Today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) delivered a major speech on global warming at the North American headquarters of the Danish wind-power company Vestas, despite having prevented the passage of critical renewable energy tax credits for the wind industry in December and February. His campaign also unveiled an advertisement that includes this voiceover:
One extreme thinks high taxes and crippling regulation is the solution. The other side denies the problem even exists. There’s a better way.
One half of the ad is true: A significant constituency of the right wing denies that global warming exists or requires action. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, promotes the Skeptic’s Guide to Debunking Global Warming Alarmism. Right-wing media promote false headlines about climate change science. And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Bush administration’s response to global warming is to embrace an energy policy of increased fossil fuel dependence.
But what “extreme thinks high taxes and crippling regulation is the solution”? Those calling for a carbon tax instead of a cap-and-trade system to set a price on emissions are primarily conservative economists like Glenn Hubbard and Gregory Mankiw, the chairmen of Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2001 to 2005. Is McCain calling Wall Street conservatives “extreme”?
And what “crippling regulation”? The only thing McCain describes as a “regulation” is an energy efficiency standard for building codes. The global investment firm McKinsey & Company has found that mandatory energy efficiency standards, far from being crippling, overcome present market failures and policy distortions and can drive massive return on investment. Is McCain calling McKinsey “extreme”?
McCain’s just trying to have it both ways — his campaign is trying to promote the complex system of government regulation necessary to establish a fair and national carbon market and still pay homage to a right-wing ideology that considers any governmental solutions anathema. Read more