Debate Shifts on Global Warming

No candidate should ignore climate change

Addressing the Environmental Issue

As the 2008 presidential election approaches, the issue of global warming and climate change shift towards solutions versus fighting over the existence of a problem. Our focus now is on how the candidates will present the issue and the action they plan to take. Though most will agree on the need to act in response to global warming, the path to raise awareness for global warming and environmental preservation has not been so unified. Like most issues, politics and partisan views affect the publics’ stance on what is important in this country. The selection of issues and the way they are presented directly affect our opinions. Many people base their views on those of the political party they support or what gets the most press. Appealing to public emotion, rhetoric and media presentation is used in the best interest of the informant.

Instead of a human or moral issue, the environment has been regarded as a political issue and of left-wing interest. Science battles ensued and information was selectively presented and distributed amongst the American public regarding a clear stance on global warming. There has been much criticism surrounding former Vice President and presidential candidate Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth, attacking his presentation, the science, and the man himself. Through the promotion of the film and critiques of, we see how presentation and the power of language appeals to our emotions and can impact our opinions.

An Inconvenient Truth

In this eye-opening film of Al Gore and his traveling global warming show, Gore also proves himself to be one of the most misunderstood characters in modern American public life. Here he is seen as never before in the media - funny, engaging, open and downright on fire about getting the surprisingly stirring truth about what he calls our "planetary emergency" out to ordinary citizens before it's too late.

With 2005, the worst storm season ever experienced in America just behind us, it seems we may be reaching a tipping point - and Gore pulls no punches in explaining the situation. Interspersed with the bracing facts and future predictions is the story of Gore's personal journey: from a college student who first saw a massive environmental crisis; to a young Senator facing a traumatic family disaster that altered his perspective, to the man who almost became President but instead returned to the most important cause of his life, convinced that there is still time to make a difference.

With wit, smarts and hope, An Inconvenient Truth ultimately brings home Gore's persuasive argument that we can no longer afford to view global warming as a political issue - rather, it is the biggest moral challenge facing our global civilization.



Click here to listen to Glenn_Beck criticizing the film An Inconvenient Truth.[1]

2008 Presidential Candidates

Where do the Candidates stand on Global warming?

Global warming is emerging as a top issue in the 2008 presidential primaries. In the complete absence of national leadership, the American public is eager to ensure that the next president is committed to meeting this challenge. If America is going to lead the world in developing a new energy economy and in averting the catastrophic impacts of global warming, our next president must make the issue a top priority.

Warming Up to the Environmental Issues of 2008

The top three candidates from each party (Democrat and Republican) are listed below, along with their respective views regarding the issue of the environment and namely, global warming. Across the board, a majority of the top candidates from both parties advocate research of new energies as well as curbing the current emissions of greenhouse gases. There seems to be a trend among Democrats to work more for the development and implementation of these breakthrough energies while the Republicans call Americans to fulfill their duties of acting against global warming this very minute.

Barack Obama (Democratic)

With each passing year, the consequences of federal inaction on reducing greenhouse gas emissions become more devastating for our children and grandchildren, and the range of solutions grows smaller. [5]

  • Member of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee that ensures a balance between environmental policy and need for sustainable, healthy economic policy
  • Great Lakes Environmental Restoration Act protects lakes from intruding species that disrupt the ecosystem and drinking quality of the water
  • Global warming requires immediate action
  • "We know without a doubt that global warming is threatening is…and we must act now with the rest of the world to curb emissions so that we can leave our children a safer, healthier planet." [2]
  • Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act rewards cost-effective approaches through a system of tradeable allowances
  • Revenues generated from the program will fund research and development of new, more effective energy technologies
  • "Never has the failure to take on a single challenge so detrimentally affected nearly every aspect of our well-being as a nation." [3]

Hillary Clinton (Democratic)

Global Warming is an issue whose time has come. If we look at where we are … we are not making progress…I'm hoping that we can get beyond the usual rhetoric and try to find some common ground. [5]

  • "Strategic energy fund" - raise $50 billion from oil-company profits to fund the research for, development of, and deployment of alternative energy sources
  • These alternatives will reduce America's oil dependence on foreign nations
  • Advocates reducing greenhouse gas emissions. [4]
  • Balanced with a policy that increases energy independence, creates jobs, and provides cleaner, more reliable energy. [6]
  • "We need to start on a path to slow, stop and reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions that will require moving to new energy technology solutions. This is a daunting task…the longer we wait, the harder the transformation required by this challenge will become." [5]
  • Supporting using energy more efficiently in cars, home, and offices. [6]

John Edwards (Democratic)

Global warming is a problem that is here, now, and not going away. The United States must lead — lead smart, lead courageously, and lead by example. It is time to ask the American people to be patriotic about something other than war. [5]

  • "Leading the fight against global warming" - one of his top 5 priorities
  • Global warming not an issue for the future - it demands our attention today
  • Willing to commit #1 billion a year toward research [7]
  • Will invest in clean, renewable energies like wind, solar, and biofuels to create efficient technology for industries [2]
  • Calls for caps on greenhouse emissions
  • Wanting to place a ban on new coal-fired power plants in the country unless they can recapture the greenhouse gases they create
  • Employs a "very serious effort to deal with climate change." [7]

Rudolph Giuliani (Republican)

[Debate on the existence of global warming] is almost unnecessary … because we should be dealing with pollution anyway. [5]

  • "Believes there's global warming, yes"
  • Questions how much of it is because of natural climate changes and how much is happening because of human intervention
  • Criticizes Al Gore sharply for his documentary, which he says "serves to frighten people, but it doesn't really recommend solutions, like nuclear power". [7]
  • Calls debate over climate change "almost unnecessary…because we should be dealing with pollution anyway."
  • Listed issues on his website do not contain a mention of global warming or concern for the environment
  • Supports developing alternative technologies like nuclear power. [4]

John McCain (Republican)

There is no doubt; failure to act is the far greater risk. [5]

  • "Americans are vested with a sacred duty to be proper stewards of the resources upon which the quality of life depends. Ensuring clean air, safe and healthy water, sustainable land use, ample greenspace…is a patriotic responsibility." [8]
  • Supports preservation of national parks
  • Strong supporter of nuclear and solar energies and the researching of ethanol. [2]
  • Knows global warming is not a myth — "the question is not whether it's happening, the question is how severe and how devastating."
  • "If the scientists are right…we could face environmental, economic, and national security consequences. If they are wrong and the earth finds a way to compensate, what will we have accomplished? Cleaner air, greater energy efficiency, a more diverse ad secure energy mix." [5]

Mitt Romney (Republican)

We have an answer. We can use alternative sources of energy — biodiesel, ethanol, nuclear power — and we can drill for more oil here. We can be more energy independent and we can be far more efficient in the use of that energy. [9]

  • Proposes decreasing dependence on foreign oil through the researching of alternative energy sources like ethanol, bio-diesel, and nuclear power. [2]
  • Says a new climate plan (one that regulates greenhouse gas emissions) is a "no-regrets" type of policy
  • "Even if greenhouse gases turn out not to be driving climate change, the state will have improved air quality, stimulated the economy, and saved money." [9]
  • In favor of drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to find more domestic sources of oil
  • Opposes the Cape Wind plant proposed for Nantucket Sound, because it is "a pristine, national treasure and tourist destination" [10]
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