Friday, November 30, 2007
When considering a Presidential candidate (this is really my first time partaking in such a patriotic pastime) I think it is important to take a look at the balance of issues. John McCain says that he is “Ready to Lead” the country into an environmentally sound future, just what does that mean in terms of a Presidential candidate, especially one aligned with the conservative side of the coin?
By his own admission, McCain leans heavily left on many environmental issues; specifically the truth of climate change and the need to take action to combat future problems. In this way he differs from the conservative ignorance displayed by his party-mates towards the most important long-term issue of our time. One would be inclined to hail McCain as the evolved, modern Republican, an idea that he embodies in some senses, but his environmental policy does leave some doubts, specifically in the interplay between activism and foreign policy.
“I believe climate change is real…I agree…we may reach a tipping point where we cannot save our climate,” these are both quotes that show both an evolution in the policies of the Republican party and a unique quality about John McCain himself. In his willingness to accept the scientific evidence for modern global warming, McCain has proven his awareness and maturity in the modern world. Yet he still shows a darker political lining by stating that the US was right to reject the Kyoto Protocol, based on the fact that China and India have not ratified the contract. This is a simply illogical comparison. India and China are the two most populous countries on the Earth and are still very definitely in developmental stages, strikingly unlike the modern, industrialized US. Indeed these countries should be kept in check, but to refuse to sign the treaty on this basis alone is simply asinine.
McCain’s final issue presented details his policy regarding the reduction of reliance on foreign oil in the nation. He aims to simultaneously convert to less carbon-dependent fuel sources while extracting oil from our own land and the land of those allied with the country. Presumably this would require drilling in Alaska and in similarly protected regions, certainly not a positive point for a self-proclaimed environmentalist.
Quantitatively, I’ll give the man a B, but until he clarifies a few logistical issues he seems to fall just short of a true environmentalist.
Photo Credit: Official Portrait from the United Sates Senate
-Lloyd Ellman, Cornell University Student