Gov. Bill Richardson
Richardson would push for an aggressive suite of energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 90%.
How He'd Pay for It:
Auction carbon credits allotted through cap-and-trade pollution regulation, and cut oil company subsidies.
What Sets Him Apart:
Aggressive goals like a 90% greenhouse gas reduction (versus the 80% supported by most Democrats), a 50% oil demand reduction and the development of a 100 mpg car. He was the first candidate to start talking about the need for an Apollo-scale clean energy program.
By Dan Shapley
"Everyone every American must make an effort to make us energy independent and combat global warming. Our national security and our planet depend on it. It's about creating a new energy economy here in the United States, and doing it quickly, with broad, bold strokes. It's the way to a bright, strong, prosperous future for the United States and for the world."
Bill Richardson, 2007
Bill Richardson wants to be "the energy president," and he has a detailed, aggressive and comprehensive set of proposals to prove he's not kidding. He has also been a leader at the state level, as governor of New Mexico, and working in concert with Western states and Canadian provinces on economy-wide caps on carbon dioxide emissions. On most points its goals equal or exceeds all competitors.
Between 1991 and 1996, his scores on the LCV Scorecard was 82. The Scorecard rates national office holders on a scale of 0 to 100 based on their votes on environmental issues on which LCV has taken a position. He scored between 63 and 96 during his years in the Congress.
The 2008 Richardson campaign has taken $123,485 from the oil and gas industry, ranking him 5th of 15 candidates and 2nd of seven Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Bill Richardson's Energy and Environmental Platform at a Glance
Bill Richardson talks about energy as the nexus of environmental, national security and economic issues. It's his central issue and his energy policies are woven into his domestic and foreign agendas. These points are derived from Bill Richardson's speeches, public comments and the energy and environmental policies outlined on his campaign Website.
- Cut carbon dioxide emissions 90% below 2006 levels by 2050. Employ a cap-and-trade system whereby companies would have to restrict pollution to within a national cap, and those that pollute less could sell credits to those who pollute more. Auction all credits.
- Push for an international agreement with mandatory emissions limits keeping atmospheric CO2 below 450 ppm the point scientists predict would limit temperature increase to 2 degrees (C).
- Support an international agreement with "collaborative financing" of projects, with the European Union and the World Bank, in developing nations.
- Invest in research and set policies to encourage carbon sequestration within five years.
- Fund energy program through auction of carbon credits and by cutting subsidies.
- Set a renewable energy portfolio, requiring local utilities to derive 30% of energy from renewable sources like wind, solar and water power by 2020 and 50% by 2040.
- Requiring utilities to increase energy efficiency by 20% by 2020.
- Discourage the use of coal by requiring all new power plants to produce no more carbon than a modern natural gas-fired plant by 2010, and 90% of that level by 2020.
- Adopt new green building requirements and incentives.
- Create the North American Energy Council with Mexico and Canada to ensure that the 20% of oil imported from these countries flows uninterrupted, and work with Persian Gulf nations and the U.N. to create a "multilateral system for protecting the Persian Gulf," with the goal of removing troops within 10 years.
- Explore liquid coal fuel only if technology is developed to sequester carbon emissions.
- Create new building codes, based on regional standards, and make state energy grants contingent on acceptable green building revisions to state-level building codes.
- Support nuclear power only with new safeguards and plans for storing waste, and deny all subsidies.
- Oppose energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and oppose off-shore drilling.
- Set goal of reducing oil demand up to 50% by 2020.
- Set goal of getting a 100 mph car on the market.
- Offer rebates to car buyers for plug-in technology with the goal of making 50% of new car sales plug-in electrics by 2020.
- Boost fuel economy to 50 mpg for non-electric cars and trucks by 2020, and increase incentives to automakers to help them achieve that benchmark.
- Require a 30% reduction in fuel carbon emissions by 2020, and require, as the European Union will, that 10% of liquid fuels come from low-carbon sources.
- Convene a summit on low- and no-petroleum vehicles within 30 days of taking office.
- Support development of ethanol from various sources and biofuels, and create incentives to make one pump at each gas station support alternative fuels like E85, which is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.
- Increase federal purchases of fuel-efficient vehicles.
- Invest in science and technology.
- Reform employer tax credits to "level playing field" for mass transit, which currently gets half the credit as a parking space.
- Reverse many Bush Administration executive orders and regulations related to the environment, including clean air and clean water act programs and toxic release reporting."
- Encourage recycling by making certain federal funding contingent on achieving set recycling rates locally.
- Create a new cabinet-level Secretary of Water.
- Renew industry tax that had paid for toxic waste site cleanups when the polluter can not be identified or cannot afford the cleanup.
- Increase funding for National Parks and Wildlife Refuges
- Increase funding and programs to promote "environmental justice," which refers to alleviating the disproportionate effect environmental pollutants often have on low-income and minority communities.
- Tighten oversight of pesticides and chemicals by increasing staff and funding.