Sen. John McCain will deliver a climate change speech at a wind turbine manufacturer Monday afternoon in Oregon as the Republican candidate focuses his sights on the general election and voter concerns about the environment and energy.
He is expected to “propose a domestic cap-and-trade system that will mobilize market forces to develop and commercialize alternatives to carbon-based fuels,” his campaign said.
McCain will push for expanding nuclear power and setting a goal of reducing carbon emissions to 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, according to his Web site.
The campaign released an ad to air in Oregon coinciding with his speech. “I believe that climate change is real,” McCain says in the ad. “It’s not just a greenhouse gas issue; it’s a national security issue. We have an obligation to future generations to fix it.”
McCain has long challenged the Republican Party on climate-change policies, often putting him at odds with members of the party that denied or ignored climate change issues.
In 2003, McCain co-sponsored the Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship Act along with Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, a proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions and set up a greenhouse gas database. The measure failed in the Senate by a 43-55 vote but it set the stage for bipartisan efforts on climate change.
Lieberman appeared on Fox News on Monday morning to discuss McCain’s speech: “This is one of the reasons why I crossed party lines to support John, obviously in addition to his tremendous ability to be our commander-in-chief at a time of war. It’s also the reason why a lot of Democrats and independents are going to cross party lines to support him. John saw a problem, and he spent some time studying it. He decided global warming was real, and he came to me about six years ago, and said let’s get together and do something about this. And we put in the first significant anti-global warming bill — a bill that uses market mechanisms to move us slowly down in terms of our greenhouse gas emissions.”
McCain has continued to push for a cap and trade system for carbon emissions on the campaign trail. “We need a successor to Kyoto, a cap-and-trade system that delivers the necessary environmental impact in an economically responsible manner,” McCain wrote in an op-ed in the Financial Times.
McCain’s market-based climate change proposals are similar to those of his Democratic rivals Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who both support a cap-and-trade systems.
Clinton’s energy plan is focused on “a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, stronger energy- and auto-efficiency standards and a significant increase in green research funding,” according to her campaign Web site.
Obama’s plan proposes to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 through a cap-and-trade system, according to his Web site.
But even he searches for support beyond the traditional Republican base, news Monday that former Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., would jump into the race as a Libertarian could hurt McCain’s chances to win over conservative voters who are skeptical of McCain. Barr must first win the Libertarian Party nomination at its national convention on May 22.
On Saturday, McCain’s convention plans were disrupted when Doug Goodyear, the chair appointed to run the Republican National Committee’s national convention operation, resigned after Newsweek.com revealed that Goodyear’s consulting group represented the military junta in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
“Today I offered the convention my resignation so as not to become a distraction in this campaign. I continue to strongly support John McCain for president, and wish him the best of luck in this campaign,” Goodyear wrote in a statement.
McCain has long spoken out against the human rights abuses of Myanmar’s government.