As the three remaining presidential candidates head into the home stretch of primary season, energy and environment issues have yet to make a splash in stump speeches and debates, despite the fact that each candidate has vowed to make climate and energy top priorities. During today's E&ETV Event Coverage, the candidates' energy and environment advisers give their positions on the expansion of coal and nuclear, implementation and funding of alternative energy, and climate policy. Panelists include, Jason Grumet, environmental adviser for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Todd Stern, adviser to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), and James Woolsey, environmental adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Tim Wheeler: ...Society of Environmental Journalists and a reporter for the Baltimore Sun. On behalf of SEJ, I'd like to welcome you to this forum focusing on the environmental and energy positions of the three people who are hoping to win a four-year lease on the White House this fall.
For those of you not familiar with SEJ, it's the oldest and largest organization of journalists, journalism educators, and students dedicated to advancing public understanding of environmental issues by improving the quality and accuracy and visibility of reporting on them.
We have 1,400 members across the United States and in Canada and 30 other countries. Political Climate, this forum, is part of SEJ's mission. Polls indicate that many Americans are concerned about climate change.
All three presidential candidates have outlined policy positions on climate, energy, and environmental issues, yet they've gotten relatively little attention so far in news coverage. We hope this event organized by SEJ begins to change that and we thank CSPAN for sharing our view that this topic is newsworthy.
I'd like to thank National Geographic, the Environmental Oil Institute, BNA, and the American Chemical Society, publishers of Chemical and Engineering News for their generous financial support in helping us stage this forum.
Before you leave I hope you'll stop at the tables outside to learn more about our cosponsors and about SEJ. You journalists in the audience, if you're not an SEJ member already, I encourage you to join.
SEJ is the source for reporting on environmental topics regardless of your beat. About our program, we're privileged to have environmental advisers to Senators Clinton, McCain, and Obama here to answer questions, first from our moderators and then from you, the audience.
Following that we'll be treated to a preview of an upcoming documentary on PBS's "Frontline" about how big business is changing its approach to the environment in ways that could influence the politics of the climate issue.
More on that later, now let me introduce our moderators for the Q&A.
Margie Kriz covers energy and environmental issues for the National Journal, where she's worked since 1987. In a stroke of good timing, she has the Journal's cover story this week titled, "Where is EPA?" She also writes a federal column for the Environmental Law Institute's bimonthly magazine, the Environmental Forum. Margie has served on the Board of Directors of SEJ and she's organized and moderated sessions like this at SEJ conferences for as long as I can remember.
Susan Feeney is senior editor for planning at "All Things Considered," National Public Radio's longest running newsmagazine. Before joining "All Things Considered" in 2004, she was senior editor of NPR's other flagship show, "Morning Edition." Before joining NPR in 2000, Susan was national political reporter and White House correspondent for the Dallas Morning News.
She's covered five presidential elections, four as a reporter and one as an editor. And before that, she covered Washington and City Hall and politics even before that, for the Times Picayune in New Orleans. Susan hasn't forgotten her New Orleans roots. In the wake of the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Katrina she founded Friends of the Times Picayune, a relief fund for families at the newspaper hit so hard by the storm.
I want to make a special thank you to Margie and to Dina Cappiello, reporter for E&E publishing's ClimateWire, for helping bring all this together today, this wonderful event.
Now, if anyone can get to the bottom of just how green these candidates really are, I'm sure it will be these distinguished moderators. Thank you for coming. Please welcome Margie and Susan who will introduce our panel and get things going.
Margie Kriz: Hi, I'd like to welcome the panel. Here's the game plan for the session. Susan and I will introduce the three panelists, the advisers. At the end of that we will ask a few questions. Excuse me, they're going to make five minutes of introductions. We've asked them to do about five minutes of introductions. And then we'll ask questions and then it will be up to you, but first the introductions.
The first speaker will be Todd Stern, who represents Hillary Clinton. That is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a partner at Wilmer Hale, which is a D.C. law firm. During the Clinton administration Mr. Stern worked in the White House as an assistant to the president and staff secretary. He also acted as the senior White House negotiator at the Kyoto and Buenos Aires negotiations on global warming. After leaving government, he was a lecturer at the Harvard School of Government.
The second speaker will be Jim Woolsey, who is speaking on behalf of John McCain. Mr. Woolsey is a specialist in alternative energy and security issues. As such, he wears many hats, four hats actually. And I'll have to read them closely, because it's changed since we originally wrote our introduction for him. He's a partner with Vantage Point Venture Partners in California. He chairs the advisory board of the Paladin Capital Group in Washington. He's an adviser to Booz Allen Hamilton. And, believe it or not, he's also of counsel to the law firm of Goodwin Proctor.
However, Mr. Woolsey is best known for his time at the CIA, many years of service at the CIA, and he also was a presidential appointee for four different presidents.
Susan Feeney: I'm going to introduce the third of our guests and then launch them on their way in their five minutes each. And we want you all to know that we will be timing you. I come from radio land; we'll keep it to your time.
And I get to introduce Jason Grumet. Now, Jason is, at the Obama campaign, the head of what they consider their Environment and Energy Committee, so he really is at the nexus of the campaign's discussion and is thinking about that.
As a civilian, meaning separate from politics, he's founder and president of the Bipartisan Policy Center. I was thinking, oh, BPC for short, but if you don't know what that is, I have to admit that I didn't know either. And it is an interesting group organized by four former majority leaders on the Senate, and that's Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell, to try to find bipartisan solutions to some of the more vexing public-policy problems that we have today.
And those policies are national security, healthcare, transportation, agriculture, and energy. And you might imagine, he's the energy part. So, we're going to start off here and we're going to start with Todd. We're just going to try to keep with alphabetical by campaigns.
Todd Stern: Thank you very much. Thank you for the invitation to come here. It's a pleasure to be here. I was at a dinner last night and I heard somebody say that of all of the hundreds or thousands, or whatever number of questions that have been asked in these perhaps interminable presidential debates that have been going on for months and months and months, there have been three asked on climate change.
I haven't been keeping track, but that's probably fairly accurate. So, I commend the work that you guys are doing in holding this forum. Let me say that the first thing, I think the key first thing to know about Senator Clinton, with respect to the issues of climate and energy, is that she gets it. She gets it in its full dimension, in its full scope, and she gets what the implications are for dealing with it. To state the obvious, she will be standing the approach of the current administration on its head.
