Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the onetime Democratic vice presidential candidate, is expected to endorse Republican John McCain for president today, in a bit of political theater that highlights the propensity of both senators to cross party lines. Lieberman has had less reason to endorse a Democrat, of course, since becoming an Independent in his 2006 Senate re-election bid in order to overcome a strong antiwar challenge from within the Democratic party.
The last time these two made headlines together was 2003, when their Climate Stewardship Act failed a vote in the Senate by just 12 votes a margin that was closer than expected.
The final version of the bill, the first designed to tackle global warming, would have cut greenhouse emissions by about two thirds below today's levels by 2050 via a cap-and-trade law that would have set an overall cap on the emissions from power, transportation, industrial and commercial sectors, and allowed polluters who reduced emissions to swap credits with those who use more a system that has worked to curtail other major forms of pollution. Some of the credits would be auctioned, and others would be given to those polluters who had been previously polluting for free.
McCain is the only Republican candidate for president that has spoken forcefully, with the record to match, on global warming, and it's won him the endorsement of Republicans for Environmental Protection. Gov. Mike Huckabee is the only other Republican to support a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases, but he hasn't been any more specific than that. (Some rivals haven't acknowledged that global warming is a real and present danger fueled primarily by our own pollution.)
The Democrats vying for their party's nomination have all outlined detailed energy plans that call for reducing greenhouse emissions by 80% or more below 1990 levels by 2050.
To be fair, the last time McCain and Lieberman were in the news, it was January of this year, when they re-introduced the bill along with Barack Obama. (A tri-partisan effort?)
One can imagine the dialog in Bali, where the United States opposed emissions limits set by this stage of a new international climate treaty, would have been very different if McCain-Lieberman had met a different fate. Voters in the next presidential election will be able to choose from among candidates with distinctly different ideas about global warming. We know where McCain and Lieberman stand.
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