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John McCain on Energy & Oil

Republican nominee for President; Senior Senator (AZ)


FactCheck: Pushed cap-and-trade bill in 2009, but not since

Obama said, "I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will."

Cap-and-trade legislation akin to McCain-Lieberman has been dead for some time, and Obama's one of the guilty parties. McCain has shown little interest since 2009 in taking the lead on global warming legislation, while Lieberman is off in retirement. So far, the only lawmakers even proposing bills that look like McCain-Lieberman are liberal lions like Sens. Barbara Boxer and Bernie Sanders, not exactly hope for bipartisan legislation. It's not clear Obama will invest any political capital to push for that or other climate change legislation. Any action on the issue will likely have to come from the president alone, via executive order and regulations that will no doubt be controversial.

Source: Politico.com FactCheck on 2013 State of the Union Address , Feb 13, 2013

FactCheck: No, Obama voted for $300M oil tax INCREASE

McCain recycled a misleading claim from Sen. Clinton’s primary campaign, charging Obama with voting to give “billions” to oil companies. McCain said, “an energy bill on the floor of the Senate loaded down with goodies, billions for the oil companies, and it was sponsored by Bush and Cheney. You know who voted for it? That one. You know who voted against it? Me.”

McCain is referring to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which Obama did in fact vote for. Clinton raised this same charge against Obama during the Democratic primaries. It was misleading then and it’s equally misleading now.

In fact, more tax breaks were taken away from oil companies than were given. Overall, the act resulted in a small net tax increase on the oil industry of $300 million over 11 years.

The bill did contain $14.3 billion in tax breaks, but most of those went to electric utilities, and nuclear, and also to alternative fuels research and subsidies for energy-efficient cars, homes and buildings--not to the oil industry.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 second presidential debate , Oct 7, 2008

FactCheck: Obama not opposed to nuclear energy; just Yucca

McCain said Obama was against storing nuclear waste. That’s not exactly his position. McCain said, “Obama says he’s for nuclear, but he’s against reprocessing and he’s against storing.” Obama responded, “I have never said that I object to nuclear waste. What I’ve said is that we have to store it safely.”

Obama’s official position is that he does support safe storage of nuclear waste, saying on his campaign Fact Sheet: “Obama will lead federal efforts to look for a safe, long-term disposal solution based on objective, scientific analysis. In the meantime, Obama will develop requirements to ensure that the waste stored at current reactor sites is contained using the most advanced dry-cask storage technology available. Barack Obama believes that Yucc Mountain is not an option.“

But the McCain campaign has attacked Obama before on this issue, going as far as to claim Obama did not support nuclear energy at all, which was false. Obama has said he supports nuclear as long as it is ”clean and safe.“

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 first Presidential debate , Sep 26, 2008

GovWatch: Build 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030

McCain portrays Obama as saying “no to clean, safe, nuclear energy.” That’s false. But there’s no question that McCain is a much bigger advocate of nuclear power than Obama, who has taken a more guarded position. McCain has said that he’d work to bring 45 new nuclear power plants online by 2030, with the eventual goal of building 100 new nuclear plants. Obama has criticized that, highlighting his opposition to long-term storage of nuclear waste at the federal government’s Yucca Mountain site in Nevada. “He wants to build 45 new nuclear reactors when they don’t have a plan to store the waste anywhere besides right here,” Obama said on June 25. McCain supports going ahead with the Yucca Mountain plan.

Obama’s 2007 plan promised that he “will also lead federal efforts to look for a safe, long-term disposal solution based on objective, scientific analysis.” It’s inaccurate to cast Obama as an opponent, and McCain goes too far when he portrays Obama as saying “no” to nuclear.

Source: GovWatch on 2008: Washington Post analysis , Jun 26, 2008

GovWatch: Gas tax cut goes to oil companies, not consumers

Back in April, McCain proposed lifting the federal gas tax for the summer to give drivers a break from skyrocketing prices. Then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton soon followed suit. But as we said then, it’s unlikely that the “gas-tax holiday” would mean lower prices at the pump. Because the supply of oil will still be tight, increased demand is likely to drive the cost right back up--except that the oil companies will get to keep the 18.4 cents per gallon that would normally go to th federal Highway Trust Fund.