This has been, on a fate-of-the-earth issue, an administration that has spent seven years in denial, walking away from international engagement, muzzling their own scientists, and clinging to voluntary policies that are clearly not up to the task. I think this has truly been a situation of fiddling while Rome is beginning to burn and we have essentially lost eight years where we could have been doing a lot more.
And this is quite a constant drumbeat of evidence, which you are all are very well aware of, the loss of sea ice in the Arctic, that huge chunk of ice that dropped off of the Antarctic a few weeks ago, the increase in the intensity of hurricanes, droughts, historic droughts in the Southeast and Southwest and other places in the world, etc.
So, this is obviously a huge environmental problem, but it's far beyond that. This is a problem that's also going to be a first-order national security issue. It's going to exacerbate food security problems. It's going to exacerbate water scarcity. It's going to make desertification worse, increase resource competition, and produce, undoubtedly, large-scale migration and refugee problems and increase border tension.
This is not an issue that is sort of going to be on the margin of national security. This is going to the increasingly a core national security concern.
In the words of 11 admirals and generals who put out an important report last year, climate change is a threat multiplier for instability in volatile parts of the world. Economic also, I mean people focus a lot on the economic costs of action.
The economic costs of inaction are also likely to be very, very large over time. Nick Stern put out a seminal report, again, as I'm sure you all know, last year, in which he said that actions that we take over the next few decades could create risks of economic disruption at a scale of the Great Depression and the wars of the last century.
So, it's going to take a huge effort to deal with this problem. And, I think, what we are fundamentally talking about, and I think the way Senator Clinton sees this, is that it's going to require transformation of the energy base of the U.S. economy and, indeed, of the global economy. Not anything less than that, which is obviously an enormous undertaking. Another thing, which I think is critical here is I think that it's not just a matter of what your policies are. Those are important and Senator Clinton has a very far-reaching plan.
It's also the level of priority and commitment that you're going to invest this with. When you're in the White House there are a ton of issues obviously coming at you, domestic, foreign. The degree of commitment and focus and capital that a president is going to spend makes all the difference. In addition, because of the importance of the issue and the crosscutting nature of it, Senator Clinton recognizes this issue as something that's going to be a fundamental organizing principle of her administration, should she be elected. And, for that reason, has proposed the creation of a new council within the White House, a national energy council akin to the NEC or the NSC. Another important point, she obviously understands the centrality of working with Congress.
In her eight years on the Environment and Public Works Committee she has a record of working across -- she actually has a surprising record when you think about all of the different Republicans of all stripes that she has worked with, both on environmental and other issues, from Senators Inhofe and Voinovich to Tom Delay and others.
I'm seeing my time is getting short. I'll only just give you a broad frame. Her plan is basically organized around four critical planks. First is a major cap-and-trade program economy wide. That's one piece of it.
Then you need to have a set of complementary policies, which she does have, with regard to both the electricity sector efficiency, and renewables, and also with respect to transportation. And the fourth plank, and my time is up, the fourth plank has to do with a major increase in the R&D effort.
There's only so much you can do with cap and trade. It is a critical element to move transformational technologies, which is what we're going to have to have to fix this problem. You're going to need a major R&D effort as well. So let me stop there and I'll turn it over my colleagues.
Jim Woolsey: Thank you, well, I was honored to be asked to be here with you today, with Todd and Jason on this important question. But, to tell you the truth, since I spent 22 years as a Washington lawyer and then I spent some time out at the CIA, I'm actually honored to be invited into any polite company for any purpose at all.
I think it's important to realize that when you ask John McCain who his chief political hero is he always says the same person. He says, "Teddy Roosevelt." And he focuses not only on T.R. as a Rough Rider and as a Nobel Peace Prize winner and as sending the Great White Fleet around the world, but very much on his history of his friendship with John Muir, his founding of the national park system, and his willingness to take on large corporate and other interests in the public interest.
I think that it's important to realize that during the 2000 campaign he came, through discussions with the public really more than anything else, to appreciate the importance of climate change as an issue. And, rather than just thinking about it, he went back, worked with his friend Joe Lieberman and they introduced, in 2001 I believe, McCain-Lieberman, the first mandatory carbon cap-and-trade proposal in the Congress.
He was not happily received within a number of board rooms as a result of that and among some from his own party. But, he has, as is his style, stuck to his position and worked hard on it. He believes that carbon cap and trade, in a mandatory version, not a voluntary one, as this administration has supported, but a mandatory version is essential to creating, at a national and international level, a general and economically sound pressure to move away from carbon emitting sources for energy and toward far less carbon emitting sources, hopefully not emitting all, in the form, say, of renewables and others.
He has said quite explicitly, and the place to look for his most complete statement to date on energy and environment was the speech almost exactly a year ago at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, that global warning is a serious and urgent economic, environmental, and national security challenge.
He also believes that oil dependence is a serious problem for the country, both because of oil's contribution to climate change and because of our vulnerability to cutoffs, to terrorist attacks in the Middle East, such as the attack al-Qaida attempted on Abqaiq, the largest oil production facility in the world about a year ago.
Because oil fuels not only Saudi Arabia's spreading of its hateful Wahhabi doctrine, into madrasas and religious schools around the world, but because another very large oil producer, Iran, is a major threat in that part of the world and in potentially other parts of the world as well, including quite particularly a threat to Israel.
So, he has suggested that some of the programs we ought to concentrate on and promote, with respect to moving away from oil, are plug-in hybrid gasoline/electric vehicles, flexible fuel vehicle mandates, so that one can have access to ethanol, butanol, methanol, a whole range of alternative liquid fuels. And he has stressed the importance of using new technology, particularly in automobile body construction, to lighten the weight of vehicles and to substantially increase their crash resistance.
He has pursued, in short, an overall strategy of looking for common steps that we can take to make ourselves far less likely to be putting carbon into the atmosphere and, at the same time, far more resilient in the overall nature of our energy systems, both electricity producing and powering of transportation, resilient against intentional interference such as terrorism, as well as resilient against natural failures or catastrophes such as Katrina.
It is, in short, I think an overarching, sound, overall approach. More will be forthcoming in the weeks to come to put some more detail on this. But it is an approach that I think commends itself to anyone who is serious about the environment and who is serious about national security.
Jason Grumet: Thank you all very much and so it's nice to be with Todd and Jim and it's always nice to be part of a national discussion in a presidential election where all three, I think, essentially do get it.
