Obama vs. Clinton on the Environment

Grist.org has some great information on the various presidential candidates and their environmental platforms. Of course, one of the most compelling stories from the primary election is the competition between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

To give you some insight into both candidates' environmental record, I've summarized the bios from Grist.org on them below. Hillary first, by way of coin toss.

Senator Hillary Clinton -

  • Since becoming Senator of New York in 2001, Clinton has earned a 90% lifetime voting score from the League of Conservation Voters.
  • She proposed the Strategic Energy Fund that, would raise $50 billion over ten years by ending tax subsidies and credits to oil companies and investing the money in clean energy technologies.
  • She has made her presidential campaign carbon neutral.
  • Hillary proposes to: Raise fleet-wide fuel-economy standards to 40 mpg by 2020 and 55 mpg by 2030, Cut U.S. consumption of foreign oil by 2/3 by 2030, Get 25% of US electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and Reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 80% by 2050
  • Clinton supports coal power plants if they emit 20% less carbon over their life cycle compared to "conventional fuels." She has also supported federal loans for coal projects.
  • She is "agnostic" on the issue of nuclear power because she feels that nuclear power is a clean source of electricity that is also a potential target for terrorists.
  • She opposes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  • She has been a co-sponsor of Senator Boxer's global warming bill that enacted strict emission cutting standards. This was three months after the bill was introduced and after she co-sponsored a less strict bill by Senator McCain.
  • She is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
  • Voted Against Dick Cheney's industry loving Energy Policy Act.
  • She successfully lobbied the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to let International Paper burn tires at a mill in upstate New York in '05. The pollution from the burn was so bad that the operation was suspended.
Senator Barack Obama -
  • In 2003, State Senator Obama was one of six state senators to receive a 100% environmental voting record from the Illinois Environmental Council.
  • Among the other 6 Democrats running in the primary for the Illinois US Senate election, Obama was the only one endorsed by the Sierra Club and League for Conservation Voters. In 2004, the League named Obama their Environmental Champion
  • In Illinois, Obama worked to block the Bush Administration's rollback of the Clean Air Act's new-source review rules from being carried out in the state.
  • As a State Senator, Obama co-sponsored a measure that would require 10% of energy generated in the state to come from renewable sources by 2012.
  • Obama's environmental pitch is that it isn't a rich white issue anymore, that is transcends class and race. He pushed low-income communities in Chicago to block toxic dumping in their neighborhoods and volunteered with an organization that educates poor black communities about the importance of recycling.
  • As a US Senator, Obama voted against President Bush's "Clear Skies" bill.
  • He supports liquefied coal technology and ethanol use.
  • Wants 30% of the federal government's electricity to come from renewables by 2020, Calls for 25% of US electricity come from renewable sources by 2025, Pushes a cap-and-trade system that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions 80% by 2050.
  • Revenue from the cap-and-trade plan would fund a $50 billion economic package for developing clean energy technology, creating green jobs, and helping the poor cover the utility bills.
  • Supports many of the same fuel-economy and building energy efficiency standards that Senator Clinton supports.
  • Wants incandescent light bulbs phased out by 2014.
  • Cosponsored Senator Boxer's Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, the most stringent in the Senate.
  • Opposes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Supports some use of nuclear energy.
  • Promises to fix the changes Bush made to environmental laws.
  • Supports labels on food that are from foreign countries or were genetically modified.
  • Received $159,800 in campaign contributions from execs and employees of Exelon, a nuclear power-plant operator.
  • Supported Dick Cheney's Energy Policy Act, with all of its oil-friendly giveaways.


  1. Sounds like they are both pretty strong on the environment. Thanks for posting this...very informative.

  2. Sounds like they are both pretty two-faced on environment, thanks for posting.

  3. You forgot to mention that she voted against the following two bills:
    April-02 - Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE) Act: Enhance energy conservation and raise auto mileage standards.
    Jul-03 - Energy Omnibus Bill: Vote to enhance energy conservation and R&D and allow tax breaks for energy production and conservation

  4. that sucks that obama voted for cheney's energy policy bill, but you gotta figure he's an illiois senator he represents a huge number corn farmers-ethanol is big deal. i don't think he had a choice really.

  5. I think Obama is the way to go

  6. cap and trade for both? really???? c'mon.