In early May, more than 300 economists, including several Nobel laureates, issued a statement opposing the proposal because, among other reasons, “waiving the gas tax would generate major profits for oil companies rather than significantly lowering prices for consumers.”

The view of hundreds of economists from across the political spectrum hasn’t stopped McCain from promising voters that “in the short term, I can give you some relief” by repealing the tax.

Source: GovWatch on 2008: Washington Post analysis , Jun 20, 2008

Ethanol subsidy OK at $40/bbl oil; opposed it at $60/bbl

[In Iowa in 2000] McCain's unwillingness to go along with the quadrennial parade of pandering was just one more indication that he was a maverick. He criticized ethanol subsidies and the substance itself, even after the campaign was over. "Ethanol does nothing to reduce fuel-consumption, nothing to increase our energy independence, nothing to improve our air quality," McCain said in 2003.

But unlike in 2000, McCain decided he could not skip the Iowa caucuses in 2008. By a fortuitous coincidence, his position on ethanol underwent a transformation. "I support ethanol and I think it is a vital alternative energy source not only because of our dependency on foreign oil but its greenhouse gas reduction effects," he said in a speech in Iowa in August 2006 McCain's reason? He has said his anti-ethanol position softened when oil hit $40 per barrel. But in June 2005, when oil was at $60 per barrel, McCain's office put out a press release opposing ethanol mandates in the 2005 Energy Bill.

Source: Free Ride, by David Brock and Paul Waldman, p.169 , Mar 25, 2008

Public pressure on oil industry to invest in alternatives

Q: Should the oil industry be required to use some of their profits to help solve our energy problems?

A: I would hope that they would use those profits to further the cause of alternate energy, nuclear power, a lot of other ways that we have to employ in order to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil.

Q: Do you support drilling/exploration off the coasts of Florida and California? A: I wouldn’t drill off the coast of Florida unless the people of Florida wanted to. And I wouldn’t drill off the coast of California unless the people of California wanted to, and I wouldn’t drill in the Grand Canyon unless the people in Arizona wanted to.

Q: But you wouldn’t require the oil industry to use its profits to help pursue alternative energy?

A: I would not require them to. But I think that public pressure and a lot of other things, including a national security requirement that we reduce and eliminate our dependence on foreign oil.

Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan , Oct 9, 2007

Supports ethanol but opposes subsidies for it

As he recalled to Tim Russert in June 2005, "My opposition to ethanol has, obviously, hurt me." Just over a year later, McCain announced his "support for ethanol," while traveling through Iowa.

What changed? McCain claims it was the price of oil. "When oil is $10 a barrel, ethanol doesn't make much sense," he told Russert in Nov. 2006. "When it's $40 a barrel, it does make sense. I do not support subsidies for ethanol and I have not supported it and I will not."

The only problem is that it directly contradicts his own words: McCain's office sent out a press release condemning ethanol when oil was as high as $60 a barrel. When Russert confronted him with these contradictions, McCain, "No, I, I, I don't, I don't think I said that at $60 a barrel," and quickly changed the subject.

Claiming to "support ethanol" while opposing subsidies for it begs the question of what "support" from the federal government than could possibly mean?

Source: The Myth of a Maverick, by Matt Welch, p.176 , Oct 9, 2007

Reinvest oil profits in nuclear power

Q: Do you have a problem with Big Oil companies making these huge profits?

A: Sure, I think we all do. And they ought to be reinvesting it. And one of the areas that they ought to be involved in is nuclear power. Nuclear power is safe, nuclear power is green--& does not emit greenhouse gases. Nuclear power is used on Navy ships which have sailed around the world for 60 years without an accident. And of course we ought to be investing in alternate energy sources.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007

Ethanol made no sense in ‘05 but with $60/bbl it makes sense

Q: You said: “Ethanol does nothing to reduce fuel consumption, nothing to increase our energy independence, nothing to improve air quality.” And after you said that, you acknowledged you might pay a political price for that view. You said:
(Videotape of McCain, 6/19/2005):
My opposition to ethanol obviously would hurt me. But I’ve got to do what I think is right. And if it offends a certain political constituency, I regret it, but there’s really nothing I can do about it.

