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					McCain Clinton Obama
A Comparison of the Presidential Candidates’ Energy and Environmental Policy Positions
George D. Baker
Williams & Jensen, PLLC 1155 21st Street, N.W. Suite 300 Washington, D.C. 20036 202-659-8201

gdbaker@wms-jen.com

Overview of 2008 Energy and Environment Presidential Politics
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“Change, Change, Change!!!! (And more change after that!) All three candidates see need to break from status quo politically.
candidates agree on:
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From many vantage points all three look very similar: All 3
CAFE RFS Plug-In Hybrids Federal and Private Sector Building Efficiency Appliance and Industrial Electric Efficiency Phase-out of Traditional Light Bulbs Smart Grid

All of these issues were addressed in the “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007”
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So ignore that rhetoric if you are looking for differences between the candidates Some of the candidates differences are philosophical but others are politically strategic Let‟s take a look at the difference between candidates!

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See, They’re Different!

Had enough yet?

Some Preliminary Observations
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No established Energy “Thought Leaders” in this Hunt for the White House!
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None of the three Presidential candidates is an acknowledged expert or established leader on energy policy  At best, McCain cut this teeth as a credible leader on the global climate issue back in 2002  All 3 are highly dependent on others for their views on energy issues.

“Gore Factor” for Democrats
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For Obama and Clinton, Gore‟s leadership on global climate issue (and Nobel Prize Oscar) has raised the stakes as to what is expected from next Democratic Administration. Clinton got blasted by Edwards and enviro left early in campaign for not being “green” enough. Obama publicly stated that he seeks Gore‟s advice and that there is a place in an Obama Administration for Gore
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Secretary of State? What else fits his world-wide stature?

Obama
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Obama„s Energy/Enviro “Brains”:
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Former Senator Dachle

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Bob Sussman, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
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Former head of Latham Watkins law firm environmental practice Bill Clinton‟s Deputy Administrator of EPA

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Jason Grumet, President, Bipartisan Policy Center, (Baker, Dole, Daschle, Mitchell)
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Executive Director of National Commission on Energy Policy

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Former executive director of Northeast states for Coordinated Air Use Management

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For Obama energy/environment is a metaphor for his ability to embrace and effectuate bipartisan “change”:
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Claims to have started the serious discussion on CAFE reform back in 2006 with Bush which lead to EISA of 2007 CAFE reform provision Views issue as requiring bi-partisan solutions and involvement of all stake holders or nothing happens Acknowledges “sacrifice” that energy/enviro transformation will involve and sees US as wanting to undertake that challenge Appeal to independent and young voters: Conservation is “cool”, not “wimpy”

Clinton
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Clinton‟s Energy/Enviro “Brains”:
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Carol Browner, principal of Albright Group
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Former Administrator of EPA under Bill Clinton Former head of Audubon Society APX, Inc Board member Former legislative Director to Senator Al Gore League of Conservation Voters Alliance for Climate Protection

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Todd Stern, senior fellow, Center for American Progress
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Partner Wilmer Hale law firm in D.C. Clinton White House, Assistant to President (1993-1999) Senior Clinton White House negotiator at Kyoto and Buenos Aires global climate negotiations Represents suburban district outside Seattle along Puget Sound  Issued global climate principles on Earth Day with Reps. Waxman and Markey

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Rep Jay Inslee (D-Washington)
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Clinton
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Advocates a new “National Energy Council” in White House to coordinate and devise federal policy on energy and environment and demonstrate its priority in her Administration across entire federal bureaucracy Advocates creation of “E-8” of developed countries to show international leadership on energy/environment front. Says her vision differs from Bush‟s “major emitters group,” because E-8 will have commitment to take mandatory action among themselves to lead the world.

