Sen. Joe Biden
Biden has a $50 billion 'Apollo Plan' for climate and energy research that would slash greenhouse gas emissions by 80% and create about 200,000 new clean tech jobs.
How He'd Pay For It:
Auction carbon credits, tax oil company profits and revoke oil and gas company subsidies.
What Sets Him Apart:
A $50 million Flip to Save program that would educate consumers about energy efficiency and distribute compact fluorescent light bulbs.
By Dan Shapley
"The science is clear, and the physical consequences of global warming are obvious in shrinking polar ice caps, retreating glaciers, stronger storms, and changing rainfall patterns. We can expect rising sea levels, spreading diseases, and unpredictable, abrupt climate shifts. Even the richest nations will face huge costs coping with this challenge. The poorest nations will be hit the worst and will have the fewest resources with which to respond. This is a recipe for global resource wars, and even great resentment of our wealth by those less fortunate a new world disorder. We must act."
-- Joe Biden, January 2007
Joe Biden has made energy policy a centerpiece of his campaign, with a science-based goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and a variety of policies designed to boost alternative and renewable energy production.
During his time holding national office, Biden has an 84 lifetime score on the League of Conservation Voters Scorecard. The Scorecard rates national office holders on a scale of 0 to 100 based on their votes on environmental issues on which LCV has taken a position. He scored between 83 and 100 between 2001 and 2006.
The 2008 Biden campaign has taken $16,650 from the oil and gas industry, ranking him 12th of 15 candidates and 6th of seven Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Joe Biden's Energy and Environmental Platform at a Glance
Biden has outlined a specific set of energy and environmental policies, provided information on his campaign Website and frequently discussed the issues in public forums.
- Cut carbon dioxide emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Employ a cap-and-trade system whereby companies would have to restrict pollution to within a national cap, and those that pollute less could sell credits to those who pollute more. Auction credits to generate money for clean energy research and development.
- Participate in U.N. global warming negotiations and create a new framework for emissions reduction that includes China, India and other developing nations.
- Use debt-for-nature swaps in order to preserve tropical rainforests in developing nations.
- Create a five-year, $50 billion "Apollo Project" for energy and climate change that would invest in renewable energy, alternative fuels, nuclear waste management, carbon capture and sequestration, and clean coal technology.
- Tax "windfall profits" of oil companies, repeal other oil and gas tax breaks a nd collect royalties on oil and gas production on the outer continental shelf.
- Set a 20% renewable energy portfolio requiring utilities to derive 20% of energy from renewable sources like wind, solar and hydro power.
- Require federal government to purchase 10% of energy from renewable sources by 2010 and 20% by 2020.
- Increase federal building efficiency by 30%, and federal fuel efficiency by 20%, and focus particularly on the military, which is the largest consumer of energy in the federal government.
- Enact new $50 million Flip to Save program to educate consumers about energy efficiency and distribute compact fluorescent light bulbs.
- Expand Energy Star program that rates appliances based on energy efficiency to cover more products.
- Support local building codes for energy efficiency and enact unspecified new incentives to encourage green building.
- Create a $100 million worker training program to help people work with renewable and alternative energy technology.
- Supports nuclear power and an increased oversight role for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
- Reject coal-fired power plants that don't capture and store carbon emissions.
- Oppose off-shore drilling, oil exploration and extraction in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
- Oppose building of new coal-fired power plants that don't sequester carbon.
- Support the development of clean coal technology, including liquid coal fuel, not for use in the United States as much as for export to China and other developing nations that are heavily reliant on coal.
- Invest in finding ways to re-use spent radioactive fuel from nuclear power plants.
- Increase fuel efficiency 4% (about 1 mpg) per year to 40 mph average by 2017.
- Invest $100 million (up from $42 million) in lithium-ion battery research.
- Require 10% annual increase in production of flex fuel vehicles that run on E85, an 85/15 mix of ethanol and gasoline. Require 100% compliance by 2017, and offer incentives to auto manufacturers to help them alter their factories.
- Require oil companies to stock E85 at 50% of stations by 2017.
- Boost renewable fuels requirement from the current 7.5 billion gallons by 2012 to 10 billion by 2010, 30 billion by 2020 and 60 billion by 2030. Invest in research and development of cellulosic ethanol.
- Reverse many Bush Administration executive orders and regulations related to the environment.
- Renew industry tax that had paid for toxic waste site cleanups when the polluter can not be identified or cannot afford the cleanup.
- Update mining laws so companies pay more royalties for mining public lands and do more to restore the land after completing projects.
- Include environmental standards in international trade agreements.