The first is that domestic oil production, as Chieffo pointed out, has ascended to an eight-year high – a reality also noted by Jim Marston, who heads the Environmental Defense Fund‘s national energy program.
“We’re already ‘drilling-baby-drilling right now,” Marston told AOL Energy. “In Texas, where I live, they’ve drilled 10,000 [mostly gas] wells in the eight-county area around Dallas-Fort Worth in just the last five years. In south Texas, they have 8,000 wells and that’s soon to be 12,000. The obstacle to drilling is not regulations. It’s a rig shortage. But we know that we cannot drill our way out of our environmental or economic problems.”
Given the surge in oil and gas production, it’s a little more difficult for Republican candidates to accuse Democrats and the Obama administration of stifling energy extraction.
But the second reason clean fuels may be more on voters’ minds than they were in 2008 is that the consequences of climate change – widely blamed on a critical increase in atmospheric carbon levels – “are painfully visible to people right in their windows, whether it’s drought, wildfires or extreme temperature swings,” Gohringer said.
In fact, heat and drought have had devastating impacts on agricultural states, and “the people are going to want to know how congressional and presidential candidates will address that,” Gohringer added.
Chieffo pointed out President Obama “has been touting during his term – and now you’re hearing it on the campaign trail – the pending EPA standard to limit carbon pollution from new power plants and the historic standard increasing the fuel efficiency of vehicles.
“A couple of years ago,” Chieffo continued, “the House passed a very broad and strong energy package, and the reality is that Congress could do it again. But it’s going to take new voices and people who believe in science and common sense measures to address climate change.”
The AP/NORC survey found that 62% of the public believes that the government should be “extremely or very involved in finding solutions to this country’s energy problems.” If enough of the public is persuaded that climate change is real, and energy-related, then campaign speeches addressing carbon emissions and clean energy could bring some of those “new voices” to Congress.
Pages: 1 2