- The Washington Times - Monday, February 11, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Bush’s fiscal 2009 budget request contains an ambitious energy agenda, including $641 million for research and development of technology to increase the cost-effectiveness of carbon capture and storage. He also proposes $1.65 billion in tax credits for companies investing in these clean-coal technologies and $5.5 billion to clean up nuclear research and production sites.

In December, Mr. Bush signed into law the first major increase in vehicle fuel-efficiency standards since 1975. That law also seeks to increase the use of biofuels and produce more energy-efficient homes and appliances.

During this presidential election season, each of the major candidates has offered his or her take on energy and the environment. How would the candidates shape and reshape American energy policy should they capture the White House? Some are clearly positioned as politically correct global- warming alarmists.

Among Republicans, John McCain has touted reducing global warming as a central focus of his campaign. In the Senate, Mr. McCain has co-sponsored (with Sen. Joe Lieberman) a bill that would put in place a market-based, cap-and-trade system, and he has been a strong advocate of expanding nuclear power power.

Mike Huckabee has put forth a plan for energy independence that he hopes will keep the U.S. economy competitive with the economies of India and China. He has pledged to attain the goal of energy independence “by the end of my second term.” Mr. Huckabee has also advocated for increasing further use of alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, hydrogen and biodiesels.

For their part, the two top Democrats have espoused energy plans that are similar to each other and both advocate implementation of a cap-and-trade system similar to Mr. McCain’s.

Hillary Clinton has been a vocal critic of what she sees as human-induced global warming, and she has called for increasing fuel-efficiency standards by a staggering amount: to 55 mpg by 2030. She claims this would be possible by granting automakers $20 billion in “Green Vehicle Bonds.”

Barack Obama has proposed an extensive plan to address climate change and create what he calls a “green economy.” He claims his cap-and-trade system would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 and asserts his plan would create millions of new jobs in the United States by investing $150 billion over 10 years to develop energy-efficient technology and infrastructure. Mr. Obama would also require that 25 percent of electricity come from renewable sources by 2025 and that at least 30 percent of the federal government’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. Mr. Obama also wants to make all new buildings “carbon neutral” by 2030, and an Obama White House would offer grants to those developers that would accomplish this sooner. (Talk about ambitious.)

While the science of global warming is still uncertain (indeed, weather patterns have been observed for a mere fraction of the world’s history) our politicians, both current and would-be presidents, have bought into the latest global-warming alarmism and look forward to making consumers pay the price.

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