presidential candidate Barack Obama said Sunday in
Iowa that his religious beliefs influence his plans for
how to protect the environment.
religious leaders and others at what he called an
''interfaith forum on climate change'' in Des
Moines, the Illinois senator said God has
entrusted humans with the responsibility of caring for
the earth, and ''we are not acting as good stewards of God's
earth when our bottom line puts the size of our
profits before the future of our planet.''
''It is our
responsibility to ensure that this planet remains clean and
safe and livable for our children and for all of God's
children,'' he told about 200 people gathered at the
downtown public library. ''But in recent years science
has made it undeniably clear that our generation is
not living up to this responsibility. Global warming is not
a someday problem, it is now.''
Last week Obama
released a plan to combat global warming that calls for
an 80% reduction in U.S. carbon emissions by 2050.
Obama said he
would force industries and power companies to clean up
their operations. He would institute a ''cap and trade''
approach that would require polluters to buy
allowances, essentially putting a price on pollution
and creating an incentive to cut emissions.
He said $150
billion from the sale of allowances could help drive the
development of environmentally friendly technologies,
including the next generation of biofuels, expansion
of a delivery infrastructure, and fuel-efficient
promises about energy independence from every single
president since Richard Nixon, but we are actually more
dependent on oil today than ever before,'' he said.
Obama said many
of his rivals have talked about the issue but ''have
taken a pass on it in years in Washington.''
He said he would
ask the biggest carbon-emitting nations to join the
United States in creating a global energy forum to develop
climate protocols. He would also share clean energy
technologies with all nations.
challenged individuals to do their part to help the
environment, and he called for making government, businesses
and homes 50 percent more energy efficient by 2030. He
said he wants all federal government buildings carbon
neutral by 2025.
Among other White
House hopefuls, New York senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
has said she is intrigued by a carbon auction system but has
stopped short of endorsing it. Sen. Chris Dodd of
Connecticut has proposed taxing polluters for their
carbon emissions. Former North Carolina senator John
Edwards, who has pledged to have a carbon-neutral campaign,
also proposes a ''cap and trade'' system that aims to
reach the 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by
Edwards and Sen. John McCain picked up environmental
endorsements from Friends of the Earth Action and
Republicans for Environmental Protection,
threat of global climate change will take hard work and
faith, Obama said.
''Not a blind
faith, not a faith of mere words, not a faith that ignores
science, but an active, searching faith,'' said Obama, a
member of the United Church of Christ. ''It's a faith
that does not look at the hardship and pain and
suffering in the world and use it all as an excuse for
inaction or cynicism, but one that accepts the fact that
although we are not going to solve every problem here
on earth, we can make a difference.''
event's environmental focus, Obama also addressed the Iraq
war and a House proposal for a tax to cover war spending. He
said he agrees there's no such thing as a free lunch
and that tax cuts and war spending can't coexist for
''The only reason
we haven't been feeling the pinch is because China and
South Korea and Mexico have lent us money,'' Obama said. ''I
believe in the basic principle that you pay for what
you've initiated. I would say that the idea of a war
tax is probably a little late. I would have liked to
have seen that suggestion before we spent $600 billion.''
(Amy Lorentzen, AP)