I think Todd is exactly right, all three candidates recognize that we have profoundly important and serious structural threats to our economy and to our environment coming from the combination of climate change and oil dependence. And I think what motivates me is the question of not only who gets it, but, in fact, who can get it done, because every president, since Richard Nixon has aspired to energy independence in one form or another. And we've been yammering at each other as a nation for 10 years about global climate change while the votes have basically stayed essentially locked. And what I think is most important about what Senator Obama brings to the discussion is not just that he has the most clever ideas, which I think he does, but he recognizes that these challenges are not like any problem that we've faced before.
They are fundamental to the core of how we see ourselves as a society and they're going to take more than just smart policy. They're actually going to take a sense of shared commitment that we have is a country that we are about something more than just who won "American Idol" last night. And it's going to require a kind of stick-to-itiveness and focus over a longer term than we, as politicians, generally expect to see. And so rather than kind of wandering through some of our fancy ideas, what I want to share with you for I guess probably four minutes and 14 seconds is how I got to know Senator Obama and why I think he actually has a differential ability to change this debate.
I met him in, I think, May of '05. In my day job I was going around talking to members of Congress about oil. Gas prices were high. Everyone wanted to talk about it.
You'd sit down, you'd hear their incredibly heroic speech about why this is such a big problem, and then they'd say, "How can I cut energy independence in half in seven years?" There was a bumper sticker. And you'd say, "Well, actually senator, it's a lot tougher than that." And you'd show them the numbers and you'd say, "Look, you really have to focus on cars if you want to give a serious speech on energy policy." And you'd feel the energy kind of dissipate a little bit in the discussion. And then you tell them the truth, that there's so much negative momentum in the system it's going to take a decade. Even if you really take on the tough interests and win, it will take about a decade before you can show your constituents real progress.
At which point they'd yawn and they'd look at their watch and they'd thank me for my great work and that would be the end of the discussion. Then I went in to see Senator Obama and his staff and he was looking at the numbers and said, "We've got to do something about cars." I was like, yes, we do senator. And there's a lot of negative momentum in the system. It's going to take 10 years. Well, then we better get started now was his response. I mean a different kind of wiring.
And then his staff told him about how difficult CAFE was and how last time it had gotten 28 votes and people thought of it as kind of a career shortening proposition and John Kerry would have been president and all the rest of the crap that you've all listened to for years. And he basically said, "Look, it's a 30-year-old law. Go figure it out. You're smart people. If the law hasn't been changed for 30 years there's got to be some way to make it better. Bring folks together and do something about it."
And then several months later he gave a speech, I think it was that Resources for the Future, having met with the car companies and the UAW, and he kind of laid out a tough love approach, which was that we are going to significantly strengthen standards.
We're going to reform the program so that it's more equitable for domestic and foreign manufacturers and we're going to provide significant incentives to retool the domestic facilities so that the U.S. can continue to compete.
OK, we made a little progress. Most important though, I think it was the following spring and probably May or June of '06, President Bush did an interesting thing. He sent a letter to Congress demanding authority to reform CAFE. It said that basically the ball is in your court Congress. I and the administration did not have the authority to reform CAFE. And the reflexive reaction from most of the Democratic Party was, oh, he's just passing the buck. He has plenty of authority, he should go do it himself, which wasn't true. They had ample authority to kind of tighten the crank on the existing system, but they didn't have the authority to actually reinvent the way that we regulated the car companies.
And Obama got together with Lugar and they wrote a letter to the president. Mr. President, we embraced your call to strengthen and reform, they threw strengthen in, because why would you want to reform it if you weren't going to strengthen it, CAFE standards. And we're going to work together in a bipartisan fashion to get that done. And they did. They worked together for another several months. That summer they released the Fuel Economy Reform Act cosponsored by Specter and Biden and about a dozen other folks, most of whom had never supported fuel economy increases in the past.
And the rest of the Congress took another 18 months to actually fight it out more and past the first significant fuel economy standards in 30 years in December of last year. And if one of you enterprising reporters actually goes and looks at the Fuel Economy Reform Act and what actually passed in the energy bill 18 months later, you'll find that it's almost exactly the same thing. They broke through the debate. They put together the clever package. They found a way to attend to some of the concerns, not all, but some of the concerns of the auto industry and the UAW and the environmental community, and they broke the debate open.
And it's going to be that kind of vision, that kind of creativity, and that kind of commitment that it's going to take to make any progress at all on the big issues like climate change. Thanks.
Margie Kriz: Thank you so much. I think we certainly are all hearing lots of agreement, but one thing that I don't hear when I listen to the candidates on the stump, I don't hear them asking voters and asking Americans to make specific sacrifices if we're going to reduce dependency on foreign oil, conserve, all those things.
I thought we'd just start with a very quick round from all of you. Tell me one specific thing that we're asking families to do and sacrifice. Light bulbs don't count. Everyone has already done the light bulbs and I just want to hear from you on that.
Todd Stern: Well, look, I think that part and parcel of a cap-and-trade program, what a cap-and-trade program does is put a price on carbon. I mean that's that significant part of the point. And the reason you put a price on carbon is so that businesses and people start thinking about whether they can make purchases, do things in a more efficient way that's going to cost them less. So, I think that the premise of mandatory programs like cap and trade is to say, everybody, you're going to spend more money. Now, do the candidates, any of them, quite frame it that way?
Margie Kriz: Stand up and say I'm asking you to spend more money on products? No, they don't.
Todd Stern: They might not quite frame it that way, but that's what's going on. So I actually don't think that this is a situation where people are just being asked to support feel-good policies. I think these are real policies, turning to the case of Senator Clinton, and that are going to cost people real money.
Jim Woolsey: Well, I agree with Todd and I think that there are two aspects to this that are important. One is we shouldn't just be talking about foreign oil, we should be talking about oil. If we don't destroy oil in its monopoly over transportation, if we try just to produce a bit more ourselves here domestically and fence ourselves off from the world market with some combination of tariffs and subsidies, we will end up with a mess.
We have to push the technologies such as plug-in hybrids, such as flexible fuel vehicles, such as alternative, second-generation, particularly liquid fuels such as cellulosic ethanol, ethanol and butanol and so on, that will move us decisively and quickly away from oil period.
So, also a lot of what you need to do is not so much a matter of sacrifice as it is stripping away artificial barriers to doing smart things. A lot of the artificial barriers have built up over the years and I'll give you one example.
Most landlords, when they get a utility bill they parcel that out among their tenants and they mark it up, so the landlord has an incentive to keep wasting electricity. If you change the laws, state by state this would probably have to be, so that incentive didn't exist you could improve a lot. But it's not so much asking people to give things up as it is spotting opportunities where you can make big improvements by getting rid of barriers and also by doing some of the types of things that have been done with energy efficiency.
