Friday, February 8, 2008

McCain and Climate Change

In an opinion piece in Salon, Joseph Romm argues that John McCain is not the best choice of a president to tackle climate change, even though he has been a leader on the issue in the Senate. Here is an excerpt below:
Sen. John McCain is the only GOP candidate who believes in the science of global warming and who has proposed specific legislation that mandates a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially carbon dioxide. That said, a President McCain would not be the climate leader that America and the world requires.
As increasingly desperate climate scientists have been
telling us, the effects of global warming are occurring faster than anyone had thought possible.
The next president must make reducing GHG emissions a central focus of his or her administration if we want to avoid the worst impacts of global warming: catastrophic sea level rise, widespread drought and desertification, and loss of up to 70 percent of all species.
While McCain may understand the scale of the climate problem, he does not appear to understand the scale of the solution. He understands the country needs to put in place a mandatory cap on GHG emissions and a trading system to energize American innovation. But in a recent Republican debate, he denied that a cap and trade system is a mandate, even though it would arguably be the most far-reaching government mandate ever legislated.
Moreover, like most conservatives, he doesn't understand or accept the critical role government must play to make that system succeed. Besides initiating a cap-and-trade system, the next president must:
1. Appoint judges who won't gut climate-change efforts.
2. Appoint leaders and staff of key federal agencies who take climate change seriously and believe in the necessary solutions.
3. Embrace an aggressive and broad-based technology deployment strategy to keep the cost of the cap-and-trade system as low as possible.
4. Lead a change in utility regulations to encourage, rather than discourage, energy efficiency and clean energy.
5. Offer strong public advocacy to reverse the years of muzzling and misinformation of the Bush administration.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 25 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at
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