Speech, Part 1: Anti-wind McCain delivers climate remarks at foreign wind company

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"Speech, Part 1: Anti-wind McCain delivers climate remarks at foreign wind company"

Conservative presidential candidate Sen. John McCain chose a clever, but ultimately hypocritical location for his big climate speech. I hope the media aren’t fooled by his ironic choice of wind turbine company Vestas as the backdrop, but I have little doubt they will run enticing photos and videos of wind turbines. McCain, however, does not deserve to be linked to such images.

I would title the speech “Not the man for the job,” (see “No Climate for Old Men“). [Full text here, further comments in later posts, and other blog critiques here and here. .]

Let’s be clear — conservatives like John McCain, or more accurately, conservatives including John McCain, are the main reason McCain has to go to a Danish wind turbine manufacturer to give a climate speech. With the major government investments in wind in the 1970s, the United States was poised to be a dominant player in what was clearly going to be one of the biggest job creating industries of the next hundred years. But conservatives repeatedly gutted the wind budget, then opposed efforts by progressives to increase it, and repeatedly blocked efforts to extend the wind power tax credit. The sad result can be seen here:

wind-2007-small.jpg

That’s right. The United States is now a bit player in an industry we launched (we had 90% of global installed capacity in the mid-1980s) — thanks to conservatives, including McCain.

In December, McCain himself failed to show up for a key vote that would have extended the wind power production tax credit, which has been a key driver of wind power in this country — allowing it to compete with our better-subsidized power sources (like nuclear) in this country, and to partly offset the much bigger subsidies other countries have for renewables. The vote would have shifted money from subsidies to the oil industry, which hardly needs it given record oil prices and record oil profits (see “How high must oil go before we end subsidies?“)

McCain’s vote could have broken the conservative filibuster blocking the effort to support renewables, since the clean energy tax package failed 59-40, but his spokesperson said that “he would not have supported breaking the filibuster.” This was but one recent example of a series of missed votes or anti-renewable votes McCain has cast in recent years.

As the Center for American Progress documented, McCain has repeatedly opposed a renewable electricity standard that would have set a minimum requirement for utilities to generate part of their power from sources like wind. Half the states have such requirements, a key reason the industry has not died out entirely in this country. Most European countries have such requirements, a key reason their countries had become leaders. Where was McCain:

In 2002 and 2005, there were votes in the Senate to require utilities nationwide to generate 10 percent or 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy resources. Sen. McCain voted against renewable electricity every time.

  • 2005: Voted against a renewable portfolio standard
  • 2002: Voted against 20 percent requirement:
  • 2002 (Vote 55): Voted to gut 10 percent requirement:
  • 2002 (Vote 59): voted to gut 10 percent requirement:

McCain opposed subsides for wind power, as he told Grist in October:

Grist: What’s your position on subsidies for green technologies like wind and solar?

McCain: I’m not one who believes that we need to subsidize things. The wind industry is doing fine, the solar industry is doing fine. In the ’70s, we gave too many subsidies and too much help, and we had substandard products sold to the American people, which then made them disenchanted with solar for a long time.

Seriously! Subsidies for the oil industry are fine, though. And for nuclear, too. The wind industry is about 1% of US electricity. The nuclear industry is 20%. But McCain supports further subsidies for nuclear power, which has already received nearly $100 billion in direct and indirect subsidies (see “Nuclear Pork — Enough is Enough“), so this country can be like the French and get 80% of all our power from nukes, which would require building probably 500 to 700 more (see “McCain calls for 700+ new nuclear plants (and seven Yucca mountains) costing $4 trillion). He repeated his praise of the French nuclear strategy in his talk.

One final poin — McCain is merely acting in the consistent tradition of recent conservatives. President Reagan cut the renewable energy R&D budget 85% after he took office and eliminated the wind investment tax credit in 1986. This was pretty much the death of most of the US wind industry. While President Clinton worked to increase funding for wind, the Gingrich Congress blocked that effort beginning in 1995. President Bush is another conservative who fail to see the importance of wind power in the need for consistent support of the tax credit.

So the end result is McCain delivers his big climate talk at a foreign wind manufacturer. If McCain becomes president, we will take modest, but inadequate action on global warming (as his speech makes clear), but the job-creating clean technologies we will be using to fight climate change, will primarily be coming from other countries.

