Palin shocker, Part 1: McCain won’t regulate greenhouse gas emissions

Palin Energy SecurityIt’s time to stop trying to guess whether the latest McCain campaign gaffe revision on global warming means the Arizonan has walked away from his previous support for mandatory government control of greenhouse gases. He has.

That should have been clear from McCain’s repeated rejection of the word “mandatory” to describe his program, his choice of a global warming denier for vice president, and his failure to even mention global warming during his acceptance speech. Most recently, his chief economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin said on Sunday that McCain does not agree with the Supreme Court decision that labels carbon dioxide a pollutant and requiring EPA to regulate it. He labels Obama’s decision to obey the Supreme Court decision “a draconian regulatory approach.”

Now the McCain campaign has decided to eliminate the ambiguity entirely in the desperate and erratic final days of his campaign. In her big greenwashing energy speech at an Ohio solar energy company, Palin was as blunt as possible in her prepared (and delivered) remarks:

And we will control greenhouse gas emissions by giving American businesses new incentives and new rewards to seek, instead of just giving them new taxes to pay and new orders that they must follow — “so says government”.

The final three words were ones she added, but the prepared text alone leaves no room for doubt. A McCain-Palin administration will not be issuing new orders that businesses must follow to control greenhouse gas emissions. It will use a voluntary or incentive-based approach, one that has never worked in any country to restrain emissions growth.

McCain and his campaign have made a concerted effort to reassure conservatives he’s not going to take strong action on climate, while hoping that moderates would be fooled just like some Bush voters were in 2000 ignore all this talk, which itself is a core campaign strategy of doubletalk (see “Memo to media: McCain doubletalks to woo conservatives and independents at the same time“).

The Palin speech was the last piece of the puzzle. For one last time, let’s consider the increasingly sorry history of the McCain campaign on climate and clean energy:

Remember, it was Bush’s Vice President, Dick Cheney, who called Bush’s promised to regulate utility carbon emissions “a mistake” in March 2001, and Cheney is probably the main reason Bush walked away from his commitment.

So perhaps we should start listening to McCain’s VP choice, as well as McCain himself, and all of his advisers, on climate and clean energy issues.

Is any of this really shocking? Not for regular readers (see “No climate for old men: Why John McCain isn’t the candidate to stop global warming“). Now if we could only get the traditional media to cover this story straight.

10 Responses to Palin shocker, Part 1: McCain won’t regulate greenhouse gas emissions

  1. Dano says:

    Doesn’t matter what she says. Won’t get elected this cycle, and in ’12 if she can’t get defeated with this tainted record, then there’s no hope. Toast.



  2. paulm says:

    More hilarious Republican Socialism…

    Olbermann: Sarah Palin Is A Socialist

  3. Joe Galliani says:

    Joe – You’ve done a superbly comprehensive and devastatingly honest assessment of what can only be called McCain’s complete surrender and capitulation on the issue of greenhouse gas reduction. He won’t regulate CO2 because he’s a sell out on the environment and he always has been. His straight talk has never matched his crooked actions.

    Combined with McCain’s support for “drill baby, drill” policies and his embrace of more coal use, there can be no doubt that McCain’s real goal is to increase carbon production and the temperature of the planet along with it. No other conclusion can be drawn from the impact of his policies and the reality of the world’s current climate condition. Perhaps he thinks he won’t feel the difference in Arizona.

    I don’t think it’s going too far to say a vote for McCain/Palin is a vote for suicide and insanity. Fortunately neither is polling too high in this election.

  4. crf says:

    I think there is one very oblique phrase on global warming in McCain’s convention acceptance speech:

    “We must use all resources and develop all technologies necessary to rescue our economy from the damage caused by rising oil prices and to restore the health of our planet.”

    Certainly no one could call that straight talk.

  5. Juan Santos says:

    Joe; Great Work. This blog, for me, has become essential daily reading, and I regularly distribute your pieces widely. Thank you. As madmen go, McCain leaves the long-ago Goldwater in the dust, and in sheer will to ignorance, rivals GW Bush.

    Juan Santos

  6. Read your baffling comment by Boxer first, and then this very comprehensive listing of all the evidence that energy legislation will not be the same regardless of whether Obama or McCain is president.

    Thank God it looks like Obama will win, but whatever possessed Boxer to say that they are equally likely to pass climate legislation?

  7. Interesting piece! Climate change is only one of the many issues of concern awaiting the next American president. With the earth’s temperature increasing and with pressure mounting for the creation and use of more viable energy sources, there is much to be done. Yesterday, we published a quick guide entitled “Seven Things You Need to Know About Climate Change.” Please check it out at As part of our Voter’s Survival Kit we also produced an excellent non-partisan guide on climate change at Again, excellent piece!

  8. Modesty says:


    False balance
    1. As you know, the media perpetuate the “Both Obama and Mccain…” myth because of the false balance practice (and because this false balance is reinforced as per below).

    (I know you are not asking about the media, but bear with me.)

    2. Many scientists, policy experts, authors, and other authoritative voices perpetuate the same myth because they are more concerned with not appearing biased than they are with not actually perpetuating a bias by overcompensating for their own political position, this is the vanity practice.

    It’s mainstream! Everyone is doing it!
    3. Additionally, many advocates, campaigners, and policy makers perpetuate this myth to give cover to Obama because they believe that progressive energy policy is a political liability; this is the make-climate-policy-seem-mainstream practice.

    This everyone-is-doing-it practice is tricky, because if support for climate policy is actually stronger than the practitioners think, the practice only serves to confuse voters. (See Gingrich, Couch)

    We’re nowhere near where we need to be!
    Even trickier, the myth is also perpetuated by those who don’t believe in false balance, have no interest in vanity, do not think progressive energy policy is a political liability, but simply think that, despite the very real and important differences between the candidates, neither one of them is anywhere near where they need to be. (See Hansen, James)

    I don’t know Boxer’s earlier statements in this context, but I’m actually a bit sympathetic to her perpetuating this myth, at this time.

    With McCain having chosen a bona fide fossil fool for a running mate, those who are actually basing their vote on energy, in the sense of voting for the more progressive candidate because of that candidate’s position on energy, has “got to be” voting for Obama.

    BOXER’S job at this stage, arguably, is not to get those votes for Obama, it is to prevent some of those for whom fossil energy is still a kind of security blanket from voting AGAINST Obama on the basis of his climate policy as presented by Palin/McCain.

    Which is not to say that that is everyone’s job at this stage.

  9. Modesty, that is a good argument:(#3 for Boxer),…quite reassuring actually.

    (But only because I can tally absolutely no way for McCain to get 270 electoral votes per otherwise I would be freaking out.

  10. and re “the practice only serves to confuse voters.” Pew has it on their good polloing that 40% of McCain supporters think he supports solar and wind