I tend to use that word rather than conservation because the big McKinsey study here of a year ago pointed out that you could do about half of what you needed to do by just scaling down and changing the use of electricity of buildings to get us down to about 550 parts per million on CO2 emissions, CO2 content of the atmosphere. But that's probably too high. We want to go lower than that. That was the target people were talking about around a year ago. But the point is, getting halfway there is a huge contribution. The McKinsey study says you can do that in buildings around the world by investing in steps that have a 10 percent or better internal rate of return.
That is, these are all things that make money, not that require an investment upfront, but make money. So I think the attitude ought to be what can we do to remove the barriers in the market to doing sensible things like this and encourage people to take the steps.
Sometimes it will be sacrifice, but a lot of the time it will be stripping away controls and barriers that have been built up over the years and shouldn't be there.
Margie Kriz: All right, thank you. Jason?
Jason Grumet: You guys couldn't afford three microphones, huh? I'm just kidding. So, Senator Obama, I think, shares the recognition of what Todd suggested at the outset, which is that the cold showers and warm beer platform has rarely brought anybody to the White House.
At the same time, I think he has been unique and talking not about how easy this is going to be, but in fact how hard it's going to be. He has gone around the country and said this is going to be very difficult. People are going to get hurt by the dramatic transition that we have to make in this country in order to make ourselves safe and secure, both environmentally and economically.
It's not just a my Prius is red, what color is your Prius conversation. I think he believes that the country is actually desperate to be called upon to contribute to something. And I would differentiate contribution from sacrifice.
But his view, I think, is that we have to come together and recognize that in the middle of Pittsburgh there's going to have to be dramatic change within the manufacturing sector. People are going to find themselves working in different industries.
While there has to be tremendous change within manufacturing, you know, we can't succeed without manufacturing. And there is a sense that this is a very significant problem. Now, I think the president also has the opportunity to be on the soapbox and try to help people understand the extent to which all of our individual choices are part of this larger problem.
And that has not been something that this administration has sought to do. I mean it's been probably spoken about far too much, but this notion that conservation is wimpy, it's this kind of personal virtue, but not really something that the country should care about. I don't think that's the attitude that you're going to see in an Obama administration.
I think that there will be a clear sense that, again, we have a shared and rather urgent need to change the way we understand our use of energy. And I think if anybody can make that cool it's probably Barack Obama.
Susan Feeney: For our next question, I think that everybody in the room has been listening and thinking, god, these guys sound pretty much similar. Can you tell me how your candidate stands out? Some different policy that's different than the other folks on these issues, on energy, on global warming? Why don't you start Jason?
Jason Grumet: I do have the mic. These are all smart candidates and they all see the same problem, so I don't think anyone is going to say cold fusion in a jar. That was my idea! But I think we do have some significant differences in emphasis.
One of the things that Senator Obama's campaign has focused on a great deal is the real question of how do we turn the crank on innovation and technology? There has been a lot of focus on R&D, which is the front side of that equation. But when you really look at the greatest lapses over the last couple of decades, it's not that we haven't had good ideas in this country; it's that we've had good ideas that then get commercialized in other countries. There's this wonderfully romantic notion called the Valley of Death, where great technologies basically go and never come out the other side.
So I think Senator Obama believes that we really need to focus much of our energies on the commercialization and deployment of the first six of everything, because it's those facilities that are obviously going to be far more expensive to build. There's a much higher risk of capital associated with those facilities.
And so he's put together a proposal to basically create a nearly $50 billion essentially kind of venture/deployment fund. It's based upon a program that was developed actually at the CIA, Jim, called In-Q-Tel, which is an effort in which the federal government basically capitalized a venture fund to go invest in the kinds of technologies that the private sector wasn't going after.
So you can almost think about it as kind of a green investment fund. To do good things for the world you're willing to get yourself a somewhat lower rate of return, you're going to take a higher risk profile than you might otherwise. And that's produced, I think, 50 different technologies that the department now relies upon.
And I think one of the other focuses of Senator Obama is the question of how does government spend money smarter? Jim was alluding to this and it's very appropriate. Our energy subsidies are just a morass, so bad that, in fact, no one actually even really knows what much of the money goes to or what comes back.
Senator Obama recognized that if we're going to go and try to dramatically plus up the public resources for energy R&D, it's going to have to be done in a more accountable way and bringing some of the private sector motifs of business and not just the kind of good will of DOE into the discussion, I think he believes is important.
Jim Woolsey: Well, I agree with all of that, except with the proposition that Senator Obama believes it more than Senator McCain. Senator McCain's speech at CSIS, for example, stressed something that I haven't heard yet from the other candidates and maybe they can enlighten us.
Maybe the other candidates have said it. He talks about cutting the subsidies of industries that are today subsidized in energy and can, quote, "stand on their own" and using those funds in order to move quickly to things like plug-in hybrids with improved batteries. And he says that flexible fuel vehicles aren't futuristic pie-in-the-sky.
We can easily deploy such technology today for less than $100 a vehicle. I think he is very willing to move promptly to give the kind of encouragement that one needs to get through, as Jason put it, what is called, in fact, the Valley of Death between brilliant R&B and slow implementation.
I think that it's important to focus on how a candidate, if he or she were president, would be able to lead the country, including the interests in the business world and labor world and elsewhere who sometimes would just as soon not see movement in such areas and would just as soon not see removal of longtime, comfortable subsidies and comfortable encouragement to do inefficient but profitable things.
The one thing I don't think you should have any doubt about, with respect to John McCain, is his willingness to take on powerful interests, whether those are North Vietnamese prison guards or whether they are corporate or union or fellow politicians, including some in his own party, or the president or anybody else.
This is an individual who is willing to make a decision and then go with it and I think you would see substantial attention to implementation, not just to R&D.
Todd Stern: A couple things Susan. First of all, two things which are process oriented, but I think very important. One I actually mentioned in my remarks, which is Senator Clinton's proposal to establish a national energy council within the White House. I actually think that's of great importance.
The capacity to drive the government, the executive branch of the government, in the direction desired and at a high level of intensity is enormously important. This is an issue which touches virtually every agency in the government one way or another, economic, national security, agriculture, forestry, health care.
It goes across a broad range. On the international side, Senator Clinton has called for the creation of an E8, the idea being to bring key developed and developing countries together in a kind of core group. Now, we've seen a kind of version of that, but I would say not the kind of version that Senator Clinton has in mind, from the Bush administration, in their major emitters group.
