The Slatest

On Energy, Republican Candidates Sound a Lot Like Obama

Republican presidential candidates Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul take the stage for the first prime-time presidential debate.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate was short on discussion of energy and climate policy, but two leading contenders did manage to squeak in some familiar ideas.

In a section about the economy, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker both effectively endorsed President Obama’s energy policy, which has helped greatly expand oil and natural gas production—while decreasing carbon emissions at the same time.

Bush said (twice) that the eventual Republican nominee should support the “energy revolution,” a vaguely worded reference to the boom in natural gas and renewables, and Walker mentioned an “all of the above” strategy by name, the same language Obama uses.

It’s not surprising that they affirmed a strategy that scientists say is inconsistent with maintaining a safe and stable climate system. But the fact that both the leading Democratic candidate and now two of the leading Republican candidates support it gives voters a pretty good idea that not much is going to change over the next four years—and that’s a tragedy.

Read more of Slate’s coverage of the GOP primary.