McCain Proposes Cap-and-Trade Regime to Curtail Warming
McCain Differs With Bush on Climate Change
The New York Times, May 13, 2008
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Senator John McCain sought to distance himself from President Bush on Monday as he called for a mandatory limit on greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, also pledged to work with the European Union to diplomatically engage China and India, two of the worlds biggest polluters, if those nations refused to participate in an international agreement to slow global warming.
In what his campaign promoted as a major speech on climate change, the Arizona senator renewed his support for a cap-and-trade system in which power plants and other polluters could meet limits on greenhouse gases by either reducing emissions on their own or buying credits from more efficient producers.
Instead of idly debating the precise extent of global warming or the precise timeline of global warming, we need to deal with the central facts of rising temperatures, rising waters and all the endless troubles that global warming will bring, Mr. McCain said at a wind power plant in Oregon, a state that is expected to be a political battleground in the general election and where the environment is a central issue for voters. We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great.
Mr. McCain added pointedly: I will not shirk the mantle of leadership that the United States bears. I will not permit eight long years to pass without serious action on serious challenges. The most relevant question now is whether our own government is equal to the challenge.
The senators remarks were a direct criticism of Mr. Bush, who in his first term questioned the scientific basis for global warming and has remained adamantly opposed to mandatory caps on emissions as bad for the American economy.
The speech, a compilation and sharpening of many of Mr. McCains existing proposals, was most notable as a political address that sought to appeal to the independents the senator is wooing for the November election. It put Mr. McCain slightly to the right of center in the environmental debate.
Mr. McCain is the only Republican presidential candidate this year to call for mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions, but his target for reducing those emissions over time is lower than that of his Democratic competitors, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, and even lower than that in a bill proposed by Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, and Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia.
In his speech, Mr. McCain advocated cutting emissions 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2025; Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama propose cutting them by 80 percent over the same period, while the Lieberman-Warner bill calls for a 70 percent reduction.
In another contrast with Mr. Bush, Mr. McCain also sought to persuade voters that he has a personal concern and first-hand experience with the climate change that has emerged as a major issue in the 2008 presidential race.
A few years ago I traveled to the area of Svalbard, Norway, a group of islands in the Arctic Ocean, Mr. McCain said. I was shown the southernmost point where a glacier had reached 20 years earlier. From there, we had to venture northward up the fjord to see where that same glacier ends today because all the rest has melted.
He added: On a trip to Alaska, I heard about a national park visitors center that was built to offer a picture-perfect view of a large glacier. Problem is, the glacier is gone. A work of nature that took ages to form had melted away in a matter of decades.
McCain pledges to combat climate change
Reuters News Service, May 12, 2008
PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - Republican John McCain pledged to take the lead in combating global climate change if elected president in a speech that set him apart from the policies of President George W. Bush.
In remarks he prepared to give at a wind technology firm in Portland, Oregon, on Monday, the Arizona senator said he would seek international accords to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and would offer an incentive system to make businesses in the United States cleaner.
"The facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in Washington," McCain said in remarks he planned to give at the Vestas Wind Technology plant.
"Good stewardship, prudence, and simple common sense demand
that we act to meet the challenge, and act quickly," he added.
McCain is visiting Oregon where Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama is favored to beat Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary on May 20.
The speech set McCain apart from fellow Republican Bush, who has been skeptical about global warming throughout his eight-year term, and was calibrated to win support from independents and centrist Democrats he will need to convince to win office in the November election.
"I will not shirk the mantle of leadership that the United States bears. I will not permit eight long years to pass without serious action on serious challenges," he added.
If elected president, McCain said he would push for "meaningful environmental protocols" that included developing industrial powers India and China, to seek to cut worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
He planned to present a so-called cap and trade system to Congress that sets clear limits on all greenhouse gas emissions for U.S. businesses, while also allowing the sale of rights to excess emissions, so as to "change the dynamic" of the U.S. energy economy.
"Those who want clean coal technology, more wind and solar, nuclear power, biomass and bio-fuels will have their opportunity through a new market that rewards those and other innovations in clean energy," he said.
McCain said the plan would set out specific goals on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, including a return by 2012 to 2005 levels of emission, and by 2020 to 1990s levels.
McCain has campaigned on his support for alternative energy sources including wind, solar and biomass technologies in his run for the White House, as well as support for nuclear power.
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