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41 Responses to Speech, Part 1: Anti-wind McCain delivers climate remarks at foreign wind company

  1. Dwindle says:

    Bottom line, if investors haven’t been interested in wind power for 40 years, there’s obviously no point in handing out free money to them. Wind power is useless because there’s no where to put the windmill. No middle class suburb will allow those things within 30 miles of them, making their implementation impossible.

  2. Tim says:

    if investors weren’t interested in wind power, why then are turbine manufacturers basically flat out in building them, the sector is growing by 25% per year and is already reaching 100GW of installed capacity.
    Wind power will produce at least 20% of the world’s electricity by 2025, this technology has reached a critical mass where costs have come down enough and the technology continues to advance, todays technology with up to 5MW turbines is way superior to the 70s and 80s little 100kW turbines.

  3. Dennis says:

    McCain also dissed renewables when he was visiting REI not that long ago. That he’s using wind turbines as background for his political ads is dishonest, imo.

    McCain Raises Concerns About Subsidies for Solar Power – WSJ – May 13, 2008
    http://tinyurl.com/6cdumj

  4. Cyril R. says:

    Dwindle? A better name for you would be “dwindling intelligence”.

    Of course there is major and rapidly growing private investment in wind power. The contrast with nuclear power, which has scared most private investment away, could not be more stark.

    Yet your intelligence dwindles further when you make the NIMBY argument. You do not seriously think people would rather have a nuclear powerplant than a windmill near their homes do you now?

    Three sentences, and all of them are 100% wrong. That’s a fail on your exam Dwindle.

    That’s the problem with blogs. Every idiot can post. And most people are idiots.

  5. I hope obama can do the same thing like mc gain plan!

  6. I thing Obama is going to help reverse global warming he talk a lot about going some things for the planet and Bush is doing all he can to make it difficult for him before he leaves office shame on Bush

  7. analyze says:

    Obama will do everything he said. just see what next

  8. Since Obama was officially elected as US next president, I think he should consider to take McCain’s program into his annual programs.

  9. I hope obama would stop the war…

  10. London Tours says:

    I hope someone will be brave enough to stop the war, anyone has got to be better than Bush.

  11. jammer says:

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  12. yeah right what happen to the next gen.

  13. Tom Tom says:

    I hope obama would stop the war…

  14. obama is the new hope of USA.. i hope obama will bring a new change !!

  15. phil says:

    i hope obama will bring a new change !!

  16. I hope obama will make new changes..

    nice post…

  17. Great speech given by McCain. I saw that in a video

  18. sbs says:

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  19. Melayu Boleh says:

    I hope someone will be brave enough to stop the war, anyone has got to be better than Bush.

  20. Sooner or later, all the reversible power generating resources ultimately would be exploited to cope our power needs. And, that will start by the next decade.

  21. Martin says:

    Wind power will never be self sustaining. The thermal dynamics are pathetic and can only maintain an average of 22% of rated capacity costing taxpayers 3 to 5 times the price of conventional power. If you want to invest in something, invest in reliable efficient technologies that will pay for itself in the short term.

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  24. Peter says:

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  26. wind turbine says:

    I think wind power industry has a bright future. Wind energy as a clean and renewable energy, we should support the industry development. Of course, there were many problems in current wind turbine industry, such as the noisy, high cost, maintenance cost and job opportunity but we should give more support to wind turbine industry in finance, tax and policy.

  27. London Tours says:

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  28. Stop the war and let all of us have peace together

  29. Obama is better..just a humble opinion..

  30. I agree with this coment…Wind power will never be self sustaining. The thermal dynamics are pathetic and can only maintain an average of 22% of rated capacity costing taxpayers 3 to 5 times the price of conventional power.

  31. Obama is better..I love obama…

  32. Video Bokep says:

    Yep… McCain delivers his big climate talk at a foreign wind manufacturer.

  33. I thing Obama is going to help reverse global warming he talk a lot about going some things for the american and Bush is doing all he can to make it difficult for him before he leaves office shame on Bush

  34. Wind energy as a clean and renewable energy, we should support the industry development. Of course, there were many problems in current wind turbine industry, such as the noisy, high cost, maintenance cost and job opportunity but we should give more support to wind turbine industry in finance, tax and policy…. that’s true…

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  38. Cewek Bugil says:

    Wind energy as a clean and renewable energy, we should support the industry development

  39. bokep smu says:

    Yup… Wind energy as a clean and renewable energy, we should support the industry development. Of course, there were many problems in current wind turbine industry, such as the noisy, high cost, maintenance cost and job opportunity but we should give more support to wind turbine industry in finance, tax and policy.