Global Environment & Society Academy

The 2008 US Presidential Election: Obama and the Environment

We examine the role environmental issues played in the election campaign and speculate on the election’s implications for environmental policy and politics in the US.

The 2008 presidential election was remarkable for many reasons. One was the prominence given to environmental and energy issues. The environment is seldom a salient issue in national elections - and especially US presidential elections. In the 2000 and 2004 campaigns it was notable primarily by its absence (Bomberg 2001, Langer and Cohen 2005). Yet in 2008 energy and environmental concerns played a key role in the campaign, capturing the attention of both the public and the candidates.