Presidential Candidates Differ on Energy

By Published On: October 31, 2008

While both Presidential candidates support dramatic federal steps on energy, there are some differences. Republican John McCain backs: -A new international green economy, with $2 billion in federal money annually to advance clean coal technologies, plus a federal push to see that 45 new nuclear power plants are built by 2030 and eventually 100 new plants. -A “rational and steady” tax credit system to encourage alternative, low carbon fuels, such as wind, hydro, and solar power. -A carbon cap-and-trade system that cuts emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2050. -More offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. -A $5,000 tax credit for each customer who buys a zero carbon emissions car, encouraging automakers to be first on the market with these cars in order to capitalize on the consumer incentives. -A $300 million prize to improve battery technology for full commercial development of plug-in hybrid and fully electric automobiles. -A speeded up transition to flex-fuel vehicles and a swift roll out of second generation alcohol-based fuels like cellulosic ethanol, which he expects will not compete with food crops. He wants to eliminate subsidies for today’s corn-based ethanol. -Tougher penalties for automakers that do not meet mileage standards. -A permanent tax credit equal to 10 percent of wages spent on research and development. Democratic candidate Barack Obama is backing the following energy platform: -Ensure 10 percent of the nation’s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012 and 25 percent by 2025. -An economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. -Federal help in creating five million new jobs by investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future. He backs weatherizing a million homes a year, for instance. -Within 10 years, save more oil than the U.S. currently imports from the Middle East and Venezuela combined. He wants to do so through “responsible” drilling in the U.S., enhanced vehicle mileage standards, and clean coal development, among other policies. -Put 1 million American made plug-in hybrid cars–which can get up to 150 miles per gallon–onto the road by 2015. He would do so in part by offering a $7,000 tax credit to purchase advanced vehicles. -A federal low carbon fuel standard and federal help in developing advanced biofuels.

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