Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Journal #8: Democratic Candidates on Environmental Issues

I don't really pay that much attention to the election, which is definitely a bad thing. So other than gagging at the video of Hildog (Hillary) crying, and listening to Obama's way too long speeches that I don't have the attention span for, I decided to check out some of their recent environmental stances.

A friend had originally told me that both candidates had avoided the topic of global warming and the environment, and that Hillary had only discussed the issue when confronted with an inquiry in public. I searched google news for Obama and Clinton environmental articles, but you have to search for global warming in order to find anything related. I found an article from the Baltimore Sun on Obama's recent speech at the University of Maryland. Maryland is a state that is dramatically feeling the effects of sea levels rising as islands and lands are slowly disappearing.

Obama is focusing on reducing emissions from greenhouse gases, and a staple point of this is putting caps on industry emissions and requiring all vehicles to have a MPG of at least 40. This, he proclaims, will cut our dependency on foreign oil drastically.

How feasible is this? By just looking at GMC's website, one of their largest SUVs, the Yukon, has recently been made into a hybrid. What are the changes? A maximum MPG of 17 is now 22 (on highways). With Americans and American car companies continuing to produce large vehicles, this seems to be a hard task.

Hildog lays out a plan that is much the same, focusing on emissions, green low-income housing, 50$ billion in research money, and increasing vehicle efficiency to 55(!) MPG by 2030. First of all, the 55 MPG seems drastic, and pretty far fetched as it could be 15 years after Hillary could be out of office. The research fund seems like a feasible plan, although I am not one to boast about my knowledge on government funding allocations. Probably the most appealing thing, and least likely to happen, on her list to me is the low-income green housing which she hopes to create jobs and spread environmental awareness with.

Still, I would be happy to see maybe 20% of the promises being made on the candidates list to actually happen. It is safe to say that my expectations are low, but I will choose the best of the worst.

1 comment:

Deanna said...

actually, depending on how the legislation is written, the 55 by 2030 is neither that ridiculous a number (current is 35 by 2017) and would stick unless a new congress voted it down. CAFE standards (which is what this would be) were first instituted in the 1970s during that decade's energy crisis and remain with us today.

a bigger question is, what is the question? are we trying to curb global warming/climate change/CO2 emission or are we trying to reduce dependency on foreign oil? if the former, then dealing with point sources (i.e, coal-burning power plants) is a better and easier option. if the latter, then we need to get people to use less fuel for driving. THAT could be done by increasing fuel economy (drive same distance, use less fuel) OR by making gas more expensive through a gas tax (drive less, use less - AND then the market choice of vehicle purchases drives (no pun intended) the fuel economy up.

does that make sense?