McCain urges free-market principles to reduce threat of global warming
By: AP, staff reports
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — John McCain broke with the Bush administration and Republican Party orthodoxy Monday as he not only declared global warming real, but reached out to Democrats and independents with a free-market solution that includes capping carbon-fuel emissions.
The GOP presidential contender also prodded China and India — two major emitters of the greenhouse gases blamed for the planet’s warming — to join the effort, although he muted planned talk of tariffs against them in favor of “effective diplomacy” to encourage their compliance.
An aide later said the Arizona senator didn’t want to be interpreted as being “at odds with his commitment to open trade.”
McCain was less restrained in his approach to President Bush, who broke a 2000 campaign pledge to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions and who also backed off signing the Kyoto global warming protocols shortly after taking office.
“I will not shirk the mantle of leadership that the United States bears. I will not permit eight long years to pass without serious action on serious challenges. I will not accept the same dead-end of failed diplomacy that claimed Kyoto. The United States will lead and will lead with a different approach — an approach that speaks to the interests and obligation of every nation,” McCain declared.
The language highlighted the political stakes for McCain, the Republican’s presumed presidential nominee.
His visit to Oregon came days after the leading Democratic contenders, Sens. Barack Obama of Illinois and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, campaigned in the state.
Oregon is viewed by some as a general-election battleground, and its Columbia Gorge and Mount Hood National Wilderness are playgrounds for many outdoorsmen and environmentalists.
Among those attending McCain’s speech was Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski, a Democrat. McCain heaped praise on him — despite mangling the pronunciation of his name — and said, “As president of the United States, I will sit down with Governor Ted Kulongoski and all other governors of this country, whether they be Democrat or Republican, and work for the betterment of this nation.”
Global warming also stands with abortion rights and an array of social causes as important issues to the evangelicals and Christian conservatives whom McCain hopes will bolster his political base this fall.
Democrats derided McCain’s record on the issue, noting contributions to his campaign from energy lobbyists, his recent proposal to temporarily suspend the federal gasoline tax as a means of making driving cheaper and some votes against alternate energy sources.
Published in The Messenger 5.14.08