Monday, April 23, 2007

This Earth Day in America

A Washington Post, ABC News and Stanford University poll reveals:

- a third of Americans now say that global warming is the world's single largest environmental problem, double the number of a year ago.

- seven in 10 Americans want more federal action on global warming, and half said that believe the government should do much more than it is now.

- fifty two percent said the issue is "extremely" or "very" important personally, double the percentage recorded a decade ago.

How is this playing out in the lead-up to the presidential elections?

Change can be measured in the way the presidential candidates are practically falling all over themselves to come up with new proposals. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) announced a new initiative on Friday to establish a national low-carbon fuel standard based on a California proposal. By 2020, Obama would require that all transportation fuels sold in the U.S. contain 10 percent less carbon.

In a new idea, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign announced it would go "carbon neutral" beginning today, meaning it would offset electricity generated with fossil fuel with purchases of "clean energy" electricity (such as wind).

Republican Sen. John McCain has long been one of the leaders in Congress in pushing for a ceiling on carbon-dioxide emissions and a trading system where clean-energy credits can be bought and sold. Other GOP candidates are jumping on that bandwagon, as Obama and Clinton already have, along with other Democrats.

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