The Candidates on Solar Energy

I spent my lunch checking out the announced 2008 presidential candidate’s campaign websites to see what they had to say about solar energy as a solution to the energy crisis. Here’s what I found:

  • Barack Obama: There is no specific mention of solar on his “Meeting Energy Needs” page. Presumably it’s incorporated into “renewables,” but the emphasis of Obama’s plans are conservation and bio-fuel/ethanol.
  • Hillary Clinton: There is no specific mention of solar on her “Promoting Energy Independence and Fighting Global Warming” page, and again I presume solar is included as a “renewable energy” source. Clinton’s plans to spend $50 billion to attack the energy problem, virtually from every direction, but there are no details on how this money would be divided.
  • John Edwards: Edwards has a very detailed plan entitled “Achieving Energy Independence & Stopping Global Warming Through A New Energy Economy.” Part of this plan is a $13 billion per year commitment to the energy problem, including increased investment in development and implementation of solar technology. On a local level, Edwards wants to offer tax credits for homes and businesses that generate electricity on-site from solar panels. He also proposes starting a “GreenCorps,” an environmentally directed service program, which would install solar panels among other things.
  • Bill Richardson: Solar is not mentioned specifically on his energy page. Richardson wants an increased use of “renewables” (presumably including solar) and a carbon offset scheme established.
  • Joe Biden: There is only a cursory, two-paragraph description of Biden’s energy plans on his issues page.
  • Chris Dodd: Dodd has a very detailed policy for energy independence. Included is investment of upto $50 billion per year in renewable technology, including solar, paid for by a carbon offset tax. He also proposes tax credits for solar generation of electricity.
  • Dennis Kucinich: Kucinich wants to invest in development and implementation of renewable technology by means of a $50 billion “Global Green Deal.”
  • John McCain: There is no specific page or section describing McCain’s plans for the energy crisis, let alone solar. There is a transcript of an interview with the National Review where he states, “I’m for solar,” but prefers expansion of nuclear energy.
  • Rudy Giuliani: Energy is not mentioned on his issues page.
  • Mitt Romney: Romney briefly outlines his thoughts on his energy page, but solar is not mentioned specifically. His proposed policies are aimed at ending the US dependence on foreign oil as a security concern, not an environmental issue.

Winners: Edwards and Dodd have the most detailed proposals for dealing with the energy crisis and climate change with solar as a key component.
Losers: McCain and Giuliani don’t think energy is even worth having on their sites in any capacity.

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