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McCain on energy efficiency: He is Cheney’s third term!

By Joe Romm  

"McCain on energy efficiency: He is Cheney’s third term!"

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mccain-cheney.jpgJohn McCain takes the “conserve” out of “conservative.” His entire energy efficiency strategy would fit on one side of a very small file card and can be summarized as follows: Ban Porsches, green federal buildings, applaud homeowners who do stuff on their own!

His repackaged new economic plan, “Jobs for America” has precisely 3 paragraphs that deal with efficiency:

CAFE Standards: John McCain has long supported CAFE standards — the mileage requirements that automobile manufacturers’ cars must meet. Some carmakers ignore these standards, pay a small financial penalty, and add it to the price of their cars. John McCain believes that the penalties for not following these standards must be effective enough to compel carmakers to produce fuel-efficient vehicles.

Seriously. That’s all he has to say about fuel economy. McCain’s entire fuel economy strategy is to force a small number of “higher end auto companies like BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes” to make their cars fuel efficient (see McCain energy gimmick, Part 2 — The ill-defined, impractical “Clean Car Challenge”). What a transformative, addiction-ending idea — I bet it would reduce U.S. oil consumption at least 1/10 of 1%.

Building Efficiency
Government Purchasing: John McCain will make greening the federal government a priority of his administration. The federal government is the largest electricity consumer on earth and occupies 3.3 billion square feet of space worldwide. It provides an enormous opportunity to lead by example. By applying a higher efficiency standard to new buildings leased or purchased and retrofitting existing buildings, we can save taxpayers money in energy costs, and move the construction market in the direction of green technology.

Good luck. Conservatives like McCain, including Newt Gingrich in the 1990s and President Bush this decade, have been blocking progressive efforts to significantly increase the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) budget for decades. Note to McCain: the construction market has already swung heavily in the direction of green technology in the past decade — thanks mainly to the US Green Building Council.

But the last paragraph on efficiency is the best of all. It puts McCain squarely in the Dick Cheney school of energy efficiency:

American Homes: Homeowners can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year with better light bulbs, appliances, windows, and insulation. As Americans retro-fit to improve energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint, jobs will flow to the U.S. providers of insulation, windows, appliances, and other sources of energy efficiency.

I kid you not. Rather than offering a single government policy to accelerate efficient technologies into residences (or commercial buildings or the industrial sector, for that matter), which would simultaneously lower energy costs, create jobs, and reduce greenhouse gases — McCain devotes an entire paragraph in his “Jobs for America” plan to no policy whatsoever, but rather an expression of his confidence that homeowners will do everything on their own….

I now realize that McCain’s 100-nukes strategy is really a clever plan to increase the electricity bills of American homeowners, thereby incentivizing them to become more efficient on their own. Hmm. Now that I think of it, the Bush/Cheney/McCain economic plan to drive millions of Americans out of their homes, forcing them to live with relatives or in apartments or on the streets, is really an effort to encourage the virtue of conservation. Why didn’t progressives think of that?

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13 Responses to McCain on energy efficiency: He is Cheney’s third term!

  1. llewelly says:

    Par for the course, really. McCain has never favored any position that smells even a little environmentalist. This last year he’s felt he needed to put on the facade, go through the motions, etc – and he did manage to fool some otherwise smart people, such as Chris Mooney .

  2. Paul K says:

    I have been a daily reader and an as thoughtful as I could be commenter for just over a year. I think this is the best blog, regardless of category on the web. Climateprogress really is inspiring. It is quite a learning experience to have such different reasons for a shared goal.

    It is not always fun to be the resident contrarian. I will say that I am the only one who presented a plan to stabilize at 450. My plan put that in terms of fossil fuel replacement, which is a better metric for maximizing technology and efficiency deployment.

    As passionate as many here are about AGW, so am I about about replacing fossil fuel for equally good and valid reasons. I did not think a rapid transformation to alternative power was possible. Climateprogress has convinced me that it is. I wondered what I could do to speed the process.

    Here it is, Paul Kelly’s peoples wedge: Replacing Fossil Fuel is now registered under my name with the IRS to fund the installation of alternative technologies. It is a membership association. Members actively deploy alternatives by participating in the watt a month club. I think everyone should join.

  3. Joe says:

    Paul — Flattery will get you almost everywhere on the blogosphere. You might like this website: http://www.wattbusters.com/

  4. David B. Benson says:

    Paul K — I presented a plan to not only stabilize CO2, but to reduce the concentration to the 1958 CE level of 315 ppm. In only aboout 70 years.

    But I now think that for the long run, even 315 ppm is too high. :-(

  5. Paul K says:

    The long run goes wherever you want. Today’s goal is to fund a 2KW installation on a habitat for humanity house.

  6. David B. Benson says:

    Paul K wrote “The long run goes wherever you want.” Only if we all get together to make it go that way.

  7. Paul K says:

    David B. Benson,
    That’s right. We can all get together to make it go that way. I’m asking people to act, to be part of the solution through the engine of association. As they say, the longest journey begins with a single step.

  8. Graeme Bird says:

    If you were serious about your CO2-hysteria McCain would be your man. Since McCain is in favour of more nuclear plants.

  9. Paul K says:

    Graeme Bird,
    As far as I can tell the climateprogress position on nuclear is acceptance of it as 6 – 10% of future energy output, while so far being against any particular proposal for its deployment. Yes, those who vote on climate issues alone should choose McCain, an opinion not widely shared here.

  10. John Hollenberg says:

    > Yes, those who vote on climate issues alone should choose McCain, an opinion not widely shared here.

    That’s because there is no data to back this up. If you compare the policies of the two, it is a clear choice for Obama if you are voting on climate issues alone. Read Joe’s many articles on McCain’s position, plus his details some time ago on Obama’s position. It’s all here on ClimateProgress.

  11. Paul K says:

    John Hollenberg,
    Compare Obama’s career long support for corn ethanol subsidies to McCain’s career long opposition. Obama intends to raise capital gains taxes, stifling deployment. Personally, I would eliminate capital gains taxes on all alternative investments, but there is a much better chance to reduce them under McCain.

    Yes, I have read all of Joe’s deeply partisan, willfully misleading posts on McCain. I expect it to be a near daily occurrence until election day. Compare the two campaigns. McCain talks about these issues all the time. He offers specifics. He takes questions from reporters and regular citizens about his positions every day. What have we heard from Obama? “I will keep the oceans from rising.”

    Obama has not proposed or cosponsored any climate related legislation in either the Illinois or U.S. Senate. You can put your faith in a primary campaign, meant to please the base, doubtful that he’s ever read position paper on a back page of the his website. Intelligent voters will look at the actual record.

  12. John Hollenberg says:

    > He offers specifics.

    It doesn’t help that he offers specifics when they are in virtually all cases the wrong way to go (corn ethanol subsidies would be the only exception–thanks for pointing that out). While nuclear is good for climate, I don’t think the expense, risks and problems with waste disposal make it a prime option compared to wind and CSP.

    > Joe’s deeply partisan, willfully misleading posts on McCain

    Perhaps you can point out where he has been willfully misleading? If his facts are in error, I’m sure we would all appreciate it if you would refer to an independent source that contradicts him. I think the candidates stated positions are the best place to start (although both are likely to be worse in practice than in promise).

  13. msn nickleri says:

    > Joe’s deeply partisan, willfully misleading posts on McCain