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The next question is about the carbon tax.
Richardson said "it's a bad idea" because it is not a "mandate" on polluters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a certain target. A cap-and-trade system is that mandate, he said, and it keeps the cost from directly affecting consumers.
Obama agreed that a cap-and-trade system makes more sense because of the need for targets that achieve set amounts of pollution reduction. He said, however, that a cap-and-trade system will produce new costs that will be passed to consumers, but he pledged to use some of the money generated by auctioning carbon credits to help lower income families weather that increase.
Clinton said the "economy is slipping toward a recession" and she said clean energy should be the engine used to "jumpstart" the economy. By requiring energy efficiency, alternative energy is "essential" to dealing with the economy.
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Bill Richardson repeated some of his goals for increasing renewable energy use, and defended himself against an attack on his experience and accomplishments as energy secretary under Bill Clinton.
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The first part of the Democratic debate ended with no discussion of the environment.
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After some testy back-and-forth on the question of experience and "change," the buzzword of the campaign, the next question is about whether the surge in Iraq has worked.
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The next question is about experience and change.
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Bill Richardson made the first statement about global warming, in talking about the need for multinational efforts to curtail international dangers.
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The first debate with a manageable number of candidate (four) should make for a more substantive debate, one can hope. The first question is about nuclear terrorism.
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The Democrats have some differences in energy policy, but they all have aggressive plans to address global warming and boost alternative energy investments. It's hard to say whether or not the differences will be emphasized. How the candidates would finance their plans and convince Congress to go along with the often revolutionary and regulation-heavy plans would be good places to start with questions.
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