McCain Breaks With Bush on Climate Policy

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

PORTLAND, Ore., May 12 -- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) made a sharp break with President Bush on Monday, saying that the United States should adopt mandatory curbs on greenhouse gas emissions as well as issue tradable emissions credits to polluters to spur technological innovation.

"The facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in Washington," he said, speaking at a Portland training facility for Vestas Wind Technology. "We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great. The most relevant question now is whether our own government is equal to the challenge."

Under the plan put forward by the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, the United States would return to its 2005 emissions levels by 2012, reach its 1990 levels by 2020, and cut emissions by at least 60 percent compared with 1990 levels by mid-century. The plan does not go as far as a bill expected to reach the Senate floor in June, which calls for a 70 percent reduction in emissions compared with 1990 levels by 2050. McCain has not said how he will vote on the bill.

McCain's Democratic rivals for the White House, Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), have committed to an 80 percent cut in emissions by 2050 -- in line with what most scientists say is needed.

Criticizing Bush, McCain said he "will not shirk" America's duty of helping forge a new international pact on global warming. "I will not permit eight long years to pass without serious action on serious challenges," he said.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean suggested McCain would govern differently if elected president. "Senator McCain is once again trying to recast himself as a friend of the environment for the general election, but his record clearly shows that the only friends he really stands up for are his donors and the lobbyists running his campaign," Dean said in a statement.

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