A: When oil is $15 a barrel, ethanol does not make sense. When oil is $60-plus a barrel, then ethanol does make sense.

Q: So you’ve changed your mind.

A: No, I haven’t. I have adjusted to the realities of the world we live in today.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , May 13, 2007

Supports alternative fuels, emission controls, & CWA

Source: 1998 National Political Awareness Test , Jul 2, 1998


John McCain on Energy Independence

Energy independence will create millions of jobs

McCAIN: On energy independence: We have to have nuclear power. We have to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much. It’s wind, tide, solar, natural gas, nuclear, off-shore drilling, which Sen. Obama has opposed. And the point is that we become energy independent and we will create millions of jobs in America. I oppose subsidies for ethanol because I thought it distorted the market and created inflation; Sen. Obama supported those subsidies. I would eliminate the tariff on imported sugarcane-based ethanol from Brazil.

OBAMA: I support clean coal technology. Doesn’t make me popular with environmentalists. So I’ve got a history of reaching across the aisle.

McCAIN: He voted for the energy bill that was full of goodies for the oil companies that I opposed. So the fact is, let’s look at our records

Source: 2008 third presidential debate against Barack Obama , Oct 15, 2008

Use alternative energy, including nuclear, coal, gas, solar

Q: How much can we reduce foreign oil imports?

McCAIN: We can eliminate our dependence on Middle Eastern oil and Venezuelan oil. Canadian oil is fine. We can eliminate our dependence on foreign oil by building 45 new nuclear power plants. With wind, tide, solar, natural gas, with development of flex fuel, hybrid, clean coal technology, we can, within seven, eight, ten years, eliminate our dependence on the places in the world that harm our national security.

OBAMA: In ten years, we can reduce our dependence so that we no longer have to import oil from the Middle East or Venezuela. Number one, we need to expand domestic production and that means telling the oil companies the 68 million acres that they currently have leased that they’re not drilling, use them or lose them.

Source: 2008 third presidential debate against Barack Obama , Oct 15, 2008

All of the above: nuclear, wind, tide, solar, gas, coal

We can work on nuclear power plants. Build a whole bunch of them, create millions of new jobs. We have to have all of the above, alternative fuels, wind, tide, solar, natural gas, clean coal technology. All of these things we can do as Americans and we can take on this mission and we can overcome it.
Source: 2008 second presidential debate against Barack Obama , Oct 7, 2008

Offshore drilling & nuke power instead of $700B to enemies

We’re sending $700 billion a year overseas to countries that don’t like us very much. Some of that money ends up in the hands of terrorist organizations. We have to have the wind, tide, solar, natural gas, flex-fuel cars and all that, but we also have to have offshore drilling and nuclear power. Obama opposed both storing and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. You can’t get there from here. We can create 700,000 jobs by building, constructing 45 new nuclear power plants by the year 2030.
Source: 2008 first presidential debate, Obama vs. McCain , Sep 26, 2008

FactCheck: Voted against new investments in renewable energy

McCAIN: “I voted for alternate fuel all my time. No one can be opposed to alternate energy, no one.”

FACT CHECK: In his 26 years in Congress, McCain has voted against several bills and amendments calling for new investments in renewable energy, according to official Senate records. In March 2002, for example, McCain voted against an amendment to require utilities to generate 10 percent of their electricity from renewable energy facilities by 2020.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 first presidential debate-Boston Globe , Sep 26, 2008

FactCheck: US sends $357B to hostile countries, not $700B

McCain repeated an exaggerated claim that the US is sending $700 billion per year to hostile countries. McCain said, “We are sending $700 billion a year overseas to countries that don’t like us very much. Some of that money ends up in the hands of terrorist organizations.” That’s not accurate. McCain also made this claim in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.

He’s referring to the amount of money the US spends in importing oil. But the number is inflated. In fact, we actually pay more like $536 billion for the oil we need. And one-third of those payments go to Canada, Mexico and the U.K. [That leaves $357 billion in oil payments to “hostile countries.”]

