By Masood Rab, AMPEC
US Muslims and the Environment
The Muslim community issues that need to be presented to the political candidates for 2008 elections, after the issues of War in Iraq and Foreign Policy are – Economy, Healthcare, and Environment that cover the breadth and depth of the American spectrum of life. This article presents presidential candidate positions on â€œEnvironment.â€
When asked in the AMPEC survey, â€œGlobal warming is not really a serious threat to our ecosystemâ€, the response was: Strongly Agree: 4%: Agree: 8%; No Opinion: 11%; Disagree: 29%; Strongly Disagree: 46%; with 2% no input.
Seventy nine percent (75%) of the American Muslim community members surveyed consider the current global warming occurring is a serious threat to echo system, with 12% disagreeing, while 13% had no opinion. This indicates the high level of information and understanding of the Muslim community about the global issues the human race is facing in todayâ€™s world. The threat posed by the global industrialization and the crazy race of capitalism in producing more and more goods with the least concern to the natural environment and basic elements of our echo system – air, earth, and water, is reaching an epidemic. The industrialized nations of the west are beginning to look into solutions for the causes of pollution, except our country. The US has refused to become an active member of the industrialized countries concerned about environment with the current administration shrugging the whole issue as the result of natural occurring phenomena.
Until now, the environment has not been a major issue for the presidential candidates to contest in a heated manner, being overshadowed by the behemoth issues of the war in Iraq and a potentially looming recession, not to mention smaller tactical campaign issues that have dominated the airwaves since primaries and caucuses began in Iowa a few short weeks ago.
The candidate position analysis regarding the environment as conducted by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is provided below. Readers interested in complete details may check on line at www.lcv.org/voterguide/.
Among Republicans running for president, the LCV (League of Conservation Voters) guide says, â€œSen. McCain holds the distinction of being the only candidate to make global warming a part of his campaign agenda and to regularly address it on the campaign trail.â€
While nearly all of the GOP Candidates acknowledge that global warming is a problem, only Sen. McCain has proposed a comprehensive plan for addressing it. He supports reducing greenhouse gas emissions 65 percent by 2050. None of the other Republican candidates â€“ Rudi Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul â€“ have offered any plan to address global warming. Mike Huckabee, while also not putting forward a plan, has expressed support of a cap-and-trade system and would mandate a 35-mpg standard for vehicles.
On the Democratic side, all of the candidates competing for the presidential nomination have shown strong commitment to addressing global warming, though the details of their plans differ. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have co-sponsored the strongest global warming bills in Congress. Each of the candidates has proposed comprehensive plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050, which is what science tells us we must meet or exceed to avoid environmental catastrophe.
John Edwards was the first candidate to propose a global warming plan, describing the crisis as â€œone of the great moral imperatives of our time.â€
The lifetime LCV scores of the presidential candidates are: Hillary Clinton: 90%; John Edwards: 59%; Rudi Giuliani: Not Rated; Mike Huckabee: Not Rated; John McCain: 26%; Barack Obama: 96%; Ron Paul: 30%; Mitt Romney: Not Rated.
With Super Tuesday looming on February 5, 2008, it will behoove the Muslim community to pause and reflect on the progression of political events shaping the forthcoming national election. The race for Democratic Party nomination is down to two candidates and for Republican Party nomination is still too close to call. The past few weeks have also seen a resurgence of the pro-war candidate due to funding provided by pro war hawks, independent Senator Lieberman being one of them.
As a people of conscience, the Muslim community has always supported the candidates who are against war and opposed the candidates who are pro-war and gung-ho on law and order. The Muslim community does so with the understanding that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been the major causes for the deterioration of economy, healthcare, education, environment, etc., in America. Maintaining a strong principled stand requires that the Muslim community carefully deliberate the course of actions required to strengthen the Republican candidate that has stood his ground against the Iraq war from day one and fighting to end it by voting against all budget amendments. That candidate is Ron Paul.
The Muslim community can make an impact in a limited way by speaking out through their ballots on Super Tuesday. A support for an anti-war candidate will keep the pressure on the war hawks and maintain the â€œWar in Iraqâ€ as a live issue.