It’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:
- During his career, McCain voted with Senator Inhofe (R-OK) and against clean energy a staggering 42 out of 44 times in the past two decades (see “The greenwasher from Arizona has a record as dirty as the denier from Oklahoma“).
- In December, anti-wind McCain skipped a vote to extend tax credits for renewable energy, though advisers say he would have voted against it.
- In January, McCain first boarded his Double-Talk Express on Global Warming when he began to walk away from calling his cap-and-trade “mandatory” — “voluntary” climate action is of course the core of the Luntz/Bush do-nothing but sound-like-you-care strategy.
- In February, he repeated his failure to show up for a vote to extend tax credit for renewable energy (the only Senator to do so).
- In February, McCain repeated that “It’s not quote mandatory caps.”
- In March, his senior economic adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, said McCain “might take [new CAFE standards] off the books.”
- April, McCain revealed cynicism, hypocrisy with call for summer gas-tax holiday, energy budget freeze. As I noted at the time, “the greatest threat to the success of a cap and trade system is that somebody might artificially limit the carbon price … because some weak-kneed President (or Congress) walks away from that price the first time the economy suffers a downturn. McCain would appear to be that weak-kneed Presidential hopeful.”
- In mid-May, McCain announced the details of his climate plan, which stunningly allowed “unlimited offests” (i.e. phony tons) in place of actual domestic emissions reductions, which is the same as “Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”
- In late May, he “announced he won’t even bother showing up to vote on his friend Joe Lieberman’s climate bill.”
- In June, he flipflopped on offshore oil drilling and even embraced “more traditional use of coal,” an embrace of higher greenhouse gas emissions that is Bush-lite, crude, and not sweet.
- In July, he released his “Jobs for America” plan with so little on energy efficiency that it suggests he would be Cheney’s third term!
- Again in July, National Review reported that cap and trade was “eradicated” from McCain campaign, according to comments from a “senior McCain official.”
- At the end of July, McCain economic adviser Steve Forbes said, “I think cap and trade is going to go the way of some other things,” and it won’t “get far” under McCain.
- The 72-year-old McCain named a global warming denying, Big Oil Super-Shill as his Vice President
- His much anticipated acceptance speech never once mentioned the gravest threat facing the health and well-being of the nation and the world.
- He has been running a campaign ad that appears to attack the very idea of cap-and-trade.
- His chief economic adviser said this week that McCain won’t obey the Supreme Court decision requiring the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant.
- And in text prepared by the campaign, his vice presidential running mate said today that a McCain-Palin administration will not be issuing new orders that businesses must follow to control greenhouse gas emissions, but instead will be adopting an incentive-based (i.e. voluntary) approach.
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.