The Presidential Candidates on Energy Issues

Find out where the candidates stand on oil dependence, global warming and more.

| Oct. 24, 2008

  • Presidential Debate
    Energy —  how we make it, where we get it and how we use it — is at the center of many of today's hot issues, from foreign policy to climate change.

  • Presidential Debate

All roads lead to energy. Roller coaster gas prices, rising home heating costs, uneasy foreign policy relations, chaotic financial markets, concerns about climate change … all of these issues have direct or indirect links to energy — how we make it, where we get it and how we use it. Given that the presidential election is less than two weeks away, deciphering the various energy plans and positions of the candidates has become quite literally a hot topic. So before you head to the ballot box, here’s a look at some of the key energy positions of Senators John McCain and Barack Obama.

Drilling for Oil

McCain has said he supports offshore drilling, but opposes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). He also opposes taxing oil companies on windfall profits.

From Campaign Issues 2008, McCain voted:

  • For oil drilling in ANWR (2000)
  • Against oil drilling in ANWR (2002)
  • For banning drilling in ANWR (2005)
  • Against reducing oil usage by 40 percent by 2025 (2005)

Obama has said he opposes lifting the ban on new offshore drilling, but that he would accept offshore drilling if it’s necessary for enacting a comprehensive energy plan. He opposes drilling in ANWR, and supports a tax on windfall oil profits. He says that he will require oil companies to develop the land that they are currently leasing but not yet using for drilling (i.e., “use it or lose it.”).

Obama’s voting record from Campaign Issues 2008:

  • Obama voted for banning drilling in ANWR (2005)
  • For reducing oil usage by 40 percent by 2025 (2005)
  • For removing oil and gas exploration subsidies (2007)

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The candidates agree that greenhouse gases contribute to global warming and both propose mandatory cap-and-trade systems to reduce carbon emissions. John McCain’s plan calls to reduce emissions to 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, suggesting that “an increasing fraction of permits for emissions could be supplied by auction.” Barack Obama’s plan includes a reduction to 80 percent below 1990 levels in the same time frame, calling for 100 percent of permits for emissions to be purchased via auction.

10/31/2008 9:40:26 AM

The article was well written and stated the facts. Solely because you do not agree with those facts does not make them nonfactual. Gordon- your commentary will certainly not be missed upon the cancellation of your membership.

10/30/2008 12:29:14 PM

I agree, although seeing as this was never meant to be a novel including the reasoning behind each vote, along with an in-depth analysis of the bill/issues themselves would have pushed this article way beyond its original intent, which was to create awareness of the candidate's positions and to offer ways that interested parties can delve deeper. I still see no bias whatsoever.

SR Davis
10/30/2008 10:57:19 AM

Very good article. I don't understand where the bias is - the FACTS have been well outlined. I think the best man for the job is going to win. This election has brought out some truly bitter, angry, bordering hateful speech from a lot of people. It amazes me that here on Mother Earth News those same people would post. I have always thought that those of us who read MEN are the best of what this country has. That we are open to others ideas and opinions, supportive of eachother in wanting to protect our earth, go back to living off the land, and becoming self sufficient - I guess I was wrong. When someone resorts to saying that others don't believe in God because they have a different view it is frightening. I love Mother Earth News - keep up the great work!

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