Note: A few of our readers messaged us, after we first noted McCain’s mistake, with the thought that he was referring to foreign aid and not to oil. If so he’s even farther off than we supposed: The entire budget for the State Department and International Programs works out to just $51.3 million.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 first Presidential debate , Sep 26, 2008

Attack the energy problem on every front

We’ll attack the energy problem on every front. We’ll produce more energy at home. We will drill new wells offshore and we’ll drill them now. We’ll build more nuclear power plants. We’ll develop clean coal technology. We’ll increase the use of wind, tide solar and natural gas. We’ll encourage the development & use of flex fuel, hybrid & electric automobiles. Obama thinks we can achieve energy independence without more drilling and without more nuclear power. But Americans know better than that. We must use all resources and develop all technologies necessary to rescue our economy from the damage caused by rising oil prices and restore the health of our planet. It’s an ambitious plan, but Americans are ambitious by nature. We’ve faced greater challenges It’s time for us to show the world again how Americans lead. This great natural cause will create millions of new jobs, many in industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity--jobs that will be there when your children enter the workforce.
Source: Speech at 2008 Republican National Convention , Sep 4, 2008

Job creation program with alternate energy & nuclear power

Q: How would the McCain presidency be different from the Bush presidency?

A: Well, the first thing we would do is rein in spending. I mean, we’ve got to veto all of these pork barrel bills. We would eliminate pork barrel and earmark spending. We would seriously and comprehensively address the issue of climate change. We would also absolutely, absolutely make sure that I address the issue of Afghanistan and our nation’s security, and build a coalition of nations in an attempt that I think we can succeed on in reining in the Iranian development of nuclear weapons. But most importantly, a comprehensive immediate plan of action to fix our economy and create jobs and get people back to work again and get our economy going again, that has got to be the first priority. And I’ll work with the Democrats. I’ll reach across the aisle. And we have got to keep taxes low, and we have got to have a job creation program in which alternate energy and nuclear power are a big part of it.

Source: 2008 Fox News interview: “Choosing the President” series , Aug 31, 2008

Address both the supply and demand sides of imported oil

I have spent the last two weeks addressing the problem that is causing Americans the most pain right now, our dependence on imported oil, and how to free ourselves from a situation that threatens our economy, our environment and our national security. We must commit ourselves to addressing this problem as quickly as humanly possible, and we must commit this country to the great national cause of breaking our strategic dependence on foreign oil. To do that, we must address both the supply and demand sides of the problem. We must produce more oil at home, and while exploration and production will take some time, it will have an earlier effect on the oil futures market. When futures traders believe the supply of oil will increase in the years ahead and the cost of a barrel of oil will be lower, it will help curb some of the speculation in those markets that are driving prices so much higher today.
Source: Obama & McCain back-to-back speeches at NALEO , Jun 28, 2008

Lexington Project: invest to achieve energy security

The lasting solution to all the problems associated with our dependence on foreign oil is to begin the most ambitious program ever to reduce our demand for fuel that is a powerful inflationary force in our economy; is causing our climate to change with all the unimaginable problems that creates; and is ransoming our future to regimes that care little for our values. We need to unleash the competitive forces of the free market to encourage clean alternatives--wind, solar, tide, nuclear, & clean coal. But to really achieve energy security, we must address the area where the demand for oil is the greatest the way we fuel our transportation system. I have promised a plan, which I called the Lexington Project, for the place where America’s war for independence began, which will encourage the investment and innovation necessary to wean our cars, buses, and trucks off of our complete dependence on gasoline. This will take time, but the longer we wait to begin, the longer it will take to achieve.
Source: Obama & McCain back-to-back speeches at NALEO , Jun 28, 2008

AdWatch: Obama is the “Dr. No” of energy security

[John McCain campaign TV ad airing in June]:

On Screen: Barack Obama Is Dr. No. No To Drilling Offshore Oil.

Obama: Offshore drilling would not lower gas prices today.

On Screen: No To A Gas Tax Holiday.

