It’s hard to believe, but after a long hard campaign the election is almost here finally, just a few days away. What will the results of the election mean for the green economy? Both Barack Obama and John McCain have said they support increased use of renewable energy and they have both proposed taking action to fight climate change. With such a flood of downbeat economic news though, some pundits have predicted that green initiatives will fall by the wayside, that even if climate change and renewable energy are worthy causes, we cannot afford them right now. And yet, both candidates maintain their outspoken support for renewable energy and action on climate change, and their continued commitment to taking action on these important issues. Can they be taken at their word?
Many competing pressures and influences will shape how well the next president can put his campaign pledges into action, but there is good reason to believe that they are not just paying lip service to these issues. The main reason is that they see the green economy is an opportunity to solve many of the problems we are facing. Both candidates see how decreasing our use of oil and coal and increasing our use of renewable energy can create millions of jobs, improve our security, and help the environment. They see this as an opportunity to make a difference in the future course of events on a global scale, and create a much brighter future. Rather than letting our current economic woes be the end of the green economy, the green economy can help turn around the rest of the economy. They see that it’s not just a matter of whether we can afford to take action, but whether we can afford not to.
Whoever wins, I think we will see a strong move by the government to support green initiatives. That is not to say the candidates are identical in their positions though. There are important differences between the candidates on energy and climate issues. Here is another analysis. Barack Obama favors a federal renewable energy standard of 25% by 2025, while John McCain wants to encourage the growth of renewable energy using other mechanisms. Both candidates support a cap and trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with John McCain targeting a 65% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and Barack Obama targeting an 80% reduction.
I already voted myself, although I’m not saying who for. You can guess if you want, but the important thing is to see for yourself who the stronger candidate is on these issues and then go cast your own green vote for a strong economy and a healthy world.