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Election update: McCain on climate

Climate change hasn’t made much of an appearance in the recent election coverage, because…Americans don’t care about climate change. Nevertheless, top McCain advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin had a nice long chat recently with David Roberts regarding carbon policy.

Read the whole thing. McCain hasn’t yet put forth a climate change proposal (which is, itself, disappointing), but he has outlined elements of a climate change “philosophy.”

A couple of quick thoughts on the interview:

1. The climate philosophy Douglas Holtz-Eakin (henceforth DHE) outlines is sane and coherent. This is different than saying I agree with all of it. But it passes the basic sniff test: it acknowledges the reality and the gravity of the climate change problem, and seemingly embraces solutions commensurate with the scale of the issue. This still leaves plenty of room for disagreement over policy particulars, but it’s miles ahead of where, say, our government is now. So that’s good news.
2. The stuff on nuclear energy, on the other hand, isn’t particularly coherent. McCain is pandering here, much as his presidential rivals are pandering on ethanol. You can decide for yourself how big a deal this is, but a fair amount of it is to be expected in an election year.
3. I’d be remiss if I concluded a discussion of McCain’s position on climate change without mentioning that his environmental record has been just terrible lately. His proposed summer gas-tax holiday is only the latest affront. Unfortunately, Clinton has decided to pile onto this particular piece of demagoguery, leaving Obama currently looking cleanest on the climate change front.

And that’s your election climate change update. Look forward to another installment in late October, when this topic next crops us as an election issue…

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