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Van Jones: On the Environment, Obama and the Green Economy

New America Media,
Question & Answer, Ngoc Nguyen http://newamericamedia.org/
Editor’s Note: As both Democratic and GOP conventions wrapped up, New America Media asked Van Jones to parse each candidate’s environment and energy agendas. Jones, briefly President Obama’s green jobs czar, is president and co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, an organization that advocates for economic reforms. He is the author of The Green Collar Economy and Rebuild the Dream. New America Media’s Ngoc Nguyen spoke with Jones about the role of green jobs in the recovery and what’s needed to address climate change at the national level.

New America Media: What stood out for you in Obama or Romney’s remarks on climate change, energy or the green economy during the recent party conventions?

Van Jones: What struck me about Romney’s speech was his snarky joke about how Obama promised to stop the seas from rising. I thought that was a cheap shot. [It was] particularly disappointing to see the 2012 Republican nominee essentially pooh-pooh global warming when the 2008 GOP nominee John McCain took the issue so seriously.

It’s as clear a sign as any of the complete degeneration of the Republican Party into an extreme faction-based party that’s not qualified to govern. I was happy to hear President Obama rejoinder in saying that climate change is not a joke. In a period when extreme droughts are socking red states and hurting farmers, for the Republican nominee to make a joke about climate change isn’t funny at all.

NAM: How would you grade Pres. Obama’s record on the environment and energy in the last four years?
Jones: [I would give Obama a] B or B-minus, he can’t get an A because he didn’t fight for the Cap and Trade bill … [he] didn’t try to solve climate change, but he has other things when it comes to fuel efficiency for cars and some emissions stuff through the EPA.
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