Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Will McCain Back Warming Bill?

By Juliet Eilperin
Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) comments about climate change Friday have sparked a flurry of speculation among national environmentalists, who are now optimistic the presumptive GOP nominee will vote next month for a bill limiting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

McCain didn't say for sure whether he would back the bill authored by
Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.), both of whom have campaigned actively for him on the trail. But he said they were coming closer to satisfying his concerns about the bill, which is slated for a vote in early June and does not boast the same generous subsidies for nuclear power as the bill McCain and Lieberman co-sponsored in the past.

"I'm pleased in negotiations and discussion with Senator Lieberman that there will be a far more important nuclear component of this legislation that's going to be coming to the floor," McCain said in a press conference at Jersey City's Liberty Science Center. "I hope that it will be passed and I hope that the entire Congress will join in supporting it and the president of the United States would sign it."

McCain has repeatedly pushed hard for nuclear power as one of the primary ways the U.S. can cut its greenhouse gas emissions and reduce its energy dependence on foreign countries. But several Senate Democrats, who back the idea of a mandatory cap on carbon emissions, oppose providing additional subsidies for building nuclear power plants.

McCain advocates cutting U.S. carbon emissions 60 percent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels, while the Lieberman-Warner bill would cut them by nearly 70 percent by mid-century. Both Democratic Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) support the bill, though they advocate a more ambitious reduction goal of 80 percent by 2050.

The question of how drastically the U.S. should limit its carbon emissions does not appear to be a sticking point for McCain, and Lieberman said in an interview yesterday he believed his friend would back the bill once it reaches the floor next month.

"I'm confident that he is going to support the bill," Lieberman said, adding the two men had discussed the matter this morning, and their aides were continuing to work out details of the legislation's nuclear provision.

Environmental activists expressed mixed reactions to the idea that McCain's was on the verge of embracing the Senate's latest attempt to curb global warming pollution.

Jeremy Symons, National Wildlife Federation's global warming campaign executive director, said it could encourage other Republicans to come on board in the weeks to come.

"Support from Senator McCain is a big boost for the bill," he wrote in an e-mail. "It is time for congress to catch up to the presidential candidates, and they will get their chance soon."

However Daniel J. Weiss, who directs climate strategy for the Center for American Progress Action Fund, questioned whether the GOP nominee's support would come with too high a price.

"John McCain's reliance nuclear power to solve global warming would require billions of dollars in federal subsidies, millions of gallons of water, and 10 more Yucca Mountains to dispose of all the waste," Weiss wrote in an e-mail. "It is a 20th century solution to a 21st century problem."

By Post Editor  |  May 10, 2008; 2:37 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama Adviser Tied to Hamas Meetings Resigns
Next: Obama Launches 50-State Voter Registration Drive


While i do not believe that Cap and Trade is the preferred policy tool (it is too easy to game (, it is the only policy on the table at the moment. To have McCain endorse it would be a plus...however he must be cognizant of recent polling showing most republicans do not believe climate change is real.

Posted by: guido | May 11, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Backing the Warner-Lieberman bill is the worst mistake McCain ever made. It is a trillion dollar tax increase, the biggest in the history of the US. I am not a global warming denier, nor am I even a conservative. The point is that it is too little too late: the strategy of cutting emissions fast and drastically to avoid abrupt climate change and runaway global warming is unfeasible. It is very unlikely that mankind with a rapidly growing population and world economy will be able to abide by such a strict carbon diet:

I know of no realistic person who thinks carbon dioxide emissions are going to do anything but grow. Most European countries are not meeting their emissions goals, and of the ones that have, it's because their economies are collapsing. In the United States, this notion that we're going to reduce our emissions by 80 percent is pure fantasy. --Pete Geddes, Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, 2 April 2008

"I'm going to tell you something I probably shouldn't: we may not be able to stop global warming. We need to begin curbing global greenhouse emissions right now, but more than a decade after the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, the world has utterly failed to do so. Unless the geopolitics of global warming change soon, the Hail Mary pass of geoengineering might become our best shot." --Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine, 17 March 2008

Recently some have begun to advocate engineered climate selection as a fallback or insurance policy, in case their preferred regulatory decarbonization approach does not solve the problem or an unforeseen event occurs that requires a rapid response. A more prudent and efficient strategy would appear to be to implement engieneered climate selection first and then see what further needs to be done. --Alan Carlin, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, June 2007

Posted by: Brad Arnold | May 11, 2008 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Nuclear power is part of the solution, not part of the problem. All other forms of "green" power are either too expensive, or do not supply us with enough electricity to meet our current needs.

Thankfully, both Obama and McCain support nuclear power. No matter who becomes President in '08, the nuclear industry has a bright future ahead of it in this country.

McCain '08.

Posted by: Cory | May 10, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: GUNCLINGER | May 10, 2008 5:59 PM
Gunclinger - The only thing that's a hoax is the rumor of your intelligence. Get this through your thick, idiot head.

If the planet dies, so does everything on it.

Please cling to your guns. Just make your cold and dead ASAP.

Posted by: treetopflyer | May 10, 2008 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Of course McBush will... remember that "W" denied there was such a thing as global warming until it became clear that he would look like an even bigger fool for continuing to deny it? Whatever it takes to get votes... while back room deals continue to rape and pillage America.

Posted by: Dadi | May 10, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

No Nuclear, we can do it together with simpler solutions. I just had an audit on my house, almost 1/2 paid for by the State of WI. It cost me less then a fill up of gas. With some minor work on improving my insulation in specific walls. By placing some simple gaskets on vents and tightening my window cavities, I can save over 30% of my energy usage. The State will pay me 1/2 the cost of doing the work also. With this effort, I can save the amount of about 33,000 cars on the road.

Each of us can contribute. If you don't live in WI, get your State to review what is being offered by WI and the Energy company combined to help us work together and save a lot of CO2. We will save about 5 tons of carbon a year.

My second option after this cheap effort is to put solar panels on my roof. That will be another 35%. I will save another 33,000 cars of CO2 pollution. The panels will be paid partially by the Sate of WI and it will take me 6 years to pay off the panels & the other hardware as well as its installation.

I am telling the truth! We can do this together if we work together. Go to "Focus on Energy" in the State of WI and she how they help support getting this done. We all benefit if we work together.

Posted by: jerry rubin | May 10, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

haha. We are STILL focusing on Al Jor-El Gore's fairy tale. 33% of Co2 comes from livestock flatulence. Alot of warm, stinky BS!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

McCain better be careful regardless of what he believes about global warming. There's a whole bunch of would be Republican voters who don't think man can damage his environment no hard he tries.

For these experts, any money spent on "saving the environment" is a guaranteed waste of money.

Posted by: Skyline1 | May 10, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: BULL | May 10, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: GUNCLINGER | May 10, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

A 20th century solution beats no solution, which is what the anti-nuclear purists are offering.

Posted by: OD | May 10, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

With over FORTY Years to comply, This Bill SCREAMS Special Porky Interest!

What Immediate Concessions are involved, for down the road Promises?

Posted by: RAT-The | May 10, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company