McCain
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McCain‟s Energy/Enviro “Brains”
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Doug Holtz, Eakin, Senior Policy Advior to McCain
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currently Senior Fellow at Peterson Institute for International Economics former Chief Economist for White House Council of Economic Advisor for George W. Bush

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John Raidt, Chief Policy Advisor
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Former Chief of Staff of Senate Commerce Committee

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Bud McFarlane, former National Security Adviser to George H. W. Bush

Jim Woolsey, former CIA Director
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Affirms connection between National defensediplomatic power, energy and environment
Major theme: “National Security depends on Energy Security” Current Vice Chair of UBS America Former Senator from Texas Advisor to George H. Bush campaigns in 1992 and George W. Bush in 2000

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Phil Gramm
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Charlie Black, D.C. lobbyist
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Energy Trade Association Exec like Tom Kuhn, President of Edison Electric Institute Randy Sheuneman, “neo-con” foreign policy expert
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Founded Committee for Liberation of Iraq Senior defense and foreign policy advisor of McCain 2000 campaign Senior Congressional staff to Senator Dole and Senator Lott

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McCain revels in his maverick status and environment issue helps him do that and attract support from Democrats and Independents in general election
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Query: What does this mean for energy and environmental decisions in McCain Administration?

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McCain‟s heroes: Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir
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Teddy Roosevelt: Conservationist
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Rough Rider Nobel Peace Prize Winner Sent Great White Fleet around world Patron Saint of environmentalism and conservation
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Muir:
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Founder of Sierra Club (1892)

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McCain POW history: a metaphor for willingness to stand up to entrenched industrial and labor interests blocking progress on nation‟s energy/enviro agenda
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Envision what this means for energy industry in McCain Administration?  Subsidies  Tax relief  Anti-competitive behavior  Protectionism  Environmental protection vs. energy development

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But overall, McCain does not view solutions to energy/enviro problems as lying in creating new controls, but in removing barriers to liberate markets to pursue smart and efficient technologies.

OIL: Ignored at best, vilified at worst
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None of the candidates mentions a plan to develop more domestic oil and gas production or oil refining capacity.
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Oil producers and oil refiners viewed as “problems” and as sources of economic and national security “threats.” In this campaign “the oil industry” is an undifferentiated convenient political foil and is used as an environmental “Piñata”

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Domestic oil development is lost within “energy independence” political rhetoric which focuses on decreasing oil imports No discrimination between major integrated oil companies, independent producers, refiners, marketers, retailers

Surprisingly, given enviro push against oil and coal, there is little mention by 3 candidates of need for developing new supplies of “clean” natural gas
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No sign of price or supply concerns from likely “dash to gas” as a strategic response to global climate by utilities No calls for natural gas pipeline construction or LNG supply development

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The game through November ’08 is all about electoral politics
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Don‟t expect profiles in courage on “energy policy”
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None of the three candidates even voted on EISA of 2007 on December 13, 2007

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Candidates‟ energy and enviro positions are purposefully tailored to produce votes in November and prevent downside electoral risks among particular constituencies

Evolution or “Flip Flops” in Candidates’ Energy Views? Don’t Take Their Campaign Positions to the Bank
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Clinton “conversion” on full auction of global climate credits after Edwards criticized her as “soft”

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McCain doesn‟t talk about his vote opposing ANWR in Texas or Louisiana, or his strong opposition to ethanol subsidies in 2003 and 2005
McCain: not sponsoring Lieberman-Warner in 2008
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Gently criticizes for economic dislocation and lack of role for nuclear power Needs to win coal states and Rust Belt states

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Obama: no mention any more of support for coal-toliquids Recall “W‟s” support for cap and trade regime in 2000 which became opposition to cap and trade after inauguration Day 2001? And “W‟s” recent April 16 statement of global climate policy?

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So let’s compare the 3 candidates on specifies of some key issues….

