It’s Primary Debate Season, which means you’ve probably been inundated with television ads and heavy media coverage about the candidates and the issues that they support. So far, one issue that hasn’t been addressed too much in either debate is energy. There is a lot of difference among the candidates – even among those from the same party. For example, while Bernie Sanders has vehemently opposed the Keystone XL Pipeline, Hillary Clinton has been less quick to make her position known. On the Republican side, all agree on the pipeline itself, but some are unsure as to how much they want to fight for it. There are a number of energy issues that are affecting us now and will continue to affect us for the next president’s term. Let’s examine how energy may affect politics in the next election.
Coal Energy and Climate Change: One of the biggest concerns many scientists have is man’s impact on the warming of the world. Many have pointed at our dependence on coal and how this has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the ozone. However, some in energy have questioned how catastrophic the rate of warming will be on future generations and whether or not carbon emissions will mitigate the effects of global warming. Plus, there is the question of which type of energy to turn to. Natural gas has shown much promise and so have alternative energies, but we will need to improve our energy infrastructure to facilitate more earth-friendly energy sources.
How Will Energy Changes Impact Employment? One of the biggest concerns critics of sweeping reform have is the effect that it will have on jobs. Increasing regulations may raise energy costs, forcing some manufacturing plants to shut down. The alternative energy movement has seen growth, but can that growth offset the lost jobs and impact on the economy from increased regulations? In contrast, proponents of the Keystone XL Pipeline have said that the project would create 42,000 new jobs and add $2 billion to the U.S. economy.
Voters Have Indicated That Energy Will Influence Their Voting: According to a survey conducted by Consumer Energy Alliance, 80% of those who answered said that energy will play a major part in how they vote. This is because of the ramifications energy regulations may have with the economy, foreign policy, and the environment. Therefore, industry leaders, like David Stewart formerly of Heartland Resources, will be taking a close look at the debates and media coverage of the candidates to see how they may affect energy regulations in the upcoming years.