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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/18/08

McCain: Not So Straight On Energy

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Message John Kerry
Posted June 17, 2008 | 03:07 PM (EST)
reposted from The Huffington Post

If you care about climate change, the last 24 hours provide the clearest illustration yet of the choice we face in November, and which candidate understands what we need to do.

In Detroit last night, Barack Obama took the stage with Al Gore to tell tough truths -- and propose specific policies to galvanize decades of green economic growth.

In Houston today, candidate McCain will tell the people that he used to call "special interests" that just because two oilmen are leaving the White House doesn't mean the gravy train has to end. Back in 2000, he promised he would "never lose sight" of the importance of protecting our natural heritage. Today his campaign reversed McCain's longstanding position and endorsed drilling off our coastlines. Oh -- and Senator McCain's reform agenda of getting tough on Big Oil? Now Candidate McCain is against any windfall profits tax to fund renewable energy.

If you think this will lower prices at the pump, think again: oil production from the Outer Continental Shelf (or OCS) wouldn't even begin until 2017 because we don't have the infrastructure -- the network of platforms and hundreds of miles of pipelines -- needed to support expanded drilling. And even the administration's own economists point out that it will have an "insignificant" impact on prices at the pump. Why, then, would anyone who prides himself on 'straight talk' propose drilling for oil that we won't see until at least 9 years from now as an answer to the problems of today? Sadly, it's a page torn out from the same cynical playbook that offered the McCain gas tax holiday.

More than a few people have asked me how the John McCain I knew so well, and teamed up with on CAFE standards in 2002, has ended up here. I can't fully answer that. But I know that the Senator McCain I knew, and who will always be my friend, is very different from this candidate McCain.

One possible explanation is that, based on recent quotes I first read on Grist, John McCain seems to have paid scant attention to the details of his own campaign proposals--or even the bill he sponsored in the Senate.

Just yesterday, McCain said, "I believe in the cap-and-trade system, as you know. I would not at this time make those -- impose a mandatory cap at this time." Details are stubborn things: His own campaign proposal includes a mandatory cap.

And this isn't the first time: In another interview, he said: "It's not quote mandatory caps. It's cap-and-trade, OK. It's not mandatory caps to start with. It's cap-and-trade. That's very different. OK, because that's a gradual reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions. So please portray it as cap-and-trade. That's the way I call it."

Call it anything you like -- but nobody would call it "straight talk."
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Senator from MA, former presidential candidate
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