The contributing writers at The Environmentalist, where I am the managing editor, just completed a conference call to discuss which candidate we felt would be most effective on the environment.
The consensus: Senator Barack Obama.
That is not to say there would be any lack of support for Senator Hillary Clinton, should she win the nomination. The consensus is that we'd be fortunate with either Democratic front-runner in the White House and that we would all work diligently for a Democratic outcome once the nomination is settled.
Our reason for choosing Senator Obama:
1. The endorsements by Janet Nepolitano (D-Gov., Arizona) and Kathleen Sebilious (D-Gov., Kansas), Paul Volcker (who, like Oprah Winfrey, had previously stayed away from the endorsement arena), Susan Eisenhower, the 'Obamacans" and the Republicans who 'believed in the good cowboy' until he led them into the wrong war and who are now phone banking for Obama in California. There are Democrats, Independents and Republicans who will be needed for a strong Democratic vs. Republican turnout in order to insure Democratic electoral results at the state and national level. Senator Obama's appeal to Independents and disaffected Republicans seems more likely to provide that outcome. This consideration is important to the environment, as a strong state and national legislative majority will be an imperative to undo the damage done.
2. The potential for international cooperation: The environment is by its nature global. Those most at effect of its lack of stability live in some of the world's most volatile regions. The lack of resources leads to poverty, leads to recruitment for those who would take advantage of the disadvantaged, leads to more foot-soldiers in a growing asynchronous war that could grow to be as much about those diminishing resources as about ideologies. Senator Obama has exhibited the ability to bring partisans together into a process they have otherwise never before participated. This ability to inspire others to work together toward the greater good -- as opposed to working against those they are told to hate -- is also an imperative.
3. Senator Obama's offer to the auto industry to help, as president, them retool their plants to use less oil, points to a candidate who is not paying lip service to the environment before some audiences while speaking differently to others. Consistency and the willingness to fight the good fight is a moral imperative. It is also, in fairness, something all Democratic candidates would likely provide, so, here, we would be happy with whichever Democratic candidate wins.
In terms of policies, we were encouraged by the growing detail on Senator Obama's website and look forward to more specifics from all the candidates as the campaign progresses.
Here are links to some of Senator Obama's environmental proposals we reviewed:
* Reduce Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2050
* Invest in a Clean Energy Future
* Support Next Generation Biofuels
* Set America on Path to Oil Independence
* Improve Energy Efficiency 50 Percent by 2030
* Restore U.S. Leadership on Climate Change
We did discuss national security (the environment is a national security issue) and reviewed what others have written about their difficulty deciding between the two Democratic candidates. In particular, we talked about Sherman Yellen's excellent post (all his posts are excellent) addressing his concern about Senator Clinton's initial vote on the Iraq war. However, for my colleagues at The Environmentalist (writers and scientists), the issue has become more about the future than the past. How to stem the tide of devastation we see coming? How to get the hard message out to the world that the delicate climate is far more out of balance than is being advertised? How to inspire the world to work together to make sure the most disadvantaged by the climate crisis, either through location, demographic, neglect and/or oversight, don't turn to the many enemies the West has accumulated in the past seven years in despair and rage.
I don't envy the next president. As Senator Clinton correctly stated, (paraphrasing here); what will await the next leader of the free world will be a stack of problems unlike the world has yet seen. Therefore, we feel it is imperative the next leader be able to lead through consensus, because, if there was ever a time when we all had to work together to survive, this is it.
The contributors at The Environmentalist support Senator Obama for the Democratic nomination. We will also support whichever Democratic candidate becomes the nominee, as the priority is that a Democrat become the next president and that the legislature retain and, hopefully, grow their Democratic majorities at both the state and the national level.