The Dernogalizer

September 12, 2008

Obama vs McCain on Energy and Environment

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 1:48 am
Tags: , , , ,

I wrote this comparing Barack Obama and John McCain when it comes to energy and the environment. Here is a very good Op-Ed highlighting why if you care about these issues, Obama is the man, not McCain.

There is a misconception put forth by the McCain campaign and propagated through the media to misguide voters. It’s a lie that Obama and McCain are identical when it comes to global warming, renewable energy, and the environment. The fact of the matter is that Barack Obama’s energy plan is easily the best that has ever been put forth from either party. It has so much depth and detail to it that I can only scratch the surface here, I will follow up with more on it in future posts. First and foremost, Barack Obama’s climate change policy actually meets what the science demands. It will be nice to have an administration that believes in science. The plan calls for the implementation of an economy-wide cap and trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050, and to 1990 levels by 2020. He also wants to invest $150 billion over the next decade to develop climate friendly energy sources and create millions of green jobs. There is a goal of a 10% renewable electricity standard by 2012 and a 25% standard by 2025, and extending the production tax credits for renewable sources for 5 years.

Energy efficiency is a vital aspect of any energy plan, and Obama doesn’t dissapoint. He will implement aggressive energy efficiency program which will reduce consumer energy usage 15% below the Dept. of Energy’s projected levels by 2020, at the same time saving consumers $130 billion. He wants to overhaul Federal efficiency standards , invest in improving our electricity grid, and will set a goal to make all new buildings carbon neutral by 2030. He’s also going to flip utility incentives so that they are rewarded for reducing energy consumption, rather than for increasing it.

We’d all like to drive cars that burn cleaner fuel and go further on a gallon of gas. Obama has a goal of increasing CAFE standards by 4% each year while putting 1 million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road that get 150 mpg by 2015. He will mandate that all new vehicles be flex fuel, and institute a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard which requires fuel suppliers to reduce the amount of carbon in their fuels 5% within 5 years starting in 2010, and 10% after 10 years. Last but not least there will be a $7,000 tax credit for people who buy or convert advanced technology vehicles.

One look at Obama’s past record on these issues tells us that he will keep his promises. One year in the Illinois State Senate Obama received a 100% environmental score, and his lifetime score in the US senate is 86%. John McCain’s lifetime score is a robust 27%.

In the winter of 2007, a crucial vote came on a bill before the US Senate. The renewable energy production tax credits for wind and solar are set to expire at the end of 2008. Not extending these credits could devastate the momentum that renewable sources of energy have, and continue our dependence on dirty nonrenewable fossil fuels. The bill that would have lengthened the credits was turned down in a Senate vote of 59-40, where 60 were needed for it to advance. One of the Senators couldn’t be bothered to turn up to cast the deciding vote. It was John McCain.

This is but one example in a disturbing trend since 2005, where John McCain seems to disappear off the face of the Earth every time there is a vote on renewable energy. Remember the economic stimulus package the government gave out? There was an amendment to include clean energy incentives in the bill. John McCain once again was missing from action. With wind turbines, solar panels, and talk of renewable energy in his campaign commercials, John McCain talks a big game on energy. But the straight talk express doesn’t seem to walk a straight line.

It’s unfortunate, this could have been an election with two green presidents. In 2000 it may have been, but John McCain is no longer the Maverick he once was. Now, John McCain is a sidekick. Along with George Bush, John McCain supports offshore drilling in environmentally sensitive areas even though Bush’s down Dept. of Energy says it wouldn’t lower the price of gas. Along with Bush, McCain supports the billions of dollars in tax breaks that are being given to the oil companies. Bush promised before his election that he would cap greenhouse gas emissions. Will McCain stand by his predecessor here as well?

McCain is so obsessed with the idea of nuclear power, it’s a testament to his campaign staff that he isn’t glowing a bright green. He doesn’t seem to understand that building nuclear power plants are unreasonably expensive and very time consuming. There’s a reason that there has been billions of dollars of investment into wind and solar, but zilch in to nuclear. The free market rejects it.

Now it’s time for the free will of the American people to reject John McCain, and elect Barack Obama. A secure energy future without catastrophic climate change is at stake.

Like I said, I’ll be having many more posts on this issue, but the point of it all is to make sure you know that I am DEAD CERTAIN that if you elect Obama, we can solve our energy crisis and combat climate change. If you elect McCain, you reap what you sow.



  1. Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

    Comment by Allen Taylor — September 12, 2008 @ 2:00 am | Reply

  2. This is very interesting. The part about making buildings carbon neutral is key. My client, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) produced this video ( to raise awareness about buildings – the largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions. Let us know what you think.

    Comment by Larry — September 12, 2008 @ 4:21 pm | Reply

  3. Hey Larry thanks for commenting, I just watched the video, it’s fantastic that the AIA is strongly advocating addressing our buildings energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. I am fully aware that addressing this needs to be a top priority for our government, and of the two presidential candidates, Barack Obama is much more explicit about energy efficiency, retro-fitting our old buildings to make them more eco-friendly, and to make sure all new ones are built with sustainability a mandate, not an option.

    And obviously, all of the retro-fitting and upgrading of old in-efficient and unsustainable buildings would create millions of jobs in this country and at the same time address our energy and environmental security need. In the future I’ll blog more in depth about carbon neutral buildings being a key component of our energy policy.

    Comment by Matt Dernoga — September 13, 2008 @ 12:07 am | Reply

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