"The reliance on the government to devise an energy policy is a fallacy," says this libertarian-leaning congressman from Texas, who considers the EPA pointless (but says dissolving it wouldn't be first on his presidential agenda). Paul's prescription for the planet: "a free-market system and a lot less government."
Battle Cry: "Private property owners have a record of taking care of the environment much better than governments have ever done. Look at the Communists—they were very poor environmentalists."
Green Chops: One of the Republican party's most outspoken critics of the war in Iraq, Paul argues that "war causes pollution and excess expenditures in burning of fuel for no good purpose." He has cosponsored legislation offering tax breaks to bike commuters.
Power Points: Would end subsidies to energy industries, from oil to solar, and government support of alternative-energy innovation. "The government shouldn't be directing research and development, because they always misdirect it [and] send the money to the political cronies," he says. Paul has cosponsored bills offering tax incentives for the production and purchase of solar, wind, biomass, and fuel-cell energy.
Outside Moment: "My favorite thing is riding bicycles," says Paul. "I don't ride my bike because I think I'm destroying the environment by driving my car. It's just a great way to be outdoors."
Eco-Hero: "Nobody in particular."
Hmmm: Paul believes that parklands, wilderness preserves, and national monuments should be privately owned. He also says that global warming trends "come and go" and shouldn't raise alarm: "I think war and financial crises and big governments coming and marching into our homes—those are immediate [concerns] that are going to affect us a lot sooner than the temperature going up."