I think the fundamental problem with that, with what President Bush has done, is that that's a group which is process without content, because the administration is not willing to do anything mandatory, is not willing to take the steps that could potentially make that an effective vehicle. But I think that is potentially an effective vehicle and Senator Clinton has, as I say, this E8 idea.
On the R&D front, she's proposed and it has been enacted an ARPA E8, a new research agency model on the quite successful DARPA agency in the Defense Department, again, for serious R&D, and has also proposed a strategic energy fund at the level of $50 billion over 10 years to be funded by essentially a re-jiggering of tax incentives away from the oil industry toward clean and renewable energy.
Margie Kriz: Thank you very much. I'm going to put this next question just to Jason and if either one of you want to respond as well we'd be happy to have that. At the beginning of this my interest in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast was exposed, so I will ask, I haven't heard the senator talk about how he would address restoring the coastal wetlands on the Gulf coast, which is obviously an immediate need, but longer term, as we look at rising sea levels. And I wonder if you could talk specifically about plans for that.
Jason Grumet: You'll decide if the word specifically applies here or not, but I think that Senator Obama, like probably all of us, recognized that there is a dramatic challenge in this country of infrastructure and conservation generally, and that that challenge is being dramatically now exacerbated by the pressures of climate change.
And while we will not try to attribute any particular storm to climate change, there's certainly no question that what we saw in Katrina has the horrific potential to be a recurring theme in this country, not just down in New Orleans, but we're seeing tremendous challenges in Alaska and also throughout the rest of the Gulf Coast and the southeastern United States.
So, adaptation is one of the key planks of the Obama climate change platform. Obviously, the first and foremost challenge is to reduce both U.S. emissions and then put the full faith and credit of the United States behind an effort to actually get a meaningful and equitable global pact.
But regardless, we are already seeing and experiencing issues and challenges from climate change. And one of the wonders of approaches to climate change is that a cap-and-trade system, and I'm sure we will talk about permit allocation at some point in this wonderful affair, has the ability to generate significant resources. And Senator Obama has supported and committed to, and I can't remember the exact billions, so I won't quote them, but several billions of dollars a year under his climate plan would go towards addressing the concerns of adaptation, not just on the coastal area, but also efforts that will affect wildlife and ecosystems and the ability to recreate and hunt. So, I'm not able to give you a sense of a precise plan for restoring New Orleans, but I think he sees that as part of a broader challenge for the next president.
Margie Kriz: Is there any evidence that he has had or has a specific focus on wetlands? Is there anything you can talk about?
Jason Grumet: He doesn't have any specific focus on wetlands. Beyond the focus on preserving ecosystems, at least of late the discussions have been ecosystem protection for wildlife. There's been a significant focus on waterfowl and he's been working with Ducks Unlimited and the rest, but I cannot give you a specific position he's taken on the wetlands conservation.
Margie Kriz: Do you have anything to add to that?
Susan Feeney: Okay, this is the last question from us and so is if any of the reporters in the room are willing to say what their affiliation is and ask a question to a specific person on the board, on the panel here, please feel free to queue up at the microphone here on our left, your right. I'm still having a hard time finding out the difference between the three candidates quite honestly. So, what I'd like to do is throw this one to Jim Woolsey specifically. Nuclear power, is nuclear power one of the solutions to climate change and just in what capacity? And I'd love to hear what the other two advisers say as well.
Jim Woolsey: John McCain believes that it can be a useful addition to renewables in the move to move away from carbon emitting sources of electricity and he has said that on a number of occasions. He understands very well the spent fuel problem and the political issue in Nevada and all the rest, because we've got to come together and find some way to deal reasonably with that.
And he looks forward very much to technology, whether it's with different substances or something we haven't had a chance to talk about yet, some of the new work that's going on at Livermore and elsewhere to make possible considerably better reactors from the point of view of not having spent fuel able to be used in any fashion in the proliferation of weapons grade material.
But, yes, he is a supporter of nuclear as part of the portfolio, but certainly not exclusively so. I think that insofar as one is able to get done everything that needs to get done with the efficiency improvements and with renewables, it is important to at least keep nuclear on the table as a possibility because we may need some more baseload and the renewables, in and of themselves, wind and solar particularly are intermittent and the electricity grid is a gigantic, just-in-time production and just-in-time use facility.
There's very little storage in it. And so one needs, sometimes, to add baseload and if you're going to add baseload that is not carbon producing nuclear is one reasonable alternative.
So would be capture and sequestration of the carbon, carbon dioxide from coal combustion. But, at least according to best estimates I've heard on that, we're maybe 10 years and $10 billion of experiments away from being sure we could sequester the carbon in probably the deep saline aquifers, which is where would need to go.
And then we would probably need a price, which is maybe quite reasonable at $35 to $40 a ton of CO2 in order to make that all part of the overall picture and system. So, carbon capture and sequestration in large volumes for coal-fired generation is not here yet. We may get there, but in the meantime, if one needs to add baseload that's not intermittent, you may be driven to nuclear and John McCain has said he would support that.
Susan Feeney: Todd?
Todd Stern: Yeah, let me make one slightly different -- boy, I'm happy to address the nuclear issue too, but I think that there is actually a fairly fundamental difference between on the one hand Senator Clinton and Senator Obama and on the other hand Senator McCain. And I would be the first to say that Senator McCain ought to be commended for the leadership role that he has played on the Republican side of the aisle, certainly the first Republican that stepped forward a few years ago with a major mandatory cap-and-trade bill and I think that was great.
I think, at the same time, two points to make right now. First, his, I think leading, certainly one of his leading economic advisers recently gave an interview in which he said that fundamentally cap and trade ought to be the answer and that some of the complementary policies, of which there are many, both in the portfolio of Senator Clinton and Senator Obama, is not the way to go.
That you should really work with the price signal and not stray far beyond that. So there's a big difference there and I think a quite fundamental difference. I think that Senator Clinton doesn't believe that the kind of transformational technology that you need to drive things like carbon capture and concentrated solar thermal and things like that can be done simply on the basis of cap and trade.
Secondly, there is some difference on the nuclear side and Senator Clinton recognizes that 20 percent of our electricity comes from nuclear. You can't simply just throw it overboard, but in terms of expanding it further, there are unresolved questions with respect to safety, cost, proliferation, waste, which until they get resolved further I think she would have some hesitation about trying to charge forward.
Jason Grumet: I'll seize the opportunity of Democratic unity and share the concern that Todd raised, which is that there has seemed to have been a shift in policy of late in the McCain campaign, because Senator McCain had been, I think, a very strong supporter of fuel economy standards and aggressive R&D and there certainly has seemed to be a let the market take us there, which, if you're willing to countenance a $200 price per ton on carbon, would work.