Obama: I think John McCain’s proposal for

Source: GovWatch on 2008 campaign web ad, “Dr. No” Ad-Watch , Jun 26, 2008

GovWatch: No, Obama supported $150B in energy innovation

McCain released a Web ad that distorts Obama’s positions on clean-energy innovation and nuclear power. The ad portrays Obama as saying “no” to energy “innovation” and to “the electric car.” In fact, Obama proposed a $150 billion program of research into wide variety of clean-energy technologies.

The ad also has Obama saying “no” to “clean, safe nuclear energy.” In fact, Obama has said, “I have not ruled out nuclear... but only [would support it] so far as it is clean and safe.”

The most glaringly inaccurate claim in the ad is that Obama opposes “innovation” in general and “the electric car” in particular. The claim is based solely on Obama’s dismissal of McCain’s proposal to award a $300 million prize for development of a battery package capable of powering plug-in hybrids or electric cars at a fraction of current costs. Obama called McCain’s approach a gimmick, but it’s not true that he opposes innovation or electric-powered cars. In fact, Obama was criticizing McCain for not going far enough.

Source: GovWatch on 2008: Washington Post analysis , Jun 26, 2008

End moratorium on offshore oil drilling

McCain has spent the week focusing on energy policy, making some surprising, and inaccurate, statements. Among them:McCain certainly has the right to change his opinion on policy options. But the facts are more in line with his earlier statement that drilling would not offer short-term relief for energy prices.
Source: GovWatch on 2008: Washington Post analysis , Jun 20, 2008

GovWatch: Favors wind & solar in ad; favors nuclear in bills

McCain released a new ad this week in which the imagery in the ad of solar technology and windmills might lead viewers to draw some false conclusions about McCain’s energy policy. McCain has been less than enthusiastic about the development of wind and solar energy. McCain’s favored source of alternative energy, nuclear reactors, did not make the cut for visuals--there are no shots of a cooling tower in the ad. His own climate change bill provides billions to help nuclear power. Yet, while McCain has mentioned solar and wind on the campaign trail, the energy plan on his Web site leaves them out, while specifying his support for nuclear power.

McCain said in an Oct. 1, 2007, interview: “I’m not one who believes that we need to subsidize things. The wind industry is doing fine, the solar industry is doing fine. In the ‘70s, we gave too many subsidies and too much help, and we had substandard products sold to the American people, which then made them disenchanted with solar for a long time.”

Source: GovWatch on 2008: Washington Post analysis , Jun 20, 2008

GovWatch: 2003: Ethanol doesn’t increase energy independence

Top McCain Flip Flops: #5. Ethanol:

In 2003, McCain said that ethanol “does nothing to reduce fuel consumption, nothing to increase our energy independence, nothing to improve air quality.” Campaigning in Iowa in August 2006, he described ethanol as a “vital alternative energy source, not only because of our dependency on foreign oil but its greenhouse reduction effects.” Yesterday, in Massachusetts, he reverted to his anti-ethanol position.

Source: GovWatch on 2008 campaign: “Top Ten Flip-Flops” , Feb 5, 2008

End reliance on petro-dictators with market-based reform

Market-Based Energy Reform: National Strategy For Energy Security: John McCain will deliver a national energy strategy that declares independence from the risk bred by our reliance on oil imported from petro-dictators the vulnerability to the troubled politics of their lands.

John McCain is a proven conservative, and his strategy will not rely on subsidies, rifle-shot tax breaks, line-items for lobbyists, or big-government debacles. It will promote the diversification and conservation of our energy sources and substantially reduce the impact of our energy consumption on the planet. It will rely on the genius and technological prowess of American industry and science. Government must set achievable goals, but the markets should be free to produce the means.

Source: Campaign plan: “Bold Solutions for Economic Prosperity” , Feb 3, 2008

FactCheck: Oil independence will take 25 years, not 5 years

McCain announced a lofty, and, according to experts on the subject, improbable goal of ending foreign oil imports in five years, saying: “We have got to achieve energy independence, oil independence in this nation. I will make it a Manhattan Project, and we will in five years become oil independent.”

