After a weekend off the trail, John McCain will spend the next couple of days talking about global climate change. In a speech today at a wind energy training facility, he'll say that this issue needs global attention. He will also argue that creating incentives for businesses to shift away from fossil fuels can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions faster.
"As a program under the Clean Air Act, the cap-and-trade system achieved enormous success in ridding the air of acid rain. And the same approach that brought a decline in sulfur dioxide emissions can have an equally dramatic and permanent effect on carbon emissions," he'll say, according to excerpts of his speech provided by the campaign.
"Instantly, automakers, coal companies, power plants, and every other enterprise in America would have an incentive to reduce carbon emissions, because when they go under those limits they can sell the balance of permitted emissions for cash. As never before, the market would reward any person or company that seeks to invent, improve, or acquire alternatives to carbon-based energy. It is very hard to picture venture capitalists, corporate planners, small businesses and environmentalists all working to the same good purpose. But such cooperation is actually possible in the case of climate change, and this reform will set it in motion."
McCain will also propose that by the year 2012, the U.S. should return to 2005 levels of emission; by 2020, a return to 1990 levels, and so on through the year 2050 where McCain wants to have reduced emissions by sixty percent below the levels recorded in 1990.
"In the course of time, it may be that new ideas and technologies will come along that we can hardly imagine today, allowing all industries to change with a speed that will surprise us. More likely, however, there will be some companies that need extra emissions rights, and they will be able to buy them. The system to meet these targets and timetables will give these companies extra time to adapt – and that is good economic policy. It is also a matter of simple fairness, because the cap-and-trade system will create jobs, improve livelihoods, and strengthen futures across our country," McCain will say.
McCain will also propose a global effort through agreements with other nations. "China, India, and other developing economic powers in particular are among the greatest contributors to global warming today – increasing carbon emissions at a furious pace – and they are not receptive to international standards," he will say. "No nation should be exempted from its obligations. And least of all should we make exceptions for the very countries that are accelerating carbon emissions while the rest of us seek to reduce emissions. If we are going to establish meaningful environmental protocols, then they must include the two nations that have the potential to pollute the air faster, and in greater annual volume, than any nation ever in history."
In conjunction with his campaign events on climate change, McCain has also released a new television ad on the topic to air in Oregon.