Monday, March 3, 2008

Where the Candidates Stand

Since the blog topic for this week is the presidential primaries and since Tuesday (tomorrow) is when Texans will head to the polls to choose their nominee, I figured I’d help out by reviewing where each of the nominees stands on energy and environmental policy.

John McCain

According to his website (, John McCain acknowledges the problem of climate change and is ready to deal with it. He believes that the US solves problems and does not run away from them and he believes that the economy and the environment are not mutually exclusive. Here’s a list of some of the solutions he has offered:

- The use of advanced technologies (such as nuclear energy)
- Reduce dependence on foreign oil
- Ensure that countries around the world do their fair share to solve the problem.

There was also a short video on his website where John McCain shares his views on the topic – basically reiterates what is mentioned here. I found it interesting when he said that the US did the right thing by not joining the Kyoto Agreement and that he believes that the US should join some treaty, if China and India join, but according to US terms…

Hillary Clinton

On her website she has a brief overview of her energy policy but she also has a link to a complete report on her energy plan. The report includes several proposals but here are some of the highlights:

- A cap and trade program
- The creation of a $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund – this fund is partly paid for by the oil companies (removing the subsidies they get). This fund is used to inject money into research on clean energy, energy efficiency and other technologies.
- Increase the use of biofuels with a target of 60 billion gals by 2030. She mentions that advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol would comprise a large portion of that.
- Greening buildings and creation of a lending program (similar to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) to help families buy green homes or invest in improving their homes.
- Increase CAFE standards to 55 mpg by 2030.

Part of her plan is adapting as she mentions that even though she is developing this climate change plan, she realizes that the effects are already occurring and we need to start preparing now for the impacts of climate change.

She opposes new subsidies for nuclear power and she wants to terminate work at the Yucca Mountain site.

She also mentioned something that politicians rarely talk about which is conservation. In a video clip she clearly tells the audience that they need to conserve more (turn off the lights when leaving the room and don’t drive unnecessarily).

Below is a link to the report on Hillary Clinton’s energy plan.

Barak Obama

The following are highlights from Barak Obama’s energy and environment plan:

- Creation of a cap-and-trade system that works to reduce emissions 80% below 1990 levels by the year 2050.
- Promotes carbon capture and sequestration (CCS)
- Invest $150 billion over the next 10 years in clean energy projects such as biofuels, plug-in-hybrids, commercial scale renewable energy, and low-emissions coal plants
- Increase R&D funding for clean energy projects
- Development of training programs for workers transitioning to clean energy jobs and the creation of Green Jobs Corps
- Creation of a Clean Technologies Venture Capital Fund (invest $10 billion per year into this fund for 5 years)
- Establish a federal Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) which mandates that 25% of the electricity consumed in the U.S. by 2025 is renewable
- Develop clean coal technology (even banning traditional coal facilities)
- Provide incentives and tax breaks for the development of the first 2 billion gals of cellulosic ethanol by 2013
- Renewable fuel standard set at 36 billion gals by 2022 (matches the value set by EISA 2007) but also wants to increase that to at least 60 billion gals by 2030
- Double fuel economy standards within 18 years
- Improve energy efficiency 50 percent by 2030 (set national building efficiency goals and establish a digital smart grid)
- Creation of a Global Energy Forum to re-engage the U.S. with the rest of the world on Climate Change.

Below is a link to the report on Barak Obama’s energy plan.

Hope this helps you in your decision tomorrow!

PS: The order for reviewing the nominees was random and I only reviewed the three major candidates (my apologies to any Huckabee supporters).

1 comment:

mnoibi said...

I think this was a great post! Thanks for giving us insight on the candidates and their thoughts on energy.
I think its interesting the Sen. John Mcain was against corn ethanol until Crude prices jumped (According to I don't think it makes a difference whether prices of crude are low or high, but anyone can correct me if I'm wrong.
I will note however, that from hacfred's post, it seems like Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama will be pushing development of Cellulosic ethanol which might be less production intensive than corn ethanol. It almost seems like it would have been a sin for them to go to Iowa and not talk about corn ethanol.
I also find Sen Mcain's stance on the Kyoto or similar protocols interesting. He says it would be considered for the US to join only if China and India are involved. Sen. Obama on the other hand, does not mention China and India in his stance on a Global Energy forum. I'm not quite sure on Senator Clinton stance on this.

I am not a US citizen, however, I would say that this election is being closely watched by the world. Most ppl believe a democrat would win (think of the way they swept congress in '06). If this is the case, I think both Senators Clinton and Obama have sound goals and I can't wait to see how they make changes in the coming years.