Monday, October 20, 2008

John McCain On Energy, Environment, & Climate

Oct 20: As the election draws near, WIMS is focusing on the Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates position on energy, environment and climate change. Today we outline Senator John McCain's positions. Tomorrow we will outline Senator Obama's plan.

Senator McCain terms his energy plan -- "The Lexington Project; an all of the above energy solution." According to the plan detailed on the McCain website, "John McCain has made the necessary choices - producing more power, pushing technology to help free our transportation sector from its use of foreign oil, cleaning up our air and addressing climate change, and ensuring that Americans have dependable energy sources. John McCain will lead the effort to develop advanced transportation technologies and alternative fuels to promote energy independence and cut off the flow of oil wealth to repressive dictatorships like Iran."

A highlight of the plan is to Expanding Domestic Oil Exploration. McCain says, "There is no easier or more direct way to prove to the world that we will no longer be subject to the whims of others than to expand our production capabilities. We have trillions of dollars worth of oil and gas reserves in the U.S. at a time we are exporting hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas to buy energy. . . John McCain proposes to cooperate with the states and the Department of Defense in the decisions to develop these resources."

McCain's plan also focuses on the following: Promoting And Expanding The Use Of Our Domestic Supplies Of Natural Gas; Change How We Power Our Transportation Sector; A $300 Million Prize To Improve Battery Technology; Supports Flex-Fuel Vehicles (FFVs); Alcohol-Based Fuels Hold Great Promise As Both An Alternative To Gasoline; Eliminate Isolationist Tariffs And Wasteful Special Interest Subsidies; Enforce Existing CAFE Standards; Become A Leader In A New International Green Economy; Commit $2 Billion Annually To Advancing Clean Coal Technologies; Construct 45 New Nuclear Power Plants By 2030; A Permanent Tax Credit Equal To 10 Percent Of Wages Spent On R&D; Encourage The Market For Alternative, Low Carbon Fuels Such As Wind, Hydro And Solar Power; Greening The Federal Government Through Energy Efficiency; Upgrade The Electricity Grid And Metering Improvements To Save Energy; Understand The Role Speculation Is Playing In Our Soaring Energy Prices; and Oppose A Windfall Profits Tax.

In further details, Senator McCain says, "We need to level the playing field and eliminate mandates, subsidies, tariffs and price supports that focus exclusively on corn-based ethanol and prevent the development of market-based solutions which would provide us with better options for our fuel needs." He also says that he has long supported Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards; however he indicates, "Some carmakers ignore these standards, pay a small financial penalty, and add it to the price of their cars." He believes the penalties for not following these standards "must be effective enough to compel all carmakers to produce fuel-efficient vehicles."

On the 10% R&D wages tax credit, McCain says, "This reform will simplify the tax code, reward activity in the U.S., and make us more competitive with other countries. A permanent credit will provide an incentive to innovate and remove uncertainty. At a time when our companies need to be more competitive, we need to provide a permanent incentive to innovate, and remove the uncertainty now hanging over businesses as they make R&D investment decisions."

On tax credits for to provide incentives for alternative clean energy development, McCain says, "To develop these and other sources of renewable energy will require that we rationalize the current patchwork of temporary tax credits that provide commercial feasibility. . . an even-handed system of tax credits that will remain in place until the market transforms sufficiently to the point where renewable energy no longer merits the taxpayers' dollars."

On the nuclear power issue, McCain indicates that, "Nuclear power is a proven, zero-emission source of energy, and it is time we recommit to advancing our use of nuclear power. Currently, nuclear power produces 20% of our power, but the U.S. has not started construction on a new nuclear power plant in over 30 years. China, India and Russia have goals of building a combined total of over 100 new plants and we should be able to do the same. It is also critical that the U.S. be able to build the components for these plants and reactors within our country so that we are not dependent on foreign suppliers with long wait times to move forward with our nuclear plans."

Senator McCain generally integrates his environmental and climate change positions into his overall energy strategy. Senator McCain calls for A Cap-And-Trade System That Would Set Limits On Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions While Encouraging The Development Of Low-Cost Compliance Options. His Greenhouse Gas Emission Targets And Timetables are defined as follows: 2012: Return Emissions To 2005 Levels (18 Percent Above 1990 Levels); 2020: Return Emissions To 1990 Levels (15 Percent Below 2005 Levels); 2030: 22 Percent Below 1990 Levels (34 Percent Below 2005 Levels); and 2050: 60 Percent Below 1990 Levels (66 Percent Below 2005 Levels).

Under the McCain plan, the cap-and-trade system would encompass electric power, transportation fuels, commercial business, and industrial business - sectors responsible for just under 90 percent of all emissions. Small businesses would be exempt. Initially, participants would be allowed to either make their own GHG reductions or purchase "offsets." The fraction of GHG emission reductions permitted via offsets would decline over time.

On basic environmental issues Senator McCain indicates, "we face immense environmental challenges that will impact the quality of life we leave our children and future generations. A McCain White House will reflect the guiding principles of Theodore Roosevelt, America's foremost conservation president." He faults Congress for failing "to devote the proper resources towards operations and maintenance has caused many park units to fall into disrepair," He says, "These irreplaceable landscapes deserve our renewed attention." He calls for promoting "collaborative public-private partnership initiatives such as the North America Waterfowl Management Plan" and reversing "the declining access to quality hunting and angling opportunities vital to the sportsmen tradition."

He calls for protecting "delicate wetlands" and "employing long-term science-based strategies that properly manage strained freshwater resources, like the Great Lakes watershed, and promote polices that will preserve sensitive areas like the Everglades and the Louisiana coastal marshes." He calls for , promoting "responsible growth and encourage state and local officials to implement open space initiatives and establish green corridors within our communities." and "strengthening federal tools like Land and Water Conservation Fund."

Access the McCain Energy plan with links to related information (click here). Access further details on the McCain Climate Change plan (click here). Access further details on environmental positions (click here).