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Vice Presidential Debate: Green Perspective

Hopefully you tuned into the vice presidential debate last Thursday evening after the Phillies beat the Brewers.  In case you missed it, here’s an 8 minute summary**.

So what eco-discussions did you miss?

Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin proposed energy independence from foreign sources as the solution to our current energy crisis.  Her ideas:

“It’s a nonsensical position that we are in when we have domestic supplies of energy all over this great land. And East Coast politicians who don’t allow energy-producing states like Alaska to produce these, to tap into them, and instead we’re relying on foreign countries to produce for us.  We’re circulating about $700 billion a year into foreign countries, some who do not like America… instead of those dollars circulating here, creating tens of thousands of jobs and allowing domestic supplies of energy to be tapped into and start flowing into these very, very hungry markets.  Energy independence is the key to this nation’s future, to our economic future, and to our national security.”

While energy dependence from foreign nations is great in theory, approx 40% of our oil is from our backyard here in the US.  Our supply is depleting, and our gas prices won’t be much cheaper in the future.  This solution is short-term at best and will just procrastinate our energy crisis.

One major enviro-faux paus for Palin is denying the origin of climate change.  “I’m not one to attribute every man – activity of man to the changes in the climate. There is something to be said also for man’s activities, but also for the cyclical temperature changes on our planet.”  Since the Bush administration didn’t acknowledge that climate change existed for the past eight years, Palin’s quote isn’t strengthening her party’s attempt to distance itself from Bush’s administration.  Palin does admit that regardless of the cause, “We have got to clean up this planet. We have got to encourage other nations also to come along with us with the impacts of climate change, what we can do about that.” Good point – but we’re one of the few nations that hasn’t signed the Kyoto Treaty yet.  One positive for Palin is at least admitting we need to reduce carbon emissions regardless of the cause.

Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Joe Biden, on the other hand, does acknowledge that climate change is man-made. “If you don’t understand what the cause is, it’s virtually impossible to come up with a solution. We know what the cause is. The cause is man-made… That’s why the polar icecap is melting.”  Biden also expressed that we can’t drill our way to independence (fossil fuel is a limited resource), rebutting Palin’s argument.  During the debate, Biden referenced previous votes of Obama’s energy records and his enviro-plan.

Aside from the debate,  Biden encourages eco-actions such as co-sponsor of the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act and introducing a bill to promote CFL lights.

Sarah Palin definitely made her point with the following: “The chant is “drill, baby, drill.” And that’s what we hear all across this country in our rallies because people are so hungry for those domestic sources of energy to be tapped into. They know that even in my own energy-producing state we have billions of barrels of oil and hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of clean, green natural gas. And we’re building a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline which is North America’s largest and most expensive infrastructure project ever to flow those sources of energy into hungry markets.”

… When did oil become clean, green natural gas?  With those statements, whose judgement would you trust for our environment’s future?

**OK, so the SNL skit was only 98% accurate.  But you can read the entire debate transcript here.

Posted by Julie

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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