Obama and Romney Part Ways on Climate Change and Energy

  • Susan Phillips

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney delivers his nomination acceptance speech during the final day of the Republican National Convention on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.

President Obama touted his record on energy development to delegates of the Democratic National Convention Thursday night in Charlotte, NC, and chastised Romney for making light of global warming.
“And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet, because climate change is not a hoax,” said Obama to thunderous applause. “More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They are a threat to our children’s future.”
During Mitt Romney’s speech to the Republican National Convention a week earlier in Tampa, Fla., he drew laughter when making fun of the President’s environmental stance.
“President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet,” said Romney. “My promise is to help you and your family.”
Romney didn’t speak about energy as much as Obama. But he did characterize Obama’s policies as job-killers.
“His assault on coal and gas and oil will send energy and manufacturing jobs to China,” said Romney.
It’s unclear how energy production jobs could be sent overseas, since the resources are here in the U.S. But Romney does oppose Obama’s new air quality rules, which are leading some coal-fired power plants to shut-down or switch to natural gas.

Robyn Beck / AFP/GettyImages

US President Barack Obama pauses during his nomination acceptance speech in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 6, 2012 on the final day of the Democratic National Convention.

Obama highlighted his move to raise fuel efficiency standards, and rebutted Romney’s critique.
“We have doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries,” said Obama. “In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by 1 million barrels a day, more than any administration in recent history. And today the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last two decades.”
Whether Obama’s policies are the grease that turned the wheels of the nation’s increase in domestic energy production is up for debate. The President does support the expansion of shale gas and shale oil development. But it may be simply a coincidence that it happened under his watch.
Still, Obama takes credit for approving drilling on federal lands, while promising to protect the environment.
“We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more,” said Obama. “But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan or endanger our coastlines or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.”
Obama says his “all of the above” energy strategy will cut the nation’s oil imports in half by 2020 and create 600,000 new jobs.
Romney also has a goal for 2020. He promises to work with Canada and Mexico to make all of North America energy independent within eight years using coal, oil, gas, renewables, and nuclear power.

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