Cross-posted from the Wonk Room.

In pursuit of the California Republican Party nomination for the 2010 Senate, Carly Fiorina has abandoned her support for cap-and-trade legislation. The former Hewlett Packard executive hopes to unseat Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who has championed clean energy legislation as the chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee. In a new online advertisement created by Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R-Okla.) nephew Fred Davis, the Fiorina campaign portrays Boxer as a giant floating head ominously looming over California. A gravel-voiced narrator claims that Boxer is “indifferent” that her climate policies “would take already painful jobless numbers and make them dramatically worse”:

NARRATOR: Proclaiming a cap-and-trade bill would clean the environment, indifferent that it would take already painful jobless numbers and make them dramatically worse.

BOXER: “That’s where you’ll have a little bit of an increase in electricity prices…”

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NARRATOR: Even President Obama says electricity rates will skyrocket. And the Wall Street Journal says it is likely to be the biggest tax increase in history.

However, less than two years ago, Fiorina was singing a different tune. Speaking at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, Minn., she praised Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) cap-and-trade plan as something that would “both create jobs and lower the cost of energy”:

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I know John McCain. And in 2013, America will be more energy-independent because of his determination that we must power our own country, and his long-standing commitment to protecting our environment. John McCain will create a cap-and-trade system that will encourage the development of alternative energy sources. He will help advance clean coal technology, and nuclear power. And all of this will both create jobs and lower the cost of energy.

Watch a montage:



Like McCain’s plan, Boxer’s climate legislation marries a market-based cap on carbon pollution with support for alternative energy sources, including nuclear power and advanced coal technology. The revenues generated from a cap on carbon pollution will protect electricity consumers from the cost of investing in new jobs and ending dependence on oil, as Boxer has explained last year:

We must get these greenhouse gas emissions out of the air because if the planet continues to warm, we’re in a whole lot of trouble. Pretty much everyone agrees on that. Now, that means we have to move to clean energy and away from imported oil and those Middle East dictators. That’s good. We’ll move to clean energy. It will be better for our health and our families. That’s good. What about this transition period, as we move away from the dirty fuels and dirty coal to clean coal, to clean fuels, to solar, wind and geothermal? That’s where you’ll have a little bit of an increase in electricity prices. However, with a cap-and-trade system, you will have an incoming stream of revenues just as you do from the acid rain program, an incoming stream of revenues. And those revenues will make consumers whole. They will never pay any more. And that’s just the facts.

Analyses by the Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Information Administration, Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Congressional Budget Office show that Boxer (and Fiorina circa 2008) is indeed telling the facts.

However, Fiorina 2010 seems to have decided to get her policy advice from one of her first endorsers, global warming denier Jim Inhofe.