The Candidates and the Platforms

by William Yeatman on August 22, 2000

The Kyoto Protocol and global warming are not, or at least not yet, shaping up as major issues in the presidential campaign. Republican nominee George W. Bush didnt mention them in his acceptance speech. Democratic nominee Albert A. Gore, Jr. said this: “On the issue of the environment, Ive never given up, Ive never backed down, and I never will. And I say it again tonight: we must reverse the silent, rising tide of global warming.”

The 2000 Republican Party Platform contains a long section on the environment, natural resources, property rights, federal lands, energy, agriculture, and transportation. Included is one paragraph on Kyoto: “As environmental issues become increasingly international, progress will increasingly depend on strong and credible presidential leadership. Complex and contentious issues like global warming call for a far more realistic approach than that of the Kyoto Conference. Its deliberations were not based on the best science; its proposed agreements would be ineffective and unfair inasmuch as they do not apply to the developing world; and the current administration is still trying to implement it, without authority of law. More research is needed to understand both the cause and the impact of global warming. That is why the Kyoto treaty was repudiated in a lopsided, bipartisan Senate vote. A Republican president will work with businesses and with other nations to reduce harmful emissions through new technologies without compromising America’s sovereignty or competitiveness – and without forcing Americans to walk to work.”

The 2000 Democratic Party platform gets a little more purple rhetorically: “And we must dramatically reduce climate-disrupting and health-threatening pollution in this country, while making sure that all nations of the world participate in this effort. Environmental standards should be raised throughout the world in order to preserve the Earth and to prevent a destructive race to the bottom wherein countries compete for production and jobs based on who can do the least to protect the environment. There will be no new bureaucracies, no new agencies, no new organizations. But there will be action and there will be progress. The Earth truly is in the balance – and we are the guardians of that harmony.

“Eight of the ten hottest years ever recorded have occurred during the past ten years. Scientists predict a daunting range of likely effects from global warming. Much of Florida and Louisiana submerged underwater. More record floods, droughts, heat waves, and wildfires. Diseases and pests spreading to new areas. Crop failures and famines. Melting glaciers, stronger storms, and rising seas. These are not Biblical plagues. They are the predicted result of human actions. They can be prevented only with a new set of human actions – big choices and new thinking.”

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