The only Vice Presidential debate of the 2020 campaign saw calm, civil, but often continuous discourse. As commentators were still fact-checking and analyzing the debate, the news moved quickly. Thursday morning, President Trump announced that he would not participate in the second debate if it were held in a virtual format. However, before journalists and politicians move on to the next news cycle, it is important to breakdown energy policies discussed by Vice President Pence and Senator Harris.

The Vice-Presidential debate saw a much larger focus on the topics of climate change and energy, and there are three key takeaways for energy and political professionals.

First, Vice President Pence and traditional Republicans still have a serious problem on their hand when they are talking about climate change. Debate moderator Susan Paige from the USA today framed her question to the Vice President around the uncontrolled wildfires sweeping the western United States and the North Atlantic Hurricane Season, which has seen more name storms than we have letters in the alphabet for. Pence acknowledged that the climate is changing, but said

“The issue is, what’s the cause, and what do we do about it?”

Apparently, his response is more of the same. Lower fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles, less regulation on toxic chemicals and greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, and more fossil fuel extraction. This even  after Scientists within the current administration from numerous federal agencies agreed in a major 2018 assessment that the effects of higher temperatures, including deadlier wildfires, hurricanes, and heat waves, are already impacting the country. In a 2019 poll, Pew Research found that 2/3rds of Americans say the federal government needs to do more to reduce the effects of climate change. It is clear that Pence and this administration are out of step with a bipartisan consensus on what needs to be done.

Second, climate change wasn’t the only energy-related topic on the docket at the debate. Vice President Pence pushed Senator Kamala Harris hard on the Green New Deal and Joe Biden’s Clean Energy Plan. Vice President tried to appeal to the fracking industry, which has grown significantly in the critical battleground state of Pennsylvania. Pence tried to create separation from Senator Harris, who has previously campaigned against fracking, and her running mate Vice President Biden, who has said he will not ban the practice. Senator Harris was able to deflect the criticism with a direct to camera appeal.

“I will repeat, and the American people know that Joe Biden will not ban fracking,” Harris said. “That is a fact.”

Biden has attempted to walk the tightrope of aggressive clean energy policies without alienating workers in the fossil fuel industry. Some environmental groups like the Sunrise Movement have been critical of this approach, but have also given Biden credit as his climate change plan is the most ambitious energy plan by any major-party candidate in American history.

Joe Biden’s Clean Energy plan brings us to the last key takeaway from the debate. Whether it was the battle around fracking or Pence’s repeated attacks on the Green New Deal, Senator Harris was not able to fully articulate key elements of her running mate’s plan. The senator made passing mention of the focus on job creation but mostly went after the Trump administration for their continued denial of the science around climate change. Was this a missed opportunity to seize the mantel of economic recovery led by a focus on clean energy and innovation? Possibly. However, with just over three weeks to go in the election and a 9 point lead in the polls, it appears Senator Harris took a more conservative, do no harm approach in the debate. Over the last three weeks of the campaign, it will be interesting to see how much the Biden and Harris ticket try to capture the economic mantel of clean energy.