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Eco Experts Weigh In on Tonight’s Debate

With the second presidential debate tonight, Grist asked some eco-geeks what questions on energy and the environment they’d like to see asked and answered by Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain.

Climate expert Dan Weiss of the liberal think tank the Center for American Progress Action Fund wants to know the same thing TWI’s John Dougherty asked in his piece today: How can McCain say he’s such a friend of solar energy when his legislative votes show otherwise?

The nonpartisan group 1Sky, a coalition promoting federal action on climate change, wants to ask why the words “energy efficiency” have been absent from energy rhetoric, and what Obama and McCain would do to achieve energy conservation and create green jobs.

1Sky raises a good point with its question. While both candidates talk about alternative energy, clean coal and green jobs, neither mentions conservation goals, which largely conflict with industrial interests.

350.org is a nonpartisan organization with goals similar to 1Sky’s. Its co-coordinator, Jamie Henn, wants to ask if either Obama or McCain, as president, would attend the U.N. climate meetings scheduled in December in Poland. It’s an interesting question because while both candidates support legislative action on climate change, Obama’s plan seeks to meet greenhouse gas levels set by the U.N., while McCain’s doesn’t.

Finally, president of the nonpartisan Natural Resources and Defense Council, Frances Beinecke, wants to ask what Obama and McCain would do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by cars and trucks. This not only factors into the efficiency question but also raises questions about how to increase the number of electric cars on the road.

Will anyone step up tonight at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. to ask these questions?

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