Presidential front-runners and Senators John McCain and Barack Obama are lacking environmental leadership by failing to pay for offsets to cover their campaign carbon emissions. An article in the Washington Times titled, Green Crusades Lot of Talk, by Stephen Dinan, notes John McCain and Barack Obama aren’t leading by example. “Though both campaigns say they practice energy conservation, Mr. Obama offsets only some of his airplane flight emissions, while Mr. McCain doesn’t cover even that,” says Dinan.
It looks as if carbon offsets for the campaigns are more of a public relations ploy, rather than a serious commitment to running green campaigns. In his article Dinan declares:
Even some campaigns that started with the best of intentions fell short in execution, stopping payments when their cash flow tightened.
John Edwards, one of the earliest candidates to commit to offsets, paid $21,997 last year to Native Energy, a Vermont-based company, according to Federal Election Commission reports. His most recent payment was made July 11, six months before his campaign ended.
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, another candidate who made an offsets pledge, recorded his last payment to Carbon Fund in September, more than two months before he dropped out of the race.
“I’m sure that a number of the candidates saw offsets as a good way to show leadership by example, but when confronted with the cold reality of a cash crunch, offsets are one of the first things to go,” said Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch.
He said offsets are probably well-intentioned, but are not an overall solution to climate change nor the best way to gauge a campaign’s commitment to addressing global warming.
According to Dinan, Senator Hillary Clinton spent $20,327 last year alone in carbon credits, making payments to Native Energy. Also, read the article to hear the explanations from the McCain and Obama campaigns.