us_capitol_building_at_night_jan_2006With the presidential race ending this week, one concern expressed by some has been the lack of any substantive discussion about US energy policy. While Mr. Trump has often mentioned reviving the coal industry as part of a larger emphasis on policies that leverage the country’s domestic energy resources, Secretary Clinton’s campaign has said her policies will look to grow clean energy resources like wind and solar energy. But after three debates, many believe the country needs more information from both candidates on this topic. A recent debate (video here) however between campaign advisors for Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton may have offered a chance to learn more about each candidate’s energy agenda.

Speaking to Mr. Trump’s priorities, Representative Kevin Cramer (R-ND) focused on the economic costs of climate change and often referenced the Paris Accord as another trade deal undermining America’s energy interests. Rep. Cramer argued the United States is a relatively small greenhouse gas emitter but it is being relied on heavily to cut emissions. “If the United States ceased to exist tomorrow … we wouldn’t affect the temperature in the next 50 years on the globe,” Cramer said. Trevor Houser, Clinton’s top energy advisor, reaffirmed her vision of an expanded role for low-carbon sources to supply the nation’s energy. Houser emphasized Clinton’s view that climate challenges are directly related to society’s use of carbon intensive fuel sources like coal.

Cramer and Houser also discussed how their candidates would address the economic consequences of the country’s reduced dependence on coal. Houser argued the transition away from coal began long ago. To aid those communities impacted by this transition, Houser stated that Secretary Clinton is prepared to invest government resources in new economic opportunities. In response, Cramer said “The government should not be determining who gets a job and who gets a government program. They ought to be out of the business of determining those things and let the market decide.”