By Lauren Haag
From what I’ve been hearing, environmental issues will be important to the 2012 presidential campaigns. The usual topics of jobs, taxes, and the economy will now find environmental concerns, like global warming, among them, it seems. This is very unusual. Now a candidate’s stance on the Keystone pipeline could make or break their campaign. Our concern with our environment has increased being that natural resources are in danger, and evidence of global warming seems to be more plentiful. Energy bills are also at their highest rate.
A speaker on campus last Thursday, Carla Koppell, who works for the federal government on sustainability issues, also mentioned the importance of these topics to the presidential campaign for this upcoming year.
A lot of the argument over how environmental concerns are going to affect the presidential campaigns is based around employment. Certain EPA regulations that are coming into existence are believed to cut jobs out of the economy. Where presidential candidates stand on whether these regulations will continue or diminish jobs is important. However, it is believed that new employment opportunities can also be created by green initiatives. Although we can’t afford to increase the unemployment rate, we also can’t afford not to enforce regulations that will sustain our planet. I’m sure this isn’t an idea that is consistent among American voters, which may cause the presidential campaign to actually move toward a less sustainable avenue.
An article, “Insiders: Energy Issues Will Be Significant for GOP Candidates in 2012” by Olga Belogolova, in Natural Journal emphasizes these points. Belogolova states that if Republicans form a campaign compiling more job opportunities with energy policy, that they’d have a strong case. The Republican energy policy implies more drilling in areas like the Gulf of Mexico, the Arctic Ocean, the South Atlantic, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and Western states, as well as reducing EPA regulations. These are environmentally hazardous energy projects. The article goes on to introduce fossil fuel production as a way to increase the job market.
In the last month Obama has already stalled EPA tighter ozone smog standards, seems to be in favor of the Keystone pipeline creation from Canada to Texas, and still has to make decisions on toxic air pollution standards.
An article, “Might Global Warming Heat Up the 2012 Presidential Campaign?”, in the Yale Climate Change Forum by Keith Kloor argues that Obama is losing favor over his lack of initiative on confronting global warming. It should be interesting this year to see how these topics pan out as potentially important aspects of the presidential campaign. I would like to assume that environmental concerns would come before all else and may even be marshaled into creating, rather than destroying, employment opportunities. It will be interesting to see how these topics will be spun in both the Republican and Democratic campaign platforms.
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