Did everyone have a chance to read Senator Clinton’s energy plan yet? I
did. Here’s why I’m giving her a B- (we all know she’s an educational
overachiever, so I’m guessing that she’ll be bothered that she didn’t
get an A!).
First, she gets the fact that “technology” is the solution to the
challenge. In most cases, “she’s putting her money where her mouth is”
instead of just telling people that “this will be an easy fix.”
Second… Hillary is talking about an important near-term way we can
address concerns about climate change—storing the greenhouse gases or
what’s called “sequestration.” She proposes funding ten large
geological carbon storage sites—and she favors incenting farmers and
ranchers to use proven methods to store carbon in soil and in plants.
Third, Hillary recognizes that new power plants using coal can’t be
expected to put on carbon capture and storage technologies on that
don’t yet exist. That’s why it is crucial that the federal government
join with the private sector in funding the research, development, and
deployment of these new technologies — and soon.
Hillary is getting a break on the grading curve. At this point, her
competitors in the presidential campaign are getting an incomplete
(come on guys, you have to submit your paper to get a grade). She is
the only one, so far, who has provided real details. This is a big deal
issue that will have a greater effect on the domestic economy (and
therefore American families) than any other set of regulations
considered for quite a long time. So it is reasonable (that’s an
understatement) that folks running for president need to have some
details on how they see the issue playing out.
The “could do better” part
There’s the old political “double speak” about how we will meet
America’s growing energy needs. Senator Clinton places a lot a
confidence in energy efficiency; and, like her, we also embrace using
energy more wisely. However, regardless of how energy efficient you
make a television … it doesn’t get you around the fact that we’re all
plugging in four or five televisions, when several years back it was
one or two televisions per house. I use televisions just as an example
to say we are becoming more energy efficient … but at the same time,
we’re using more energy. So, new coal-based power plants will be
needed. These power plants will meet increased energy demand as well as
replacing older, less efficient power plants.
Also, I’m concern that there is not enough in her plan to protect
families from higher energy costs. I’m particularly concerned about her
plan for 100% auction of the emissions credits for GHG regulations.
Experience from the successful acid rain program show that assigning
credits based upon emissions sources helps to lower the compliance
costs for utilities and those savings ultimately passed along
With oil prices at a record level (and 10% of American households
already paying 50% of their income to cover energy-related
expenditures), having a “safety valve” in any plan to regulate CO2 is
essential to protect families and the economy from substantially higher
As first drafts go, this one shows promise. Let’s hope that Senator
Clinton can add some provisions to look out for working families so I
can give her that “A” I know she’s striving for.
That’s important because climate change is such an key issue —
America can’t afford to support a B- platform. The American public
deserves (and, in fact) will require that whatever policy gets enacted
on this set of issues be an A+ plan.
(Note: Next, I want to share with you some ideas on how I see Senator
Clinton’s plan in relation to energy/national security and her plans
for outreach to the international community on this issue.)