OIL

Obama
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Reduce U.S. oil consumption by at least 35% (10 million bbls/day) by 2030 to offset OPEC imports. Opposes drilling in ANWR Establish a “National Low Carbon Fuel Standard” to speed introduction of non-petroleum fuels. Require refiners to reduce the carbon their fuel emits by 10% by 2010 which will in turn reduce volume of oil-based gasoline used June 14, 2007 Virginia OCS Vote: Did NOT vote

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Clinton
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Views oil and gas companies as conspiratorial villains and profiteers in league with Dick Cheney

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Opposes drilling in ANWR
Strategic Energy Fund
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$50 billion “Apollo/Manhattan project” concept to achieve energy independence:
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$10 billion from increased royalties on oil and gas drilling on federal lands (“not paying their fair share”) $20 billion from removing oil and gas subsidies/tax benefits $20 bill windfall profit tax on oil and gas companies (50% of profit above average historic profit levels)

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June 14, 2007 Virginia OCS vote: Did NOT vote

McCain
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Sees dependency on foreign oil in National defense terms (plays to strength citing the Putin, Chavez, Castro, China/Sudan) Opposed drilling in ANWR Does not view solution as drilling for more oil domestically or fencing US from world oil market with tariffs or subsidies. Sees the solution in backing US off of oil, especially US transportation. Hence pushes to actually reduce volume of oil we need. He does not view the answer as “conservation” as much as it is transforming transportation in terms of the dramatically reduced need for oil.

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Despite environmental benefits, no candidate has a program for increasing production/supply transportation of natural gas All three candidates skipped Senate vote on Virginia coast OCS (June 14, 2007)

Obama and Clinton on LNG
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Obama
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Likely to oppose new LNG terminals where locality objects (which is most places!) Opposes Long Island Sound FERCapproved LNG facility; likely would support bigger state/locality influence in LNG siting decisions.

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Clinton
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McCain on Natural Gas
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Cautions about developing reliance on international sources of energy (LNG?) Generally supports development of domestic natural gas resources
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Does not articulate a specific position that directly addresses environmental objections to drilling on certain public lands. Cross-currents in his views:

Objected to ANWR; skipped June 14,2007 OCS vote  Teddy Roosevelt/John Muir image  Eliminating “barriers”: how does that relate to constrictions of environmental concerns?
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Nuclear Energy

Obama and Clinton
Both:
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Criticize “current nuclear” technology based on safety, waste storage, right-to-know and proliferation concerns Oppose Yucca Mountain
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Obama supports local storage with advanced dry-cask storage Clinton: Re-think disposal of waste

Obama:
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Need to overcome the safety/storage/proliferation problems before constructing more nuclear generation capacity which he recognizes is a key to achieving global climate objectives Must protect public from nuclear materials (accidents, leaks, piracy, terrorism) Introduced legislation for tracking, controlling and accounting for spent fuel at nuclear power plants Enhance NRC and local authority re: safety and security

Clinton:
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McCain
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Strongly favors nuclear power a la French system. Sees it as safe and more efficient, and more reliable for new “baseload” electric generation than renewables like wind, solar Would substantially expand US nuclear electric generation as a means of combating global warming and reducing dependence on foreign oil Sees major impediment to more nuclear as “political squabble” over storage of spent fuel

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Wants solution to safe storage of spent fuel (such as Japan and France) that gives host states/localities a “proprietary interest” to share in economic benefits of advanced recycling
Wants conversion of weapons grade material into fuel for commercial nuclear reactors Would use some funding raised in auction of global climate credits for loan guarantees for new advanced nuclear power plants and R&D for new nuclear plant technology

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Electricity

Obama and Clinton
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Support “decoupling” of utility‟s sales and profits, and supports providing economic incentive for “negawatts” (investments in energy efficiency) Supports mandate of 25% “RPS” by 2025
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Voted for 15% RPS in 2007

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Extend renewable energy tax credits (5 years for Obama; permanently for Clinton) Obama
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Require that at least 30% of the federal government‟s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2020 Establish National net metering standards Establish Federal energy efficiency targets for utilities

