Monday’s presidential debate will feature tough foreign policy issues, likely including energy’s impact on the world stage.
Last week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that energy issues were a “matter of national security and global stability” to an audience at Georgetown University.
“It’s at the heart of the global economy,” she told the crowd. “It’s also an issue of democracy and human rights. And it’s been a top concern of mine for years, but certainly these last four years as secretary of state, and it is sure to be the same for the next secretary.”
As the world becomes increasingly economically and politically connected, energy policy here in the U.S. can have tremendous effects around the world, just as foreign energy policies can have effects here in the U.S.
So, what are some of the top energy issues facing the country? The Daily Caller News Foundation has come up with a list of three energy topics that could come up when President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney meet for their final debate.
Politicians since the 1970s have been promising energy independence in order to help wean the U.S. off of foreign oil and prices uncontrollable prices, but the U.S. has not gotten there quite yet. This election, both presidential candidates have promised to make the country energy independent by 2020.
Proponents of energy independence argue that it would keep the U.S. from having to respond to the whims of an “unpredictable carte” — meaning OPEC.
“This goal is now within our reach as long as federal policymakers make the right choices,” writes Republican Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan. “By following a formula that relies on cutting red tape, encouraging investments, and developing resources wisely, we can fulfill this aspiration within the next decade.”
Approving the Keystone XL pipeline would greatly help, argues Upton, as it could bring up to 1 million barrels per day to the U.S.
“So far this year the United States has produced 6.2 million barrels per day (mbpd) of crude oil plus lease condensate (which is the definition of oil) versus daily net consumption of 13.6 mbpd of finished petroleum products,” writes Kurt Cobb on OilPrice.com.
The U.S. imports 45 percent of its petroleum supply, mostly from Canada and Mexico, according to a report from Deloitte. This could also have the impact of strengthening the U.S. diplomatic position against Russia and China.
“Growing North America shale resources look poised to strengthen the U.S. economic and diplomatic position vis a vis China just as it has already done vis a vis Russia,” writes Amy Myers Jaffe, Executive Director for Energy and Sustainability at the University of California, Davis.
“US shale gas has already played a key role in weakening Russia’s ability to wield an energy weapon over its European customers by displacement,” Jaffe added.
However, being energy independent — by producing enough energy to meet our demands at home — would not mean the U.S. would be immune from international pressures on energy prices because oil prices are set globally.
“Commodities such as oil can be used in China just as easily as Ohio,” writes Ben Adler for Reuters. “Therefore, the price is set by the equilibrium between global supply and global demand. Unless we nationalize the oil companies, American consumers will be bidding for gasoline against drivers in other countries. This is how markets work.”