Friday, February 08, 2008

Climate Changes

Joseph Romm at Salon has some good points about McCain and Global Warming:

Feb. 8, 2008 | Sen. John McCain is the only GOP candidate who believes in the science of global warming and who has proposed specific legislation that mandates a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially carbon dioxide. That said, a President McCain would not be the climate leader that America and the world requires.

As increasingly desperate climate scientists have been telling us, the effects of global warming are occurring faster than anyone had thought possible.

The next president must make reducing GHG emissions a central focus of his or her administration if we want to avoid the worst impacts of global warming: catastrophic sea level rise, widespread drought and desertification, and loss of up to 70 percent of all species.

While McCain may understand the scale of the climate problem, he does not appear to understand the scale of the solution. He understands the country needs to put in place a mandatory cap on GHG emissions and a trading system to energize American innovation. But in a recent Republican debate, he denied that a cap and trade system is a mandate, even though it would arguably be the most far-reaching government mandate ever legislated.

Moreover, like most conservatives, he doesn't understand or accept the critical role government must play to make that system succeed. Besides initiating a cap-and-trade system, the next president must:

1. Appoint judges who won't gut climate-change efforts.

2. Appoint leaders and staff of key federal agencies who take climate change seriously and believe in the necessary solutions.

3. Embrace an aggressive and broad-based technology deployment strategy to keep the cost of the cap-and-trade system as low as possible.

4. Lead a change in utility regulations to encourage, rather than discourage, energy efficiency and clean energy.

5. Offer strong public advocacy to reverse the years of muzzling and misinformation of the Bush administration.

Let's start with judges. McCain has said that given the chance he will appoint Supreme Court justices like Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and John Roberts. Given that liberal Justice John Paul Stevens is 87 and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 74, he will likely have that chance, especially if he becomes a two-term president.

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