Environment Take Action: Environment

Al Gore may have been the poster (vice) prez for environmental activism, but no presidential candidate escapes at least a few questions on climate change, green energy, and what to do about diminishing natural resources. Environmental concerns are plentiful; here are a few that came up during President Barack Obama’s presidency and are sure to resurface during the next presidential term.

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Making environmental progress on an increasingly populated planet is no small task. The ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ trifecta barely puts a dent in the catastrophes we’re facing, both as a nation and as global citizens.

Deepwater Drilling
After the 2010 BP oil spill that’s still leaving its mark on wildlife and human health, deep water drilling is a touchy topic. Immediately after the spill, President Obama put the smack down, ceasing deep-water drilling for six months. But he’s since approved a drilling plan in the Arctic Ocean, which has soured environmentalists, and also agreed to fast-tracking a portion of the the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada. Meanwhile Republican candidate Mitt Romney wants to open the Atlantic and Pacific continental shelves to drilling. He also wants to crack open Western lands, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore Alaska. Politics and environmental outcomes are as inseparable as a pelican stuck in an oil pool.


Green Solutions
A big spender on green energy, Obama also brought a lot of attention to environmental issues when he increased fuel economy standards and established the first-ever regulations on gases that cause global warming by trapping heat. Republicans, on the other hand, have a track record of challenging the legitimacy of global warming, contesting that the scientific evidence is inconclusive.


Carbon Emissions
Obama failed to talk Congress into putting limits on carbon emissions and had to switch his focus to lung cancer-causing smog instead. As the planet continues to warm—threatening natural disaster, drought, and famine—the heat is on for a president who can bring about change.