Friday, October 5, 2012 saw representatives of the two presidential candidates square off in a debate on energy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The debate, sponsored by the MIT Energy Initiative and the MIT Energy Club, was moderated by Jason Pontin, Editor of Technology Review magazine.
Representing President Barack Obama was Joseph Aldy, Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. Governor Mitt Romney was represented by Oren Cass, Domestic Policy Director, Romney for President. The professional questioners included Steve Hargreaves, CNN Money; Bill Loveless, Senior Editor of Platts; and Monica Trauzzi, Managing Editor and Host, E&E TV. Three student questioners were also on stage.
The debate will be broadcast by E&E TV in the near future. Real-time comments could be followed under the Twitter hashtag #mitei.
The best way to report on this debate is to start with a few articles by others that summarize the debate:
- Science Magazine: "At MIT, Romney and Obama Campaigns Debate Energy Policy".
- Nature: "Reps for Obama, Romney, debate energy and climate".
- BostInno: "MIT Hosts the Best Possible Debate Between Romney & Obama Campaigns on Energy".
I'd like to finish with a few of my favorite gems:
- Romney's Cass: "Energy efficiency is a solution in search of a problem". (This statement got the most tweets and re-tweets.)
- When asked if reducing emissions is a legitimate aim of the US government, Romney's Cass said "No."
- Romney's Cass: The Governor believes that some emissions from coal-burning power plants involve particulate matter that is so small that "it is imaginary." This is why they do not need to be regulated.
- Romney's Cass: "Climate change is real but we're not quite sure how real." This comment got the loudest giggles from the crowd.
It was a night well spent, even if I didn't learn much new.