If you watched last night's VP candidate debate hoping to hear a discussion about nuclear energy in the U.S., you were a little disappointed. Indeed, the only mention of the issue came during this exchange between Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin over climate change.
Biden: Well, I think it is manmade. I think it's clearly manmade. And, look, this probably explains the biggest fundamental difference between John McCain and Barack Obama and Sarah Palin and Joe Biden -- Gov. Palin and Joe Biden.Watching the debate on CNN a second time last night (sad, I know), I noticed that their on-screen widget measuring the real-time reactions of uncommitted Ohio voters spiked during Biden's mention of clean coal and nuclear - especially among male voters. Unfortunately a video clip with the widget is NA on CNN. (If you get a chance to see a rebroadcast, the response occurs at the 30-minute mark.)
If you don't understand what the cause is, it's virtually impossible to come up with a solution. We know what the cause is. The cause is manmade. That's the cause. That's why the polar icecap is melting.
Now, let's look at the facts. We have 3 percent of the world's oil reserves. We consume 25 percent of the oil in the world. John McCain has voted 20 times in the last decade-and-a-half against funding alternative energy sources, clean energy sources, wind, solar, biofuels.
The way in which we can stop the greenhouse gases from emitting. We believe -- Barack Obama believes by investing in clean coal and safe nuclear, we can not only create jobs in wind and solar here in the United States, we can export it.
China is building one to three new coal-fired plants burning dirty coal per week. It's polluting not only the atmosphere but the West Coast of the United States. We should export the technology by investing in clean coal technology.
We should be creating jobs. John McCain has voted 20 times against funding alternative energy sources and thinks, I guess, the only answer is drill, drill, drill. Drill we must, but it will take 10 years for one drop of oil to come out of any of the wells that are going to begun to be drilled.
In the meantime, we're all going to be in real trouble.
Ifill: Let me clear something up, Sen. McCain has said he supports caps on carbon emissions. Sen. Obama has said he supports clean coal technology, which I don't believe you've always supported.
Biden: I have always supported it. That's a fact.
Ifill: Well, clear it up for us, both of you, and start with Gov. Palin.
Palin: Yes, Sen. McCain does support this. The chant is "drill, baby, drill." And that's what we hear all across this country in our rallies because people are so hungry for those domestic sources of energy to be tapped into.
They know that even in my own energy-producing state we have billions of barrels of oil and hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of clean, green natural gas. And we're building a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline which is North America's largest and most you expensive infrastructure project ever to flow those sources of energy into hungry markets.
Barack Obama and Sen. Biden, you've said no to everything in trying to find a domestic solution to the energy crisis that we're in. You even called drilling -- safe, environmentally-friendly drilling offshore as raping the outer continental shelf.
There -- with new technology, with tiny footprints even on land, it is safe to drill and we need to do more of that. But also in that "all of the above" approach that Sen. McCain supports, the alternative fuels will be tapped into: the nuclear, the clean coal.
I was surprised to hear you mention that because you had said that there isn't anything -- such a thing as clean coal. And I think you said it in a rope line, too, at one of your rallies.
CNN has a full transcript available here. And MSNBC has a video clip of the exchange.