We can’t predict the future, so perhaps McCain can make this happen. But experts have serious doubts. Says one expert, “You can’t institute technological change that quickly. It takes 15 years now to turn over the car fleet,“ citing a report commissioned by the secretary of energy that found the US could realistically reduce its reliance on oil imports by a third by 2030.

Another study, partly funded by the Pentagon and published in 2004, said it would take until 2040 for the nation to be free of all oil imports, by primarily using new technologies and competition.

About 66% of the oil used in the US in 2006 came from foreign imports, which amounted to 13.7 million barrels a day.

Source: FactCheck on 2007 Des Moines Register Republican debate , Dec 12, 2007


John McCain on Global Warming

Nuclear power is the best way to fix climate change

Q: What can you do to move Congress on climate change?

McCAIN: When we have an issue that we may hand our children and our grandchildren a damaged planet, I have disagreed strongly with the Bush administration on this issue. I traveled all over the world looking at the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, Joe Lieberman and I. And I introduced the first legislation, and we forced votes on it. We lost, but we kept the debate going, and we kept posing to Americans the danger that climate change poses. Now, what’s the best way of fixing it? Nuclear power. Sen. Obama says that it has to be safe or disposable or something like that. Look, I was on Navy ships that had nuclear power plants. Nuclear power is safe, and it’s clean, and it creates hundreds of thousands of jobs. And I know that we can reprocess the spent nuclear fuel. The Japanese, the British, the French do it. And we can do it, too. Sen. Obama has opposed that.

OBAMA: I favor nuclear power as one component of our overall energy mix.

Source: 2008 second presidential debate against Barack Obama , Oct 7, 2008

AdWatch: Realistic climate plan that clashes with GOP

[McCain TV ad airing in June]:

Headline: McCain climate views clash with GOP

Announcer: John McCain stood up to the president and sounded the alarm on global warming, five years ago. Today, he has a realistic plan that will curb greenhouse gas emissions. A plan that will help grow our economy and protect our environment. Reform. Prosperity. Peace. John McCain.

John McCain: I’m John McCain and I approve this message.

Source: GovWatch on 2008: “Global” Ad-Watch , Jun 20, 2008

Be more active in addressing the issue of climate change

Suppose we do nothing, & we don’t eliminate this $400 billion dependence we have on foreign oil. Some of that money goes to terrorist organizations & also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Then what kind of a world have we given our children? We Westerners care very much about our environment and we want to act. I have disagreed with the Bush administration in not being more active in addressing the issue of climate change, whether it be through cap-and-trade, through tax incentives for R&D for green technologies and many other measures that need to be taken. We are feeling here in California pollution from China. It is a global issue, and we have to address it globally. I would not agree to any global agreement without India & China being part of it. I want to assure you that we have an obligation to try to stem these greenhouse gas emissions. One of the ways is through the use of nuclear power. The French generate 80% of their electricity with nuclear power. We have to address this issue.
Source: 2008 Republican debate at Reagan Library in Simi Valley , Jan 30, 2008

In favor of cap-and-trade

I am in favor of cap-and-trade. Lieberman and I have proposed, and we did the same thing with acid rain. They’re doing it in Europe now, although not very well. You can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions; you earn a credit. Somebody else is going to increase theirs; you can sell it to them. Meanwhile we have a gradual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. We need a global agreement, but it has to include India and China. We need to go back to nuclear power. We cannot be dependent on $400 billion a year paying for foreign oil. There’s a nexus here. But climate change is real. It can affect states like Florida dramatically because it has to do with violent weather changes. But I am confident American technology and the embrace of green technologies can reduce these greenhouse gas emissions. Suppose that we are wrong & there’s no such thing as climate change and we hand our kids a cleaner world. But suppose we are right & do nothing. That’s a challenge for America. We can meet it.
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida , Jan 24, 2008

Climate change is real and must be addressed

Suppose that climate change is not real, and we do adopt green technologies, which our economy and technology are capable of. Then all we’ve done is given our kids a cleaner world. But suppose that climate change is real and we’ve done nothing. What kind of a planet are we going to pass on to the next generation? It’s real. We’ve got to address it with technology, with cap-and- trade, with capitalist and free enterprise motivation. We can pass on to our children and grandchildren a cleaner, better world.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Republican Debate , Dec 12, 2007