You'd just kill the economy along the way. And so I think that Senator Clinton and Obama do, I think, have a somewhat more sophisticated recognition that you have to have a price signal. But then there are places where the market, like transportation, is not going to function so gracefully and you need to have those kinds of added policies also because we care about things like oil dependence as well as climate.
Not trying to scoot though the nuclear question, I think Senator Obama may find himself some place in the middle of Senators McCain and Clinton on this one. I think he recognizes not just 20 percent of our energy, but fully 70 percent are noncarbon energy comes from nuclear power and he recognizes that there are dramatic challenges that have to be overcome before we can and will have a new generation of nuclear power.
We have to overcome the waste issue. We have to overcome the cost issue. We have to overcome proliferation risks. But he believes that we have to try to overcome those problems, because there are similarly tremendous problems facing the other forms of noncarbon energy when you think about them at that scale. When you think about the challenges of getting 30 or 40 or 50 percent of your power from solar and wind, when you think about the ability to get 40 or 50 percent of your transportation from something other than petroleum, you confront similarly significant challenges. And so nuclear has the benefits and the disadvantage of having the problems we know. I think he believes that we have to try to solve those problems if we hope to achieve the 80 or 90 percent decarbonization of our energy system. But he will not push forward with a new generation of nuclear facilities until those problems are solved.
Susan Feeney: I think Mr. Woolsey wants to follow.
Jim Woolsey: Just have a quick ... I think it's important to realize that, whereas John McCain is a Republican and an economic conservative, he is also someone who believes that the federal government has a very necessary, active role on some matters. I don't know who this economic adviser is, but you want to watch these advisers. You never can tell what they're going to say. Whatever.
The key thing, I think, is that we are in a situation where we have embedded subsidies and crazy incentives in a system that needs to be changed. And some of these subsidies, and John McCain explicitly said in his speech of a year ago at CSIS, some of the subsidies to existing industries, where the industries can stand on their own feet now, need to be done away with.
One way, in the interest of promoting new technologies, what he is not in favor of is the government picking winners. If I may say so, the government has tried now twice in the last third of the century or so to pick winners. They picked the Synfuels Corporation, which went bankrupt in 1986 as soon as the Saudi's lowered the oil price, and it picked the hydrogen highway or I guess if you're in California it's the Hydrogen Highway, and neither of those, to put it mildly, has been remotely successful.
You don't want the government getting so much into the details of competing technologies and the rest that it says, "Aha! It's butanol. No, whoops, wait. No, maybe we were wrong, maybe it's cellulosic ethanol or renewable diesel!"
You want to have the government, I think, and I'm quite confident John McCain thinks, to have a general direction, such as away from carbon, said he strongly promoted or always from old, wasteful subsidies, but not get into the business of picking winners.
Susan Feeney: Does anyone else want to do follow-up for one minute? No. Let's just start with our questions.
Jason Grumet: Just because we may have so few of these, why don't I just for a moment, because I think we -- I'm sorry. I think there's no disagreement with Jim that government doesn't do a fabulous job of picking winners. But I don't think that's what this debate is about. I think this is a question of whether government should set performance standards in addition to a price on carbon. Those are things like a renewable portfolio standard, which I know Senator Obama and Clinton support and I'm not clear now where Senator McCain is.
Fuel economy standards, Doug Colsekin, who I have great affection for, I think said, well, since fuel economy standards passed in the last energy that he wouldn't go back and undo those. But, again, it wouldn't be a McCain position to try to go out and, in fact, create obligations not on what technology is used, but an obligation to make vehicles go farther on a gallon of something.
I think that is a serious question, because I think it was suggested that there's all this kind of regulatory underbrush that gets in the way of things. And you obviously can over-regulate in ways that are counterproductive. But on the question of stricter fuel economy standards, requirements for renewable energy, that's a place where I think Senator Obama believes that a carbon price unto itself won't get the job done.
Jim Woolsey: One sentence. From the April of last year's speech on energy, "Government must set achievable goals, but the markets should be free to produce the means."
Susan Feeney: OK, let's get to the questions in the audience. Please give me your name and your affiliation and please, ask a question, don't make a speech.
Constance Holden: Constance Holden, Science magazine. As we all know, the driving force behind all these problems, environment, food, energy, is population growth. I know that's not something anybody wants to directly address, but I thought it might help illuminate differences among the candidates if we could find out how your candidate thinks about this problem and whether they have any ideas about addressing it.
Jason Grumet: Sure and, as you point out rightly, I think that is fundamental when it comes to a question of global resources, the fundamental challenge. And it's not just a question of population growth, but it's also a question of the rest of the world beginning to aspire to the comforts that we have come to take for granted here.
When people achieve an annual income of about $5,000 a year they start to buy cars and you are going to see somewhere between 3 and 500 million people in China find themselves in that position in the next decade. And so, I think, Senator Obama is very attentive to the fact that we're not going to be able to fix this problem just around the edges, nor are we going to be able to go pat the rest of the world on the head and say, you know, we realize that refrigeration thing was really overrated. Why don't you all just sweat it out?
So, fundamentally, it is going to be about profound changes in technology. The U.S. has not taken the kind of global leadership that I think we can in doing that.
One of the reasons why Senator Obama is committed to investing here in technologies which are controversial, like clean coal and like advanced nuclear, is based on the view that not only must we have those technologies here, but that it's hard to imagine China deciding not to use their coal. And if we don't play a role in developing what is truly zero carbon coal by making sequestration real, there's not much we're going to be able to do here. This isn't American warming. It's global warming.
And so I think I'm speaking somewhat maybe elliptically to your question, but fundamentally there is a recognition that we have to invent solutions that enable the rest of the world to prosper while not causing the whole place to cook.
Susan Feeney: Todd?
Todd Stern: I don't have an absolute direct answer on the population question, but let me make a point that's perhaps relevant, which is that the controlling of CO2 and greenhouse gases in developing countries is going to be increasingly critical.
I think 75 percent of emissions growth in the next 25 years is expected to come from developing countries and China is, far and away, the lead among them. And 40 percent is coming from China and India and China together is 55 percent.
Now, what is going to be critical I think both from a political point of view and from a substantive point of view, and perhaps even in ways that relate to population, is that ways are going to need to be found in which developing countries can control the release of carbon in ways that do not require them to sacrifice their underlying development goals.
So, for example, if you think of China as an example, China is facing an environmental debacle right now. It's not climate change, just ordinary pollution. The same kinds of policies that would help to control that would also greatly limit their greenhouse gases.
