CELEBS: Hill, Huck, Mitt, Barack, and the Johns

While Hollywood copes with the writers strike, the stars grabbing most media attention these days are running for President. "Shazam!" read the Boston Herald headline after Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama snagged the Iowa caucus. Both enjoying celebrity status, I expect Oprah's backing of Obama carries more clout than "Walker, Texas Ranger" Chuck Norris' affiliation with Huckabee. Though they waved the ethanol flag in corn-growing country, it won’t play the same on the Eastern Seaboard.

How do these candidates weigh in on the big green picture? Compared with most Republican's, Democrats have specific platforms on global warming, supporting a cap-and-trade plan for greenhouse gasses, increased fuel efficiency, and requirements for utilities to switch to renewable energy with varying percentage points and deadlines. And they propose environmental R&D investment plans.

Obama suggests $150 billion be spent over the next decade with his Clean Technologies Deployment Venture Capital Fund. In the Senate, he co-sponsored the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act and Obama-Lugar-Biden’s Fuel Ecomony Reform Act. His eco hero? Rachel Carson, according to a Grist website interview.

Clinton’s $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund includes royalties from drilling on public land, eliminating oil company subsidies. Her record includes Brownfield’s Revitalization Act, Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, and Roadless Area Conservation Act. Hill and Bill’s home switched to CFLs and reduced kilowatt consumption from 4300 to 1400 hours. Al Gore is her eco-hero.

Though both qualify their support of “clean” nuclear and coal, John Edwards aligns with Dennis Kucinich, opposing both energy sources.

 As for the green side of “red” candidates: Huckabee believes being a good steward of the earth is a religious duty and endorses cap-and-trade regulation. His eco hero? Teddy Roosevelt.

John McCain, the only Republican to claim climate change as a key issue, co-authored the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act. Though he speaks of alt-energy in terms of national security, he admits reducing emissions is essential to prevent "irreparable damage to the planet."

While Rudy Guiliani alludes to a Richardson-like "man on the moon" plan, Mitt Romney’s environmental stand focuses on reducing foreign oil dependency, referring to "Ahmadinejad, Putin, Chavez." He supports drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), opposes regulating fuel efficiency and cap-and-trade. Fred Thompson doesn't even rate on the green meter.

For a rundown and statements from candidates, see “The Heat Is On” site from the National League of Conservation Voters. And vote.


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