Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Obama's Energy Plan vs. McCain's Energy Plan

Okay, so, let's get a little topical. There are many, many issues that will sway the American Voter towards Obama or McCain in the coming election. Recent polls indicate that American's especially younger voters, are thinking more outside the box and voting on issues more and less towards "party lines".

I contend that Energy will be the single largest issue our nation faces in the next 8 years. It will be bigger than the Iraq War (which I believe will end victory or no victory within the first term of the new president), bigger than foreign diplomacy, and bigger than economic stimulus and the housing market. I say this because all of the aforementioned issues, while topical, are tied to our use of Energy resources in this country. We are in a war because of oil. We are spending less because oil is expensive. We are cutting deals with the wrong people over seas to get more oil. The issue is clear, the more we move away from a reliance on fossil fuels the more our problems will disipate and shift.

Recently Joseph Romm posted an article outlining Barack Obama's new Energy Plan that would fall in line with Obama's "new climate control" plan. This new energy plan is incredibly aggressive, and comprehensive because it focuses on several areas of energy development as opposed to the single area of development proposed by the current president, which mainly and not suprisingly centers around drilling for more oil in Alaska.

Here are some bullet Points from the Obama Plan. As I said, it's diverse, and fairly creative.

  • Increase Fuel Economy Standards: Obama will increase fuel economy standards 4 percent per each year while protecting the financial future of domestic automakers....
  • Invest in Developing Advanced Vehicles and Put 1 Million Plugin Electric Vehicles on the Road by 2015: As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama has led efforts to jumpstart federal investment in advanced vehicles, including combined plug‐in hybrid/flexible fuel vehicles, which can get over 150 miles per gallon of gas... [more details below]
  • Partner with Domestic Automakers: Obama will also provide $4 billion retooling tax credits and
    loan guarantees for domestic auto plants and parts manufacturers, so that the new fuel‐efficient
    cars can be built in the U.S. by American workers rather than overseas.
  • Mandate All New Vehicles are Flexible Fuel Vehicles
  • Develop the Next Generation of Sustainable Biofuels and Infrastructure
  • Establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard: ... The standard requires fuels suppliers in 2010 to begin to reduce the carbon of their fuel by 5 percent within 5 years and 10 percent within 10 years.
You can see this is not really about finding 'the next resource'. It's about finding the right energy resource for the right application. However, I see one major resource that is not being discussed in this plan. I ask, Where and to what extent does Solar Energy research play in this plan? It seems mostly 'fuel' centric still. So, it begs the question. Did the Solar Lobbyists fail to get some face time with Mr. Obama?

To be fair, let me also post John McCain's plan. He delivered a very poignant speech on his energy plan, and you can read about it here. The speech was very eloquent to read, but listening to him deliver it was like getting read a bed time story. You fall asleep at page two.

Here are some highlights:

"We have in use today a zero emission energy that could provide electricity for millions more homes and businesses than it currently does. Yet it has been over twenty-five years since a nuclear power plant has been constructed."

"If France can produce 80% of its electricity with nuclear power, why can't we? Is France a more secure, advanced and innovative country than we are? Are France's scientists and entrepreneurs more capable than we are? I need no answer to that rhetorical question. I know my country well enough to know otherwise."

"Let's provide for safe storage of spent nuclear fuel, and give host states or localities a proprietary interest so when advanced recycling technologies turn used fuel into a valuable commodity, the public will share in its economic benefits"

Do you see a trend here? I do, it's Nuclear power. Now, we as a country have our 'reservations' about Nuclear Power, and "The Simpsons" 18 year stint on T.V. satirizing Montgomery Burns has not helped the image. However, I see in McCain's plan to replace fossil fuels, a singular answer, which is nuclear power. While I agree Nuclear is part of the equation, it's not a the only answer.

What do you think? I pose the question, because this issue was over-looked in 2000 when Gore and Bush went head to head. At the time, Bush had the easy answer... Drill! Gore's answer was complicated, but comprehensive. He won an Oscar this year to prove his point.

This is not a GREEN issue. It's a fundamental issue, we all need to have a better handle on before we cast our votes in November.

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