We're reminded of that reality by this story in the Des Moines Register, which looks at the candidates energy proposals from the point of view of Iowans. The focus is on cap-and-trade, which favors low carbon-emitting energy sources by making them the beneficiary of carbon "credits" which can be sold to high emitters until they get their act together:
And those issues will determine how much more companies and consumers will have to pay for energy - and how soon their bills will rise - as well as what kind of energy they'll be using.
Cap-and-trade will likely impose some pain in the pocketbook, although opportunities arise as well:
Also at stake: Iowa's growing wind and biofuels industries. Making coal and gasoline more expensive to use will make wind power and biofuels more economically competitive.
"Iowa is going to benefit from these things," said Jerald Schnoor, a University of Iowa researcher who chairs the Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council.
There's a lot more, especially how different energy policies affect agriculture and, well:
Agriculture is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from livestock and use of fertilizer. More than 20 percent of Iowa's estimated greenhouse emissions come from agriculture.
That's a lot of methane, and the article doesn't attempt to explain what Iowa might do about livestock and fertilizer, both of which are irreplaceable. We're not sure (but are doubtful) that cap-and-trade legislation attempts to address this.
According to Real Clear Politics, Obama is up in Iowa by about eleven points, outside the margin of error, but the article makes no assumptions and includes material about both candidates.
If you ever visit Iowa, you may be sure you'll see variations of this postcard a lot.