The environment has become a hot topic on the US presidential primaries trail, with candidates on both sides of the political fence revealing their green intentions.
According to a voters guide published by pressure group the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), Democrat contenders, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and Republican frontrunner John McCain all support an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 and a mandatory cap on carbon emissions.
However McCain’s Republican rivals appear less committed to environmental issues with only three supporting a mandatory emissions cap. Former preacher Mike Huckabee supports such a cap, but ex-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney says he will only back a cap if the move is enacted globally.
McCain is currently the only Republican calling for emissions reductions by a certain date, who - along with Clinton and Obama - co-sponsored the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act of 2007, which proposed cuts in US carbon emissions of 65% by 2050.
All of the Republican contestants support the unrestricted use of conventional coal, whereas the Democrat candidates, in varying degrees, are backing the LCV’s view which recommends a suspension on any new coal plants unless they capture and store carbon emissions.
With regard to clean energy, both Clinton and Obama want 25% of US energy to come from renewables by 2025. Mr Cain's approach to the matter though is yet to be clearly articulated, although the LCV says that he has previously opposed votes on mandating renewable energy.
"What's scaring the American people is inaction on these issues,” says LCV communications director David Sandretti. “It's not just Democrats. It’s independents in particular - those people in the middle, who will decide the election, and who have signalled over and over their willingness to take action on this."
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published: 11:38 - 14 January 2008