Presidential-hopeful John Edwards announced his intentions today to have a completely carbon-neutral campaign. It seems everyone and their dog (oh wait, pets can be carbon-neutral now too!) is jumping on the offsets bandwagon; but Edwards is the first of the current contenders to push it forward. From his statement,
“To achieve carbon neutrality, we’re taking two big steps. First, we’re implementing a number of simple but effective techniques to conserve energy in our national and field offices. And I’ve asked my staff to take concrete steps to reduce their own energy consumption. Conserving energy now is the single biggest thing we all can do as individuals to combat global warming.
But presidential campaigns by their nature use an enormous amount of energy for travel and operations. Which is why today I have also directed the campaign to purchase carbon offsets that support alternative energy production to neutralize the global warming impact from our travel and office energy use.”
Ok, so this is definitely a positive step. While most people would argue that carbon offsets don’t really count until the person purchasing them is dead, I have no issues with the ‘feel good’ trade-off that comes from investing in green energy and technology. If we’re not going to get massive financial commitments from the federal government, then the private sector has got to step in and do the best they can. Edwards points out that while he may be the first (though he admits that technically Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack beat him to the punch before withdrawing early.) he hopes that other campaigns will follow a similar tune. Can you imagine a Republican candidate offsetting their campaign? Ladies and Gents, the stars are aligning to make the environment one of the cornerstones of the 2008 campaign. No wonder the oil and coal industries are shaking at the idea.
The only problem with Edwards (his environmental record is “pretty good”) is the giant albatross around his neck that is his 29,000 square-foot home. Much like Gore ran into trouble a few weeks back for his mansion and energy consumption, Edwards to likely to receive flak from the right over his request for people to consume less. He might be wise to quickly consider his own personal footprint as well.
Kudos to Edwards for kicking off the “Who’s Greener?” or at the podium “Who Cares More?” portion of the campaign. Obama? Clinton? The ball is in your court.