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The energy election

In the first of a special series of election podcasts starting this week, Nature gathered an expert panel to discuss how energy and climate issues will play out in the US presidential election. Excerpts:

"The world has made transitions from one type of energy source to another … in the 75- to 125-year kind of timeframe. We don't have that luxury here. We have to hurry history."

Steve Cochran, Environmental Defense Fund, Washington DC

"However you want to cut it — if we're going to get serious about climate-change policy, we're going to have to change the prices of fossil fuels."

Joseph Aldy, fellow, Resources for the Future and co-director of the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements, Washington DC

"We need … to identify in very concrete terms, not just in a sort of warm and fuzzy way, what new investments in the energy sector mean: where those dollars would go, where those jobs would be created, where an auto worker who is currently making an SUV will now be making a hybrid transmission."

Steve Cochran

"If we put too much money into energy R&D over too short a period of time, there is going to be waste."

Richard Newell, professor of energy and environmental economics, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

"We need to have a diversified portfolio of R&D [and] we shouldn't pick just one winner. Having said that, let me pick a winner right now … carbon capture and storage."

Joseph Aldy

To hear the full discussion, chaired by our columnist David Goldston (see page 15), visit Future podcasts in this series will cover biomedical research and innovation policy.

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The energy election. Nature 455, 12 (2008).

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