Good-b Green Blogger John Bain reports from Prague in the Czech Republic (academic sabbatical) on GOP Environmental Policies.
The 2012 election looks to be of the sort where Democrats vow to move to Canada if their man loses at the polls.
One of the top reasons the left is so afraid of a Republican win is that most of the candidates have environmental policies that are… well, let’s say irresponsible. All of them, it seems, want to continue and even ramp up our national addiction to oil, damn the consequences. And in the face of accelerating climate change, a mistake at the polls in 2012 could be disastrous.
If you look at the field, it really is dismal. Herman Cain and Rick Perry both want to drill in Alaska and destroy the EPA. Rick Santorum is the worst of all, but this man’s execrable voting record (sorry, but gay people and women are part of the electorate too!) leads me to believe he has no chance.
This is why I was so surprised when I read a few days ago that Republican not-quite-frontrunner Jon Huntsman has come out as a climate-change believer and furthermore, that we must “break oil’s monopoly”.
Now, I know Mitt Romney’s got a more tenable position than most. For example, he’s made some token nods towards green energy development. He’s pro-nuclear fuel. He would agree to a Kyoto Protocol-like international cap-and-trade scheme, but only if it included developing nations too.
But he can also be pretty wishy-washy on big issues: “I believe we are seeing global warming and I believe humans are contributing to it. I don’t know how much global warming is because of our activity, I just don’t know that answer.” Meanwhile, most scientists are in agreement it really is our fault.
Romney also wants to… wait for it… drill in Alaska! Then again, so does Huntsman. Does the phrase “unspoiled American wilderness” mean nothing to you guys?
However, it is refreshing that he is talking sense in a lot of other arenas. He has decried Republican “anti-climate extremism” and wonders why everyone’s so up in arms about objective science. Exactly! The leading policy director in his campaign is an “activist environmental lawyer” named Mark McIntosh who has already made waves for his work with groups such as Earthjustice.
Most Republicans are taking safer bets with their policy directors – Mitt Romney’s, for instance, is a four-time Harvard PhD who just happens to have been born on the Fourth of July. Then again, he’s also cribbing notes from a top fossil-fuel lobbyist and hobnobbing with the Koch brothers.
Let me reiterate we are talking about the Republican Party here, if that stuff up there about Earthjustice confused you. Huntsman’s hiring of McIntosh was a serious maverick move, and it appears to have made him less electable in the eyes of some Republicans.
To tell the truth, I can see how an articulate man with the rational demeanor (and beliefs) of a scientist is not exactly the darling of the GOP faithful right now. Many feel angry and dispossessed due to Obama’s controversial tenure, and a candidate such as this is not really an adequate conduit for such right-eous rage.
That’s a shame, because he seems like a pretty cool guy. While governor of Utah he declared July 30 “Dream Theater Day”. I’m saying this with as much objectivity and as straight a face as I can: how is that not awesome? Seems like Republicans have come a long way since (Nancy) Reagan’s America, where heavy metal was devil music and Marilyn Manson was important enough to legislate against.
And let’s reiterate here that out of every Republican in the field right now, he’s the only one really taking a stand on the climate issue. He’s publically come out as pro-science. I can imagine some scenarios where he’s the only one in the room who doesn’t believe the Earth was created 6,000 years ago.
So, if by some alchemy (or miracle – perhaps a softening of the GOP mainstream’s stance on climate change) Jon Huntsman ends up a front-runner in November 2012, progressives may want to hold off on the moving-to-Canada bit. Huntsman isn’t Obama – but then again, he’s not Rick Perry either. We just might have an ally in the strangest of places.
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Category: Sustainable Small-B