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Joseph Romm

Joseph Romm

Posted: October 29, 2008 12:31 PM

Palin Shocker: McCain Won't Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions


Palin Energy SecurityVoters who care about either global warming or clean energy have only one choice -- and it isn't McCain-Palin.

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:


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.

If you care about global warming, the gravest preventable threat to the health and well-being of all Americans, and if you care about clean energy, the greatest potential source of new jobs and new industries in the coming decades, then you must vote Obama-Biden.