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Clinton
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McCain
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Voted against RPS legislation (10% in 2005; Did not vote on 15% in 2007 on 59-40 floor vote when RPS failed to get one more voted needed to get to 60 to break Republican filibuster) Significant support from utilities for both affirmative policy reasons and defensive ((reasons

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Coal

Obama and Clinton
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Both
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Obama
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Oppose any new coal plants without CCS technology Support CCS development and sale of CCS technology to the world Previously strong advocate of coal-to-liquids technology development if it achieves 20% carbon life cycle preference over traditional fuels Energy efficiency can reduce need for new power plants (cites TXU scrapping 8 of 11 coal-fired units for $400 million investment in efficiency) Would mandate state PUCs to ensure that before a new coal plant is built the same benefit could not be achieved through efficiency Would fund 10 large scale CCS projects and require CCS to be used at all new plants when CCS is available

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Clinton
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McCain
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Supports clean coal technology and carbon capture sequestration development, and export of such technology to the world But has severely criticized subsidies for Coal Gasification Carbon Capture project as a taxpayer rip-off (November 19, 2003)

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Bio Fuels/Ethanol

Obama and Clinton
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Obama
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Supports but recognizes limits of corn and technical problems of cellulosic, as well as distortions of commodity markets and environmental opposition. Shows sympathy for enviro critics of ethanol Supports incentives to develop “advanced” bio-fuels like cellulosic to mitigate dislocations caused by corn-based ethanol and to back out petroleumbased transportation fuel Supports subsidies to incentivize local biofuels development and infrastructure Supports now (Iowa primary!); opposed in 2005 EPAct debate as a harmful mandate to New York

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Clinton
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McCain
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Supports now (Iowa!): “I support ethanol and I think it is a vital alternative energy source not only because of our dependency on foreign oil but its greenhouse gas reduction effects.” August ‟07 speech in Grinnell, Iowa But is vague regarding interplay of subsidies and “removal of barriers” concept
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November 2003: “….I have yet to hear any plausible, substantiated argument in support of ethanol….Ethanol is a product that would not exist if Congress didn‟t create an artificial market for it. No one would be willing to buy it. Yet thanks to agricultural subsidies and ethanol producer subsidies, it is now a very big business – tens of billions of dollars that have enriched a handful of corporate interests – primarily one big corporation, ADM. Ethanol does nothing to reduce fuel consumption, nothing to increase energy independence and nothing to improve air quality. “Plain and simple, the ethanol program is highway robbery perpetrated on the American public by Congress. I maintain you cannot claim to be a fiscal conservative and support the profligate spending and corporate welfare in this bill.”

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In case you thought McCain was having a “bad ethanol day” back in November 2003, recall his statement referring to several things including ethanol, on June 28, 2005 regarding the 2005 energy bill: “The bill contains numerous provisions that will distort competitive markets for energy through subsidies, tax breaks, special projects, mandates and outlandish amounts of federal spending, and it is unlikely to have any positive short-term effect on energy prices.”

NOTE:

This was Hillary Clinton‟s position in 2005 as well.

Clean Technology

Obama
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Cap and trade regime‟s carbon price is not sufficient to drive development of new transformational technologies.

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Talks about need to fight “Valley of Death” between invention and commercialization/deployment
Views himself as different from the other candidates in focusing beyond R&D to commercialization of new technology. “Clean Technology Deployment Venture Capital Fund” to partner with existing investment funds and National Labs to ensure promising technologies move from US labs to commercialization in the U.S. first, (not abroad first)
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Modeled on CIA In-Q-Tel program, a non-profit, independently managed venture capital fund for development of CIA intelligence technologies that private sector would not focus on $10 billion invested annually for 5 years and reinvestment of profits in fund Characterizes this as a de facto “Green Investment Fund”

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Create “Green Jobs Corps” to teach disadvantaged youth job skills for new clean energy sector

Clinton
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Supports major R&D program for transformational technologies as part of her $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund paid for by oil industry taxes and windfall profit tax Proposed creation of ARPA E-8, modeled after successful DARPA in DOD “Carbon Reduction Mortgage Association” (“Connie Mae”) by directing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to originate residential energy efficiency improvement loans up to $1 billion annually for lower and middle class homeowners
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A very retail idea on the campaign trail

McCain
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Wants to avoid federal government “picking winners and losers,” i.e. Synfuels Corporation or Hydrogen fuel.

