Obama vs. Romney: A Stark Contrast on the Environment

From Yale360, a good, solid academic source of climate change information…

Obama vs. Romney: A StarkContrast on the Environment
As the U.S. presidential campaign enters its final phase, Yale Environment 360 compares the sharply divergent views of President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on the environment and energy.
Barack Obama
  • Supports continued international efforts to forge an agreement among major world economies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, despite failure to do so in past four years.
  • Supported carbon cap-and-trade legislation, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009 but died in U.S. Senate.
  • Enacted regulations to double the fuel efficiency of U.S. vehicles by 2025.
  • Empowered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to draft stricter carbon dioxide emissions standards on fossil fuel-burning power plants.
  • In response to Romney and other Republicans belittling efforts to combat climate change, Obama said at Democratic convention, “My [energy] plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet — because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They are a threat to our children’s future.”

Mitt Romney

  • Wary of international climate negotiations, noting that emissions growth is coming from developing nations and warning that the U.S. must avoid “unilateral” CO2 reductions that would place its economy at a global disadvantage.
  • Opposes, in the words of the Republican Party platform, “any and all cap-and-trade legislation.” Said earlier, “The idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”
  • Opposes Obama’s new fuel efficiency standards as extreme.
  • Opposes EPA regulating carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Has expressed shifting positions on the threat posed by climate change. In 2009 book, No Apology, he wrote, “I believe that climate change is occurring — the reduction in size of the global ice caps is hard to ignore. I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor. I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to man…”
  • Has contradicted those earlier statements during the current campaign. “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” he said last year at Pittsburgh fundraiser.
  • As Massachusetts governor from 2003 to 2007, initiallysupported a regional carbon cap-and-trade program, saying that a “flexible market-based regional cap-and-trade system could serve as an effective approach” to reducing carbon emissions. He eventually refused to join the initiative because it did not contain price controls to limit energy costs.
  • Has made light of Obama administration efforts to regulate CO2, saying, “Now I know there is also a movement to say that carbon dioxide should be… managed by the Environmental Protection Agency. I disagree with that. I exhale carbon dioxide. I don’t want those guys following me around with a meter to see if I’m breathing too hard.”
  • See the whole article



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