Energy independence was the first priority Governor Romney mentioned in the first presidential debate in 2012. President Obama said that oil and natural gas production were higher than they had been in years. The two candidates generally agreed on the direction, if not the pace, of developing nuclear power, domestic drilling, and other energy resources. Yet Republicans and Democrats have staked out very different positions on clean energy, the role of government in boosting new technologies, and the overwhelming evidence that burning fossil fuels is driving the weird weather.
This discussion joined two distinguished experts from each side of the debate. Donnie Fowler was the founder and CEO of Dogpatch Strategies, a political and energy consultancy. His father was chairman of the Democratic National Committee when President Clinton was in office. Bob Inglis was executive director of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative at George Mason University. He served 12 years in Congress as a Republican from South Carolina, and lost a primary election in 2010 in part because of his acceptance of scientific data on climate change. Bill Reilly was administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President George H.W. Bush. He was also a senior advisor at TPG Capital, a private equity firm that has raised funds today totaling more than $50 billion. Tom Steyer was managing partner of Farallon Capital which manages $20 billion for institutions and wealthy individuals. With former Secretary of State George Shultz, he was co-chair of a successful campaign to defend California's Global Warming Solutions Act, a pioneering climate law.