As the 2008 Presidential election is just a little over half a year away, I thought I would do a little investigation into the proposed energy policies of all three current candidates. In particular, I wanted to know where Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain stand on the future of hydrogen technology.
President Bush was an early proponent of hydrogen cars and fuel cells but has dropped the subject from his last two States of the Union Address in favor of other alternative fuels. Republican Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger has also been a proponent, but with the state in fiscal crisis, the subject is hardly mentioned anymore.
So, if the 2008 election will be on a theme of “change,” then what changes do the presidential hopefuls see for hydrogen going forward? In 2004, Hillary Clinton voted yes promoting a bill in the U. S. Senate that would target 100,000 hydrogen cars to be on the road by 2010. By November 2007, however, the mention of hydrogen has been dropped from her stated energy policy.
In October 2007, Barack Obama mentioned that hydrogen R&D would be part of a broader $150 billion research and development package he was proposing about alternative energy. On the official Barack Obama Senate site, it mentions that the Illinois Senator along with Congressman Rahm Emanuel helped establish the first ethanol-to-hydrogen fueling station in the Chicago area.
In December 2007, John McCain took a trip to South Carolina and proposed hydrogen and nuclear power as alternatives going forward. As I’ve stated before, outside of California, South Carolina right now is a hotbed of hydrogen research and development. Like Hillary, John McCain also voted yes on 100,000 hydrogen cars by 2010.
The problem with the three Presidential candidates mentioned is that at best they seem lukewarm on the idea of talking specifically about hydrogen as a viable alternative going forward. Could there be a Bush backlash at work during this election year and a rejectionist policy towards the current regime?
Or, could it be that the Democrats have bought into the misguided notion that hydrogen will be controlled by Big Oil in the future and the Republican is not sure this will be the case, so all sides are reluctant to endorse a form of energy that may not fall upon certain party lines?
Hydrogen technology and the hope it brings towards reducing greenhouse gases and global warming, reducing prices at the pump and decreasing dependence upon foreign energy is too important to be handled as a political football. This is a bipartisan issue that needs to be handled as such.
All of the Presidential candidates need to be more outspoken in regard to their specific plans for hydrogen going forward. Along with the economy, Iraq, and healthcare, alternative energy is one of the big issues that needs to be discussed at length by each candidate before the next election, so voters can decide who has the foresight to bring this nation back to health and wealth.