For all you climate change deniers out there dismayed at John McSame’s apparent embrace of global warming, you have nothing to fear:
John McCain had the eager press lined up on this one for weeks. He was going to take a stand and differentiate himself from Bush by offering his solution to climate change. And today was the momentous day. McCain made his speech and no less than the New York Times dutifully trotted out an article titled McCain Differs With Bush on Climate Change. (Devilstower at Daily Kos)
The 71% of the electorate thinks the globe is warming and of these, human activity is blamed over natural environmental cycles by more than two to one (Pew study). The difference is even greater among young people. So as campaign pandering this scores high. Why pandering? Because it’s all campaign talk, not reality. McCain is George Bush redux. In the 2000 campaign George Bush also said climate change was an issue and redcing CO2 emissions the remedy. Then he blithely reversed his campaign pledge after he was “elected.” Given the number of McCain’s other flip flops, we can plausibly expect the same from John McSame. Consider who is advising him on this:
McCain is being advised on these issues by Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute, who just this morning put out an op-ed explaining how we can’t let the environment get in the way of cheap energy. And of course the proposals McCain put forward today don’t align very well with his other big push for a gas tax holiday. (Devilstower, dKos)
What is especially interesting is that this same Kevin Hassett is on record as favoring a carbon tax, not a cap and trade:
“Most economists believe a carbon tax (a tax on the quantity of CO2 emitted when using energy) would be a superior policy alternative to an emissions-trading regime,” write Kenneth P. Green, Steven F. Hayward and Kevin A. Hassett, three economists at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington. “The irony is that there is a broad consensus in favor of a carbon tax everywhere but on Capitol Hill, where the “T” word is anathema.” (New York Times)
Irony, indeed. He advises a candidate who advocates a less effective policy because of the “T” word. I guess if your candidate has no fixed position, you aren’t obligated to have one as an advisor, either. The candidate shoots the pander arrow and you just paint the target around it.
Instead of what his own advisor thinks is a superior policy, McCain advocates a toothless cap and trade system where polluters buy and sell “pollution credits.” The pros and cons of cap and trade are much debated but it is clear that of all the options it is one of the most attractive to Republicans, not just because of the alleged reliance on a market mechanism but because there are so many knobs that can be twiddled to allow certain parties to make out better in the “free” market. How do you allocate permits, what’s the cap going to be, what kinds of activities will it cover, how will it be enforced, etc., etc. Those aren’t market issues. McCain – Bush are in favor of a free market only as long as it isn’t really free but is distorted to favor their cronies and patrons (think Halliburton, Blackwater, the oil companies and the many other no bid, tax break and subsidized elites who have enriched themselves during the Bush years). I’m not against cap and trade, per se, but it would have to be accompanied by other mechanisms, such as an emission tax, to be effective.
So if you are a climate change denier, take heart. You don’t have to abandon John McSame because he isn’t abandoning you. You might even consider buying stock in a water wings company or acquire future beach front property in Arizona.
Hmmm. Maybe that’s McCain’s plan.