Agreement beneath the squabble

During the well-publicized squabblings between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the focus is mostly on health care and the economy. Meanwhile, the environment, which many say is in a now-or-never crisis mode, gets barely a mention. That’s largely because Clinton and Obama are mostly in agreement about environmental issues.

They both oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and storage of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. They both favor substantial reductions of greenhouse gas emissions over the next 50 years, which includes installing a cap-and-trade program; heavy investment and research in renewable technologies, including clean coal and biofuels; raising fuel efficiency standards (Obama calls for 40 mpg; Clinton says 55 mpg) and cutting oil consumption. They both oppose old-fashioned, dirty coal plants and favor a transition to renewable energy. And they both believe investing in green career training and technology will help the economy.

The League of Conservation Voters released its annual Environmental Scorecard this month (see It shows that in 2007—the first part of the 110th session—Obama voted pro-environment 67 percent of the time, while Clinton did 73 percent of the time. Between 2005-2006, Obama voted 96 percent for the environment. Clinton’s average over the past three years in the senate was 83 percent. Republican Sen. John McCain, however, didn’t once vote in favor of the environment during the 110th session. His average environmental voting record of the past eight years is 46 percent.