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McCain's climate triangulation

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Both Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama also propose cap-and-trade systems (as opposed to the carbon tax advocated by Al Gore and others). But McCain's proposal would cut emissions by only 60 percent below 1990 levels by 2025; whereas Clinton and Obama propose cutting emissions by 80 percent over the same period. Bush has called only for emissions to stabilize by 2025.

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With this proposal, McCain is clearly attempting to stake out a middle ground. This goal is even clearer in a McCain ad about climate change that is currently airing in Oregon.

"One extreme thinks high taxes and crippling regulation is the solution," says the voiceover. "Another denies the problem even exists. There's a better way."

Will this triangulation work? Martha Marks, the president of Republicans for Environmental Protection, is clearly impressed. In a press release, she praised McCain's call to action.

"Senator McCain's resounding call for strong action on climate change underscores his longstanding commitment to solving this problem," said REP President Martha Marks. "His insightful remarks, along with his long record of climate leadership in the Senate, make it clear that he is the presidential candidate most dedicated and best prepared to fight global warming."
"His grasp of the problem and his firm resolve to deal with it shows that he means what he says about bringing back the Republican Party's 'Teddy Roosevelt tradition' of responsible stewardship," Marks added.

Grist's David Roberts, by contrast, is underwhelmed.

[M]y initial reaction is that it's better than expected, somewhat short of Lieberman-Warner, and far short of what Obama has proposed. It should comfort us that a McCain presidency will mean real action on climate change, not the shell game Bush is engaged in. But it's hard to see how McCain can claim the allegiance of voters who rank climate change as a top concern. He's still behind the curve.

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