers said...

I really felt the same way when I was watching "Hot Politics," and it only made me realize even more how important this next election is. So, I wanted to look into the top presidential candidates and their views on energy and climate change.

Clinton plans to address the energy and climate crisis by reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, to cut foreign oil imports by two-thirds from the projected levels by 2030, and to transform our carbon-based economy into and efficient green economy.

Obama feels that global warming is not just the greatest environmental challenge facing our planet; it is one of our greatest challenges ever. He plans to put a price on carbon. By enacting an economy-wide market based cap and trade system he plans to reduce US carbon emissions by 80% be 2050. He also plans to devote significant resources toward the development of low carbon technologies. Obama also plans to change the cars we drive and the fossil fuels we burn. He promises tax credits to encourage more Americans to buy ultra-efficient vehicles.

McCain acknowledges that the global climate change is real. Yet his plans to approach the problem are somewhat vague. He mentions strengthening American security. I am not sure what this has to do with climate change? He plans to pursue a market based cap and trade system similar to Obama and somehow hopes that this will make the US less dependent on foreign oil and will place America at the top in the development of energy and environmental technologies that the world will need for many years to come. The rest of his claims do not make much sense to me.

Huckabee claims that the US will achieve energy dependence by the end of his second term. He plans to pursue nuclear, wind, solar, hydrogen, clean coal, biodiesel, and biomass alternative energy sources. He supports the increase in fuel economy standards to an average 35 MPG by 2020 and acknowledges a need for more vehicles that can run on E85 fuel and more terminals and gas stations to actually supply this fuel. He says we need more hybrids and more work on hydrogen fuel cells. He supports the requirement that 15% of our electricity be generated by renewable energy by 2020. He favors ‘alternate energy’ over ‘renewable energy’ because it includes all ‘clean’ sources. I think this is vague because the definitions of alternate energy and renewable energy are somewhat ambiguous. He claims this will keep prices down for the consumers.

I found this information very useful for my own personal knowledge. I hope that others will find this helpful as well and at least give you a little bit of insight of who we NEED in office as our next president. Someone who will really address this crisis and acknowledge that there will be no quick fix.



Ben Jones said...

I think that this kind of analysis is essential, but its important to go another level and see what the candidates have said over time and how their stances have evolved.

Clinton has staunchly opposed nuclear power construction, but I have never seen a viable plan she has proposed that would allow the U.S. to increase its energy production, reduce consumption, or diversify into "cleaner" technologies.

Obama has also publicly opposed nuclear power lately, while at the same time speaking to the fact that coal is such a strong strategic resource for the U.S. I think a cap and trade program is probably the best way to institute the kind of broad mandate that carbon reduction requires, but voters need to be realistic about the delicacy that any such program must be handled with so that entire industries are not bankrupted domestically.

McCain is a little more interesting because he used to be opposed to ethanol, but now seems to be more in favor of it given comments he made campaigning in Iowa. Unfortunately I believe he changed his tune to get votes, but such is the game candidates are forced to play I suppose. I think its interesting that the republican would be the only candidate that is pro-nuclear.