Update: Mike Gravel switched from the Democratic Party to the Libertarian Party in March 2008; after failing to secure the Libertarian nomination, he ended his presidential campaign in May 2008.

Mike Gravel, the darkest of the dark-horse candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, represented Alaska in the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1981. He then largely faded from public view until April 2006, when he became the first Democrat to officially jump into the 2008 presidential race. He has articulated some big green goals — a hydrogen-powered economy, a nationwide system of maglev trains — but has yet to flesh out a detailed energy or environmental platform.

Read an interview with Mike Gravel by Grist and Outside.

Key Points

  • Wants the U.S. to impose a carbon tax and convince other countries to do the same, then pool the resulting revenues and use them to fund an international scientific and engineering effort to wean the world from fossil fuels within a decade.
  • Wants to “lead the fight against global deforestation” as one way to fight climate change.
  • Calls for ending the use of coal to produce electricity.
  • Calls for fast adoption of auto fuel-economy standards as strict as those in Europe, about 40 miles per gallon.
  • Wants an extensive national maglev train system.
  • Wants a wholesale shift to a liquid-hydrogen energy system.

Video & Audio

Watch Gravel briefly explain his energy and environmental strategy:

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Watch Gravel answer a question about cutting energy use at the CNN/YouTube debate on July 23, 2007:

Watch Gravel answer a question about high gas prices at a CNN debate on June 3, 2007:

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Watch Gravel’s “Rock” campaign ad:

Listen to a clip of Gravel’s interview with Grist and Outside:

Quotable Quotes

  • “Energy and environment are two sides of the same coin. But it is a global problem, not just an American problem. The U.S. should immediately sign the Kyoto Protocol and seek its ratification by the Senate. Carbon energy should be taxed to provide the funding for a global effort led by the U.S., with willing allies, to bring together the world’s scientific and engineering communities to develop energy alternatives to remove the world’s energy dependence on carbon.”
    — Nov. 1, 2006, in a speech at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics
  • “There’s nothing I would do as president to lower the price of gasoline right now. We Americans have to grow up. If we want to get off of the dependence in the Middle East, we have to own up to the problem. These things cost money.”
    — June 3, 2007, answering a question about high gas prices at a CNN debate