Climate change is real; nuclear power is solution

[We need to] stop the contamination of our atmosphere. Climate change is real & is taking place. We have now a confluence of two national security requirements. One is to address the issue of climate change, and nuclear power is a very big part of that. And it’s also a requirement to not allow Chavez in Venezuela, Putin in Russia and the president of Iran to dictate world events and use oil as a weapon which would probably further terrorism and endanger this nation’s national security.
Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan , Oct 9, 2007

Led delegation with Hillary, to see effects of polar warming

Virtually the entire Senate voted for a resolution opposing the Kyoto Climate Change Treaty even before I could submit it for ratification.

All that changed after 9/11 and the Iraqi War. With oil prices soaring and mounting evidence of the destructive impacts of climate change, everyone began to take the issue more seriously. Sen. John McCain and Hillary led delegations of more skeptical senators to northern Norway and Alaska to see the already clear impact of warming for themselves. Other countries proved that clean efficient energy use could be profitable. While the US government was condemning Kyoto as a threat to growth, the United Kingdom determined to beat its Kyoto reduction target by 25% to 50%, and in so doing created enough good jobs to enjoy something we Americans didn't--rising wages and declining inequality. Germany is now the number one producer of wind energy, and Japan leads the world in the production and installation of solar panels.

Source: Giving, by Bill Clinton, p.154-155 , Sep 4, 2007

FactCheck: nuclear plants do emit no GHGs, but do have waste

Sen. John McCain would have us believe that nuclear power is good for the environment because nuclear power plants do not emit greenhouse gases. McCain said, “Nuclear power is safe, nuclear power is green--does not emit greenhouse gases.”

McCain is correct to say that nuclear power does not emit greenhouse gases; in that respect, it is far more environmentally friendly than fossil fuel power plants. McCain neglects to mention, however, that nuclear power poses a different set of environmental worries. High-level nuclear waste--the sort produced as a byproduct of nuclear power generation--is potentially quite harmful. Some of the isotopes in spent nuclear fuel have half-lives as long as 24,000 years. At present, high-level nuclear waste is mostly stored in pools at nuclear power plants, a temporary solution. Fights have raged for years about the location of a permanent nuclear waste repository, but the NRC plans to open one in 2017 under Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

Source: FactCheck on 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007

Utility lobbyists influence White House climate policy

Some prominent Republicans are deeply worried about their party leaders' lack of concern about global warming and other issues. When asked about the policies of the president and some congressional colleagues, Senator John McCain said, "There's no justification for not taking action now, but we have a tough task ahead in convincing the administration. The White House stance on climate change is terribly disappointing. Unfortunately, the special interests rule in Washington, DC. The major lobbies, including the utilities, wield enormous power on Capitol Hill." He added, "Are we going to hand our children and grandchildren a world vastly different from the one that we now inhabit?"
Source: Our Endangered Values, by Jimmy Carter, p.175 , Sep 26, 2006

2000: Held hearings on mounting evidence of climate change

During hearings McCain held through the Senate Commerce committee, he said there was “mounting evidence” for the existence of global climate change. While he was campaigning in New Hampshire, McCain had been hounded so much by one environmental group, he agreed to hold hearings on global warming. He was now fulfilling that promise by having six scientists testify, before the Commerce Committee, that the climate was getting warmer.

Global warming was a sensitive issue with Bush---a fact that surely was not lost on McCain when he decided to hold these hearings during the weeks leading up to the national convention. In the past, Bush had gone out of his way to say he was not sure that conclusive evidence existed to prove global warming was taking place. This was an echo of the Republican majority position.

Source: Man of the People, by Paul Alexander, p.318 , Jan 19, 2004

2000: Criticized Bush’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Treaty

In May, McCain continued his assault on the White House. On May 2, he criticized Bush for killing the Kyoto Treaty at the end of March---the treaty, originally endorsed by Vice President Al Gore in 1997, proposed to curb the global greenhouse effect by strictly controlling carbon dioxide emissions.

