Thursday, February 7, 2008

McCain's green credentials

Polprint has thus far failed to deliver on her promise of "a touch of green". The politics of red and blue have been too compelling. But here's a start:

Environmentalists must be pleased with the Final Three (sorry, Huckabee). Obama and Clinton both support the now-standard Democratic climate approach of higher fuel-economy standards, cap & trade provisions for carbon dioxide, pumping money into renewables so as to generate green-collar jobs, etc.

But John McCain is not far behind them. A Republican in the mold of Arnold Schwarzenegger, McCain has promised to make stopping climate change a priority. He may be 71, but he is looking to the future. McCain has been pushing for cap & trade at least since 2003--longer than Obama has been in the Senate. Mitt Romney pandered to Michigan voters by arguing for lower fuel-economy standards, to help salvage the auto industry. Not so McCain.

President McCain might push for cap & trade legislation even more quickly than Clinton/Obama, since it would be one of the areas of obvious agreement between him and a Democratic-controlled Congress. (This analysis is not original to Polprint; its source is an unnameable Democrat.)

Even so, a piece today in Salon makes a good point that cap & trade is only part of the climate-change solution. There is also the matter of the judiciary--appointing judges who won't gut all environmental regulations. McCain also seems to oppose subsidies for solar and wind--and those two industries, especially solar, still do need help. See this interview in Grist for more.


Jean said...

Glad to see the touch of green! But who's going to back the carbon tax?

Kate said...

(Some) economists will. Not politicians. The strongest arguments for cap & trade are: a) political realities; and b) it sets an absolute quantity of emissions, rather than a price; a tax won't work so well if demand for emissions proves to be inelastic. Of course, either would need major scope for adjustment after the initial policy is set. But you know all this...