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“Government must set achievable goals, but the markets should be free to produce the means.”
Would cut federal subsidies to energy industries that can now “stand on their own” and would use that money to fund new green technology (plug-in vehicle batteries etc.):
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Would ethanol qualify as a mature industry capable of standing on its own?

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See himself as supporting commercialization, not just R&D
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Echo of Obama?

Global Climate

Obama and Clinton
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Supports aggressive Cap and Trade regime Target: reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and reduce emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 100% auction of allowance Support Lieberman-Warner bill and dragging it to “left”. Support re-engagement by US with UN/Post-Kyoto negotiations and special negotiations between G-8 plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa negotiations Obama
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Clinton
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Major emphasis on adaptation; supports major federal spending to facilitate adaptation in coastal areas, wildlife and eco-sensitive areas affected by global warming
Proposes new National Energy Council in White House to focus action and policy

McCain
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Supports cap and trade regime; serves his “maverick” persona among Republicans well and attracts support from Independents and Democrats Was “there” first with McCain-Lieberman “Climate Stewardship Act” in 2003 and 2005 (Senate rejected twice) which would reduce GHG emissions by 60% with a cap and trade regime Now softening position for election and distancing himself from LiebermanWarner in 2008 (not a co-sponsor):
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Still supports cap and trade regime, but Must be “flexible” Must “work” for US economy and not cost jobs and cause destructive price increases Not fail like EU program Must develop new technologies including coal/CCS and nuclear in a big way Need to include China, India and rest of world Wants reasonable time frame linked to availability of technology

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Bush April 16 Global Climate Statement helps McCain even though Bush did not endorse cap & trade regime

Energy Taxes

Obama and Clinton
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Both
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supported repeal of $16 billion in favorable oil and gas industry tax provisions in 2007 energy bill
Support extension of expiring energy tax credits Supports new windfall profit tax on oil and gas industry

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Clinton
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McCain
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“No New Taxes!” Improve and make permanent the R&D tax credit to promote energy independence Offered amendment with Senators Kyl and Lieberman to suspend federal 18.4 cent gasoline tax and 24 cent diesel tax (“gas tax holiday”) from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
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Has “political” problem with Democrats and Republicans Has “pay-go” problem for Highway Trust Fund Clinton hinted at support for the idea

Bottom Line
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Lots of similarities but also significant differences between all three candidates Different elements of energy industry may conclude their interests are served by any of the three Your preference may be influenced for reasons beyond the candidates‟ respective energy/enviro position
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Corporate or individual tax policy position Facilitating or blocking power of one-party control of Congress International or defense policy Sense of History:
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State of General Economy Pure Partisan politics

First woman? First African-American? War hero?

So What can you do?
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First, pick a candidate! Fund your candidate “Network” for your candidate among your personal and business contacts During campaign, advise/provide politically helpful policy concepts to your candidate
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Share your expertise

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Prepare longer-term policy positions / ideas / initiatives to advocate to new Administration immediately after the election to influence its early first term agenda

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Network with key advisors of your candidate to lay groundwork for policy in their Administration
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Tie-in with Congressional and State proponents of your candidate
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Join the candidate‟s team

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Identify and groom potential appointed officials to serve in key posts in next Administration
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Support Congressional and state political leadership who may be influential with your candidate‟s Administration They will be a key conduit for influencing the new Administration Professional expertise is great, but not always sufficient “Correct” party is necessary Political involvement is helpful


				
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