Now, again, the point is, as countries develop more, generally, I think it's the case that population growth levels off to some degree. And so the nexus is we've got to find ways in which developing countries continue to develop, but develop in a way that leapfrogs in essence the high carbon base of the economy that developed countries rely upon.
Jim Woolsey: I'd like to pick up on that.
Susan Feeney: OK, one minute to follow please.
Jim Woolsey: I'm somewhat jaundiced on this because I drive two-thirds of the way to my office every day on sunlight. I have photovoltaics on the roof, batteries in the basement, and A-123 just converted my Prius to be a plug-in.
It gets about 20 miles, essentially all electric. It's not pie in the sky. These technologies are coming. The photovoltaics are radically improving in efficiency and dropping in cost. The batteries are getting better and better. And we shouldn't assume that just because the Chinese young couple who have finally kind of made it into the middle class want to buy an automobile, that for the foreseeable future it's always going to be an automobile propelled by carbon emitting sources of one kind or another.
The technology is changing. It's changing partly because of things the U.S. government is doing, partially for market pressures, partly for a lot of reasons. But I think we should keep our eye on the possibility that with some of these technologies, particularly with respect to solar and particularly with respect to photovoltaics and batteries, we may be moving into an era in which we are going to be able to do to oil and to some extent to coal, what refrigeration did at the end of 19th-century to salt.
Salt was the only way to preserve meat at the end at the late 19th century. Countries fought wars over salt mines. It was a big deal. Within a relatively few years refrigeration destroyed salt's monopoly. If you had some on the table today, where you use salt independent, where did it come from? You don't care. I don't care. It's just a commodity. We need to do that to oil.
Susan Feeney: We'd like to get back onto the pepper side of things. The next question please.
Jeff Young: Hi, I'm Jeff Young. I work for a radio program called "Living on Earth." My question is about coal and carbon capture and storage, which I think you also for the development of that technology. However, folks who are in that technology field tell me that the best case scenario is still a couple of decades away. What about the coal power plants being built right now, the ones that will be built in the interim?
Why not take a firmer stand as people like Nobel laureate Gore and NASA scientist Hanson and others have recommended, a moratorium of sorts on coal until we have carbon capture? And by the way, why your candidates supporting liquefied forms of coal when the technology to control the emissions from that won't exists for many, many years into the future? Thanks.
Todd Stern: Senator Clinton strongly supports the development of carbon capture and I think is focused on three points really, first that we need to put federal funding behind the development of 10 large-scale demonstration plants. All of the components of this technology are out there and exist and have been seen to work, but not at scale and not in different geologic settings. So, the first element is rapid development of 10 demonstration plants.
Secondly, there's going to be a massive regulatory system that's going to need to be developed. You have to think about a system that's going to be pumping as much CO2 potentially as all the oil that we use per day in this country right now.
So, through a new network of pipelines and such, there are going to be a lot of regulatory issues that need to get sorted through. And third, I think going little bit more to your question, she's in favor of requiring that new plants be built that are capable of adding carbon capture technology and to make that a requirement.
So I think all of those things are critical and the technology is absolutely -- if there is going to be a future for coal, this technology needs to work. I think your estimate of a couple of decades sounds to me long, but it's certainly going to take time.
Jason Grumet: So I think Senator Obama has been pretty clear on that, but let me just restate his position as I understand it. He is confident, as all economic analysis I have seen suggests he should be, that his carbon cap program, an 80 percent reduction, will make it absolutely ludicrous to even contemplate any type of coal, new coal, that is not 100 percent sequestered.
The actual general analysis is that you need about a $15 a ton of carbon price in order to make the siting of a new facility an economic -- if you could even ever get past the local community opposition. He has, however, said that if he is unable to get that carbon policy in place quickly, that he will do whatever is necessary to prevent the siting of a new generation of pulverized coal facilities, including setting standards that would be essentially a moratorium, emission standards that no pulverized coal facility could meet.
And that is because he recognizes the implicit in your question, which is that if we lock in a new generation of tens or dozens or hundreds of new coal facilities we will be left with the impossible choice of shutting all of those facilities down, stranding trillions of dollars of investment, or putting ourselves on an irreparable course with regard to climate change.
So, I think we're with you, but I think the view is that rather than going with kind of old-school command-and-control regulation, the better approach is to put a cap on emissions that make those facilities intolerable.
Jim Woolsey: I think two decades is too pessimistic. One can integrate gasification combined cycle coal plants now and capture the carbon. The question is really sequestering it. And you have tertiary recovery in oil fields that's possible. You have a lot of work going on with different types of algae that may eat CO2 and, thereby, help produce lipids and things like biodiesel from it. There's a lot of work going on in those areas.
As far as deep saline aquifers holding the CO2, that will take some time. The numbers I've heard is more like about 10 years and $10 billion of R&D from some people at MIT who have been working on it. But you do need to do that and I think the administration set things back by canceling FutureGen recently. As far as coal to liquid is concerned you've got one on me. I thought I'd read everything Senator McCain had said recently or written on energy, but I was unaware of his support for coal to liquid.
Jeff Young: That was addressed to the other two fellows here who didn't answer that part.
Jason Grumet: We love to talk about coal to liquids and I'd love to make this quick. All right, well, so this has been this kind of confusing specter that's been dusted up for months. Senator Obama has said clearly that he will only support any alternative fuels that achieve at least a 20 percent lifecycle preference over gasoline, or what's the point?
So he believes that about ethanol, he believes it about coal to liquids. He offered an amendment in the energy bill to indicate that we should only support a coal to liquids facility which in its full lifecycle would achieve a 20 percent or greater reduction, which is not possible using current technology, but could be possible in the future.
He also is a strong supporter and introduced the first national version of a low carbon fuels standard, which is a regulatory approach that was initiated in California by Governor Schwarzenegger and now in the E.U., which to my mind is by far the most robust way to integrate carbon and oil dependence concerns into one package.
And I won't belabor the issue, but it is, I think, a solution which demands that we have both a reduction in petroleum and that we do so in a way that constantly ratchets down carbon emissions.
Susan Feeney: OK, let's get some more questions and if we -- oh, wait, Todd, do you want to --
Todd Stern: No, just one sentence. Senator Clinton also supports a low carbon fuel standard, which I think is the right way to go. I'd be happy to go first again. I think you're asking two separate questions, which is where the policy ranks as a priority if Senator Clinton or either of the others gets selected and the degree to which it's a focus of the campaign.
