NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 10, 2008

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) say a lot of the same things about energy and environmental policy, says Stephen Power of the Wall Street Journal:

  • Both want to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil and fight global warming.
  • Both want binding caps on greenhouse-gas emissions.
  • Both see a stepped-up role for nuclear power.

Although the candidates have similar goals, they would pursue drastically different paths to achieve them, says Power.

Sen. McCain's energy plan:

  • Argues for a more hands-off approach, saying "unintended consequences" can result from wrongheaded government interference in the marketplace.
  • Is reluctant to support government incentives such as tax credits for wind and solar energy.
  • Supports the Yucca Mountain proposal.
  • Opposes subsidies for many alternative-energy technologies, but he wants bigger incentives for nuclear energy.
  • Seeks a more modest 60 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by the middle of the century.

Sen. Obama's energy plan:

  • Increases government's role in fostering the development of technologies to reduce emissions and alternatives to fossil fuels.
  • Invests $150 billion over the next decade in alternative fuels such as cellulosic ethanol.
  • Requires the United States to get at least 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources like the wind, the sun and geothermal energy (which together currently account for less than 1 percent of U.S. electricity supply) by 2025.
  • Opposes the Bush administration's plan for storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
  • Supports an aggressive 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 2050.

Source: Stephen Power, "In Energy Policy, McCain, Obama Differ on Role of Government," Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2008.

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