Presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain is using the idea of global togetherness to promote “a cap-and-trade system” to battle climate change. He said “Americans and Europeans need to get serious about substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years or we will hand over a much-diminished world to our grandchildren.”
“We need a successor to Kyoto, a cap-and-trade system that delivers the necessary environmental impact in an economically responsible manner.” He said America needs to be willing to be “persuaded” by our European allies. McCain’s column was headlined “America must be a good role model.”
However, he never addressed the potential costs of his proposal.
McCain talked about Americans and Europeans leading together but only said he wanted to “encourage the participation of the rest of the world, including most importantly, the developing economic powerhouses of China and India.”
But experience has already shown that government intervention in environmental issues can have negative consequences. Ethanol mandates have artificially inflated demand for corn and affected grocery prices. And recent studies have shown ethanol isn’t any better for the environment than burning fossil fuels.
A recent report from the Nikkei estimated it would cost the Japanese economy $500 billion – split evenly between businesses and consumers – to meet its carbon reduction goals by 2020.
McCain in his column did advocate for increased use of nuclear power. “Right now safe, climate-friendly nuclear energy is a critical way both to improve the quality of our air and to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources.”
McCain’s cap-and-trade position is similar to both of his liberal potential adversaries. According to his campaign Web site, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) also supports “implementation of a market-based cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary: 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.” Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) also has a climate plan “centered on a cap and trade system for carbon emissions.”