Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain stepped up the eco rhetoric last week during a campaign stop at an Oregon wind turbine manufacturer. He touted his commitment to curbing greenhouse gas emissions and putting the U.S. back in a global leadership position on environmental issues.
"I will not shirk the mantle of leadership that the United States bears," he said. "I will not permit eight long years to pass without serious action on serious challenges. I will not accept the same dead-end of failed diplomacy that claimed Kyoto. The United States will lead and will lead with a different approach — an approach that speaks to the interests and obligations of every nation," McCain told the gathered crowd of supporters and reporters, seemingly distancing himself from a Bush administration notorious for looking the other way in the face of global warming's onset.
In the speech, McCain reiterated his support for finding market-based solutions to global warming, and working with fast-developing nations like China and India on long-term solutions that can provide significant energy without poisoning the atmosphere. He would like to see the U.S. reduce its carbon emissions 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
"You would think that if the polar bears, walruses and sea birds have the good sense to respond to new conditions and new dangers, then humanity can respond as well," he said.
Despite the fact that McCain acknowledges global warming, most environmentalists are still likely to vote Democratic next November. For starters, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have put forth written plans detailing how they would turn the U.S. into a world leader on carbon emissions reductions. Both Democrats are also calling for more aggressive cuts in carbon emissions—80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050—than McCain, and are more conversant on a wide range of other environmental issues. But that said, most greens are just happy that even the Republican nominee is not completely at odds with their outlook.