Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Energy Debate You Didn’t Hear

Since Tuesday’s presidential debate, many have weighed in on significant energy policy questions posed by the audience, the moderator, and the candidates themselves. Has the current administration done enough to encourage energy production? What should be our nation’s policy on sources of power such as wind and solar? How is the U.S. moving toward the goal of energy independence?

But what about the energy debate America didn’t hear? On October 5th at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, surrogates for President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney weighed in on major energy topics and provided a more detailed glimpse into the vision of the two major presidential candidates. Representing Mr. Obama was Joseph Aldy, former special assistant to the President for energy and environment, while Mr. Romney was represented by Oren Cass, his campaign’s domestic policy advisor.

“When I think about what the American public wants, it’s to look for the kind of balanced approach the president is pursuing,” Aldy, Mr. Obama’s surrogate explained, adding, “We’re going to use every tool we have available. Let’s not just focus on fossil fuels. We can do a lot in renewables, whether it’s for biofuels, wind or solar.”

“Ultimately the biggest source of difference [between the campaigns]…is the question of what is the right way to promote innovation,” Cass, Mr. Romney’s surrogate, said, adding that the Republican challenger believes in “government support in the very early stages of research, and reliance on the private sector to commercialize technologies to bring down their costs and to hopefully succeed in the market.”

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