Presidential candidates and their environmental platforms

There are a lot of reasons to vote for a President, including issues outside the environmental platforms we are going to cover here. While I have very strong opinions on politics and on who I am going to vote for, this article will attempt to simply summarize the candidates’ stances on environmental issues, as taken directly from each candidate’s campaign web site. I’ll then comment on some those stances.

I will start off by saying that there is no one on the ballot for either party who is even close to my ideal candidate. But these are the candidates that we have to choose from this time around and they are the ones we will cover.

In alphabetical order by last name:


Hillary Clinton:

According to her website, Hillary Clinton has a comprehensive plan that includes a “cap and trade system.”

The candidate’s plan calls for increased auto standards including a mandated 55 mpg standard by 2030. To ease the burden on manufacturers, the government will make available 20 billion in “green vehicle bonds” for the retooling and research.

Clinton’s goals include a greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. Environmental Research would be encouraged by a 50 billion dollar strategic energy fund and doubling basic energy research. Green building industry will get a boost by the modernization of 20 million low income homes.

The plan also calls for a two thirds reduction from 2030 projected levels of imported oil.

In addition, there will be a requirement that all federal buildings designed after 2008 be zero emissions buildings.

You can find more about Hillary Clinton’s energy plan here:

Lots of good ideas, but of course no real indication of how these things will be paid for. I think we can do better in a shorter time, but improvements are not going to happen overnight.


Mike Huckabee

No environmental issue on his list of issues. The closest was energy independence, and no specifics were given.

Mike Huckabee’s page on energy is here:

John McCain

About the closest thing on the website to an environmental plan is this statement. Since it’s brief, I’ll just quote it. On the list of issues environmental issues were towards the bottom of the list

“He has offered common sense approaches to limit carbon emissions by harnessing market forces that will bring advanced technologies, such as nuclear energy, to the market faster, reduce our dependence on foreign supplies of energy, and see to it that America leads in a way that ensures all nations do their rightful share.”

John McCain’s site is here

When politicians talk about using market forces to accomplish something as vital as environmental and energy reform I get rather skeptical. The fact that so little is really said on his website shows how much of a priority it is for the candidate; despite the paragraph or two about how important it is.
Barack Obama

According to the Barack Obama campaign web site, his plan requires reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. This will be accomplished by a cap and trade system. Revenues generated by auctioning the carbon allowances will be used for research into clean energy and assisting displaced workers affected by the policy. In addition, incentives will be given for reforestation of land.

Under the plan, the government will invest 150 billion over 10 years in renewable and alternative energy. Research funding will be doubled for alternative energy projects.

Money will be made available to manufacturers to aid in the conversion to green products

By 2025, 25% of electricity will be produced by green sources.

Develop clean coal technology.

Encourage development of Cellulosic Ethanol

Create incentives for farmer-owned biofuel refineries

Establish a carbon limit on fuels reducing carbon content by ten percent by 2020

Require double the current fuel economy within 18 years with funding and loans going to domestic auto makers.

Barack Obama’s site is here:

Much the same as the other democratic candidate, with the disturbing addition of “clean coal” to the mix. New solar technology is very close to or as cheap as coal plants, so why are we even wasting our time on this?

Mitt Romney

Environmental issues weren’t even on the list, but I found this under ending energy dependence:

The candidate wants to increase government spending on research to increase our supply, our efficiency, cleaner usage of fossil fuels, and bringing to market renewable and nuclear.

Mitt Romney’s site is here:

More about clean coal, and little about anything else.