GOP presidential candidate John McCain is slated to unveil his plans to address global warming in a speech Monday afternoon in Portland, Ore., where he’ll call climate change a “test of foresight, of political courage, and of the unselfish concern that one generation owes to the next.” McCain will lay out a series of goals for gradually reducing carbon emissions to 60 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050. He’s poised to reiterate his call for a cap-and-trade system, but with expansive leeway for polluting companies to buy carbon offsets instead of reducing their own emissions. He’ll also talk up his belief that nuclear power is “one of the cleanest, safest, and most reliable” energy sources, and emphasize the need to bring China and India into any international climate agreement. “The facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in Washington,” McCain will say in his speech, to be delivered at a wind-energy training facility.

Though McCain has said that climate change would be one of his top three issues as president, this will be his first comprehensive policy address on the subject. His plan falls short of the commitments most environmental groups have said they would like to see from the presidential candidates, but it puts McCain far ahead many in his party — including, most notably, George W. Bush, who insists that any government-imposed cap on emissions would hurt the economy.

In an eco-themed event in New Jersey on Friday, McCain indicated that he would support the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act expected to hit the Senate floor in early June — if big subsidies for nuclear energy are inserted in the legislation. McCain plans to hold additional environmental events in the Seattle area on Tuesday.

new in Gristmill: <a href="

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.