Environmental issues have become a major part of the campaign circuit in the US as this election year gets underway. Climate change, offshore drilling and renewable energy are all coming under the spotlight in early campaigning.
"I think we have a situation now where politics are driven by the limits that are set by concentrated corporate power."
- Rick Piltz, director and founder of Climate Science Watch
Republicans are trying to put Democrats on the defensive by calling environmental regulations "job killers". And Democrats are working to label Republicans whose party is often called "The GOP - or The Grand Old Party" as the "Grand Oil Party."
President Barack Obama's record over the past three years includes a range of substantial but not game-changing legislation. For example, he has encouraged more solar power generation through grant programmes. And he has approved the nation's first offshore wind farm.
But he has lost the support of some environmentalists during his time in office, mainly because he failed to push through a cap-and-trade scheme for greenhouse gases, as he had promised on the campaign trail. He also failed to push for an extension of the moratorium on offshore drilling following the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, which was the largest environmental disaster in US history.
Is there a way to improve US economy without sacrificing environmental concerns?
Inside Story US 2012 discusses with guests: Rick Piltz, the director and founder of Climate Science Watch, who worked for the US government during the Bush administration. He resigned in 2005 from the US government Climate Change Science Program, due to tampering with scientific reports by representatives of the Bush administration; Daniel Weiss, a senior fellow and director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress; and Myron Ebell, the director of energy and environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
"Few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising, coast lines are shrinking. We've seen record drought, spreading famine and storms that are growing stronger with each passing Hurricane season."
-Barack Obama, US president
Source: Al Jazeera