Last week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) bragged about his environmental record while campaigning in California. He insisted that reigning in greenhouse gas emissions “should be a big issue for all of us,” and insinuated that he was stronger on the environment than his Democratic opponents:
“I don’t know what their position is because I haven’t seen them show any particular commitment in the U.S. Senate or elsewhere” on climate change, he told reporters. “I have proposed legislation and fought for amendments.”
Yet just today, McClatchy reports that the climate aide to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) — who endorsed McCain to much fanfare in Feburary — gave McCain a flunking grade on his environmental plans:
Terry Tamminen, an adviser on energy and environmental policy to California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, looked at what the presidential candidates have said they’d do and graded them: He gave Clinton and Obama B’s, but McCain got an F because he hasn’t put out a specific plan.
As the Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin noted, McCain’s statement bashing the lack of “commitment” by Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL) is disingenuous. He sidesteps the fact that the two Democratic senators “back climate legislation, up for a Senate vote in June, that he has yet to endorse.”
Both Clinton and Obama advocate 80 percent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 — a standard scientists have said is necessary to “if the world is to avoid potentially dangerous impacts of human-induced climate change.” McCain has suggested only 60 percent cuts, and his campaign has wavered even on that.
Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), who also endorsed McCain, “said he’d give McCain an ‘incomplete’ for saying that it’s ‘not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly whether they’re big banks or small borrowers.'”