The League of Conservation Voters, an advocacy organization that reviews politicians' environmental records and that has endorsed Obama, gives Obama an 86% lifetime score on his legislative record and a 67% score in 2007, saying he made 10 pro-environment votes, one anti-environment vote, and was absent for four environmental votes last year. The organization gives McCain a 24% lifetime score and a 0 score in 2007, saying he was absent for all environmental bill votes.
Below is a list of green initiatives proposed by each candidate, in his own words. McCain's and Obama's campaigns did not respond to requests from EcoHome for details on how the initiatives would be implemented or paid for. All quotes are taken from the candidates' Web sites.
* Weatherize 1 million homes annually. "Obama will make a national commitment to weatherize at least one million low-income homes each year for the next decade, which can reduce energy usage across the economy and help moderate energy prices for all."
* Set building efficiency goals. "Obama will establish a goal of making all new buildings carbon neutral, or produce zero emissions, by 2030. He'll also establish a national goal of improving new building efficiency by 50 percent and existing building efficiency by 25 percent over the next decade to help us meet the 2030 goal."
* Establish a grant program for early adopters. "Obama will create a competitive grant program to award those states and localities that take the first steps in implementing new building codes that prioritize energy efficiency, and provide a federal match for those states with leading-edge public benefits funds that support energy efficiency retrofits of existing buildings."
* Expand federal efficiency grants. "Obama will also expand federal grant programs to help states and localities build more efficient public buildings, including libraries, schools, and police stations that adopt aggressive green building provisions like those provided by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program of the U.S. Green Buildings Council."
* Green the federal government. "The federal government is the largest electricity consumer on earth and occupies 3.3 billion square feet of space worldwide. It provides an enormous opportunity to lead by example. By applying a higher efficiency standard to new buildings leased or purchased or retrofitting existing buildings, we can save taxpayers substantial money in energy costs, and move the construction market in the direction of green technology."
UTILITIES AND ELECTRIC GRID
* Flip incentives to energy utilities. "An Obama administration will 'flip' incentives to utility companies by requiring states to conduct proceedings to implement incentive changes and offering them targeted technical assistance. These measures will benefit utilities for improving energy efficiency, rather than just from supporting higher energy consumption. This 'regulatory equity' starts with the decoupling of profits from increased energy usage, which will incentivize utilities to partner with consumers and the federal and state governments to reduce monthly energy bills for families and businesses."
* Improve grid and deploy smart meters. "John McCain will work to reduce red tape to allow a serious investment to upgrade our national grid to meet the demands of the 21st century--which will include a capacity to charge the electric cars that will one day fill the roads and highways of America. And to save both money and electrical power for our people and businesses, we will also need to deploy SmartMeter technologies. These new meters give customers a more precise picture of their overall energy consumption, and over time will encourage a more cost-efficient use of power."
* Overhaul federal efficiency standards. "The current Department of Energy has missed 34 deadlines for setting updated appliance efficiency standards, which has cost American consumers millions of dollars in unrealized energy savings. Obama will overhaul this process for appliances and provide more resources to his Department of Energy so it implements regular updates for efficiency standards. He will also work with Congress to ensure that it continues to play a key role in improving our national efficiency codes."
* Phase out incandescents. "Barack Obama supports the effort led by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) to update federal lighting efficiency standards to ensure that new lighting technologies are phased into the marketplace. As president, Obama will implement legislation that phases out traditional incandescent light bulbs by 2014."
* Not addressed on McCain's Web site.