I think those are actually very different questions. I think taking the first first, because I think it's the important one, I mean fundamentally the issue isn't how much you talk about it in the campaign. The issue is what you plan to do when you're in the White House?
And I think for Senator Clinton, as I tried to indicate in my opening remarks, I think that this is go to be an absolute, absolute first-order, top-tier issue. And by that I mean I would guess that on the domestic side, and now I will confess to be giving my opinion on this from my guess, but I am confident that this will be -- I would say this and healthcare are going to be almost undoubtedly the two leading issues for her.
But, again, more to the point, I think that this is going to be an organizing principle for a Clinton administration in much the ways that I said. It is so varied in its dimensions, domestic, international, and in terms of the range of areas that it covers.
So, I think this is absolutely top-tier. I don't think there's any issue that will be more important than this. In the campaign I think that to some extent, and, again, now I'm just sort of hypothesizing here, everybody has given significant speeches on energy. I think that there we are obviously at the Democratic primary level right now.
There are not enormous differences, as our questioners have pointed out in the programs between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. I think Senator Obama has got a great program.
I think Senator Clinton has got a great program. I favor Senator Clinton's, but you're not going to see the two of them going at it on this issue because there's not that much difference in what they stand for.
Jason Grumet: There's obviously an inherent bias in the question. I mean of course energy is the most important topic that they care about. I will say that when asked the question in New Hampshire, what's your most significant domestic priority?
Senator Obama said energy and I think for many of the same reasons that I think Senator Clinton cares about it, because I think they both recognize that it affects our economy in a dramatic way, it affects our national security in a dramatic way, our foreign-policy prerogatives, and our environment.
I've got a 12-week old at home and I live in the disenfranchised borough of D.C., so I don't get to see a lot of stump speeches. So I guess I don't really have the ability to give you the equation reaction that I know you're just generally looking for. But I would say that I think there will be much more focus in the stump speeches in the general election, because I think you're going to see a much more significant difference going forward.
Susan Feeney: Mr. Woolsey?
Jim Woolsey: I think it's quite clear from the speech at CSIS that Senator McCain regards this, as he said, as an urgent and major national security, environmental, and economic question. And that climate change and security, with respect to oil, are right at the top of the list. In fact, they dovetail.
A lot of the things you want to do to increase your security against terrorist attack, let's say, or oil cutoffs are also things that radically reduce putting carbon into the atmosphere. And some people prefer doing this for one reason and some for the other.
I was testifying before Congress not long ago and one conservative Republican continued to argue with me about climate change and I said, "Congressman, you realize that seven of the nine things I've suggested you don't have to do, because you believe in climate change. If you don't, you can do them because they help make us a lot more resilient against terrorism?" And he said, "Oh, well, it we're doing it for that reason, then fine." You know, a lot of people are less willing to look at the results than they are at the ideological disagreement and they want to convince people of their reason more than they want to agree on results.
And I think the key thing is to agree on what steps we want to take that will help both with respect to traditional security concerns in a sense and also with respect to climate change. There are a number of things we could do and we've talked about a lot of them here that serve both objectives.
Susan Feeney: Will this be a first 100 days priority? Yes or no?
Todd Stern: I think it will certainly be a first 100 days priority. I don't know, that doesn't exactly define what's going to happen, what specific items are going to happen. But I actually think this is going to be a first day priority.
Jim Woolsey: I certainly agree.
Jason Grumet: Actually, Senator Obama had the temerity to suggest that he would start working on it as President-elect. He was asked, I think it was in Oregon, I kid you not. He was asked how concerned was he that the US had lost so much time in the international discussion?
And the big, next international framework convention, where we're supposed to kind of figure this all out, is in December of 2009. And there's a big meeting in December of 2008. And he said that he would travel to Poland to attend that meeting as the president-elect.
Susan Feeney: OK, we're going to take one more question from the audience.
Elizabeth McGowan: Elizabeth McGowan, Green Communications. And this is a walk-the-walk sort of question. What are your campaigns actually doing on the ground to put out a green message to voters, anybody watching carbon offsets, recyclable campaign signs, energy conservation in the office and on the road? Could you give me I will outline on that?
Jason Grumet: Well, I can tell you that the working conditions are terrible. They're very drafty and cold and dim kind of dank lighting. No air conditioning.
The Obama campaign, I think, recognizes the opportunity in the campaign, because of course all of you are paying attention, to set some strong messages and important symbols. And one facet of that is that the campaign is offsetting the carbon emissions associated with their air travel. At the same time, I think that the campaign wants to be cautious not to exaggerate what they think the Thousand Points of Light strategies can accomplish here.
So there has been a bit, I think, more focus on voluntary offsets than I may think the quantitative traffic probably can bear. A lot of the efforts to really drill down on whether the offsets are real and permanent and quantifiable and measurable has started to cause some concern.
think the last thing that our campaign wants to find itself doing is being at the pig farm in Indiana where the methane digester just really wasn't working for the last six months and trying to explain, well, why they bought those offsets. So I think it's an important symbol and it's something that we are taking a step towards, but we're not trying to argue that we're running a carbon zero campaign because until we have a real national program to address greenhouse gas emissions, we're not really making progress.
Jim Woolsey: I'd agree with Jason. I mean the McCain campaign, as you all know, as of last summer was not only not particularly flush with office buildings and travel, it was close to nonexistent.
It was not John's conservation strategy, but as things have looked up, to put it mildly, in recent months there has been some intention and discussion of this in the campaign, but I don't think a great deal has been done yet by way of offsets and the rest.
Look, in a campaign you're doing two things. You're renting building space and you're at the mercy of whoever the landlord is with respect to whether they've got a green building or not. And you've got to travel and travel is travel. It uses carbon. So, we're talking about doing something about this to figure out a way, but we had a little bit of a slower start as a result of the events of last summer.
Todd Stern: I actually agree with both of my colleagues here. I think I agree with Jason's point that this is not conceptually the main issue. But I'm afraid that on your specific question about what they're doing, they may well be doing lots of things, I just don't know. I just can't give you an answer.
Jim Woolsey: Could I add one thing?
Margie Kriz: Sure, go right ahead.
Jim Woolsey: I'd just like to say that a year or so ago, for completely different reasons unrelated to politics, I had occasion to be asked in to spend 45 minutes or an hour with Senator Clinton on energy and separately at a dinner, a small dinner was Senator Obama on energy. And I want to say I think these are three very fine candidates. I think the country is lucky to have these three people running for president and may the best man or woman win.
Susan Feeney: That last question. You got the last word. Thank you so much.
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