“I wouldn’t have done that,” McCain said about Bush’s decision to remove the United States from the long list of nations worldwide that had agreed to sign it. “I don’t agree with everything in the Kyoto Protocol, but think it is a framework we could have continued to work with. We could have fixed it.“

The implication was all too apparent: Bush should have found a way to have the United States sign on to the treaty but didn’t. The back story was implied: Because the treaty was championed by environmentalists and opposed by Big Oil, Bush caved in to pressure from the energy industry and came out against the treaty.

Source: Man of the People, by Paul Alexander, p.348 , Jan 19, 2004

Energy 2001: 1st Republican to sign onto reducing GHGS

McCain put in the Congressional Record a colloquy that proposed a plan for the US to reduce greenhouse gases. McCain, who had held hearings on global warming and was convinced it was a problem, was the first Senate Republican to call for such action. “The current situation demands leadership from the US,” he said. The administration, which was in political difficulty over the global-warming issue for having pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, wasn’t likely to appreciate McCain’s parting gift.
Source: Citizen McCain, by Elizabeth Drew, p.127-128 , May 7, 2002

Strength Clean Air & Water Acts; but not Kyoto

Source: 2000 National Political Awareness Test , Jan 13, 2000


John McCain on Voting Record

GovWatch: Yes, his cap-and-trade bill is mandatory

McCain denies that he favors “mandatory” limits on greenhouse gas emissions, even though a government-imposed limit is central to the “cap and trade” legislation that he favors and has sponsored.

The 2003 bill he sponsored jointly with Sen. Joe Lieberman laid out a cap-and-trade system, which would require utilities and other industries to limit emissions. Yet McCain has been soft-pedaling the “cap” part of the equation. In several recent appearances, he has denied that his plan contains any mandates.

Without a mandatory cap there would be little incentive for companies to participate in the buying and selling of credits. The whole idea depends on the government setting a firm ceiling for emissions.

We’ll leave it to you to judge whether McCain uses a different definition of the word “mandate” than most people. But we’ll let McCain have the last word. From his Web site: “Climate Policy Should Be Built On Scientifically-Sound, Mandatory Emission Reduction Targets & Timetables.”

Source: GovWatch on 2008: Washington Post analysis , Jun 20, 2008

Voted YES on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.

Congressional Summary:To prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating any regulation concerning the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change. The Clean Air Act is amended by adding a section entitled, "No Regulation of Emissions of Greenhouse Gases". In this section, the term 'greenhouse gas' means any of the following:
  1. Water vapor
  2. Carbon dioxide
  3. Methane
  4. Nitrous oxide
  5. Sulfur hexafluoride
  6. Hydrofluorocarbons
  7. Perfluorocarbons
  8. Any other substance subject to, or proposed to be subject to regulation to address climate change.
The definition of the term 'air pollutant' does not include a greenhouse gas, except for purposes of addressing concerns other than climate change.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Sen. McConnell, R-KY]: The White House is trying to impose a backdoor national energy tax through the EPA. It is a strange way to respond to rising gas prices. But it is perfectly consistent with the current Energy Secretary's previously stated desire to get gas prices in the US up to where they are in Europe.

Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Sen. Lautenberg, D-NJ]:We hear the message that has been going around: Let's get rid of the EPA's ability to regulate. Who are they to tell us what businesses can do? Thank goodness that in this democratic society in which we live, there are rules and regulations to keep us as a civilized nation. The Supreme Court and scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency agreed that the Clean Air Act is a tool we must use to stop dangerous pollution. This amendment, it is very clear, favors one group--the business community. The Republican tea party politicians say: "Just ignore the Supreme Court. Ignore the scientists. We know better." They want to reward the polluters by crippling EPA's ability to enforce the Clean Air Act.
Status: Failed 50-50 (3/5

Reference: Energy Tax Prevention Act; Bill Am183 to S.49 ; vote number 11-SV054 on Apr 6, 2011

Voted YES on protecting middle-income taxpayers from a national energy tax.