Nature Notes: Who's the greener candidate?

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

While researching the two, I became curious how my cadre of outdoor adventurers might view these two. Both seem to agree on basics -- like renewable energy technology -- but who is the greener candidate?

Green issues have always seemed quite strange to me, at least when discussed on the national political stage. One one hand, they are nearly universally appealing to voters but rarely brought to the forefront of campaigns. I guess the thinking is that voters want candidates to diagram comprehensive environmental policies -- just not when the economy is bad and there's a war on. Those always push green issues to the back burner.

Here is a look at what Obama and Clinton support when it comes to going green.

A few key points:

- She says, "Investments in alternative energy can create new jobs for the 21st century." Elsewhere, she has expressed interest in "a cap and trade system for carbon emissions, stronger energy and auto efficiency standards and a significant increase in green research funding."

- Another cornerstone of her platform is the Strategic Energy Fund, a $50 billion research and development fund that looks to examine renewable energy and alternative fuels.

- She also would "spur the green building industry by funding the retrofitting and modernization of 20 million low-income homes and take concrete steps to reduce electricity consumption."

In the Senate, her voting record is somewhat mixed, and you can view full records here.

A few key points:

- Obama wants to create "a federal Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that will require 25 percent of American electricity be derived from renewable sources by 2025, which has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs on its own."

- The Illinois senator also wants to help the transition from manufacturing sectors into green-building ones. His site promises to ensure that "American workers have the skills and tools they need to pioneer the first wave of green technologies that will be in high demand throughout the world."

- Obama also has a cap-and-trade system that he hopes will "reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary: 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050." He plans to accomplish that in part by "invest[ing] $150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure."

His voting record is also mixed, and full records can be viewed here.

Some thoughts: Using green issues to promote larger economic stimulus packages isn't a bad thing, and it's a really good way to promote these topics to people who don't care about them otherwise. Still, I don't want green technology to again be sent packing because the economy isn't going the way a candidate's analysts predicted. When you hitch the green wagon to job creation -- rather than promote it on its own -- that can happen.

(Photos from the Dispatch archives)