What the Next Leader of the Free World Should Pledge:
- Ban on coal plants without carbon sequestration
- Ban on liquid coal
- An 80% reduction of emissions by 2050
- Strong investments in renewable energy technology and green jobs
- Reestablish US involvement and assume leadership on international climate treaties
Despite the economy and lack of serious attention paid to climate by the press, of the four remaining candidates, all but Mitt Romney have an environmental section as one of the policy issue sections of their websites.
Reduce Greenhouse Emissions
- All support mandatory cap on greenhouse emissions.
- All three have co-sponsored legislation that is currently in the Senate regarding those caps.
- McCain’s legislation only calls for 65% by 2050
- Clinton and Obama both support 80%
- All support CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standard increases.
- McCain doesn’t specify an amount.
- Obama and Clinton differ slightly
- Clinton wants 40 mpg by 2020 and 55 mpg by 2030
- Obama proposes 52 fleetwide mpg by 2026. Obama’s fleetwide is possibly an important distinction as current standards separate SUV’s into a truck category.
- Clinton and Obama support a 25% by 2025 renewable energy portfolio standards – essentially the percent of electricity generated from renewable energy.
- McCain opposed limits previously in the Senate.
Overall Energy Efficiency
- Clinton calls for 20% improvement by 2020.
- Obama calls for “energy intensity” improvement of 50%. Energy intensity refers to improvement per measure of output.
- McCain doesn’t propose specific cuts in this area.
- Clinton and McCain support new coal plants as long as they would conform with emissions caps and sequester carbon.
- Obama doesn’t want to impede construction of new power plants.