McCain's green credentials don't come from his overall voting record as a senator. After all, he earned just 28% on the League of Conservation Voters' annual Scorecard from 1999-2007, and his score was zero yes, zero during the early months of his campaign, when he missed votes on renewable energy tax rebates and other key measures.
But McCain, after his failed 2000 presidential bid, became a global warming champion, and sponsored the Senate's first bipartisan carbon cap-and-trade regulation that would have curtailed global warming pollution. That was in 2003. That set him apart from many of his Republican colleagues, and McCain highlighted his stance early on in the presidential campaign as a way to burnish his maverick reputation and distinguish himself from the unpopular President Bush.
But while McCain has enjoyed a "halo hangover" for his efforts, most green analysts have been disappointed with McCain the candidate, as he's hewed closer to Republican orthodoxy to win over conservatives. With the exception of Republicans for Environmental Protection, which endorsed McCain early on in the primaries, environmental groups that endorse candidates support the Obama-Biden ticket. It's an open question whether his challenge to the GOP at the nominating convention would translate into real effort to oppose part orthodoxy on the environment.
A look at his stump speech suggests otherwise. He has championed oil drilling and a dubious summer gas tax holiday on the campaign trail, neither of which would as he claimed have much of a lasting or significant effect on gasoline prices. The core of his energy policy is offshore oil drilling and the building of new nuclear power plants to achieve independence from foreign oil. While environmental voters have typically shied away from nuclear energy, the threat of global warming has some reconsidering. The focus on energy independence, however, often leaves global warming out of the equation since domestic coal and oil can contribute to an energy independent nation but continue to fuel climate change.
If elected, McCain could be expected to push for the offshore oil drilling and nuclear energy initiatives he has focused his campaign around. He is known for working across the aisle in the Senate, and he'd have to if he expects to get anything done, since Democrats are expected to maintain control of Congress.
A key question is how much of a maverick McCain will be as a president. Will he make global warming a priority, despite opposition from others in his party?
McCain's views on key issues, from ethanol to food and product safety. more ...
A president is only as good as his advisers, and voters should remember that they not only bestow power on a president, but also his team and his party. Here's a look how his advisers view energy and environmental issues, from his vice presidential choice, pro-drilling Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, on down. more ...
McCain helped steer his party toward a more realistic statement on global warming, but energy independence and high energy prices overshadow the tepid acknowledgment of the reality of climate change. more ...
McCain have very different ideas about the future of offshore oil drilling, nuclear power, renewable energy technology, among other key issues. more ...
Where Obama stands on the key issues, who is advising him and what the Democratic party platform says about key environmental and energy issues. coming soon ...
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