Sen. John McCain was, of course, one of the earliest congressional supporters of cap-and-trade, cosponsoring the first two pieces of climate legislation to come to the floor of the Senate in 2003 and 2005. During his campaign for president last year, he regularly touted his support for climate action.
But McCain did not explicitly back the climate bill that the Senate debated last year, citing a desire for more support for nuclear power, and he wasn’t around when the chamber voted on whether to move forward with the bill.
Now that the guy who beat him in the race for the White House is pushing to get climate legislation passed, McCain is being far less supportive.
At an energy summit in April, McCain railed against Obama’s plan to fight greenhouse-gas emissions, calling it “irresponsible, ill-conceived.” “What the Obama administration has proposed is not cap-and-trade,” he said. “It’s cap-and-tax.” McCain’s main complaint was that Obama wanted to auction off all pollution permits; McCain, in contrast, called for the vast majority of permits to be distributed free of charge to emitters to help them transition to a low-carbon economy.
But while McCain didn’t like Obama’s preferred approach, the climate bill the House passed in June should be more to his liking — it would give away the majority of permits.
McCain recently told Roll Call that he is working on climate change legislation with Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) once again. “I have not lost my zeal to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions,” he said. Yet he doesn’t seem to want to work with the Democratic majority. “I don’t think [Democratic leaders] have any Republicans” on board with their climate plans, he added.
Do you know more about this senator’s stance on climate legislation? Tell us.
Find out about other senators by clicking on their names in the right column.
More stories in this series:
Susan Collins Though Sen. Susan Collins seems supportive of climate legislation, she remains a toss-up in the debate over the Kerry-Boxer bill. In this letter sent to a constituent in early December, she calls for “meaningful action” to reduce greenhouse-gas …
Sen. John Cornyn is expected to vote against a climate bill, and that’s confirmed in this letter he wrote to a constituent. He argues that the Kerry-Boxer climate bill would “create a massive new government bureaucracy, raise energy prices, increase …
Sen. Daniel Akaka is considered a likely “yes” vote on climate legislation, but in this letter sent to a constituent in late November 2009, he doesn’t reveal much of anything about his views on climate change or what should be …
Sen. Charles Schumer is an advocate for climate legislation and said in July that he believed such legislation would attract the 60 needed votes. In this letter to a constituent, Schumer expresses his support for a bill “that gets America …
Get Grist in your inbox